By 2030 the global population will be 8.6 billion. Which poses the question; how do we find new ways of growing nutritious food close to home and in our cities? Enter mushrooms. Packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fibers and proteins.
The challenge we gave ourselves was to explore multiple ways of growing nourishing food in a short period of time right at our SALLY Studio by turning multiple organic waste streams into food (cardboard, toilet paper rolls, sawdust, agricultural waste – straw, food waste – coffee grounds, etc.).
Getting started is easy. Find a lidded container and blend coffee grounds with soaked cardboard. Cut the stems of a store-bought oyster mushroom (mycelium) and mix them in with the cardboard. Close the lid loosely so that the mycelium can ‘breathe’ and make sure to spray with water every once in a while.
Mushrooms require very little attention or maintenance as long as the humidity and fresh air is good. Just watch out for any signs of contamination with mold and other microorganisms.
When your mushrooms are looking plump and ready go ahead and pick them which should be about 7-10 days after small mushroom start emerging (pinning). However, make sure to do this before they start curling up, that’s when they start releasing their spores. The even better news? Continue spraying with water; your block will fruit up to 2-3 times. The used-up mycelium can be composted and will speed up the decomposition of your compost pile.
After we harvested the mushrooms, we decided to take the experiment to the next level pickle them in order to explore new ways of getting the benefits from the good bacteria through lacto fermentation. Once you have them, they are yours to play with like any other ingredient. The world is your oyster… mushroom.
Yes – there is great potential. High yield, low effort. Fresh homegrown mushrooms, in our opinion, taste far better than store-bought ones. However, if homegrown, they require a little more maintenance compared to some cultivated plants. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, then you can forget about the maintenance and just wait until it’s time to harvest.
Is it actually easy to grow mushrooms? It all depends on your technique and, let’s be truthful, how much you are willing to invest in equipment. But you can absolutely grow low-tech mushrooms at home, indoors, or in your garden. To be honest, you can even grow at the office by turning organic waste into food.