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How Do I Start a Mushroom Farm?

How Do I Start a Mushroom Farm?

Starting your own mushroom farm is not nearly as difficult as it might first seem, but it does require a little planning and investment. The good news is that mushrooms are very hardy and do not need meticulous care to grow. But do you get started in the world of mushroom growing?

After a healthy amount of research into what you plan to grow, you will need to set aside space for your mushroom farm. It will need to be out of direct sunlight, though some indirect sunlight can make your life easier. Once you have your space, you’re going to need mushroom spawn and a substrate to grow it in. The specifics of the rest will vary depending on your mushroom of choice, but the basic principles are the same, so let’s go over those basic principles.

Your Grow Room

Unlike plants, mushrooms do not require sunlight in order to grow. They do not process light into energy, which is why mushrooms are often found in dark places. That being said, they do use light as an indicator for when it suitable for fruiting, so don’t expect to be able to set your farm up in a completely lightless room and come back to it weeks down the line to harvest your bounty.

For a beginner farm, the ideal place would be a room that gets natural sunlight but with the right amount of space or geometry that your farm can be out of direct sunlight. This will let you take advantage of the natural day/night cycle. If this is not possible, however, your best bet would be a completely dark space where you can install appropriate lights and set them on a timer.

Spawn and Substrate

Spawn is needed to create a fungi culture and, while mushrooms are very resilient, different species do grow better in certain substrates. Things like straw, sawdust, and regular old soil are commonplace. For some mushrooms that grow specifically on trees, you might opt for a piece of cut log, though you will have to take steps to keep it hydrated. It should be noted that using a log as a substrate isn’t really considered an efficient method, however. As for the method, the best option varies from species to species. For example, people growing oyster mushrooms tend to opt for an upright plastic bag filled with substrate design, whereas people who are growing regular button mushrooms will often opt for a more conventional flatbed farm design.

As for your spawn, your best bet is to buy ready-to-inoculate spawn and go from there. You can produce your own, of course, and this would save you some costs in the long run, but there are initial costs involved that make it less ideal for someone starting out with their first mushroom farm. Especially if you don’t intend to sell your mushrooms.

Preparing Your Substrate

Regardless of whether you are using a flatbed or plastic bag design for your mushroom farm, your substrate still needs preparation. If you are using straw, you will want to boil the straw in water and leave it to cool down before packing it. If you are using sawdust, it will need supplementing so that your mushrooms have sufficient nutrients to feed on.

The important thing to note here is that you want to avoid contaminants, which is why you boil your straw before using it, and why your lab area—if you decide to produce your own spawn, has to be immaculately clean. Your grow room should also be very clean, but it doesn’t have to be to the level of cleanliness that would be required for a lab.

There’s no special method for arranging a flatbed mushroom farm, but for the bag method, you should pack in two or three inches of your substrate and then sprinkle some spawn across the top, then add another two or three inches, sprinkle more spawn, and repeat until your bag is full.

Finally, close the bag at the top and poke holes in the side.

Your Grow Room

The size and layout of your grow room will largely be determined by how much you intend to grow at one time. For a beginner farm, we would advise starting small and refining your technique until you have things working the way you want them.

Another reason you might want to start small for your first time is that you need to carefully manage the climate in your growing room. The temperature, humidity, and light are all important to mushroom growth, and the larger the growing room, the more difficult these factors are to control. As for the precise condition that you will need to maintain, that can vary between species. For the most part, there are overlaps in things like humidity and temperature, but the ideal conditions for one species of mushroom may not be ideal for another.

Assuming you are opting for the bag farm design, your most efficient layout would involve setting your bags out on racks or shelving. This provides you with the easiest layout to check on your mushrooms, as well as the optimal use of your space. As you expand, you can put shelving or racking against other walls. And, if the room is large enough, you can have racking down the middle, also.

mushroom farming

The Basics

Knowing what to do is great, but knowing why you are doing it can go a long way to mastering anything. If you encounter a problem, you can more intuitively find a solution when you know what the underlying mechanics of the situation are. To that end, here is a crash course in the growing process of your average mushroom.

