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As children it would not be uncommon to watch your parents grow their own vegetables. You may have helped them harvest tomatoes, peppers and even radishes. What you may not have seen them grow might have been mushrooms.
In fact, there are not that many people who spend time cultivating mushrooms.
They are seen as mysterious fungi which seem to pop up in the garden unexpectedly, and we may be afraid to eat them as we know many types of mushrooms are deadly.
Growing mushrooms is not as complicated as it may seem, and once you know the basic growing techniques, there is no reason why you should not try growing them yourself.
Where do Mushrooms Grow?
The good news is that you do not have to have plenty of land to grow mushrooms. You can even grow them in an apartment if the conditions are right.
Basements and spare rooms will supply you with plenty of these delicious vegetables at a quarter of the price in the supermarket.
If you have a garden you can fit them in with your other vegetables as they do not take up a large amount of room.
One advantage of growing mushrooms indoors is that they are not messy – perfect for the spare room!
So, What is a Mushroom?
Mushrooms are of the fungus family, not the plant kingdom. If you think of how a tree produces fruit, then think of the mushroom as being the fruit of the fungus. So, fungus produces mushrooms.
Spores are found under the mushroom cap and are dropped or released into surrounding area of the main mushroom. They are either male or female and from each mushroom you can expect many hundreds of spores.
Spores are single cell and either male or female. When they form a group, they are known as hyphae and when they combine they start the process of making mycelium.
Mycelium is the root system of the plant and remains in the ground branching out like a web system. This system provides a nutritious and stable place for the fungi to start developing mushrooms.
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How Fast do Mushrooms Grow?
Depending on the size of the mushroom you plan on cultivating, as well as the unique conditions, small mushrooms can grow in around 1 day, while larger mushrooms will take between 3-4 days to reach maturity.
For your mushrooms to grow consistently the conditions need to be right, with the environment supplying steady moisture.
If this does not happen the growth of the mushrooms will be far slower, and they may never reach maturity before dying away.
This is important if you plan to grow mushrooms in your house or garage. You need to provide a warm, damp area for the mushrooms to grow well.
Can a Mushroom Grow in a Few Hours?
Mushrooms do not grow in a few hours. Even the smallest mushrooms, called pinheads, will take a day to grow.
A decent sized mushroom will take 3-4 days, these are the most common types that you find in your greengrocer and supermarket.
How Quickly do Mushrooms Grow after Rain?
Because mushrooms love damp conditions like after a rain fall, they can grow as large as 4” across. They do not grow quicker after the rain, they grow larger. You will simply have a larger mushroom at 2 days than in drier weather.
What’s the Fastest Growing Mushroom?
The Oyster mushroom is considered to be the fastest growing mushroom. In a substrate bag oysters can become fully colonised by the mycelium in about 10-12 days.
They will be ready to harvest seven days later, and a new crop will show up every 7-14 days.
Another fungus – which is thought to be the fastest growing organism in the world is the stinkhorn genus – Dictyophora indusiata.
This will grow out of the ground at an incredible rate of 0.5cm per minute, so it is possible to watch it actually grow!
Because the growth rate is so fast it is possible to hear crackling as the tissues of the fungus expand and stretch.
You may have also heard this called the ‘Lady of the veil’ because of the appearance of a delicate mesh-like veil which surrounds the fungus.
If you have ever watched this grow you will have seen the end of the growth cycle and smelt the strong smell of decaying flesh.
It is the bad smell which attracts flies to the fungus They collect the spores on their feet and transport them to other areas.
An interesting fact about the stinky fungus is that in China it is considered a delicacy and marketed as an aphrodisiac.
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Do Mushrooms Grow Overnight?
It may appear as if mushrooms grow overnight because often first thing in the morning you will see them, as if that they have appeared from nowhere.
Mushrooms thrive in warm, damp weather which often occurs overnight, making conditions perfect for them to sprout and grow. You will also notice that they grow well after overnight rain because of the added damp in the air.
With the right ground conditions and the surrounding environment, they will seem to grow up overnight.
You will also notice in times of prolonged humid and wet weather, that mushrooms pop up all over your garden.
Another reason why we seem to see large mushrooms suddenly appear is because they are very good at blending in with the environment and are often hard to spot. Once they are a decent size they are easier to see.
How Long do Mushrooms Live?
Fungus has a short life span and, although this differs from one species to another, they only last about a week. Some species will last a little longer while others may only live for a day or two.
Mushrooms in your fridge will safely last for up to one week. Once you have cooked them they will last for a further 3-5 days and still taste good.
Whole mushrooms will last in the fridge longer than sliced ones.
The reason why mushrooms do not last as long as other vegetables is because they are classed as organisms which do not have thermal regulation. This means that mushrooms cannot maintain or control the inner temperatures.
So, if it is too cold, the fungi will simply grow very slowly or even die. Additionally, if it is too hot, mushrooms will also die.
Both mushrooms and toadstools can appear in different colours, shapes, and sizes. Many people are fascinated by what appears, particularly after a rain shower.
Mushroom spores will stay in the soil for some time in a dormant state until the right conditions are in place.
If you are in any doubt about whether the mushrooms you see in your garden are safe to eat or not, you should not touch them with your hands. To get rid of them you will need to dig them out regularly as they come up.
You can also expect to see mushrooms growing in mulch as this is normally moist. Bark mulch is one type of mulch which often carry the spores of mushrooms.
If you have pets or small children it is worth keeping them away from mushrooms until you are absolutely certain that they are not harmful.
Before you go, here are some more related articles I encourage you to read below to help solve more of your gardening issues: