How To Grow Mushrooms in Your Garden (DIY Guide)

Growing mushrooms in your garden is an excellent way to save up on groceries while getting fresh mushrooms—often better than what you would find in a store. Although it might seem complicated at first, growing mushrooms is as easy as growing veggies.

Here’s how you can grow mushrooms in your garden: 

  1. Get the mushroom supplies.
  2. Pasteurize or sterilize the substrate.
  3. Soak the substrate in water.
  4. Mix the mushroom spawn with the substrate. 
  5. Load the mixture into the growing bags.
  6. Incubate the mushroom bag.
  7. Keep your mushrooms humid and fresh.
  8. Harvest your mushrooms.  

These steps are for growing mushrooms in your garden, but you can easily modify them to grow them indoors. In this article, I’ll go over all the details you need to know before growing mushrooms at home. 

1. Get the Mushroom Supplies

Growing mushrooms at home can be a bit intimidating. However, it starts looking easier once you understand the basic process and have all the supplies at hand.

The supplies you’ll need can vary depending on the mushrooms you’re growing and the process you’ll choose to follow. You can substitute some supplies with what you have at hand or what better suits your garden.

This is what you’ll need in most cases:

  • Substrate
  • Mushroom spawn
  • Growing bag
  • Bucket
  • Spray bottle
  • Thermometer
  • Knife or scissors


Mushrooms need a growing medium, just like vegetables and fruits. However, you have much more flexibility when choosing a substrate for mushrooms—they’ll eat almost anything. Typically, mushrooms are grown on wood-like substrates.

There is a wide variety of substrates that you can choose from, depending on the type of mushroom you are growing and your budget. Some of the most popular substrates are: 

  • Cardboard
  • Hardwood sawdust
  • Coco coir
  • Hulls
  • Manures
    Coffee grounds

I recommend you grow your mushrooms on straw or wood pallets. Their size allows for good air circulation and they have gone through the sterilization process, allowing you to skip a step.

Mushroom Spawn 

Spawn is a substance that carries an inactive piece of mushroom mycelia. Imagine it as the seeds required to grow a plant. Mycelia is the root-like structure that fungi grow underground, and the mushrooms we eat are the “fruit” created by myecelia.

Each spawn carries a specific strain of mushroom. Before you buy a spawn, you’ll want to have decided which type of mushroom you want to grow.

You probably won’t find mushroom spawn in your local supermarket. You’ll need to order it online or go to a mushroom farm. Before purchasing the spawn, make sure that the brand is reputable and that the spawn is contaminant-free and high yielding. 

Growing Bag

The easiest way to hold the substrate and spawn mixture is to use a growing bag. Later on, the mycelium will colonize the substrate and produce mushrooms.

Any transparent polybag can work fine, but if you want to guarantee a rich and healthy yield, you’ll want to purchase bags specially designed for growing mushrooms. They are usually transparent and have an air filter patch. Transparent bags let you keep an eye on the whole process and take action if anything goes wrong. 

Some people also grow mushrooms in buckets or plastic containers. You can use anything that’s convenient for you. However, transparent bags are perhaps the best method for beginners.


You’ll need a bucket to soak the substrate and mix it with the spawn before putting it into the bags. You can use any big container for this process. You can use a drum with a lid, which will be especially handy during the sterilization process

I would advise you against soaking the substrate directly in the growing bags. Since they’re so flimsy, you’ll have a hard time mixing. 

Spray Bottle

When the mushrooms are in the fruiting stage, you’ll need to moist them frequently. A spray bottle will do just fine.

There are ways to automate the humidifying process with a watering system, such as in a greenhouse. However, if this is your first time growing mushrooms, a spray bottle will be more than enough. 


Mushrooms are very delicate when it comes to temperature. Each mushroom variety has its own ideal environment where it will thrive. You will need a thermometer to check the temperature frequently and take steps to maintain it. A basic thermometer will do the job, but feel free to use a more advanced one.