When fungus spawn grows into mycelium, it spreads through its substrate until it reaches an acceptable fruiting state. There are a few factors that contribute to mycelium deciding to fruit. One of those factors is space; if the mycelium has filled all of the available substrates, it will look to fruit so that it can send its spores into new areas where there is more growing room. This is where the bags come in; by restricting the boundaries of the substrate and ensuring there is plenty of spawn in each bag, the mycelium will quickly fill the available space and want to fruit.

The next factor is the environmental conditions. Naturally, mushrooms want to sprout in the open. If they sprouted underground, their spores would never leave the area that the mycelium is already growing in. And, as we’ve established, the mycelium will likely have filled this area by the time it is ready to fruit. So, no fruiting underground. The mycelium uses things like the amount of carbon dioxide, the temperature, and, yes, the light levels to determine when it has reached the surface of its substrate. Any mycelium exposed to open air when it is ready to fruit will produce fruiting bodies—your mushrooms.

How Hard Is It To Grow Mushrooms at Home?

Growing mushrooms at home is not hard at all; it is the scale of your operation that will make things difficult. Growing a few mushrooms here and there for occasional personal use is relatively easy and can even be done naturally in a shaded part of your garden. That being said, if you’re reading this post, we’re going to assume you’re planning something a little grander in scale.

Your first problem is space. You are going to need an area that can be climate controlled and cut off from outside light sources, which typically means an inside room rather than a garden shed. A basement is also a good spot; however, any room will do. If controlling things like the humidity of your grow room is too tall an order, you might consider enclosing your growing space in a grow tent, which can be bought in a variety of sizes from small cabinet-sized to industrial building-sized.

After that, things get a little simpler. Most of the work of growing mushrooms is done in the preparation. Once everything is ready, there is not much to do until the mushrooms are ready to harvest. In fact, with a little planning and some technology, you can make your mushroom farm almost completely hands-off during the growing period. That being said, the preparation that goes into each new batch of mushrooms should not be underestimated. Even with a largely automated growing process, there is still a good amount of work to do.

mushroom farming at home

How Profitable Is Mushroom Farming?

As you might expect, the choice of mushroom you choose to grow will greatly affect how profitable your mushroom-growing venture is. Common mushrooms like what you can easily buy in your local grocery store are grown in huge quantities in industrial-sized farms and, as a result, can be sold for far less than you will be able to sell yours for.

The trick here is gourmet mushrooms and local restaurants. Unless you have millions in startup capital, you are not going to be able to produce any type of mushroom in large enough quantities to be putting your product on supermarket shelves. But local restaurants—especially highly rated ones—are always on the lookout for fresh sources for their ingredients. If you can find a sufficient number of interested restaurants in your area to feed a healthy demand for your product, you should be able to make your mushroom venture profitable.

How Small Can I Go And Still Make Money?

It doesn’t take an economic master to know that the more product you can produce, the more money you can make. Of course, it is a little more complicated than that, but that will do for now. Mushrooms are, unfortunately, not the best when it comes to farming. They need plenty of space, and they can be quite irregular in how large they grow. So, how, then, do you go small while still making money from your venture?

The only way to achieve this is to focus on the more profitable mushrooms and mushrooms that grow larger. For example, Lions Mane mushrooms is a popular gourmet mushroom that can grow quite large, giving you a lot of weight for your yield. Another popular gourmet mushroom is Shiitake, which is also very easy to grow.

To give you an idea of the prices, Lion’s Mane mushroom goes for around $10 per pound, and Shiitake can go for around $13 per pound. Compare this to your average white button mushroom, which goes for less than $2 per pound.

mushroom farming at home

How Big Can I Go Without Having to Hire Anyone?

There is no single answer to this question that would apply to every grower, so rather than try, we’ll cover what you need to factor in when making this kind of decision.

Firstly, you should have a good idea of how much time your mushroom growing takes before you ever considering hiring other people. If you are planning to expand your operation and you are already at the limits of what you can reasonably do yourself, then you have likely reached the maximum size you can go without hiring. Of course, there are maybe tools and strategies that can lessen your workload, so it is always worth doing plenty of research before throwing money at a problem.

When weighing up these kinds of decisions, don’t neglect your own wellbeing. Sure, you could put eighteen hours a day into your mushroom farm, theoretically. But that doesn’t mean you should.

What Type Of Mushrooms Should I Start Growing First?

