You can cultivate your own flavorful, health-promoting mushrooms at home—often within weeks or even days. Mail-order kits are the simplest way to grow fungi indoors. Once you’ve mastered that, you can move on to growing outdoors, garden expert Barbara Pleasant says.
Kitchen: Sprout gourmet mushroom kits such as shiitakes or oysters on your kitchen table, counter or under the sink. Most mushrooms require moist, warm conditions to grow indoors. Mushroom kits provide specific growing instructions. “Place our mushroom spawn on a roll of unbleached toilet paper, and you’ll have mushrooms in three to six weeks,” says Joe Krawczyk, co-owner of Field and Forest Products, which offers certified organic tabletop kits and other mushroom-growing supplies.
Garden: Try a mushroom kit indoors and use the remains to start a more permanent outdoor colony. Though each mushroom strain requires different care, most grow easily once established. “Mushroom mycelium is hungry. It wants to run,” says Paul Stamets, founder of Fungi Perfecti of Olympia, Washington, and author of several books on mushroom culture. Field and Forest Products offers a cultivation guide by region and information about several species’ growing requirements.
Don't go wild
Don’t indiscriminately pick or eat mushrooms growing outdoors—some species can be harmful or even fatal. Always forage with a mycological expert. Learn more through the North American Mycological Association.
Fun with fungi
The easiest culinary mushrooms to grow at home are oysters, shiitake, wine caps and portobellos, but many more are possible. Read more about how to grow your own mushrooms.