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Guides on How to Grow Mushrooms

| 12/19/2018 11:55:00 AM

Photo courtesy of Getty Images/peangdao

I love mushrooms. They were always a staple in our diets when I was growing up, and I don’t ever remember disliking them, even as kids famously do. Mom incorporated them into almost anything that it would make sense to put them into — which was just about everything we ate: topping off a homemade pizza, thickly sliced in her famous spaghetti, sauteed and folded into a hearty omelette, sliced and diced in a casserole, whole button mushrooms stuffed with sausage and cornbread filling. The list goes on. Mom loved ‘em, and I got my love for them from her.

As I’ve gotten older and started cooking with more varieties of mushrooms, aside from the good ol’ portobello or button mushroom, it occurred to me that I should learn how to grow mushrooms, too, as well as learn how to go mushroom hunting when I’m on my woodland hikes and strolls. Plus, I love to garden, and there is such a huge variety of mushrooms not available in grocery stores or supermarkets, I want to give it a shot at growing them.

Right now it’s winter in Kansas, which is the perfect time for me to sit down with some hot tea and a stack of books and learn how to grow mushrooms and forage them for food. I’ll bet that everyone has heard stories of ingesting a misidentified mushroom, so I knew I was going to be doing plenty of reading on this topic before I go out mushroom hunting. And on that note, I think if a person is going to forage for food in the wild and go mushroom hunting, I’d suggest getting in touch with a local expert to join you the first couple times you go out, until you get the hang of it, which is what I plan to do when the weather warms up. Until then, I’ll be curled up with a few books.

Cover courtesy of Chelsea Green Publishing

I’m already a fan of Tradd Cotter, so the first book in my stack was his Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation. Not only is Cotter funny, his knowledge on fungi and its many medicinal properties is incredible. He’s led groups of interested mushroom hunters and growers on walks at Mother Earth News Fairs, and they always come back with baskets of mushrooms that beforehand everyone thought would be picked clean or that it would be too dry for mushrooms. And as far as home cultivation, he’s got a multitude of ideas on indoor and outdoor cultivation, as well as growing in tight spaces. No matter the size of space you might have, he’s got a solution for growing mushrooms in it.

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