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Grow Edible Mushrooms in Your Garden

Turn Sawdust and Corncobs into Backyard Food Crops. Culinary mushrooms can be an enjoyable complement to growing one’s own herbs, vegetables, and fruits.

| Winter 2014-15

  • cinnamon cap mushroom
    From start to finish, a crop of cinnamon cap takes almost four months.
    Photo by Fotolia/arinahabich
  • fresh oyster mushrooms
    Oyster mushrooms are the workhorses of the gourmet mushroom world.
    Photo by Fotolia/banprik
  • Of all the specialty mushroom varieties, shiitake is the most recognized and popular in the American diet.
    Photo courtesy fotolia/geargodz

  • cinnamon cap mushroom
  • fresh oyster mushrooms

Some thrive under shade, such as beneath fruit trees or within woodlands, where they won’t compete with other sun-loving crops for space. Even the resulting mushroom compost provides a valuable soil amendment for other garden crops.

Alex Winstead of northwest Washington State started growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms in the basement and garage of his suburban rental several years ago. Now in its new location in Bellingham, Washington, his Cascadia Mushroom farm grows and provides organic mushrooms and mushroom growing supplies and workshops for other gardeners interested in adding mushrooms to their heirloom gardening projects. Here, he shares some of his expertise for those interested in the mushroom growing experience.

Growing mushrooms in the home garden or homestead

Mushrooms have been harvested from the wild most likely since prehistory. Their job in nature is breaking down dense dead and decaying matter (such as dead wood) into soil. This is why some mushrooms, like the shiitake, are grown by gardeners or farmers either on hardwood logs or sawdust, which mimic their natural growing medium. Mushroom growers do need access to logs or sawdust appropriate for each culinary mushroom cultivation.



Here is an overview of the main mushrooms grown by Cascadian Farm which other gardeners may be interested in producing.

Shiitake



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