How to make an easy maintenance-free Terrarium to grow your own organic mushrooms at home

I have put together a quick how-to guide to show you how to build a maintenance-free mushroom terrarium at home with simple garden products and a mushroom grow bag – you always know what is in your food if you grow it yourself! My kids absolutely love growing mushrooms, misting them and checking for new ones! It’s better than unboxing a present! 

I  enjoy growing mushrooms and love the unami flavour – there are so many recipes you can enjoy and cultivating them at home is not very hard once you have learnt the essentials – you don’t need to be a scientist, just follow some scientific principles and practices.

I have been writing processes now for a few years and it is easy to spend many weeks collating How-Tos and running experiments with cultures. It was logical I started teaching to disseminate the information to others and help them catch ‘the growing bug’ too!

 

You can watch my video tutorial from one of my courses.

Overview:

Components you will need (available from any local department or hardware store, like Target, Bigw, Reject Shop or Bunnings):

  • 50L – 150L clear plastic storage tub with a lid
  • spray bottle
  • 12mm – 16mm drill bit or hole borer
  • Enough Perlite to cover the base of your container
Steps:
  1. Soak perlite for 12 hours.
  2. Fill the bottom 1 – 2 inches of your container with soaked perlite and drill 4 holes on the longest side of the storage tub. We recommend 3 holes one the short end, and 6 holes in the lid, above the line of perlite (a hole about every 20cm along the sides, and ends and also drill some 2 – 3mm holes in the bottom of the tub for excess water drainage in the lowest points of the bottom. Please note the bigger your container the more holes you will need.
  3. Place your presoaked and drained grow kit inside, with an X cut in the side of the bag for Oyster mushrooms, and sit back and watch. 

(For Shiitake mushrooms, remove bag after soaking and sit on some kitchen foil so the block is not directly on the perlite.)

How to maintain your terrarium:

All you need to do is mist inside once or twice a day and the perlite will maintain the humidity for you. As long as there are water droplets on the walls and roof of your terrarium, it is humid enough for your mushrooms.

You could consider purchasing a pond fogger/humidifier in summer (or hotter locations around Australia) to keep humidity levels up.   It is optional.  

 

Where to purchase a proper mushroom grow kit to get a decent yield:

Go to the Aussie Mushrooms store on ebay and they ship all over Australia – you can get instruction sheet included in your order. 

I have been purchasing different strains from Russell for years and every bag has worked for me. He sells perlite as well. 

Click on the images to see the product listings on ebay:

 

FAQS: What kinds of mushrooms do you grow? Are there any that we could cultivate in a neighbourhood garden? ( lots of space, limited shade, a hothouse…)

I grow Oyster, Shiitake, Turkey Tail and Reishi / Lingzhi and Swordbelt mushrooms. They will all grow indoor in a terrarium or outdoor in a mini greenhouse, with some perlite. Some varieties grow outside in open patches.

Growing on logs is also an option however yields are less than using a terrarium and they don’t fruit continually. Shiitake and Turkey Tail are examples of mushrooms that also grow on logs

 

Do you run workshops?

I have developed a mushroom workshop, intended to be a crash course in growing mushies, in low sterile environments, explaining how to grow them inside or outside in your home or farm and what you can do with them.

I cover everything from the science and fungal lifecycle, through to preparing media to grow them, along with a practical session on how to set up your terrarium.

It is also intended to be enough information to give everyone the confidence and understanding to experiment on their own and understand how to reduce the level of contamination found in subsequent flushes.

Let me know if you want me to make it available on my Teachable course platform. Please comment below.