Growing Button Mushrooms at Home – a Full Guide

Introduction to growing button mushrooms

Button mushroom (Agaricus spp.) is one of the most widely cultivated mushrooms in the world. Growing white button mushrooms is a very easy and inexpensive procedure.  Growing button mushrooms is a great project for a beginning gardener because their spores grow quickly and easily. Then, they can be grown indoors; you can plant them at any time of the year. To grow button mushrooms, all you need is the proper equipment and some patience. Growing button mushrooms is a good place to start since they’re both tasty and easy to maintain. Button mushrooms are one of the easier types to grow.

A step by step guide to growing button mushrooms

Unlike some mushroom varieties, it is simple to find button mushroom spores, and they’re some of the most versatile of the mushrooms in the kitchen. It is perfect for soups, stir-fries, chicken dishes, and scooped on top of steaks. Button mushrooms grow well in nitrogen-rich manure, such as cow or horse manure. If you don’t have 100% manure, equal parts of compost and also manure work as well. The cost of button mushroom is approximately Rs 90/kg.

Preparing to plant button mushrooms

Button mushrooms are very easy to grow for several reasons, one of which is that they don’t require sunlight. Then, that makes them perfect for apartment dwellers and those who have way too many indoor plants taking up window space already. Button mushrooms can be grown at any time of year, including winter. Growing button mushrooms can be as simple as grabbing a growing kit and then following the directions.

Setting up growing trays for mushrooms

Consider buying a kit if it’s your first time growing button mushrooms. Mushroom kits have all of the materials that you need for planting and growing mushrooms and are great for beginners. They contain manure, substrate, trays, and a spray bottle for watering the mushrooms. Growing kits tend to have specific directions that can differ from traditional mushroom growing methods. Be sure to read the package carefully and then follow the directions. Some kits already have the spores for growing a specific type of mushrooms, while others just contain growing trays and appropriate substrate.

Buy large trays for growing the Button mushrooms. Choose trays that are about 14 by 16 inches and at least 6 inches deep. To start, the only plant in one tray, which will continue to produce mushrooms for 3 to 6 months. Growing Trays can be made of plastic, metal, or wood, depending on what you have available. As you become a more experienced cultivator, then you can grow multiple trays at once and have an almost constant supply of mushrooms. Create a mixture of equal parts of compost and manure. Button mushrooms need a growing environment that contains a lot of nitrogen. Use your compost and purchase manure, such as horse or cow manure, at the store, or buy both if you don’t have a compost pile.

If you plan on growing a lot of button mushrooms, you can make this mixture in a large bucket and cover it after you use some of it. Otherwise, mix as much as you’ll need to fill one tray. Your manure and compost mixture will make a strong smell, so make it in a well-ventilated area.

Fill the trays with 6 inches of the growing mix. Then, pour the mixture into the trays carefully, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top of the tray. Make sure the soil is level and is spread evenly across the tray. White button mushrooms tend to spawn well in warm compost, thus don’t worry if the compost is still hot when you place it in the tray.

Choosing a spot for growing Button mushrooms

Button mushrooms enjoy growing in areas that are cool and dark, so you want to pick somewhere to grow them that is between 65-75℉. It needs to be shielded from light and any disturbances. Many mushrooms growers select a basement or crawlspace to grow their white button mushrooms. If you live in an apartment and dark closets work as well.

Requirements for growing Button mushrooms

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Requirements for growing Button mushrooms.
Requirements for growing Button mushrooms.
Temperature requirement 

Button mushrooms like warmer mediums to spawn, so if the compost gets too chilly, put the tray on a heating pad to bring the temperature to 70℉. Then, you don’t want to heat the soil any higher than that because it can kill the spores.

Finding spawn

You need to use spawns, not seeds, to grow button mushrooms. And you can purchase ready-made spores online or at a nursery. Some spores have already been inoculated or mixed in with a substrate, such as dirt, hay, and sawdust. You want to purchase spawn from an experienced mushroom cultivator rather than a random seller online. High-quality spawn is more likely to produce button mushrooms.

Materials needed for growing button mushrooms

White Button Mushroom Spawn – Spawn is mycelium in its stages that are beginning.

A Box – First, find a cardboard box that is at least 6 inches deep. A box with an area that is large as well as it offers your mushrooms more room to cultivate. A cardboard box works well, so long as it’s at least 6 inches deep and 14 inches by 16 inches. You need a box with plenty of surface area for mushrooms to grow. If you don’t have cardboard, then you can use wood, instead. Boxes can be made of plastic or metal as well, depending on what you have obtainable.

A garbage bag – Garbage bag will likely to be used to line the field that above keeps things from getting messy and helping moisture stay put. This is used to line the cardboard box to stop things from getting messy while keeping moisture in its place.

Composted Manure – It is the perfect growing medium for white button mushrooms as it’s a food source for them as well. You need certainly to ensure you will get about 100% manure and not a manure mix. Cow manure is most beneficial, but you can make use of other kinds of manure example sheep if unavailable. The most garden that is great or centers will sell cow manure.

Newspaper – Newspaper keeps the mycelium damp while it spreads and grows across the medium.

Vermiculite – Many beginner mushroom growers make the error of planting button mushrooms in complete manure. Though, to have success, you’ll need to mix your manure with vermiculite. While, the manure supplies the mushroom nutritional elements, guarantee aeration, and vermiculite moisture retention.