We would recommend growing Shiitake mushrooms first, as they are an excellent combination of easy to grow and well-priced, making them ideal for beginners. You will be able to hone your mushroom-growing skills but still produce a profitable product at the same time.

Oyster mushrooms are another popular mushroom for getting started. Button mushrooms are, of course, very popular, but they are also very common and, as such, not worth the effort for small growers.

What Mushrooms Are The Easiest To Grow And Sell?

As mentioned above, the best combination of easy to grow and popular is Shiitake mushrooms. It should be noted that “easy to sell” is a relative term. If there is no one in your local area who is interested in Shiitake mushrooms, they suddenly become much harder to sell.

Still, they are, generally speaking, a very popular mushroom in gourmet food and are among the easiest of mushrooms to grow.

Where Should I Try And Sell My Mushrooms?

Short of inquiring if your neighbors would be interested in some doorstep mushroom sales or setting up an enormous and expensive operation to mass-grow mushrooms and sell to big supermarket chains, your best bet for selling your mushrooms is gourmet restaurants. The chefs that work in these restaurants pride themselves on creating the best meals, and as most people know, fresh produce always tastes better.

This is where mushroom growers of all sizes can shine. It is very difficult to grow mushrooms on a large scale and have them delivered completely fresh, but for a small grower, it is very possible. Visit your local restaurants and talk to the chef. Be sure to do your research first regarding the market value of your product, and be prepared for requests for other mushrooms if you impress the chef. Your prospective customers will likely want to establish a regular supply of their desired mushrooms, so be very clear about what you can produce before you go in.

mushroom farming at home garage

How Long Will They Last If I Don’t Sell Them Straight Away?

From the point of picking, your mushrooms will start to decompose. Their purpose in the fungi lifecycle is to spread mushroom spores so that the fungus can spread, and so they are kept fed with nutrients by the mycelium until that job is done. Once the spores have been released, however, the mushrooms start to decompose, so it is important to be aware of the stage in the lifecycle that your mushrooms are currently at.

Once that decomposition process starts, you can keep your mushroom for around ten days in a fridge.

It is worth noting, as we mentioned above, the types of chefs you are likely selling your mushrooms to will specifically be looking for fresh mushrooms, so you should avoid growing too much excess just for it to sit in a drawer in your fridge for the next week.

Is It Easier To Grow Medicinal Mushrooms Or Culinary Mushrooms?

Though it is not a universal truth that applies to all medicinal and culinary mushrooms, it is generally true that culinary mushrooms are easier to grow than medicinal ones. Some of the most popular medicinal mushrooms are Yarsagumba and Chaga. The former is a mushroom formed from parasitic fungi that sprout out of a caterpillar’s mouth and only grow in the Himalayan region at high altitude. Which, needless to say, makes it a little unlikely as a home grower fungus.

Chaga, on the other hand, grows on tree trunks in what is called a “conk” and takes on a bark-like exterior that is so tough that it has to be hacked off with an axe! A slow process and not one that would be easy to emulate in a short enough timespan for your average mushroom grower.

Of course, not all medicinal mushrooms are this difficult, but most culinary options aren’t either.

mushroom farming in home garage

Can I Grow Both Types In The Same Place?

It is important to establish what is meant by “space” in this question. If you are looking to grow different types of mushrooms in your growing room, the answer is yes; you can absolutely grow multiple types of mushrooms in the same place. You will need to do a little research into the humidity and temperature requirements, of course, and some mushroom strains will make better neighbors than others. As long as you choose mushrooms that are capable of fruiting in the same conditions as their neighbor, there shouldn’t be a problem.

If, on the other hand, you are considering growing two different types of mushrooms in the same container and substrate, you technically can do this, but you shouldn’t. The mycelium in your substrate will spread out to fill as much of the available substrate as possible, and it will draw nutrients from all over that substrate. If you have different types of mycelium in one bag, they will both be fighting for the same nutrients, which will likely result in smaller mushrooms in the long run.

Should I Set Up A Mushroom Drying System In My Farm?

One way to help preserve mushrooms for a little longer is to dry them out. Mushrooms carry a high water content, and removing that water content can extend the shelf-life of stored mushrooms once they’ve been picked. Of course, there is always a trade-off. In this case, it is that rehydrated mushrooms never quite taste as good as the original item.

