Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi, which feed on the carbon in wood and other plant materials. Extremely nutritious, they’re a good source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In Western
In Western countries, we tend to only eat a very small range of fungi, with the white button mushroom dominating. This is a shame as there are so many other exciting types with different flavours to try.
An easy way to diversify is to grow your own shiitake or oyster mushrooms. In the wild these fungi feed on dead wood, slowly decomposing it. However commercial growers have worked out a way to speed this up with the use of grow bags. Grow bags consist of straw, sawdust and other nutrients, which have been inoculated with the fungi spawn. You can purchase these bags from the companies listed below and they will begin producing mushrooms within two weeks.
Mushrooms appear in flushes every two to three weeks from then on. How long they continue to produce depends on how much nutrient was supplied in the grow bag and the growing conditions. Some will produce for up to 12 weeks. Once the bag is exhausted, you can spread the contents on a garden bed as mulch or add it to your compost.
Both shiitake and oyster mushrooms prefer stable temperatures ranging between 15 and 20°C with fairly high humidity. Results will be poor unless you can reliably maintain these conditions. Don’t be put off though as most people can find a cool spot in their house to successfully grow shiitake and oyster mushrooms (aside from summer). And don’t forget they don’t need light, growing happily in complete darkness.