Kid Friendly Food Gardening – Grow Your Own Mushrooms

One of the goals for our kid friendly good garden is to have a go at growing the fruit and veggies that we like to eat. Sometimes that is easy, we usually grow more zucchinis and strawberries than we could ever eat, but sometimes it is harder, we struggle to grow even one capsicum or watermelon with our shorter summers.

I think it’s still worth having a go at growing the food we like to eat, at least once, even if we don’t succeed. It’s great for our kids to see how the food they enjoy is grown, and we learn a lot even when we only get one tiny, very bitter, capsicum for our efforts!

But sometimes we just have to accept that some food is just not going to grow here, or that we don’t have the time, skill, or space to grow it. I’ve always put mushrooms into that category. I’ve always wanted to have a go at growing mushrooms because we all love to eat them, but I always thought you had to grow them completely in the dark and we never had a spot to do that.

grow your own mushrooms

I was so wrong!

We grew these amazing Pearl Oyster Mushrooms in our kitchen!

Yep, no dark cupboard, no damp moldy smell, just a a tall skinny card board box on the floor under our kitchen window!

The Grow Your Own Pearl Oyster Mushrooms Kit comes from Fungi Culture and is so simple to use. You just tear off the tab from the front of the box, cut a cross in the plastic and spray with a bit of water. You don’t need a dark spot, just a spot that is not in direct sunlight. Keep spraying your kit with water a few times a day (very handy that they need to be watered 3-4 times a day because that means everyone gets a turn!) and within a few days mushrooms will appear! It’s mushroom magic!

I must confess that I was just as stunned and excited as the kids when the first tiny mushrooms popped up. In four days we had mushrooms ready to eat.

I wasn’t expecting them to grow so quickly, nor be so beautiful!

grow your own mushrooms

It is just like having our own personal fairy castle growing in our kitchen!

A week after opening there is an awful lot of mushrooms sprouting out of that little box and they just keep getting bigger

grow your own mushrooms

We’ve stolen a few to taste as the kids have never had anything but the boring button mushrooms from the supermarket and it was interesting for them to discover that these mushrooms not only looked different, but tasted different too.

We plan to cook up this first crop very simply, just frying them in a little butter with a pinch of salt. The instructions say that we’ll get a second crop which the kids want to put into our favourite chicken and mushroom pasta recipe, and maybe even a third crop… just from this one little box.

grow your own mushrooms

Win a Grow Your Own Mushroom Kit

This competition is now closed. Winners will be posted here soon.

Grow you own Oyster Mushroom Kits cost $19.95 (plus postage) and are available from the Fungi Culture website, but two lucky readers can win a Grow Your Own Pearl Oyster Mushroom kit!

To enter leave a comment on this post and tell me what fruit or veggie you would most like to grow and why. The two most creative, funny or interesting answers will win a mushroom kit each.

In order to get the prizes to you by Christmas this is a super quick give away, entries close this Friday at midday, so get your comments in fast!

Terms and Conditions.

You must be an Australian resident to enter and unfortunately they can not be shipped to WA because of quarantine reasons.
You must provide a valid email address and entries are limited to one per household.
One entry per household.
Entries close Friday December 7th 2012 at 12 midday AEST. The winners will be contacted by email and announced on this post.
Winners must contact me within 4 days or the prize will be re-drawn.
Winners agree to have their contact details passed on to the appropriate PR company or brand representative who will send out/organise the prizes directly.

{disclosure: my family were given a grow your own mushroom kit from Funghi Culture to try out. I was not compensated in any way for this post and the opinions expressed are purely my own, and those of my family.}

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Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:

  1. cate says

    Oh wow, I’ve been wanting to grow mushrooms for ages and always thought it would be too hard, or not really economical and I never imagined you could grow the fancy varieties at home! This box sounds fantastic, we’d love to try them!

  2. Cindy Posthuma says

    We’d like to grow a “It-looks-and-tastes-like-a-lolly” vegetable so the kids have NO EXCUSE not to eat it ! Actually, we’re pretty lucky…we have 4 kids and they all eat their veggies, except each of them has one or two things they just don’t like.

  3. Josie says

    I’d like to grow cauliflowers as my mum used to make an awesome cauliflower and cheese dish on a sunday, the cake she baked for dessert was terrible ;) but the cauliflower dish was so super special that I still long for it 15 years later.

