Do you like mushrooms? I think so, that’s why we are all here. Mushrooms are one of my favorite vegetarian food items. They are healthy, nutritious and so delicious. Taste with nutrition makes it an ideal choice for home gardeners. We, gardeners, love growing our food.
Growing your fresh button mushroom is very easy. I have already shared my way to grow oyster mushroom at home. Now, I have worked on some common techniques to grow the button mushroom. You should try and then believe that button mushroom is probably the easiest to grow.
how to grow button mushroom at home?– Start with a quality organic substrate. It should be fertile & free from any disease. Next, buy some authentic button mushroom spawns. checkout these on your nearest seed store. You can also try my favorite button mushroom spawns on amazon. Next, regulate the temperature (20-degree Celcius) and moisture (85% humidity) for 3-6 months. You will get enough mushroom from a single setup for 6 month needs of your family. An easy option is to but a mushroom growing kit & follow the given instructions.
checkout my previous post: Top 10 reasons why new gardeners fail- with solution
what is button mushroom growing kit
A button mushroom growing kit a ready-made package of 3-4 items. These items include a substrate, a box, a sprayer bottle, some plastic zipper bags. Some mushroom growing kits also provide spawns to grow button mushrooms.
Mushroom growing kits are specially designed for beginners. It is an advantage for any first-time mushroom grower. You have to modulate and redesign everything for high yield. No one is the same nor their appetite. Similarly, your location is also different from others. So, start with a growing kit, and after a successful season make your own kit.
Most mushroom growing kits are small scale miniature size growing boxes. It can yield at most 1 or 2-pound mushroom in its entire cycle. These kits are not meant for commercial farming. So you will have to pay more sometimes.
I have tried 2 or maybe 3 mushroom growing kits in the previous season. These are really good and best for the first-time mushroom growing. You can check the prices for mushroom growing kits, some of these are my favorite.
Where to buy button mushroom spawn or spores
Button mushroom is grown from spawns and spores. Generally, the prepared mycelium of button mushroom is available to grow. The spores are responsible for the new growth of mushrooms. But you can’t use them to grow your own mushroom. Why? Bcoz a single spore is so tiny that you can’t see it. In fact, millions of spores can fit in your fingertips.
So spawn is a more convenient method to grow mushrooms. Commercial mushroom cultivators prepare spawns by mixing the spores in a fertile suitable substrate. This mixture is easy to carry, use, and store.
You should only buy mushroom spawn from a trusted cultivator or a seed store. You can also inquire to your nearest agriculture university for the availability of button mushroom spawns.
I have purchased my first spawn from amazon. Trust me some of those are really very good. There are many fake sellers available online, so always be careful with online mushroom spawns.
Check for review, comments, and authenticity of the online sellers before any purchase. Always make sure whether the spawns are for edible mushrooms or not.
5 best button mushroom Substrates
- Compost. High-grade organic compost with high nitrogen content is required.
- Coffee ground. Used for very small scale production. It is costly so not efficient for the farming of button mushrooms.
- Rice husk.
- Leaf mold. Check out how to prepare leaf mold.
- High humus soil or compost with NPK 33:10:25. This the best substrate for commercial farming of button mushroom.
How to prepare the substrate for button mushroom?
Compost & manure are the main components of the substrate. You can follow the traditional method of compost making or use some technology to win the task. Either way is good and effective, only time and money is the difference.
The ideal substrate for button mushroom should have 33% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 25% potassium i.e., NPK 33:10:25. The mushroom needs a balanced ph substrate. You will need 1/5 pound dry substrate to grow 2 pounds of a button mushroom. Rest is the amount of moisture it absorbs & retains. Commercially it is a profitable business. Even making substrate can earn you some extra bucks.
You will save a lot of money just by preparing your substrate for mushrooms. Don’t worry it is not that complicated as it seems. Just follow the steps carefully.
- Take organic dry plant base to start. It is a compost-based substrate so anything that can be composed easily will be fine. I important consideration is never to use raw or cooked meat for composting.
- Break the pieces into fine even pieces. This is why dry rice or wheat husk is the best option for this method. You can buy these at a low cost from any cattle farm. These things are used for feeding cattle.
- Dump this material in a corner of your yard or farm for a few weeks. Keep the mixture damp, this will encourage composting.
- Turn the mixture upside down once every week. These simple methods can reduce composting time by 30%.
- After 4-6 weeks of composting, add 1/4 pound of NPK 30:10:25 or just Urea with 30-50 pound of this mixture.
- Mix it again and water thoroughly. This time cover the substrate using a plastic sheet or tarp and leave it for 10-15 days.
- Your substrate is ready to fill after 15-20 days. Bacterial and fungal treatment is the last thing left to do.
- Take 1 pound quick lime, 1/4 pound good quality systemic and contact fungicide, and mix thoroughly with 30-50 pound of the substrate you prepared.
- Again leave it covered for the next 24 hours. Congrats your substrate is ready to use.
- Fill the prepared boxes with this material. Leave 1-2 inch space at the top of the containers. This space is very important for button mushroom growth.
Make your own mushroom growing kit
The mushroom growing kit is really effective for the home gardeners. We have learned that the mushroom growing kit available online is not always sufficient. so what to now? Simple make your own mushroom growing kit.
You will need-
- A rectangular box that is at least 20inch long, 15 inches wide and 6 inches high. The bigger container is always better but not for the first time. Start with a smaller box to test your skills.
- You will need some fertile organic substrate. A fine substrate is best for button mushrooms.
- A Thermometer, water sprayer, and darkroom are required. Proper equipment to control moisture and airflow is necessary for efficient high yield.
If you are ready then let’s start.
- Make a box of the desired length. Only the hight should be at least 6-inch. Use wooden boards or bricks to make the boxed-containers. If you don’t want any permanent setup then wood or plyboard is the best option.
- Either buy the substrate or use something from your kitchen. A commercial substrate is always better for growing mushrooms.
- Always treat the substrate to reduce any chance of bacterial or fungal growth.
- Button mushroom needs dark well-ventilated space with high humidity. So prepare in advance.
- Next, buy some button mushroom spawns.
This is all you need in your mushroom growing kit. Get ready and make some changes if required. Make sure you know what to do and how to do it? Fell free to write for any help.
What are the requirements to grow button mushroom?
There are mainly 5 important conditions required to be fulfilled for growing button mushrooms. These are-
- Dark well-ventilated Room. Button mushroom is good for indoor plantation. It is ideal for a low light location like a basement or garage.
- Low temperature-15-20C. The temperature should be high for the first few weeks then after the formation of mycelium lower the temperature to 12 C.
- High Humidity -80-90%.
- Fertile Substrate. High Nitrogen and Potassium based fertilizers required.
- Good quality edible button mushroom spawns.
20-28 C or 70-85F for the spawn growth, 12-18C, or 55-65F for reproductive growth.
Button mushroom needs 20-28 degrees celsius or 70-85 Fahrenheit to grow spawns. Later you should reduce the temperature to 15degree C or 60-degree Fahrenheit. This will help the buttons to grow and mature.
How to Grow Button Mushrooms?
I hope you have prepared or purchased the substrate and mushroom spawn. Also, you should know the basic requirements for growing button mushroom. If you are not sure then read once more.
- Dry the box before filling the substrate. Also, spray or sprinkle fungicidal solution over the base and the inner walls. This will prevent any disease to infect your mushrooms.
- Fill the box evenly with the Chemically treated mushroom substrate. Boiling or dry fry is not an efficient option for button mushroom production.
- Water the substrate to increase the moisture. The substate should hold enough moisture to keep moist but never get soggy.
- Sprinkle the button mushroom spawns over the top of this mixture. Make it even and no need to press or cover it. Make sure the spawns are of good quality and of the edible variety.
- Water the substrate once carefully and leave the spawns to develop the mycelium and grow.
- After 3-4 weeks you will see white fibrous root-like structure over the surface of the substrate. These are healthy mycelium. This as tiny hair-like roots that eventually develop into a mushroom- the plant.
- Now Cover this with 1/2-inch or just 1/4 inch with the same substrate you have prepared. Keep it light as much as you can. Again don’t press it.
- Maintain the moisture and temperature as required.
- Keep looking for any damaged mushroom or any sign of infection. You should e active to treat these problems. If you ignore one day then the entire batch can get infected & damaged.
