One gardener on Instagram was frustrated about the wasted space under her raised garden beds. Luckily, there’s one shade-loving crop that needs next to no upkeep: mushrooms.
“All you need to grow mushrooms in your backyard is wood chips and saw dust,” says Dagny Kream (@thecottagepeach) in a recent video. The gardener had installed a gorgeous set of planters with built-in trellises in her garden for vegetables, but the legs of the boxes gave them several inches of clearance above the ground.
“One of the only downsides of my raised beds is that I was going to lose valuable in-ground growing space in my garden,” she said in the description of her video. “I knew I wanted to utilize this space, but it is extremely shady underneath the beds and I didn’t want to plant a crop that would require tons of weeding or maintenance throughout the season since I’d need to bend down to access it.”
Thankfully, the problem dovetailed beautifully with another question she’d been considering. “I stumbled across the idea of growing mushrooms in wood chips while trying to solve two problems — one, making the most of my growing space, and the other being my desire to farm mushrooms without the strenuous labor of inoculating heavy logs,” she said.
So in the spring, Kream prepared the space under her planters with layers of wood chips alternating with a sawdust and wine cap mushroom spawn mixture. “Since then I’ve been doing a whole lot of waiting,” she says.
But the wait paid off with a bountiful harvest. “Of course I had to celebrate the harvest by making mushroom pizza,” she says.
How it’s helping
Growing mushrooms with wood chips is a low-cost, low-effort way to turn an unused space into a productive garden bed. “I love this method of growing mushrooms because you don’t need any fancy equipment or a huge investment of time or money to get started,” says Kream. “This is definitely the easiest way to grow mushrooms!”
Meanwhile, every bit of food grown at home is one less item being shipped to the grocery store in a pollution-generating vehicle, so raising your own mushrooms is good for the environment. The decomposing mulch will even enrich the soil, making it healthier for anything else you want to grow there in the future.
What everyone’s saying
Lots of commenters wanted to get in on this delicious hack. “How do you know if they are okay mushrooms to eat?” asked one user.
“I planted these mushrooms so I knew exactly what type would come up,” Kream replied.
“Are you able to repeat the cycle? How do you get spawn from the mushrooms that you harvested from the garden?” asked another user.
“The spawn continues to live in the wood chips and will fruit for about three years before needing to be topped off with new spawn,” said Kream.
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