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Growing mushrooms is one of the easiest gardening projects to share with kids – or to try as a beginner – and is perfect in winter when it’s still too chilly to grow stuff outside.
You don’t have to be remotely green fingered to get mushrooms to grow and once started, mushrooms are super speedy.
Every day the mushrooms will be much bigger – they truly will grow before your kids’ eyes! – and in a fortnight they can be harvesting them.
AND popping them in the pan for a yummy breakfast, lunch or supper.
Seeing something they can eat, grow so fast, is wonderfully rewarding for kids and a great way to excite them about growing more food.
You can grow mushrooms from packets of dry spore from your local garden centre.
But first time round I recommend using a mushroom growing kit.
Mushroom Growing Kits
We’ve had several kits and they are great fun.
Once you’ve learned the basics with a kit, you can then have a go with the dry spore.
Although the kits do make fab presents for kids of all ages – including some very big ones!
You can buy them ready growing.
But I think it’s more fun to buy the spawned compost, so when the kit first arrives there’s nothing to see and THEN they grow.
And grow. And grow. And grow.
As once you’ve gobbled up that first crop.
You will get another and another. And if you look after them, more.
Mushroom Growing Tips
The key tips for growing mushrooms – with kit or dry spore – and enjoying multiple crops are:
- Keep soil damp but not soggy – a spray bottle is handy for this. Unlike most plants, it’s the top of the soil you want damp, not the whole pot, so don’t over water.
- Pick the whole harvest including any tiny ones to ensure another crop.
- Don’t forget to keep the soil damp after harvesting, for your next crop.
Typically, you’ll see the first crop in a few days and it will be ready to harvest in a week.
If you look after your mushrooms, you should get 3 or 4 crops over a month to 6 weeks.
And you’ll then be ready to start growing something new, alongside your mushrooms.
In a moment, I’ll share super cool things to grow next – now you’ve got the growing bug!
But first, one more thing you MUST do whilst growing mushrooms, and that is ask questions.
The Big Mushroom Questions
You see the super cool thing about growing mushrooms, is that it lets kids – and us – start to get our head around fungi.
Because fungi are totally different from other plants – in fact they are NOT even plants.
Fungi are actually their own kingdom and closer to animals than plants. Wow!
So as you are growing your mushrooms encourage your little naturalist to mull over these questions …
- Do mushrooms have a seed?
- Do mushrooms have roots?
- Do mushrooms need light?
- Do mushrooms need water?
- Where do mushrooms get energy from?
- Where does the next crop come from?
You don’t have to have all the answers.
But when you have finished growing your mushrooms do have a good poke around in the soil. You may find some useful clues 😉 to help kids make sense of what’s going on in the fungi kingdom, before you start growing something else.
And as promised these are the cool plants I recommend you grow next …
5 Cool Plants To Grow Next
These 5 projects are simple and quick and yummy so brilliant for kids and beginners. And small enough for a balcony or classroom.
They are also like mushrooms, super cool and help us learn awesome stuff about plants.
- Mint: an unbelievably easy way to grow mint for cool glasses of lemonade and more
- Radishes: are the speediest veg on the block and need very little room
- Peas: freshly picked from a pod are sweet enough to tempt even the pickiest eater
- Lettuces: will grow once and then miraculously grow again and again
- Courgettes: or zucchini to you Americans are surprisingly scrumptious in chocolate cake AND have a super clever pollination trick up their flowers 😉
Do have a go at growing these. They are all great fun and a great way to grow a little gardener and budding naturalist.
I would love to hear how you get on. Do come back and tell me your stories …