How to Grow Button Mushrooms – Complete DIY Budget Friendly Guide

If growing white button mushrooms at home is on your checklist of gardening goals, then you will want to stick around at the Garden Bench Top.

Today we are going to guide you through the process of putting together your very own DIY button mushroom growing kit.

What we love about this particular method is that it is both easy to follow AND budget friendly. This means cultivating button mushrooms at home can be achieved by anyone with a passion, and is not only limited to those with the budget for expensive and over-the-top equipment.

You can expect to learn:

  • easy to follow steps to constructing a home button mushroom grow kit
  • how to choose the best substrate for your grow kit
  • how to cultivate mushrooms from your store bought leftovers

So if you’re ready to begin your mushroom growing adventure, brush off your gardening trowel and let’s get into it.

Why Growing Button Mushrooms at Home Makes Sense

For those of you who are still undecided whether you should attempt growing white button mushrooms at home, here are a few fun facts that may get you over the fence.

It makes Financial Sense

Growing button mushrooms actually makes a lot of sense when it comes to trimming the household food budget.

Yes, you are paying for the growing medium and mushroom spores. However, the volume of mushrooms you can harvest from your DIY grow kit is much more than if you were to travel to your supermarket and pick up a punnet of mushrooms from your local store.

Once you become adept at becoming a home mushroom farmer, you can cultivate many flushes of mushrooms from a single kit. And the spent substrate is highly nutritional for your garden.

growing button mushrooms at home
growing button mushrooms at home has many benefits

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Now, we understand this may not be high on your list of values that you can derive from growing your own button mushrooms. But if you are a frequent visitor at the Garden Bench Top, you will know this is a huge deal for us. Anything related to positive impacts on our home planet gets a big tick from us.

Consider, for a moment, the amount of packaging and plastic wrapping you end up throwing away from the goods you buy at your local supermarket. It is excessive and, to be honest, unnecessary. Now think about how much you are reducing your contributions to landfill by growing your own fresh delicious mushrooms.

Intrinsically Rewarding

Okay, we know you didn’t come here for a pep talk, but we have one final benefit you can receive by growing button mushrooms.

It is simply fun and personally satisfying.

For us, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing your family and friends enjoying home – grown produce (yes – we are probably biased).

You know it is authentically organic, and there are no added chemicals or toxins. There is nothing more satisfying.

That is the last of it, we promise. Now let’s get into the fun part of the article – growing button mushrooms in your own backyard.

Growing Button Mushrooms WITHOUT A Kit

Growing mushrooms at home is a wonderful journey for any level of home gardener.

White buttons are actually one of our preferred mushrooms for beginners to grow. The reason is they are much more forgiving, than more sensitive mushrooms (such as Lionsmane mushrooms). They don’t require expensive equipment, and are not high maintenance. For instance, if you forget to harvest button mushrooms at the right time, you can allow them to continue to grow and become portobello mushrooms.

growing button mushrooms without a kit
growing button mushrooms without a kit

Before you jump into the instructions, it would be a good idea to round up the necessary materials for constructing your DIY home mushroom kit.

Materials Required:

  • a water tight tray that is at least 8 inches deep (approximately 20 centimeters),
  • growing medium of choice (we recommend a 50:50 composite horse manure, compost soil mix),
  • button mushroom spores,
  • peat moss bricks, and
  • spray bottle.

Now that you have all the required materials, let’s look at the first step.

Step-by-step Guide to Growing Button Mushrooms

  1. Finding the right space. This is probably one of the more important (and sometimes challenging) parts of growing your own mushrooms at home. Mushrooms require a particular set of conditions in order to thrive. During the initial incubation phase, you need a dark area, with a cooler temperature range between 50 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit (10 – 20 degrees Celcius). We recommend using a thermometer to identify the optimal area.
  2. Constructing your DIY kit. Once you have established your mushroom growing space, fill your sterilized tray with the compost manure mix. We recommend using cow manure with the mushroom growing medium, so best results. You should be aiming to fill your tray until it is approximately 2 inches from the top.
  3. Plant your mushroom spores. Unlike planting seeds, with mushroom spores the goal is to ensure the maximum amount of contact surface area with the substrate. This means you should break up any large pieces of button mushroom spores and sprinkling them evenly across the growing medium.
  4. Cover your spores. We are almost there. Now you need to carefully cover your spores with the pre-soaked peat moss to ensure there is a bit of water for the spores to inoculate. Be sure to get rid of any excess water, otherwise it may encourage the growth of mold.
  5. Maintenance of your grow kit. Throughout the next 10-14 days, check to see that the peat moss hasn’t dried out. You can test this by touching the surface. If it feels dry, use a spray bottle with distilled water and spray liberally to maintain humidity and moisture. After the 10 day mark, you should see mushroom mycelium growth covering your substrate. You will be able to recognize this by the fine white fibers growing throughout the growing kit. These act like the mushroom roots of the spores and colonizes the growing medium so the mushrooms can grow.
  6. The Fruiting Stage. From the two-week mark, you should be able to see mushroom pins starting to grow out of the top of the kit. It is at this point you can move the trays to a more light filled space. Be sure not to place the tray in direct sunlight or in an area that receives strong winds. Both these elements will dry the growing mushrooms out. The result will be shrivelled and unformed mushrooms, and general disappointment. To increase the likelihood of a successful batch of fresh mushrooms, ensure the moisture level is maintained. To achieve this, continue to mist the mushroom caps with a spray bottle and distilled water to provide adequate moisture.
  7. Harvest Time. Before you know it, you will soon see a crop of mature mushroom growing out from the substrate. It is important to note that once you are happy with the size of the white mushroom (or button stage), harvest them immediately. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem. If you leave them to grow more, they actually begin to fall into a different type of mushroom category – like cremini mushrooms or portobello mushrooms.

What is the Best Substrate to Use for Growing Button Mushrooms

Besides the button mushroom spores, the other main component to your DIY grow kit is the substrate. Choosing the right medium for your button mushrooms increases the likelihood of a successful flush or mushrooms greatly.

We recommend a compost, manure and soil composite mix for button mushrooms. Check out our exact recipe for button and portobello mushrooms in our guide for mushroom substrates.

Who Should Grow Button Mushrooms WITH a Kit?

Of course, we understand not everyone is as handy with their hands as others, so we have also considered alternate, more beginner-friendly options in the form of pre-made button mushroom grow kits.

Button mushroom growing kits are very popular and are ideal for beginner mushroom growers just starting out in the home mushroom cultivating space.

They are also suitable for people who do not have enough space or a backyard, such as an apartment dweller.

Growing Button Mushrooms from Store Bought Leftovers

store bought left over button mushrooms
store bought left over button mushrooms

The good news for budding mushroom growers is that you can propagate your own mushroom farm using store – bought button mushrooms.

The key to successfully growing your own mushrooms is purchasing good quality button mushrooms, preferably from organic sources.

You can use the step-by-step method we detailed above in the DIY section of this article. Simply substitute the spores with the discarded stems of the mushrooms.

We do want to emphasize, however, that you are more likely to produce a successful flush of mushrooms with good quality spores, when compared to the left-over stems.

What Next after Growing Button Mushrooms

As we mentioned earlier, the key to becoming a successful home mushroom hobby farmer is in the quality of the substrate.

Check out the following resources to take the next step in your mushroom growing journey: