Field mushrooms include white buttons, morels, oysters, shitakes and portabello mushrooms all of which cost several dollars per ounce, so growing your mushrooms offers an attractive alternative to paying high prices for these delectible fungi. Growing them, however, requires your ability to maintain stable environment conditions, or the mushroom spores will not mature into mushrooms. Like all plants, mushrooms require appropriate temperature and water levels, but unlike common plants, you must also cultivate the appropriate growing medium because mushrooms grow in other mediums than in soil. Although growing mushrooms requires a lot of prepartion and maintenance, once you learn the basics, you can cultivate your own private crop of delicacies.
Prepare a location that consists of damp, near-dark conditions such as a terrarium in a basement or cabinet. Set the humidifier to keep humidity levels between 50 per cent to 55 per cent and light levels need to remain at near total darkness.
Obtain filed mushroom spore (analagous to plant seeds) from a reputable dealer such as Earthstongue.com or Sporestore.com, making sure they have plenty of positive customer reviews for shipping and handling. Proper shipping and handling ensures the spore reaches you in a viable state.
Prepare a 2-inch deep "growth bed" or "cultivation bed" (similar to a flower bed) that can include soil, sawdust or straw. Shiitake mushrooms require sawdust, but morels, white buttons and portabellos require soil. Oyster mushrooms require straw.
Jumpstart growth by heating the ceramic growth bed to 21.1 degrees C using the heating pad.
Allow the spores to heat on the heating pad for three weeks.
Remove the growth bed from the heating pad and place it in the location you've set aside to grow the mushrooms, keeping the temperature at 12.7 to 15.5 degrees C and humidity levels at 95 per cent to 100 per cent.
Cover the spawn with approximately 1 inch of fertilised soil.
Cover the growth bed with a wet cloth, and saturate it water, respraying it whenever the underlying soil feels dry.
Allow the spores to grow for an additional three to four weeks, after which time visible mushrooms should sprout.
Allow the mushrooms to mature before harvesting by waiting until the cap spreads and separates completely from the stem.