Knife or Scissors 

If you decide to grow your mushrooms in a bag, you will need scissors or a knife to cut a small portion of it at the beginning of the fruiting process. This will allow the mushrooms to grow into the open and out of the substrate. Since you simply have to cut the bag, any sharp tool will do.

2. Pasteurize or Sterilize the Substrate

Once you have collected all the necessary materials, you can start setting up your little mushroom farm. First of all, your substrate needs a hot bath to sterilize against any contamination.

Pasteurization or sterilization removes any bacteria or mold that might be in the substrate. Otherwise, your mushrooms could get bacterial diseases or have to compete with other undesired fungi. 

You can easily sterilize the substrate with any of the three following methods.

Boiling Water Bath

You can sterilize the substrate by keeping it in boiling water for a couple of hours. The temperature of the water must remain between 80-100⁰C (176-212⁰F).

Alternatively, you can place the substrate in an airtight container and soak it in hot water for 5-6 hours. If you do this, you won’t need to soak the substrate later. It will be ready to use after rinsing it with tap water a few times. 

Lime Water Bath

Add around 10ml of lime juice per liter of water (1.5 ounces of lime juice per gallon of water) and soak the substrate for 2-3 hours. After the time has passed, rinse the substrate with tap water. Now you can proceed to mix the soaked substrate with the spawn mix. 

Soap Water Bath

Using soap water is not ideal, but it will do a good job of removing dirt and killing microorganisms. Simply make a strong solution with any type of soap and warm water and let it rest for 12-24 hours.

The soap water bath will require more water, as you’ll need to wash the substrate a few times to remove all the soap from it. 

3. Soak the Substrate In Water

If you sterilize your substrate using the methods I just lined out for you, you don’t need to follow this step—your substrate will already be soaked in water. Just rinse it under tap water a few times before moving on to the next mixing stage. 

However, if you dried the substrate in the sun after sterilizing or purchased a pasteurized or sterilized substrate, such as hardwood pallets or straws, you will need to soak it in water for a couple of hours. 

4. Mix the Mushroom Spawn With the Substrate

Before mixing the substrate with spawn, squeeze off any excess water in the substrate. You need to keep the humidity at 90% RH (Relative Humidity). The best way to reach the righ moisture level is to touch the substrate and see if it wets your hand. Dry it until it is moist but water doesn’t stick to your hands. 

Now, follow these steps to mix substrate with spawn: 

  1. Pour the substrate into a big container. 
  2. Take 20% spawn of the total mixture. (200 grms per kg of substrate or 3.2 ounces per pound)
  3. Spread the spawn over the substrate and mix using a spatula or your hands. 

5. Load the Mixture Into the Growing Bags

After mixing the spawn and substrate, you can fill the growing bags or containers with it.

If you’re using a dense substrate, make sure to leave one-third of the bag empty for good air circulation. If your substrate is loose and allows for air circulation, you can fill up the bag to the mouth. Now the bag is ready to be sealed and incubated. 

If you purchased mushroom bags online, an instruction guide should have come with the package. Follow those instructions while filling the pack with the substrate. 

Mushroom bags usually have a filter patch for ventilation. If you use containers, open a few holes to allow the air to flow through. Otherwise, mold could develop during the incubation process.

6. Incubate the Mushroom Bag

The setup is complete, and the mushroom spawn is ready to grow. The bags filled with spawn and substrate mixture need to rest in the dark for two to three weeks before the mycelium starts colonizing the substrate. 

The incubation period can last from one week to several weeks, depending on the variety of the mushroom you are growing. The manufacturer’s guide, received with the spawn package, will let you know about the incubation period. 

During this phase, the spawn will grow through the substrate until becomes completely white. The volume of the mixture inside the bag or container will increase significantly. 

It is essential to keep the mushroom bag in the dark during incubation. However, some types of mushrooms grow better in the light. If you are growing mushrooms in your garden, consider incubating them indoors or making a simple greenhouse.

During the incubation phase, ideal temperatures can range from 24 to 27⁰C (75.2 to 80.6⁰F). Your basement or garage will typically sit at this temperature during summer. However, during winter, you may need to take extra steps to maintain it. 

