How Do Mushrooms Grow?

What are mushrooms exactly?

Mushrooms are amazing organisms and much unlike other plants out there. Mushroom are actually not even considered a “plants” due to the fact that they do not receive the bulk of their nutrition from the sun. The mushrooms we see and pick are actually the fruit of a fungus organism. Fungi organisms grow mushrooms to allow them reproduce, much like with fruits on fruit trees. There are thousands of mushroom species, with around 250 of them being edible for human consumption.

As mushrooms are only the fruit of the fungi, where is the trunk and branches? That’s the mycelium, which lies close the surface of the ground and looks like a beautiful white web:

The mycelium do the real work, collecting food to grow their mushroom children. When the mushrooms grow up enough, they produce spores (seeds) to ensure that the fungus will reproduce. These spores are released into the air and are carried off to another location, where mycelium will once again grow and produce new mushroom fruit.

What do they eat?

Mushrooms love standing out from other organism in many ways, including when it comes to feeding. Unlike their plant cousins, many mushroom varieties, including the edible varieties that you’d like to grow, require little to no sunlight. Whereas plants get the bulk of their nutrition from the sun, mushrooms use their direct growth medium as food. Mycelium secrete substances which decompose this medium allowing the mycelium to absorb nutrients. This is why mushrooms play such an important role in dead organic matter decomposition in forests. Different species of mushrooms thrive best in different mediums; shitake mushrooms, for example, grow best on logs; oyster mushrooms can grow on sawdust, coffee grounds and shredded paper.

What do they need to thrive?

An important requirement for proper mushroom growth is plenty of moisture. Mushrooms are up to 92% water and thus require consistent misting and watering to ensure that the medium on which they grow is sufficiently moist.

Most species will not do well in full sun and in very warm areas, so basements and shaded gardens are best for most mushrooms.

Other than these requirements, many popular mushroom species are low-maintenance crops which can be easily grown at home indoors or outdoors. To learn about the specific requirements of different types of mushrooms, follow the links in this website.

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