What Do I Need to Start Growing Mushrooms?

The short answer is you don’t need that much. If you just got interested in mushroom cultivation than I recommend that you buy some mushroom starter kits and play with them.

If you already past this stage, then I suggest that you invest some money and built a grow chamber. Doing so gives you already a better feeling what it really means to grow mushrooms on a more advanced level. But it is still low budget.

Below you will find everything I used, in the beginning, to grow mushrooms myself.

GROW CHAMBER for under $300

Equipment Price* Buy on Amazon
Tent$66.68 Buy
Shelf$49.88 Buy
Light$12.99 Buy
Ventilator$20.99 Buy
Humidifier$39.99 Buy
Temperature &
humidity controller
$39.99 Buy
Time switch $10.19 Buy
Power strip$9.56 Buy
Fly screen for door
(optional)
$17.99 Buy
Fly screen for window(s)
(optional)
$6.99 Buy
Fly strip
(optional)
$10.96 Buy
Total
(without options)
$250.27
Total
(with options)
$285.22

Mushroom Block (Figure 1). I don’t have any connection with this producer and didn’t experience with their blocks either (my blocks are from Germany). Feel free to contact them or choose another one.

Fig. 1: Example of a mushroom block (Affiliate link)

REALITY CHECK

Here are some pictures of my setup. First up was my grow chamber (Figure 2) with shelves. As you can see I used plastic shelves.

grow chamber with shelves
Fig. 2: My tent

In the next picture (Figure 3) you can see my first version of the air intake. Later I switched to the type of ventilator which you can find on the list.

air intake (PC fan)
Fig. 3: Ventilation

All the controllers and cables went on top of the tent (Figure 4). It’s a little bit messy, but it works. The grey pipe in the front is the humidity intake.

Fig. 4: Cables & humidity intake (grey pipe)
Fig. 4: Cables & humidity intake (grey pipe)

Which later I modified this version. As you can clearly see I had back then water on my shelf which isn’t a good idea to have because it’s a contamination source (Figure 5).

Humidity intake
Fig. 5: Humidity intake inside the tent

The LED light (Figure 6) from inside the tent look like that.

Figure 6: Light
Figure 6: Light

And because I always double-check I put a simple temperature and humidity sensor in the tent (Figure 7). If you do that you will recognize that the temperature will be very similar but the value for the humidity will be different between the sensor.

Therefore you should put first all the sensors in the same place and then calibrate them until they show the same result.

Fig. 7: Temperature & humidity controller
Fig. 7: Temperature & humidity controller

THE SETUP

Setting up the system isn’t that complicated.

  1. Follow the description of the tent.
  2. Follow the description for the shelve(s).
  3. Install the ventilator on one side of the tent (see picture “air intake”).
  4. Connect the ventilator to the power supply and check if it is working.
  5. Connect the humidifier with the tent on the other side (see picture “humidity intake”).
  6. Fill the humidifier with water.
  7. Connect the humidifier with the controller.
  8. Place the humidity/temperature sensor inside the tent. (I placed it in the upper right corner next to the door). To hold the sensor in place, you can use Duct tape.
  9. Set the humidity sensor according to the cultivation parameters of your mushroom species (humidity should normally be between 85% and 90%).
  10. Put the shelve(s) inside the tent. (In the beginning, I just used one shelf).
  11. Set appropriate alarm values: low alarm -3% (82%), high alarm +5% (95%). The low alarm is the more critical one.
  12. Put the light on top of the tent (there should be an opening).
  13. Connect the light with the time switch and set the timer to 12 hours on/off. Check if it is working.
  14. Close the tent.
  15. Start the humidifier.
  16. Wait until the necessary humidity (85+%) is reached. You may need to adjust the speed of the ventilator and or the power of the humidifier.
  17. If you want, you can now install the fly screens for the window(s) and the door(s).
  18. If everything seems to work, then open your mushroom block(s) accordingly to the description and put them into the tent.
  19. Check regularly if everything is still working. On the first day more frequently than on the following days.
  20. Check twice a day if everything is normal (takes < 5 minutes).
  21. This is a good time to create your own checklist.

Checklist

  1. Date and time
  2. Humidity value
  3. Temperature value
  4. Water level
  5. Mushroom block: Changes? If yes, take pictures.

RESULTS

Does it work? Absolutely! Here are some pictures of one of my protocols. The first picture was taken after the mushroom block was delivered. Two days later, the first pinheads were showing up. On the 5th day, I harvested already my first mushroom (Figure 8: net 240g).

Then I patched the openings (you don’t have to do this) and waited for some days. On the 8th day, the next flush started. The 2nd harvesting took place on the 12th day (Figure 9: net 282g). In total, I got 522g out of a 2.3 kg block which equals a net yield of 23% or a BE of 92%. Which I found is not bad at all for a first-time mushroom grower.

first results (protocol)
Fig. 8: 1st flush
first results (protocol)
Fig. 9: 2nd flush

I am happy to hear from your successes, so please send me pictures of your setup and the results you are getting from it.

*Prices could have changed since I last checked!

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