Growing Portobello Mushroom

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles

Picture by Renee Lindstrom

Portabello Mushrooms                                                                                              Photo by Renee Lindstrom

I have tried a couple of different experiments with Portabello Mushrooms.

First Experiment

The first time was with a growing kit that had been used twice before to fruit mushrooms.  This was complicated as it was new and cumbersome.  It has been a challenge.


  • 2 large food grade buckets with lids
  • Bale of straw
  • Lime

The process to prepare the straw:

  1. Put straw into a large container
  2. Fill with water
  3. Add lime
  4. Let soak for 16 hours plus hours

Preparing the buckets:

  1. Bottom – cut hole with drill for drainage
  2. Sides – cut holes around the sides as opening for mushrooms to grow through

When the straw was full soaked I filled the buckets by alternating with layers of straw and mycelium (from original growing kit).  Lids were added and bucket where put into a cool corner with ambient light.  The area around the buckets where  sprayed with water periodically using a mister.

This method was not successful.  A family of fruit flies moved in while the mycelium was growing.  I have placed the buckets off to the side and will investigate further.

This has worked for others successfully so I do not rule it out.  I do however find this method a bit challenging.

Second Experiment

The second experiment using Portabello Mushrooms began with loose ones from the grocer.  The caps where cut off and placed on tin foil (shiny side up) with gill side of the cap facing down.  This lets the spores fall onto the foil.  Once the spores settle onto the tin foil an imprint of the underside of the caps gills remained.  These imprints where cut out and then placed onto a substrate to experiment with.

Would it grow?

Follow experiment on TwitterInstagram or Facebook

Back to Growing Living Foods from the Grocer:  Mushrooms


Coffee and Cardboard substrate

You will need:

  • Cut up wet cardboard
    • soak in water overnight
  • Knife and scissors
    • sterilize with alcohol or peroxide
  • Container (recycled plastic or milk cartons)
    • sterilize with alcohol or peroxide
    • cut hole in bottom and larger ones in sides (potentially for mushrooms to grow through)
  • Freshly used coffee grounds
  1. Soak pieces of cardboard in water overnight
  2. Place layers of cardboard, coffee and mycelium into the container
  3. At the top of the container place the tin foil circle of mycelium spore side down to encourage it to spread and grow into the substrate.
  4. When container is full place in a darken space for a couple of weeks for the mycellium to grow in the container.  If in hot summer do not leave in heated area.  Ensure it is a cool space.  After two or three-week place in ambient light.

Mycelium:  vegetative part of a fungus consisting of a mass of branching thread like hyphae very much like the roots of plants.

Follow experiment on TwitterInstagram or Facebook

Surprised by arrival of the Prince of all Mushrooms – agaricus augustus

Back to Growing Living Foods from the Grocer:  Mushrooms

Recommended Reading:

A wealth of information that is well organized and well explained. It is truly a definitive book on the subject and could well be the only one you will need.  JS

Paul Stamets has produced a work that is an engaging read and is packed with useful information. Whether the reader seeks to grow fungi for food, for medicine or to promote a healthy environment this book provides the information required in substantial depth. I highly recommend Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World to anyone who has an interest in personal health or ecological health.  RN