As for whether you should set up a drying station, it largely depends on how you intend to run your business. A mushroom drying system could cover a large area (depending on the specific system), and space is usually at a premium for growers who are just starting out. Not to mention, if you are selling your mushrooms directly to chefs who want them fresh, you may never actually get to use your drying system.

Final Thoughts

Mushroom farming is a great way to earn money if you live in the right area for it, or the right areas are within reach. It is also somewhat unusual in that there is no real incentive to expand your mushroom-growing capabilities due to the nature of the food. Your buyers are likely to want their mushrooms fresh, which is hard to achieve with a largescale operation, and impossible to achieve with mushrooms that have been stored.

Still, there is always scope for improvement and expansion. And, because of the modular way in which a mushroom farm can be built, it is not difficult to grow your farm without having to reorganize things or move to another property.

mushroom farming in home garage
Can I Make Money Starting a Mushroom Farm?

Can I Make Money Starting a Mushroom Farm?

Yes, mushroom farming is a profitable and sustainable business that can easily earn you an income of $60,000 annually from a 500 sq ft area. Such an area can produce 12000 pounds of oyster mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms sell from $6 to 8 per pound on wholesale, translating to up to $72,000 per year.

You have the option of selling at retail or wholesale prices. While retail prices are higher, going up to $15 per pound for oyster mushrooms, you may have to stay with the mushrooms for longer and work on your sales strategy and network. For most farmers selling wholesale while creating an allowance for retail buyers works best.

Several factors determine how much profit you can make from growing mushrooms. These include;

The variety of mushrooms you have grown

● The local demand for that variety of mushrooms

● Availability and cost of raw materials in that area

● Method of cultivation you have adopted

● Accessibility of the farm from the market place

● Your source of spawn. Spawn is the equivalent of seeds for mushrooms.

● The size of the mushroom farm

● Advertising and marketing methods you use

● The length of time you have been in business.

What Are the Most Profitable Mushrooms to Grow?

Mushrooms that are most in-demand are the best to grow. Mushrooms grown to be used for supplements or in the health field are more profitable than those used for culinary purposes. However, culinary mushrooms tend to be easier to cultivate and have a larger and easy to access client base.

Some of the profitable mushrooms include the lion’s mane and maitake. There are exceptions to the above rule regarding the ease of growing culinary mushrooms and their cost. For example, Psilocybe mushrooms, the source of psilocybin, is one of the most expensive mushrooms. It is effortless to grow and bears high yields with low cultivation tech techniques. However, psilocybin is an illegal schedule 1 drug in the USA. This illegal status is what gives the mushroom its expensive status. On the other hand, truffles are difficult to grow though they are a culinary mushroom.

Here are four of the most expensive mushrooms you can grow;

Morels which sells for $40 for 16oz

● Cordyceps go for $400 for 16 oz.

● Truffles whose 16 oz cost $800

● Psilocybe sold at $1600 for 16 oz.

Even so, shiitakes and oyster mushrooms can still bring in a considerable profit amount considering the little investment input.

Winter Worm-Zombie Fungus-Himalayan Gold-Viagra-Keeda Jadi-Yarsagumba-Cordyceps-Sinensis-Worm-Caterpillar Fungus

What Makes Mushroom Farming Profitable

There are several reasons why growing mushrooms is profitable. First, mushrooms require little investment. You can start a mushroom farm at $1000.

You can do much of the initial labor, and you can easily learn all the information you need. For DIY enthusiasts, this can be a perfect project.

Secondly, mushrooms take a little time to mature. Most mushrooms take about six weeks to be ready for harvesting. The harvest period is also continuous, allowing you to reap more cyclically without preparing and growing new mycelium. In fact, most mushroom farmers can harvest for 35 to 42 days, with some going to 60 days. The initial harvest is usually higher than the subsequent ones.

Another reason why mushrooms are so profitable is their high demand for mushrooms, both for gourmet and health supplements. In 2018, over 1.5 million mushrooms were grown in the US, and the number keeps rising as demand increases. It is a niche segment that is growing, and you will not lack for the market.

