Why grow mushrooms? Some people seem to think that growing mushrooms is a difficult mystery. Others see it as an activity reserved for closets and dorm rooms.
Yet did you know that mushroom cultivation can be a fun, eye-opening experience? No matter what type of mushroom, no matter how you do it, growing them can enrich your life in many ways. Need convincing? Then may I present to you, in no particular order, the top ten reasons why you should grow mushrooms:
1. It's fun - Really! There's a great sense of fun and satisfaction that comes with watching your own fungal formations flourish. If you're the type that loves to create, that marvels over watching things develop, you'll find growing mushrooms to be a blast.
2. It's educational - It's impossible to grow mushrooms without learning something. You'll learn more about the role of fungi in the ecosystem. You'll learn about the mushroom life cycle. You'll learn about the quirks of different types of mushrooms. This makes it a great activity for school science projects, to do with kids, or just for the curious adult.
3. You'll become more self-sufficient - There's something so powerful and useful about growing your own food. If you enjoy eating mushrooms, you won't have to rely as much on restaurants, grocery stores, and infrastructure to get them. Whether you're a homesteader or live in a downtown apartment, you can always benefit from becoming more self-reliant.
4. Save money - Sure, mushroom kits, spawn, or logs will cost you something. Yet you can save a lot of money in the long run. Mushrooms at the store can be expensive, and you can produce a lot more on your own after an initial investment.
5. Mushrooms are beautiful - From reishi to pink oysters to shiitake and more, mushrooms are beautiful to behold. They're unique, interesting to look at, and bring a sense of visual excitement to any home or garden.
6. Expand your sense of taste - What can you make with oysters? What's the best dish for maitake mushrooms? So many different cultures and recipes use mushrooms, so when you grow them you'll often make new culinary discoveries. You may even impress your friends or a date. Yum!
7. Recycle/mycorestoration - Do you have a lot of broken logs on your property? How about cardboard? Want something to do with those old coffee grounds? You can grow mushrooms on all these materials and more, bringing a new dimension to home recycling. You may even get into mycorestoration, restoring damaged habitats through the use of fungi.
8. Interesting human interaction - People are fascinated by mushrooms, and are often very curious when they learn that you cultivate them. It's a great opportunity to meet new people at growing workshops, answer questions, and pass knowledge on to eager minds. It's a great conversation topic!
9. Superior to store-bought - Home grown mushrooms are superior to those at the store in many ways. As they haven't had to travel and sit on shelves, they're often larger, tastier, and retain more nutrients. You can grow them organically too, saving yourself expose to any pesticides and fertilizers used by major corporations.
10. Develop a greater appreciation for nature - Once you grow mushrooms, you'll develop a greater appreciation for how they thrive in the wild. You'll notice them more in a natural setting. You'll be more aware of your surroundings, of the rhythm of the natural world. There's a sense of wonder and joy that comes with watching things grow, and mushrooms are no exception!
Whether you use sterile techniques or easy mushroom kits, there are many benefits to be had. Growing mushrooms is fun, easy (reason 11!), and there's so much you can learn.
Ready to grow mushrooms on your own? Visit the main growing section to get started. Let me know how it goes!
The last picture was taken by Frankenstoen and is from Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license