Mushrooming in a straw bale | Volunteer Gardener

– We talk a lot about
home grown vegetables on Volunteer Gardener. But have you ever thought about home grown mushrooms? I am here with Angel Miller of Two Angels Mushrooms. This beautiful mushroom that I’m holding is something that people can grow at home. – [Angel] Absolutely. And growing mushrooms at home is easier than you might think. And we’re gonna make it
simple for you today. – [Troy] Walk us through the process of growing these mushrooms. – Well this is a great project for a home grower. At home, you’re going to need one of these bales. Now this is a bale of wheat straw. Hay won’t work. It’s a little too much nitrogen. But wheat straw is perfect because the actual stalk of the wheat is hollow and it looks just like a straw. And so we’re going to position the bale where the cut ends are face up. Not on the side. So we’re going to begin by watering the bale very thoroughly with a hose. And this will take longer than you might expect. This is very much like a sponge that’s absorbing water. So you can expect it’s gonna take about 20 minutes to completely
get this bale saturated. This is gonna be so heavy once it is saturated with water that you want to make sure that it is in a shady spot, deep shade. – Uh huh.
– And that it’s in a place where it can stay there for awhile, because you’re not gonna wanna move it once you’ve already watered it. – Right. So, we water the bale. – Yes.
– tHen what happens? – [Angel] We’re gonna use a bag of live mushroom culture. This is mycelium. And this is the actual
body of the mushroom. Now when we think of mushrooms like in the grocery store, that’s actually the fruit. That’s when the mushroom’s in its reproductive stage. When it’s in its growing stage you’re going to get a bag of spawn. This is an actual tissue culture, so we’re not using spores today. Actual tissue culture of the mushroom. This mushroom is growing on sawdust. And it will break apart into sawdust. It was held together by the mycelium so we have to break it up a little bit to get it to where we can use it. And you really want to get down deep in your bale, and use this to kind of pry open a little hole in the bale. And then we’re going to take a handful of that sawdust and we’re just gonna
cram it down in there. Get it down in there deep and good. Put that mycelium deep into this bale. And we want to continue doing that just go over a few more inches and then find another spot. Go in, and do the same thing all over the top and then along the sides. And try to space out the use of your mycelium so that you have enough to do the whole entire bale. This is a five pound bag. And that’s plenty to do the entire bale. And then once you have done that all you’re going to do from there on out is you’re going to cover it with a tarp for approximately two to three weeks. And you want to check it every day to make sure that it’s still got moisture and that it’s still continuing to grow. And I recommend that as
you cover it with the tarp that you position the sides of the tarp up so the air can flow through. That’s important. Because as it’s colonizing the bale, the mycelial growth will produce heat as a byproduct. And we don’t want it to overheat during the growth time, that’s important.
– [Troy] Right. – [Angel] So we want to keep it moist, keep it in the shade, and make sure that it
has plenty of airflow underneath the tarp during that time. In approximately three weeks you’ll begin to see little pink dots, this color right here, on the side of your bale. That means your mushroom is beginning to fruit and it’s time to get excited because dinner’s getting close. (laughing)
– That’s fine. – So that’s when you want to pull off the tarp, and just keep an eye on it and keep it moist. At this time when it starts to fruit you’re gonna wanna have your water hose just on a mist, a light mist, to keep it wet throughout the day. And maybe mist it two or three times during the day, during the time when it’s fruiting. From the time that you
see the little bitty pinheads, the baby mushrooms until the time they’re this size it’s probably only three to four days. – So it’s pretty quick once it starts. – It is. Mushrooms are amazing because they can double in size in 24 hours. – Right.
– You have a rainfall and you walk outside and your yard is just covered in mushrooms and it seems like they came up overnight. – Yeah.
– They grow really fast. So you have to keep an eye on it during that period. – Right.
– And just keep them ready. And then once they’re about this size you can pick ’em, but honestly you can pick ’em at any point. They’re ready to eat. You may see other mushrooms that pop up in your bale at that time, don’t be too concerned about those, but definitely don’t eat them. These bright pink ones