- Your first batch of button mushrooms will be ready to harvest within 90 days of starting. You can get 2 harvests from each bed and an average of 3 harvests per year.
Also read: Can Grass Survive Snow? Winter Lawn Care
Best time to grow button mushroom
Button mushroom is a winter season variety. It is comfortable to moderate to low temperatures. So if you experience temperature between 12-20 degrees celsius or 50-80 Fahrenheit, then you can grow this on your own.
There is another advantage of growing button mushrooms. You can grow it indoors, so the outside temperature is not very effective. You can easily regulate the temperature and moisture inside a room.
In tropical regions with relatively warm winters, button mushrooms can grow from September to march. Anywhere else just temperature regulation is required.
Technically, spring is the best season to start button mushrooms.
Water requirement for button mushroom
The substrate should be moist always. Button mushroom cannot survive dryness. You should take care of regular watering but never over water.
Too much water can cause an infestation that can lead to many fungal, bacterial, or viral diseases in mushroom plantations. Any disease can infect the whole colony overnight. So take care of proper water management.
Most of the time you just have to spray water. No need for flooding the bed.
How & when to Harvest button mushrooms?
The best time to harvest button mushroom is when it gets hard and tender in feel. If it feels too spongy then the mushroom is either aged or damaged. In both cases, it is not good for eating.
Pick only healthy button mushroom. Any mushroom with dark black or brown patch is not good for consuming. In fact, it is a sign of disease. So inspect it carefully for the source of damage.
Also, avoid any mushroom with broken or crack head balls. These are also not good to eat and of no use commercially.
- You can pick your button mushroom anytime or in any season. It is not a plant so time or season doesn’t affect its regular growth.
- Choose the healthy buttons to pick. Discard any damaged mushrooms. No one can suggest you eat that.
- Twist each mushroom from their base to take them out. It is very easy, there is no dense root system. so you will rarely feel any effort doing things. Still, if you don’t want to do this by hand then use a sharp knife.
- Cut the mushrooms slightly under the crown cap. Don’t worry there is no definite rule for this. Any length is fine. The whole mushroom is edible. That’s why cutting an inch or two, doesn’t make any difference.
- The big white fluffy button mushroom is the best to harvest and eat fresh.
Do’s & Don’ts for button mushroom Cultivation
- Never start too big. A small box or bed is best to start button mushroom. Growing on a large scale without experience can cause a big loss.
- Don’t put any animal waste or meat near mushroom beds.
- Avoid very high or low temperatures for the growing media and bed.
- Never allow the growing bed or substrate to direct sunlight exposer.
- Don’t apply fungicide after sowing the spawns, even if you found any fungal attack. This is the biggest mistake with button mushroom. You should be aware that the mushroom itself is a fungus. The whole colony can die after single antifungal treatment.
- Don’t overwater. Overwatering is a killer for the mushroom colony.
Now we will see what can you do to grow a healthy button mushroom.
- Keep the area including floor & walls clean and dry. Cleanliness is the key to healthy mushroom growth. Dirt and waste materials can lead to fungal attack.
- Keep the temperature above 18C. This ideal for the high yield of a button mushroom. A temperature lower than 12C and higher than 28C is not good for button mushroom cultivation.
- The humidity should be maintained above 80%. High humidity can help in maintaining temperature and control growth. Button mushroom starts losing its texture and quality below 65% humidity.
- Harvesting in time is very important. Another problem with the mushroom grower is late harvesting. This not only elongates the cultivation time but also delays the next spawn cycle. This mistake can lead to heavy commercial loss.
Special tips to grow button mushroom
- Use only clean, fine, fertile compost for growing button mushrooms.
- Buy your mushrooms spawns from a trusted seller or a known cultivator.
- Always maintain the proper temperature of 7 moisture.
- Harvest in time.
- Treat the substrate every time you want to start a new batch. Change substrate entirely once in every 2 years. This time can vary according to the quality of the substrate & condition of beds.
I think all this is enough to give it a try. Start with a small growing kit and after successful season scaleup as much as you want. A healthy button mushroom is always even in shape, and clean white in color. Don’t eat mushrooms with any color patch. How do you like to grow button mushroom?
Write queries, suggestions, request anything in the comment box I’ll be back with something more interesting to know & explore. Till then keep reading keep gardening.