Mushrooms are also profitable because they are healthy and delicious, which further drives up their demand. They are high in protein and fiber, have low in calories, and are fat-free. They also have antioxidants and are rich in minerals like calcium and iron.

The other reason why they are profitable is that they can be planted all year round. This is because most of them can be grown indoors. The indoor climate does not affect them, and a suitable space like a shed and garage can be used even in a basement.

Finally, you can also make money from mushroom farming by selling the production residue or substrate after you have become adept and producing it. There are also plenty of value-added mushroom products to help you increase your profits, including mushroom growing kits, pickled mushrooms, mushroom seasoning, and mushroom jerky.

mushroom spores

Where to Sell Mushrooms for Profitability

Mushrooms sell best when they are still fresh. For this reason, you are best served by exploiting the local market. You can still sell dried portions and sauces if you want to sell to distant clients. The main targets should be any or all the following;

Farmers Markets

Farmers’ markets are a hunting ground for people seeking the freshest produce. They are also a place to find items they would not usually find at their local grocery. Such items include mushrooms. They attract big crowds, and all you need is a stall to set up shop. If you lack one, you can always find another trader willing to share space.

Grocery Stores

You can quickly sell all you harvest if you can identify two or three grocery stores, especially when you are starting. Ideally, you would want a grocery that sells a variety of mushrooms, and the more upscale the grocery, the more likely you are to get a premium price. You can also try out groceries that do not sell mushroom and try to have your stock there to let people be aware you are selling.


Restaurants are a perfect place for your mushrooms. The best way to approach them is to offer free samples, and they will get back to you with the feedback. People love eating fresh local produce and love meals they may not readily get at home.

Food Co-ops

Food co-ops offer a clientele always looking for healthy and fresh foods. Their members are more open to trying new meals. The way to approach this is the same as the restaurants and grocers through food samples.

mushroom spores

Online Stores

You can also build a social media presence and build a website. People can pre-order the mushrooms, and you can also provide free delivery at a price. These are the ones who can also get dried up mushrooms and the value-added products.

Take time to learn and collect information on the various types of mushrooms you may be interested in. Then start on a smaller scale before increasing your crop. Sterilization is crucial to avoid diseases infecting your mushrooms. Mushrooms will not require a lot of care and attention after the crop has sprouted. Their low initial investment also makes this venture easy to enter. Following institutions that come with the mushroom kit and looking to diversification will ensure you earn enough money to scale up your operations and even pursue it as a full-time income source.

FAQs About Mushroom Farming

What does one need to set up a mushroom farm?

Mushroom farming does not need a lot of input. The main material and resources needed are; spawn, substrate, mushroom cultures, poly-tubing or growing bags, equipment for sterilization, blower fan and humidifier, LED lights, hydroponic, or HVAC equipment, and zip ties, among others.

When are mushrooms harvested?

Most mushrooms take about 4-6 to be ready for harvest. You have to first cultivate mycelium, which takes about 3-4 weeks to start sprouting tiny mushrooms. You then get another 1-2 weeks for the mushrooms to grow and mature to be large enough for harvesting.

What is the nutritional value of mushrooms?

Mushrooms have plenty of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Minerals include zinc, potassium, and calcium. The vitamins include Vitamins B1, B2 and C, and niacin. Mushrooms are also rich in fiber and proteins and antioxidants. The

can i eat too many mushrooms

How are mushrooms propagated?

Mushrooms belong to the fungi family, which instead of producing seeds like other plants, use spores instead. The spores are taken and grown on rye grain until the growing mushroom plant colonizes the grain. You will have created a spawn, which is what is used to inculcate a substrate such as hardwood sawdust and wheat straw. When the inoculation is complete, the mushroom spreads and gives forth fruit, which you call mushrooms.

What are the best mushrooms for beginners to start with?

Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are the best types to start with. They are easy to cultivate, and they are well proven in the market. Mushrooms grown for medicinal purposes require most skill to grow and knowledge of their markets for buyers.

Can I Grow Mushrooms in My Area?

Mushrooms can be grown in any area of the country if they are grown indoors. Whether it is a greenhouse, garage, barn, or shed, the indoor environment protects the mushroom from the outside climate. You control the conditions in the area, allowing you to grow mushrooms all year long.

Can I Grow Mushrooms in Compost?

