Growing your own fruit and vegetables is an indispensable element in any environmentally sustainable and frugal lifestyle. But unless you’re a committed gardener growing your own food can be a thankless task. It takes up significant amounts of time, and can involve backbreaking work, for little financial return. Vegetable growing also requires more garden space than most of us possesses or are willing to devote to it. And some neighbours object to us turning our garden into an allotment.
The secret is to grow high value things you would buy anyway. Mushroom growing is an option available to almost all of us. Mushroom growing is possible even in a small flatand you can grow as few or as many as you like. If you really take to mushroom growing you can sell your surplus to restaurants and market traders. At the very least however mushroom growing at home will supply your own requirements.
Home mushroom growing is also a viable cottage industry, Your surplus can be sold to local restaurants at market value. Restaurants like the idea of sourcing their produce locally and like the idea of the produce being newly picked, Home mushroom growing allows you do deliver freshly picked mushrooms within hours of your customer cooking them. And home mushroom growing enables you to deliver freshly picked mushrooms to any market trader or shopkeeper the same day he sells them.
Mushroom growing delivers up a surprisingly valuable food source. We recommend you check out http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2482/2 to see what we mean. Mushroom protein is of a similar nutritional value by weight as animal protein and is therefore a much better quality protein source for vegetarians than (say) beans and nuts. Most vegans also find mushrooms ethically acceptable. For the record mushrooms are fungai and therefore neither plant nor animal
Hence the classic mushroom growing joke. Why did the mushroom go to the party?….Because he was a fun guy!!
And for those who aren’t vegetarians or vegans mushroom growing is a more practicable option than keeping chickens let alone farming cattle.
Mushroom Growing season
Autumn is the ideal time to embark upon mushroom growing. Following the summer rainfall you need not look far to find a mushroom growing under a hedge or in the woods. But whether it’s advisable to contemplate any mushroom growing wild in your locality is another matter. Check out the woodlandtrust.org.uk which has a description of the best ones to eat. Nevertheless we still advise extreme caution. It’s very easy indeed to misidentify any mushroom growing under a hedge or in the woods. Even experts sometimes find it difficult to tell for certain from its appearance that it’s a safe mushroom. Growing your own, guarantees that you are sure that it’s a safe one to eat.
Starting mushroom growing
Starting your own mushroom growing crop is an interested way to spend a damp late summer and Autumn weekend. Moreover mushroom growing is something interesting in which to involve children and teenagers. But traditional mushroom growing ventures usually involve a year’s wait before you see the first fruits. Mushroom growing kits however can deliver you a crop in less than three weeks. So an experimental venture using a mushroom growing kit might even fit into the a teenager’s short attention span.
‘Ann Miller (the so called ‘mushroom queen)’s Speciality Mushrooms’, (annforfungi.co.uk) can deliver mushroom growing kits by post in most varieties.
Dowel and log mushroom growing method
You can buy small pieces of dowel infected with mycelium. Suppliers include thompson-morgan.com and gourmetmushrooms.co.uk but there are numerous other companies selling this of this type of mushroom growing gear. You start between Autumn and Spring by taking a recently cut damp deciduous hardwood log and drill holes two three inches apart in it. The dowel rods are inserted into the holes (hammered in if necessary) and the log placed in a normal black bin liner. It’s then covered for insulation and left in the loft, shed, safe spot in the garden or any other suitable mushroom growing environment for six months.
The only word of caution we would offer however is that it’s not always a good idea to embark upon mushroom growing in an airing cupboard. Sometimes mushroom growing in a confined environment can be accompanied by an unfortunate fungal smell. It’s also best to avoid placing the mushroom growing cultures too close to an environment where you don’t want to see a mushroom growing, otherwise you may discover the occasional mushroom growing somewhere where you don’t want it.
Mushroom growing spore kits
Mushroom growing kits comprising bags of spores can be obtained through the post. You put them in a bag of straw, soil, newspaper or even old (unused) toilet paper. The exact ideal growing methods depends on the variety of mushroom. Growing them however is nearly always easy. Check out the various mushroom growing kits available on the market. Some people even soak old books in warm water. You add the mushroom growing spawn and put the culture away to keep warm
Pre-prepared mushroom growing kits
Less patient mushroom growing enthusiasts buy pre-prepared kits. These mushroom growing kits already contain the growing medium ready impregnated with the ‘fun guys’. You simply need to add water to the mushroom growing kit keep it warm, and mushrooms will appear almost miraculously within three weeks. You might like to try the mushroom growing kits available from unwins.co.uk, swallowaquatics.co.uk or woodfruit.co.uk. KCS does not specifically recommend any of these particular mushroom growing products. Other mushroom growing kits are available from a wide variety of suppliers. Much depends on your favoured variety of mushroom.
Truffle Growing v Mushroom Growing
Truffles are a much more valuable crop and are therefore an even better prospect from a financial standpoint than mushroom growing.
Until the turn of the 19th 20th Century truffles were commonly available and not regarded as the luxury they are today They grow easily in the UK particularly in the South. The process is similar to mushroom growing. And as with mushroom growing you can buy the kit. I the case of truffles however it comes in the form of oak, beech or hazel saplings impregnated with the truffle spawn. You need to plant it however in well-aerated alkaline soil, so you need to check in advance before you buy the kit whether you have the right sort of soil. Limestone or chalky soil is ideal. You then wait for the truffles to grow with the trees but it will probably take between five and eight years before you see the truffles fruit. Ultimately however the process can be even more profitable than mushroom growing. You can obtain the kits from truffle-uk.co.uk and edenproject.com/shop
Mushroom Growing DIY
If you find that you need any minor DIY adaptations to your home to facilitate your mushroom growing venture such as building shelves in your loft, installing additional insulation or very low level heating in the loft or in a shed check the other articles on our KCS Advice site or refer to the KCS Electrical Site for electrical advice. www.kcselectrics.co.uk If there’s anything you need to know which isn’t there please contact us.