Think that your dark and damp basement is good for storing all of those things that you donâ€™t know what to do with and nothing else? Think again! You can make good use of the basement by turning it into your own mushroom garden. The dark and clammy atmosphere that makes you want to stay out of your basement most of the time is the perfect growing environment for mushrooms. Once you set things up, growing mushrooms in your basement couldnâ€™t be easier. Now, when you want to add some fresh vegetables to your table, you wonâ€™t have to run out to the store. All you will have to do is run down those basement steps and grab a few mushrooms from your basement garden!
Homeowners tend to worry about the idea of mushrooms growing in their home. After all, seeing mushrooms springing up on their own is a sign of serious damps â€“ which means serious trouble for the structure of the home. The fact of the matter is, however, that basements are naturally damp â€“ a certain amount of dampness in the basement is not a sign of any problems with your home â€“ and you can use this dampness to your benefit by cultivating mushrooms.
Before you start growing your mushrooms, make sure the conditions in your basement are right. A little bit of light wonâ€™t hurt your mushroom plants at all, but they will not grow if there is full light in your basement. If your basement is not entirely underground and it gets full light during the day, you will want to close off a dark area for your mushroom plants. Temperature is another factor you will need to manage. You want the temperature to stay between 55Â°F and 60Â°F â€“ you can check on this by taking leaving a thermometer in different places in your basement for a few days to see how the temperature fluctuates. Last but not least, you must make sure you basement is not overly drafty or dry. Drafts dry out the air in the basement, which will kill your mushroom plants. If your basement is too dry, you can manage this by watering your plants more frequently or by buying premixed materials that will help keep the soil around your mushroom plants damp.
Once you have controlled for conditions, the easiest way to grow mushrooms in your basement, especially if you are a novice gardener, is to by prepared trays with the proper growing medium and mushroom spawns. These trays will take the guesswork out of the equation when it comes to mixing the growth medium and placing the mushroom spawns correctly in the soil. Each tray is about 16 inches long and they can be placed on benches or hung in a tier system. You will need to add about an inch of topsoil to each tray and water them properly for the conditions in your basement.
Daily watering of prepared trays should be all of the tending your mushroom garden needs, but if your mushrooms start to attract pests like slugs and snails (these creatures love mushroom gardens), leave out some lettuce leafs or cabbage leafs to draw them away. In around four weeks, your mushrooms will begin to peak out of the soil and be ready to eat.
When picking your mushrooms, never pull them out of the tray. This can hurt the mushrooms that have yet to bloom. Instead, cut off the large button mushrooms at their base and repack the soil around where you cut. If your practice this method, your mushroom plants will continue yielding mushrooms for about six months. When they are completely done growing, discard the tray â€“ donâ€™t try to replant in the same soil or reuse the tray for other growing.