People are moving to a more self-reliant lifestyle, growing their own vegetables, keeping chickens and so on. But one way of being self-reliant is to grow your own mushrooms. There are several different kinds of mushrooms that can be grown commercially. All can be grown from spawn [not seed] produced commercially, but they must be grown in a way appropriate to their type and in suitable conditions.
There is some important biological information on mushrooms that is very important to have. The technical term is fungi. Mushroom and toadstool are popular terms, the former for the kind of mushrooms that we can eat, the latter for the ones that we cannot. It is vital to insist that you only eat fungi of whose identity you are sure. While most fungi are not fatal, there are some that are, but fortunately these are not the kind that you get in mushroom kits. It is advisable to purchase a kit from a good supplier. Also it is useful to have a good book for identification.
Fungi are neither animal nor plant, but something else entirely, and as air breathers they must receive sufficient ventilation and a steady flow of air is needed. It is a mistake to think that they need darkness. They can grow in dark, but they do not need it. Some fungi need to be sufficiently warm to grow, but not overwarm. There are several kinds that can easily be grown at home.
1: Conventional agarics. These are the white or brown mushrooms that you buy in the shops. You can purchase kits to grow them. It is possible to make your own mushroom compost, but as doing so includes a careful blending of manure and gypsum and supervision over a few days, it is not worth the while of the small grower.
2: Oyster mushroom. These grow on wood. They make a good addition to stews and can be gently fried to make a pleasant delicacy. There are two ways of growing them. One is to innoculate wood with spawn. The other is to innoculate a toilet roll soaked in tea. The wood and the roll must be kept moist. When the substrate is be added exhausted it can be added to the compost bin.
3: Shiitake. These are a Japanese delicacy that grow on logs or sawdust spawn. You can grow them by purchasing innoculated dowels to hammer into logs. You can also grow them on sawdust spawn. They need a warm place to grow, so should not be grown outdoors.
There are several other kinds that can be grown, but the methods given here will enable you to commence growing.