Friday, March 28, 2014

GMG's Friday Find: Grow Your Own - the Mighty Mushroom

Photo Credit: PA Farms CSA
Mushrooms have been digested for centuries, in fact in ancient Egypt they were reserved only for royalty and the ancient Romans fed them to warriors to confer strength. Mushrooms are loaded with essential nutrients. They are a great source of Vitamin D, contain many antioxidants and B vitamins, are high in selenium and they boost your immune system.

Neither a fruit nor vegetable, mushrooms are not even plants but a special type of fungus. Now if that part doesn't put you off, and if you're a lover of the many kinds of mushrooms available, you can now enjoy the many benefits of mushrooms by growing your own.

Photo Credit: Back To The Roots
Back to the Roots offers grow-your-own mushroom kits made from 100% used coffee grounds. The packaging is recycled and biodegradable. You can grow this mushroom garden on a windowsill with little fuss.  Just moisten twice a day (mister included) to get a beautiful crop of Pearl Oyster Mushrooms in about 10 days. The kit will yield up to 4 crops of mushrooms so you can have mushrooms all season to add to your favorite dishes. An added bonus is 5% of the sales are currently being donated to breast cancer awareness research organizations. That's a mushroom garden that keeps on giving.

Photo Credit: Lost Creek Shiitake Mushroom Farm
The Shiitake Mushroom Log kit is a winner for lovers of this variety. More nutritious than commercial shiitakes grown on sawdust blocks, they are perfect for vegetarians, gourmets, or anyone who wants the extra punch of this mighty mushroom.  This log kit grows at room temperature with normal room light and will produce every two months for four years. You simply immerse the log in cold water and soak it for 24 hours. This shocks the log into the fruiting cycle which produces sprouts in 6-10 days and yields 1/4-1/3 pound of shiitakes. The log then rests until its next fruiting cycle, requiring just a bath in room temperature non-chlorinated water every two weeks. Fresh and dried shiitakes are used to fight cancer, fibrocystic breast disease and high blood pressure while improving circulation and reducing cholesterol. The delicious shiitake is too good to pass up.

Photo Credit: Mushroom Adventures
Portabella/Crimini Mushroom Kit provides tasty and versatile mushrooms.  In the early stage of growth the young crimini or baby bella can be harvested and used like a white button mushroom in as many ways as you can imagine. Once the mushroom matures and exposes it's gills (try not to think fish here), its officially a portabella. These meaty mushrooms are perfect for grilling because their caps are twice as thick as a white button, sometimes growing 5-8 inches across. This kit grows several crops, with the first two being so large they fill the box. Subsequent crops get smaller until the mushrooms finally stop growing. There's just one drawback - this kit is only available from September thru May 30th, so get your orders in soon.

With so many healthy benefits to eating mushrooms why not add this to your gardening delicacies. It's the no till, no labor, no fuss way to garden while reaping the benefits of the mighty mushroom.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on growing your own.

~Peggy
Garden Media Group



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