Grow Your Own Mushrooms (Really)

I may not have Andre Natera’s terrace garden, but a gift I received promises I can grow mushrooms with the best of them.

Or so that’s my plan.

I’m on Day Four at my kitchen counter mushroom farm, where a $20 tabletop kit promises me two pound-and-a-half crops of fresh pearl oyster mushrooms a week from now.

The mushroom farm is a little plastic-bagged patch of earth (the soil is recycled coffee grounds spiked with mushroom spores).  I spritz the farm with water twice a day for ten days, then–voila–a pound and a half of ‘shrooms should be ready for harvest. The next crop springs up ten days later.

The coffee grounds soil is eco-friendly, too–the company says they’ve diverted nearly a million pounds of Peet’s Coffee’s coffee grounds from the landfill.

This cool little mushroom kit is from (clever, right?), but you can buy one this weekend at the Fort Worth Home and Garden Show at the FW Convention Center.

But before you undertake this mushroom farming gig , you need to know that it’s not easy. It could take over your life. For me, it’s been four days of hell.  Are you up for this:

Open box.

Drink a beer.

Slit bag.

Drink another beer.

Soak bag in water overnight. Worry all night if you did it right.

Set alarm for 3 a.m. to make sure the farm is still fully submerged. You can’ t loose your crop on Day 1.

Search for the rest of that open beer. (I know I put it here somewhere.)

Open a new beer. Try to get some sleep.

Wake up early so you can put the mushroom bag back in its box where it will start to germinate.

Stare at box and wonder why the farm is not producing yet.

And that was just the first two days. Eight more to go.

This thing could easily take over your life, so be forewarned:  mushroom farming is all-consuming and exhausting.  You will hardly have time for anything else.

I hope the harvest is easier.