How to grow mushrooms in a large container or bin

Updated July 19, 2017

Mushrooms are fungi that have very different growing requirements from those of green plants. Mushrooms come in many varieties, but they have similar growing needs. The easiest mushrooms for new growers to cultivate are oyster mushrooms, according to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. White button and shiitake mushrooms are two other popular choices. Mushrooms may be grown in almost any container. With the right growing medium and conditions, you can have delicious and fresh mushrooms for your culinary needs.

Fill your container with hardwood chips, chopped cereal straws, such as wheat, or shredded corn cobs. Mushrooms contain no chlorophyll, the substance that makes leaves green, and must obtain their nutrients from their growing medium.

Moisten the growing medium with water, keeping it warm and consistently damp. Turn it often with a hand-held rake to make sure the mixture has adequate oxygen. The growing medium will reach temperatures of 62.8 degrees C. This unique compost contains the nutrients mushrooms need to grow.

Place the container with the composted growing medium on a heating pad to keep the temperature of the growing medium about 21.1 degrees Celsius.

Sprinkle the mushroom spawn over the growing medium. Mushrooms don't grow by seed but by spawn, or microscopic spores. One mushroom can produce up to 16 billion spores according to Fresh Mushrooms.

Keep your container in an area of your house that receives little to no sunlight, such as a basement or even a closet. The location should be easily accessible as the growing mushrooms need supervision.

Lower the temperature of the soil to between 12.8 and 15.6 degrees C once the spawn has rooted. You will notice filaments spreading through the growing medium. This takes about three weeks according to Gardening Know How.

Cover the spawn with one inch of garden soil. Lay a damp cloth over the soil and the entire container. Keep the cloth and the soil damp, but not wet. This will provide your mushrooms with the humidity and moisture they need to grow.

Harvest your mushrooms when the cap has separated from the stem. It takes between 17 and 25 days for mushrooms to mature, according to Fresh Mushrooms.


Pre-composted mushroom growing medium may be purchased at speciality stores.


Never eat a mushroom you don't recognise.

Things You'll Need

  • Hardwood chips, straw or other growing medium
  • Heating pad
  • Garden soil
  • Large cotton cloth
  • Thermometer
  • Hand-held rake
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About the Author

Shawna Kennedy has been writing and editing professionally since 2004. She's published numerous articles online and two of her edited manuscripts have been contracted and published by Random House.