Inoculating Button mushrooms

If you’re new to growing button mushrooms, then follow these steps;

  • First, take an open garbage bag and line a box with the bag.
  • Then, add a 50/50 mixture of vermiculite and manure. Read the directions on the spawn to know how much you need and for example, 50 grams of white button mushroom pawn needs 5kg of growing medium to inoculate. More is always better and it doesn’t need to be perfect. The mix shouldn’t be too deep about 3 inches at the most.
  • Wet the medium with a bit of water. It must be damp but not waterlogged.
  • Sprinkle the button mushroom spawn onto the damp growing medium. Mix it into the top 2 to 3 inches of the moist compost.
  • Take 4 to 5 layers of newspaper, spray with a bit of water, and lay the newspaper on top of the scattered spawn.
  • Cover the top of the box by using a plastic bag with a few holes to help retain moisture.

Growing white button mushrooms

Growing white button mushrooms doesn’t need sunlight, which is especially nice for the indoor gardener whose windows are full up with plants. They can be grown at any time of year, with winter preferable, making for a great gardening opportunity when everything outside is cold and bleak. Growing button mushrooms takes spores, tiny microscopic things that will grow into mushrooms. And you can buy mushroom growing kits made up of organic material inoculated with these mushroom spores. White button mushrooms grow best in nitrogen-rich manure, such as horse manure. To make an indoor bed for your mushrooms, fill a wooden box that’s at least 6 inches deep with manure. Leave a few inches about 8 to 9 cm of space below the rim of the box. Spread the inoculated material from your kit on the top of the soil and mist it thoroughly. Keep your bed in the dark, damp, and warm around 21°C for the next few weeks.

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After a few weeks, you should notice fine white webbing on the surface of the bed. This is called mycelium, and it’s the start of the mushroom colony. Cover mycelium with a couple of inches (5 cm.) of damp potting soil or peat this is called casing. Lower the bed’s temperature to 12°C. Make sure to keep the bed moist and it may help to cover the whole thing with plastic wrap or a few layers of wet newspaper. In about a month, you must start to see mushrooms. Care of button mushrooms after this point is easy. Harvest button mushrooms by twisting them out of the soil when you’re ready to eat them. Fill in space with more casing to make way for new button mushrooms. Your bed must continue to produce mushrooms for 3 to 6 months.

Supplementation with protein-rich supplements such as cottonseed meal, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, and feather meal, etc. has been found to increase the button mushroom yield. Supplementation can be done at spawning or after spawn run before casing.

Care for Button Mushrooms

Moisture

You’ll want to check mushrooms once a day to be sure that the newspaper is moist. If it’s not, spray with more water. Never pour water onto the compost mixture or the paper, or you will make wet spots that aren’t the right consistency to encourage mycelium growth.

Adding Casing

Within 3 weeks, you should see a white web of mycelium spreading over the top of the manure and vermiculite mixture. Once you see the mycelium and remove the heating pad. Then, take more of the 50/50 manure and vermiculite mixture, and cover it with 1 inch of the mix. This part is called adding casing, and it’s required to encourage the button mushrooms to appear. You can mix parts of peat and soil, or peat and chalk. Then, spray with water so that everything is damp. Remember not to dump water on top and cover with plastic again.

Fruiting

Check once a day to be sure that the medium is damp and then spray if necessary. Wait another 3-5 weeks, and white button mushrooms should start to grow. Once mushrooms begin to form, continue to mist the soil and then keep it damp.

Common pests and diseases of Button mushrooms

Dactylium Disease

This Dactylium disease looks like webbed, cottony growth on the surface of the casing and mushrooms. It might turn gray or pink, and the mushrooms will develop a soft, watery rot. Getting rid of this disease requires good sanitation practices. Make sure the casing must be kept clean and sanitized, along with all tools and equipment.

Green Mold

When the dense layer of mycelium changes to green, you could have green mold. Developing button mushrooms will be brown and might be cracked or distorted. Getting rid of green mold disease is achieved by good sanitation practices, and make sure the compost is adequately sterilized before use.

Verticillium Spot

If you have small spotting on mushrooms or deformed mushrooms, and you might have a verticillium spot. A severe infection can cause a deformation called dry bubble and mushrooms might become covered with gray, fuzzy growth. Then, you can destroy this fungus by using salt. Put the salt in a cup near the bubbles to dry them out and there are some fungicides to treat verticillium spot, but it could kill the mushrooms as well.

Harvesting Button Mushrooms

When button mushrooms are mature, then the cap pops open. When you’re ready to harvest, twist the mushrooms out of the soil. If you don’t want to twist them, then use a sharp knife to cut through the stem, just below where the cap meets the stem.

During the growing period, while you pick the button mushrooms, look for any fogging. Fogging means button mushrooms that have gone soft. You want to remove these as well as any old mushroom stems or spongy material attached to these. Then, you can fill in space with more casing to make space for new mushrooms. The harvesting process is done at the button stage and caps measuring 2.5 to 4 cm. across and closed are ideal for the purpose. The first crop appears about 3 weeks after casing. Mushrooms require to be harvested by light twisting without disturbing the casing soil. Once the harvesting is complete, the gaps in the beds must be filled with fresh sterilized casing material and then watered.

The above information may be used to grow mushrooms in Polyhouse, on the terrace, in backyards, on raised beds, in pots and containers. You may also like this: Oyster Mushroom Farming.

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