Just follow these tips and you will know how to grow Portobello mushrooms
If you’re a fan of a mushroom risotto, or think that no breakfast is complete without the soft, fragrant fungi on your plate, then you might want to try growing your own Portobello mushrooms.
We all know fresh food tastes the best and what can be fresher than getting crops from your own garden?
These tasty additions to your backyard can seem daunting to try to grow these tricky looking snacks.
But growing mushrooms is actually fairly simple when you know how and it really doesn’t need specialist knowledge or equipment to get right.
With just a few simple steps, you can transform a corner of your garden or even an old container into a perfect base for growing mushrooms.
Just follow these tips and you will know how to grow the best Portobello mushrooms.
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What are Portobello mushrooms?
Portobello mushrooms are the most easily recognisable “traditional looking” mushrooms. They are large and dark brown in colour.
They actually get their name from a marketing campaign which tried to make these unattractive looking fungi more appealing.
It has a large, flat cap and because of this it is drier than a traditional white mushroom. This dryness is what gives the Portobello mushroom a stronger flavour and helps it to become more “gourmet”.
Methods of cooking mushrooms
These mushrooms are so versatile they can be added to almost any dish. Risotto, stews, pasta and even just grilled alongside a steak they can add flavour to your plate.
They can be breaded and deep fried, stuffed with rice and even covered with cheese and grilled. Mushrooms are a cheap and tasty addition to your meals as well as being relatively healthy.
If you’re looking for some great recipes, have a look through these.
Pros and cons of growing your own Portobello mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms are the easiest to grow. They are hardy little fungi so while most gardeners are downing tools and retreating inside in November and December, you can still grow mushrooms if you know how.
They can be grown indoors or outdoors and they are a lot simpler to grow than most people think.
To grow them indoors, you can buy a ready-made kit which has everything you need. It will usually have a black, plastic shallow tray and soil which has been mixed with manure. It will have a lid or cover and the only thing you need to do is make sure it is kept in the dark and misted regularly.
Obviously the downside to growing mushrooms in the house is they need to be kept damp so you will have to be careful about where you put them so you don’t make a particular room damp.
Growing outdoors takes a little more preparation as you probably want to build a raised bed and fill it with compost or manure. You also need to cover this raised bed with black sheeting or plastic to make sure the environment stays dark.
The downside to growing outdoors is that the heat needs to stay below 70 degrees and above 50 degrees which is hard if you live in a climate which changes often.
Step by step guide: How to grow Portobello mushrooms
1. Buy your kit
You can grow your own mushrooms with just a few simple things. You need a deep, plastic tray which has a lid or cover to block out the light. You should also get a watering can or ideally a spray bottle so you can mist water over the mushrooms as they grow. This helps to keep the environment damp which is where mushrooms thrive. You can also use a heating pad under the tray to keep the temperature up which increases humidity and can encourage growth.
2. Choose the right compost
If you buy a pre-made kit, the chances are it will come with an already enriched soil which is ready to grow your mushrooms. However, if you’re starting from scratch then you will need to get your own compost. The best base to start from is rotted manure which is available from garden centres. The nutrients in this growing medium will help your mushrooms take in all the vitamins they need and grow quickly and strongly.
3. Pick up some mushroom spores online
You need about two cups of dried out mushroom spores for around six feet square. If your tray is smaller just downscale this amount until you reach the right amount. Sprinkle them over the top and then press down on them firmly so they go down into the soil.
4. Keep them in a dark, humid environment
As we’ve mentioned above, mushrooms like dark and warm environments. Make sure you cover your mushrooms with a shield so light can’t get in and keep them at a constant warm temperature. After two weeks you should see the white tops of the mushrooms poking out of the soil.
5. Check for growth then add peat moss
Once you have seen the tops of the mushrooms start to appear cover the whole tray in dap peat moss. Use about two inches of this moss and keep it well watered.
So if you want to grow Portobello mushrooms but think it is too hard – think again! With just a few pieces of simple kit and a practically no gardening know how you can create your own tasty fungi in no time!
Just build a raised bed with a cover in the garden or, easier still, invest in a cheap kit which has a growing tray and compost ready to go. Then you can either grow your mushrooms outdoors or in a darkened room or outbuilding.
Make sure you spread the spores evenly and watch for growth while keeping the soil moist at all times.
You can pick your mushrooms whenever you think they’re big enough and enjoy!
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