  4. jemimah says

    I would like to grow a self watering vegetable as I always forget to go outside and water my vegies growing in the vegie patch but always remember my herbs on the windowsill. These mushrooms would be perfect for my absent memory :-)

  5. says

    my famiy is an absolute fan of Mushrooms, so i wouldnt mind giving it a go and try growing them so that way i wont need to go to the shop every couple of days to buy them, As once i buy them everyone in the house knows there is mushrooms in the fridge and when i go to cook with them, most of them are all gone!

  6. says

    I’d like to grow any fruit or vegetable that the grasshoppers won’t devour, they kind-of ate my desire to try again. Actually, watermelon or zucchini would be top of my list, followed my strawberries and cauliflower.

  7. says

    Ooh, ooh, ooh, I would LOVE to grow mushrooms (on purpose – it doesn’t count when they pop up in the lawn and give you palpitations on the poison content).

    Our garden grows basil, tomatoes, basil, parsley, basil, pumpkin, basil, cucumber, basil, sunflowers, basil, hippeastrum, basil, frangipanni – and basil…

    (So if you never need to whip up a quick pesto, you know whose garden to raid)

  8. Nic says

    We would love to grow mushrooms because they might just survive the intense heat and dryness of an Adelaide summer if they were in the kitchen. Plus always handy to have fresh ones on hand.
    Failing that some sweetcorn. The home grown corn thing is our nemesis. We always seem to grow mutant corn.

  9. Ying Ying TAN says

    My husband and I eat chillis as our main meal! How can we ever keep up to ourselves financially if we do not grow a patch in our garden? Red and green chillis, perfect garden decoration for Christmas too ;)

  10. Narelle Rock says

    I just want to grow a vegetable that my 3yr old son would actually eat, don’t care what it is, anything would be awesome!

  11. Brian Keefe says

    Truffles – damned if I know where I am going to park my pig when she’s not finding them for me, think she will possibly end up parked in my neighbors hangi pit…..

  12. Sharon says

    I would love to grow some gherkins as I have a friend that is nick-named gherkin (because her last name is Gehrke)!!!

  13. Jasmine1485 says

    I love to grow tomatoes – oddly enough, because I don’t like to eat them! I do like making chutney and sauce from them though, and every time I think the plant is dying off, a new one grows from the roots. I’ve gotten probably a year from this plant by now!

  14. Karina W says

    I would love to grow colourful chillies! Low maintenance, useful for cooking and adds colour to the kitchen.

  15. says

    I love to grow all sorts of lettuce! Love it! I’m also impressed with radishes! If you leave them they grow to the size of apples! Zero flavour and Bland as Bat Poop but they make us all feel like we are real farmers!

  16. Larabelle says

    Yes, I know they’re not a fruit or vege, but I’d love to grow truffles – I’m already visualising my vastly improved bank account as I sell my produce to Perth’s boutique restaurants for $1000 per kilo!

  17. katie says

    We’ve tried our hand at carrots, beans and herbs,
    We dream of melon humongous.
    Unfortunately green thumbs are not our style,
    Perhaps we shoud start with fungus…

  18. Melissa Jones says

    I would most love to grow tomatoes because it’s easy to grow and all of my families love them. I really wish I could grow some mushroom by myself, but I don’t know how. This kit sounds great. Fresh mushrooms are always the best.

    • Melissa Jones says

      When I moved to my new home, I saw several mushrooms at my backyard, but I didn’t dare to eat them. I was curious that how they grew up. It’s still a mystery.

  19. alisha says

    i remember my grandmother growing strawberries in these tall, round pots with little open ledges on the sides of the pots. those were the sweetest, juiciest, yummiest strawberries ever grown. now that she is no longer with us, i’d love to grow some strawberries like hers for my own kids. sweet goodness to share with her great-grandbabies.

  20. Emily says

    I would live to grow a icecream bean tree as the pulp around the seed pods is meant to taste like vanilla icecream!!! BUT – they grow rather large and are considered a weed in some areas so we can’t grow one here :(

  21. says

    I’d like to be able to grow coffee beans. But not coffee beans that need to be processed to become drinkable – coffee beans that I can simply pick, grind and then brew into coffee. And of course it has to be a bottomless coffee bush – that never runs our of coffee beans – ever.

    Fingers crossed. I really really really love mushrooms :-)

  22. Doll says

    I have never had any success with mushroom kits before so I would love to give this a go.

    We grow lots of things in our garden already – strawberries, beans, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, lettuce, baby spinach, rainbow spinach, passionfruit, leeks, lemons, tangelos, plus loads of herbs…. I have never had any luck with capsicum or snowpeas, no matter how many times we try!

