Posted in Gardening

You CAN grow mushrooms outdoors in the desert Southwest!

A while back, I spotted some of my local gardening friends on social media successfully growing mushrooms, by adding the spawn to their raised beds. The mushrooms would poke their way out, between the wooden boards. That gave me the idea to re-create this environment, but make it even better for mushrooms.

After rummaging through the scrap pile, I scavenging some 2x4s for a frame, thin slats for the sides, and a couple pieces of plywood, for the bottom, and a lid. It only took about an hour to tack it together.

Part one: background and building the crate

It took a while for it to get cool enough for what I thought would be ideal for growing mushrooms. Then, I populated the crate with a lasagna of wet cardboard and craft paper, mushroom spawn (from North Spore), and compost.

Part two: populating the mushroom crate, and early harvests

The experiment went so well, I got a few successive flushes, and had to come up with all sorts of ways to cook and store the mushrooms. I also got some good tips from friends about how to make it even better, and other outdoor growing beds to try out.

The experiment is ongoing, as I figure out how to protect the mushrooms in the tree well, determine how long they’re going to keep producing, and consider the next varieties to try in the crate, come Fall.

The cool folks over at North Spore hooked me up a coupon code! So if you want to try a mushroom grow yourself, just follow this link, and use code SHOESTRINGMARTHA for 10% off.

If you want to read even more about the whole shebang, be sure to check out the interview they did with yours truly.