are easy to identify because of their beautiful color and their beautiful gills. And so you want to pick those off, saute them in butter, and enjoy. And we have lots of recipes
on our website, as well. – [Troy] What kind of harvest can you expect to have? – Well, it is a living thing, so that can vary. But on a bale this size we’re talking about a
pretty large bale size. – Yeah.
– So you could expect maybe 10 pounds, or more, off of your first flush. This is more than one time. We’re probably gonna get anywhere from three to five flushes. – [Troy] Uh huh.
– [Angel] Of mushrooms off of this bale. – [Troy] Okay.
– [Angel] So once you have picked all of the mushrooms off of it, cover it back up as you did before, make sure that it’s wet. – [Troy] Uh huh.
– As you did, you want to keep it moist but not soaking.
– [Troy] Right. – And cover it back up and it’s going to rest for a little period of time as it’s
recharging its batteries and then it’s gonna fruit for you again. – Okay.
– And once your bale is completely finished, or if you’re completely finished. (laughs)
– Yeah. – This would be a great thing to add either to your compost pile or directly onto your garden as a mulch. – Sure.
– Because many plants benefit by having a fungal partner. – Right.
– That will boost the production of the plant. So, you can get a lot of use out of this as a gardener. After your bale has been growing for approximately a week, if you pull back your tarp and you look, you will see the mycelium growing all over it.
– This little white spiderwebs almost.
– Yes. – Yeah.
– That’s a good sign. That means it’s doing well and it’s happy where you’ve got it. So that’s what you want to see at that point. – So in addition to these beautiful pink mushrooms.
– Mm-hmm. – What other kinds of mushrooms can people grow? – Well, this particular mushroom is really the best one for
the straw bale method. – Uh huh.
– But there are other methods that people could also use, as well. For example, growing mushrooms on logs are very easy for homeowners. Once the log is completely set up then it’s a matter of just watering it. – [Troy] Right.
– Until the mushrooms come in. So, different mushrooms for that would be for example, Shitake,
which is very popular. – [Troy] Very popular
grocery store mushroom. – Absolutely.
– [Troy] Is the Shitake mushroom.
– And they taste so much better when they’ve been grown on a log. The flavor is so much more rich. – Just like vegetables out of your garden. – Yes.
– They’re always so much better than, you know.
(laughs) A home grown tomato,
there’s no comparison, sweet corn.
– Somehow it tastes better when you grow it yourself. – Yeah.
– Right. – And you know you put
your own effort into it. – Absolutely. But you could also grow
Blue Oyster mushrooms, Lions Mane mushrooms, Golden Oyster. There’s several different
varieties that do well on the log.
– On the logs. – There’s also mushroom beds that are great for homeowners. For example, if you have a Homeowners Association that won’t allow you to have a vegetable
garden on your property, one way that you could
add edibles into your yard if you have hardwood mulch up under your shrubs and landscape area, you could add some mushrooms, for example, the Stropharia
rugosoannulata, the Wine Cap mushroom, which is a native
species in the south east. – Yeah. – You can add that into your wood chips. It’s going to break down
your wood chips into a rich healthy soil and it’s going to feed your plants. And it produces this
beautiful burgundy mushrooms that are gorgeous. Andd they taste great too. – Right. And if you would like
to try growing mushrooms it’s something that almost anyone can do. All you need is just
a little bit of space, a shady place, and a water hose. (gentle music) – [Voiceover] For inspiring garden tours, growing tips, and garden projects, visit our website at Or on YouTube at the Volunteer Gardener channel. And like us on Facebook.


  1. Just got the 2nd flush from my bale. We used the spawn from one of the 'Back to the Roots' grow-indoor kits. After the first indoor flush, we bought a straw bale and inoculated the bale with the box kit. It took a while to get going, but now they're just popping! A very economical and tasty grow project… methinks next year we'll do a few bales.

  2. Hi, great video, thank you for this. I have a question about the temperature, what is the maximum temperature recommended, as well as the coolest temps? Thanks again!

  3. Thanks for the information! I'm wondering if I can also use a live liquid culture with this process. Also, I'm growing up north and am wondering the best time to plant.

  4. Is there an alternative to wheat straw? I have a genuine- ie anaphylactic shock- allergy to wheat. Thanks for a great post!

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