  23. Nicole says

    When the kids were 2 and 3 years old we grew lots of corn and tomatoes. The corn NEVER made it into the house to be cooked . They would pick and peel the corn and munch straight into it and they loved the way the juices would spray all over their faces. Before planting our own tomatoes , my kids would always spit out shop bought tasteless ones. Now we grow our own, and they can’t grow quick enough. We stopped at a farmers road side stall to get a tray of strawberries on the weekend. These also never made it home , they were so fresh and sweet , the kids ate them ALL before getting back in the car.They even went back for another punnet. The farmer was a bit shocked ! The kids were great for business as others watched my two kids enjoy his produce. They told the farmer they thought living in our house was boring, and they wanted to live on a farm .One of our future goals.So I think they would find growing their own mushrooms very exciting to watch and eat.

  24. Krissy says

    We have a fruity friday every week. My kids luuurrv making fruit skewers! Last week their new favourite fruit was marshmallows! Which as long as they eat their fruit skewers, that’s okay with me!! So yes we would love to grow MARSHMALLOWS! No but seriously, we would like to growe some zucchinis, too see their beautiful flowers and eat them too of couse! We would also like to grow some pineapples as where we are living, once used to be a pineapple plantation! Love reading your gardening posts! Very inspirational! Keep up the good work!

  25. says

    Around here it is more a case of what plant can we kill next? When Milla turned 4, all she wanted for her birthday was a garden – difficult when we live in a townhouse with a postage stamp sized back yard that is all decked. The night before her birthday, I was frantically planting things into pretty pots for her on the balcony. There were tomatoes, chilli, herbs, roses, peas and capsicum. She loved it. Unfortunately a 4 year old trudging through the house with a watering can wasn’t so good for the carpets nor the plants as very little made it to the actual plants. 5 years on and the pots are now home to a bird of paradise, spiders and a few scraggly succulents – yes it is possible to kill succulents. The best thing that the balcony garden has grown is doves that nested in the plant debris in one of the pots.

  26. Xan says

    That is wonderful! We have a battery operated owl in our patch at the moment trying to scare away a very hungry possum who comes looking for his dinner every night. A scarecrow is in progress too in our lounge but the kids have temporarily abandoned finishing that one in preference of some Christmas decorating instead. It currently has a head, arms and a half stuffed body and gives me a heart attack early each morning when I walk past and catch it out of the corner of my eye. Maybe that’s a good sign it’ll work on the possums too :-) Thanks for the giveaway chance <3

  27. Liz says

    We have an avocado tree at home but it seems to only produce fruit once every three years, and even then, it’s not as flavoursome as most store-bought ones. It’s a shame because avo is my favourite fruit – so I’d love to be able to grow avo from a box! It’s be so much easier.

  28. says

    What a brilliant giveaway. I am actually fulfilling a long-held ambition this year by growing artichokes. My husband thinks I am mad because I refuse to pick them, even though they are one of my favourite vegetables, because what I really want is to see them open up into beautiful flowers. Who says vegetables can’t be decorative??! As for mushrooms – as a child I longed for a mushroom-growing kit. And didn’t Freud say that happiness is a childhood wish fulfilled?

  29. Maureen Dempsey says

    We love growing zucchinis – just to see how many different ways we can eat them!! My son also likes it when we grow ‘toes’ -potatoes and tomatoes. I like growing weird looking carrots that seem to take on a weird comical (and sometimes naughty!) appearance.
    I am also in love with my eggplant plants this year – beautiful and whacky at the same time :)

  30. Meagan says

    Coconuts then I could pick them try and open it and sit and drink the milk all while pretending I am on a deserted island, to do this I will probably have to put the earplugs in to drain out the ‘mum where is’ mum I want and hopefully I won’t get sunburnt like Rhonda but will met a Katut…

  31. Kay says

    I’d LOVE to grow a Kiwi fruit vine, but unless we move to a cooler climate, it’s probably not going to happen.

    Mushroom kits are great. I’ve grown mushrooms once before, sort-of by accident!

    I bought the kit, followed the instructions exactly, waited…and waited…and nothing happened. I decided the kit must have been faulty and moved it from under the kitchen sink to the laundry cupboard, with the intention of emptying it into the garden.

    I forgot about it, then opened the cupboard some time later and the box was over-flowing with mushrooms – so many that they were growing on top of each other!

    Mushrooms are still quite expensive at our local shops, so I imagine you’d save heaps growing your own as the kits produce so many.