Mushrooms are expensive. If you're merely buying crimini mushrooms, you'll pay $4-$5 per pound. But if you want anything better, you'll end up paying $8-$16 per pound.
Now, you could pick your own mushrooms if you're near a place where they grow. But unless you're picking morel mushrooms or really know your mushrooms, I don't recommend mushroom hunting.
One of the best ways to ensure that you get edible mushrooms that are cheap is by learning how to grow mushrooms.
And growing mushrooms isn't actually that hard.
1. How To Grow Mushrooms: Buy Spawn
You can find mushroom spawn online or at your local gardening store.
I recommend you start off with oyster mushrooms. They’re hearty and easy to grow.
When you get your spawn it will probably be stored in some sort of sawdust or grain. And you can buy them in a kit if you want all the necessaries right there when you get the package.
2. Make Substrate Soil For Growing
Mushrooms are a fungus. People don’t like to think about this, but they break down dead things. But that’s how to grow mushrooms.
You’ll need the right substance for them to grow in. And the best substance is a pasteurized substrate which is like a compost.
Depending on what your spawn came in, you’ll use something different to create the substrate.
If your spawn came in sawdust, then you’ll use corrugated cardboard. If it came in grain, you’ll use straw.
For cardboard, cut a piece of cardboard into 2-3 inch squares. Put the cardboard in a bucket with a lid. Weigh the lid down.
Pour boiling water over the cardboard until it’s submerged.
Cover the bucket and let cool for eight hours. Then, before you squeeze out the water from the cardboard wash your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap.
For straw, use wheat or rye. Cut it into 3-4 inch lengths. Place in a pillowcase and place it in a pot of water.
Heat the water to 170 degrees Farenheight for an hour.
Then strain the water out and let it cool.
3. Place Spawn In Substrate
First, wash your hands. You don’t want any other spores growing in there.
If you used cardboard for your substrate, stack the square in a food-grade plastic bag. Now sprinkle the spawn between each layer and make sure they don’t clump together.
If you used straw substrate, sanitize the table with rubbing alcohol and put the straw on the table. Spread it out and sprinkle the spawn on the straw.
Now place the straw spawn mixture into a food-grade plastic bag. Make sure the bag is full but not too full. If you find you have to cram, get another bag and split up the straw.
Now poke holes in the bag every few inches. You need ventilation to help the spawn grow. Carbon dioxide will build up in the bag otherwise and prevent fruiting.
Now find a location that’s cool and dark. It needs to be between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need to control the temperature of the room, so have a thermometer nearby and check it every day.
You’ll want to make sure moisture levels stay the same. So check the substrate every day and mist it if it feels dry.
You’ll move the fungus to a different location once the fungus covers bottoms of the bag.
Now you’ll need light, so put it in a room with enough indirect light to read by.
Make sure you water it lightly with a spray bottle twice a day and soon you’ll have mushrooms!
Now you know how to grow mushrooms!