The winter season has fewer plants and animals, and this is no surprise since most of them cannot withstand the freezing temperatures. But surprisingly, you can grow mushrooms in the winter. However, you’ll have to know where and which varieties to grow.
Most mushroom species can’t survive in winter. But on some occasions, the winter thaw will encourage and allow mushrooms to emerge and grow. Consider growing edible mushroom species indoors using grow kits/logs or spawn during the cold season.
You can also think of overwintering them during this season to get an early crop as you wait for the weather to get warm. Read on to learn more about growing mushrooms in winter and the best zones for growing this plant.
Planting Mushrooms in Winter
The winter puts most things at a standstill. However, it also promotes the decomposition of various fungi, which break down the plant matter. Mushrooms usually grow near tree trunks in the cold season. Doing that helps them get the nutrients they need for survival. Mushrooms don’t grow on frozen ground in the winter. But the rain and defrosts during the mid-winter can enhance their growth.
Mushrooms grow differently in winter than in other seasons. That’s because there’s insufficient sunlight and warmth. So this means that growers don’t have the most suitable growing conditions to plant mushrooms.
However, indoor gardening is ideal if you wish to grow mushrooms in winter. You can control the environment and support your mushroom’s growth. But, due to limited space, most gardeners find it challenging to grow winter crops indoors. However, mushrooms don’t depend on space to thrive. You can grow them in a bucket in the kitchen or basement.
Also, remember that some mushroom varieties thrive in dark and cold weather. Mushrooms don’t rely on sunlight for nutrients, allowing them to grow in a dark environment.
However, darkness is not always needed when growing mushrooms. But it will help them to retain enough moisture that the spores need to multiply. The only challenge with growing mushrooms in winter is slow growth.
How to Grow Mushrooms in Winter?
As long as you offer the right environment for growth, mushrooms can thrive in winter. Here are four ways to grow these plants in the cold season:
Inoculated Mushroom Logs
Inoculating mushrooms on trees gives you many crops that you can use for many years. But for this style, you will need to be patient as the mushrooms take time to grow.
You can grow on any logs at any time of the year, but please remember to inoculate them within three months after your harvest. Also, we recommend storing the wood in a shade so that it won’t dry. The best logs to use are from oak and maple trees.
Also, don’t make the log too long, as that will mean more time for the mycelium to colonize the log. Additionally, if using harvested logs, remember to drill various holes 1-2 inches deep.
Using Mushroom Spawn/Substrate
Mushroom spawns or substrates are recommended for experienced growers. You only need to buy a spawn for the mushroom variety you want to grow. Spawn has colonized mycelium, and it should be used within one month. If not, please remember to refrigerate it until you are ready to plant your crop. Doing that keeps it dormant and slows down mycelium growth.
With your spawn ready, you’ll need another growing container for the fruiting of your plant. We advise that you research to get the best substrate to grow in your winter garden. Remember that while starting your mushroom is fun, you need the right variety for the weather condition to reduce the time you spend caring for it in the winter.
Using a Mushroom Growing Kit
Mushroom growing kits are recommended for first-time mushroom growers in all seasons. They are suitable in winter as they help you grow your plant from scratch.
Think of investing in a mushroom growing kit if you have limited space for indoor gardening. You only have to plant your mushrooms in the kit and place it in an environment that supports mushroom growth.
Remember that while mushrooms don’t rely on sunlight for food, you’ll still need to provide a light source for your indoor mushroom to encourage pinning. If natural light is a problem, consider installing artificial lights that support the growth. Additionally, remember to cover your plant with the tent included in the kit and spray the substrate regularly so that it doesn’t dry out.
You can grow as many mushrooms as you like. But grow them vertically to support productivity. So don’t hang the fruit bags horizontally. Instead, hang them vertically and attach them to the roof using hooks.
You can freeze the mushroom bags during the cold season and grow them in warm weather. The spring light and temperature will activate the frozen mycelium, and it’ll be ready to grow in plenty. Make sure to store the bags in a cold area away from light to prevent the mushrooms from fruiting.
The Best Mushroom Varieties to Grow in Winter
Although mushrooms can grow in winter, you need to plant the right variety suited for this weather. Some mushrooms like morel can struggle with the harsh winter weather. However, others like oysters, shiitake, wood ears, and winter chanterelle don’t seem to be affected.
Do Mushrooms Grow in Winter?: Final Thoughts
You don’t have to wait for spring to grow your mushrooms. You can plant them in the winter as long as you choose the right kind and provide a suitable environment.
Related Article: Do Mushrooms Grow in the Dark?