Temperature must remain constant throughout the incubation period. Open gardens see a lot of temperature fluctuations across the day and night, so think twice before placing your bags outdoors.

7. Keep Your Mushrooms Humid and Fresh

The final stage of mushroom fruiting begins after a couple of weeks of incubation. The idea during this step is to keep the fungi in ideal conditions for fruiting. This is how you do it:

  1. Take the bag or container out from incubation and place them in the open air with indirect sunlight. 
  2. If you’re using a bag, cut a small portion to expose spawn and substrate with the help of a knife or scissors.
  3. Moist the exposed substrate 3-4 times a day with a spray bottle. 
  4. Keep hydrating until the mushrooms start growing. 

The fruiting process will take one or two weeks to produce healthy, mushy mushrooms. The fruiting time may vary depending on the mushroom variety. 

8. Harvest Your Mushrooms

Ideally, you should harvest your mushrooms just before they start releasing spores. Their caps should be open and separated from the stems.

If you grew your mushrooms in a container, use a knife to cut them from the stem. If you used a growing bag, twist the whole club of mushrooms to pluck them out of the bag. If mushrooms don’t break off easily, give them a few days more before harvesting. 

Mushrooms can keep growing for up to 6 months if harvested at the right time. After harvesting from a bag, you can make another cut where new mushrooms will grow. Otherwise, dispose of the bag and repeat the whole process for the next batch. 

Mushroom Growing Kits

If the process I just explained seems difficult or you don’t have the time to commit to it, there’s another option that will allow you to grow mushrooms without any hassle. Growing mushrooms with grow kits is hectic-free and straightforward, and the results will be just as good.

There are plenty of mushroom kits you can buy online. You can get kits for growing popular mushrooms such as oyster, pink oyster, lion’s mane, shiitake, or morel mushrooms.

Best Mushrooms to Grow at Home

There is a wide variety of mushrooms out there, and newcomers can find it hard to decide which ones they should start with.

All of these mushrooms make for delicious meals and are suitable for beginners. If you feel up to the task, simply go with the one you like the most!

Button Mushroom

Button mushrooms are one of the most popular mushrooms in the United States and all over the globe. Button, Cremini, and Portobello are actually the same mushroom at different stages of development. The only difference is in the time of harvesting.

Button mushrooms are the earliest, while portobellos are the ripest. If you have eaten any mushrooms, I can assure you that button mushrooms have been at least some of them. They are easy to grow and take on a creamy and meaty texture when cooked. 

Oyster Mushroom

Oyster mushrooms are commonly found in Asian cuisine, ad they’re the easiest type to grow in homes. If you are a beginner and worry about getting something wrong, oyster mushrooms are perfect for you.

Mushrooms are a great replacement for meat in soups and stews. Because of their irregular shape, they’re great for covering in batter and frying them.

Enoki Mushroom

Enoki mushrooms look like noodles growing on trees. They are thin, long, and very delicate. You can even grow them in small jars. Enoki mushrooms are great for giving an aesthetic touch to your dining table at the next house party. They’re very present in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisines.

Maitake Mushroom

Maitakes look like the ruffled feathers of a hen—that’s where they’re called ‘the hen of woods.’ However, they don’t taste like chicken. Maitakes are easy to grow at home and with a small budget. Try them out in a restaurant before growing them to make sure you like the taste. 

Shiitake Mushroom

Shiitake mushrooms grow on tree logs, making them ideal for outdoor growing. If you plan to grow mushrooms on backyard logs, there’s no better choice than shiitake.

Shiitake mushrooms have a smoky and earthy taste. You can easily find them in supermarkets in dried form. However, growing them at home and eating them fresh is another kind of bliss.


Mushrooms are a healthy alternative to meat and a staple of vegan diets. You can purchase them or grow them at home, just like any vegetable or fruit. Once you’re familiar with the process, they take little effort and maintenance. 

Mushrooms prefer humid and stable temperature environments. However, the ideal levels vary depending on their type.

You can read my other article on the easiest mushrooms to grow outside here: 8 Easiest Mushrooms To Grow Outside

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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