Yes, you can grow mushrooms in the compost, but the threat is an infection, leading to low yields and other problems. It is why experts recommend that you use a sterile internal environment using saw and sawdust. You can also transfer the mushrooms later on after fruiting to the compost, but then the subsequent yields would be lower.

mushroom business
Is Mushroom Farming A Profitable Business?

Is Mushroom Farming A Profitable Business?

Mushroom farming is one of the most profitable agricultural businesses since it has a very low startup and operational cost. Mushrooms have fewer needs than almost every single other crop which reduces the number of special equipment and workers necessary. They also grow very fast – you can have a new crop ready in 1 to 2 months, depending on the species.

Starting up is also easy – you can technically do it in your pantry or your garage with minimal investment, and you could have an additional income very quickly. The best part is that growing mushrooms takes most of your time during “planting” and harvesting only, making it also very profitable if you calculate your income per hour of work.

How much money can I make growing mushrooms?

A pound of mushrooms retails for anything from $5 to $15, and that’s if we’re sticking to the ones that end up on people’s plates. Considering that a square foot of crop can produce up to 5 pounds of mushrooms, that means that even a small home setup can make you over 1k a month. In this scenario, that small operation is no more than a single set of shelves tucked into a dark corner somewhere.

This projection refers to direct sales, so there will be a decrease if you have to use a middleman. In that case, you can expect to get mostly between $1 to $5 per pound for standard edible mushrooms. Read this USDA report from 2019 to see more details. Keep in mind that it deals mostly with bulk pricing and not at all with small producers.

The exact amount will depend fully on the type of mushrooms that you’re growing, as well as the quality of the crop. And your profit will depend on your operational costs

To put it simply, you’ll make more money if you have a humble startup, have Mother Nature on your side, and pretty much work alone or keep it a family business. Still, if you have quite a bit of cash you can invest, you can get some fantastic profits if you play your cards right,

Budget Size $

A small budget limits you to species that are not too finicky to grow and/or the size of the production that you can handle on your own. Also, Mother Nature is your best friend if you have a very small budget.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t make good money if you fall into this category. For example, if you’re lucky enough to have a forest of oak, pine, poplar, birch, hazel, beech, or hornbeam tree on or near your property, you can take your trusted dog or a pig and go truffle hunting.

Though you are not very likely to find white truffles (which are literally worth their weight in gold but sadly can only be found in Italy), you can still make good money from taking a daily stroll. And you didn’t put any money down, to begin with. Though you may want to think of investing in a decent set of containers so they don’t go to waste once you bring them home.

It’s the same case if you want to use the nature around you to cultivate some mushrooms. In that case, all work is done by your environment, and you just need to harvest them when the time is right. However, pay attention to only choose species that are native to your ecosystem – introducing a new one may wreak havoc on it.

And watch out for how much your environment can handle. A lot of species of fungi are parasites and are slowly killing their hosts. So either do some population control or chose species that develop symbiotic relationships with other plants.

But if all you have is your pantry or your garage, you can still make it no matter how tight your startup budget is. All you will need is some shelves and a few plastic containers. That’s it for the hardware – just park it somewhere dark and you’re ready to go. Of course, you’re still limited to species that are very easy to grow this way. Think either button or enoki mushrooms – they may not be as exciting as others, but they are still profitable.


Budget Size $$

At this stage, you can start thinking about putting more money into your setup and/or dealing with more finicky species. This is also the stage where you can start growing some species that are used for medicinal purposes. And finally, we can talk about making your production bigger – big enough to create a proper source of income.

Don’t worry, we are still not talking about ridiculous amounts of money. You could start at $1000, or even less if you already have some of the items handy.

You will again need some containers and shelves for your crops, but there might be some other additions that you want to introduce to your setup. One of them is an electric pressure cooker for preparing your substrates. You can use a regular one as well, but an electric is more convenient since you can keep it in the growing room.

You may also want to consider getting some humidifiers. So many shrooms in one place will need more dampness than your garage may provide. If your budget is very tight after setting up everything else, pick up some clay. Clay is porous and absorbs moisture well, and then slowly re-releases it. You will have an extra chore, but it will do the trick until you’re ready to invest in something more efficient.

But making this little bit of extra effort and putting in some more money means that you can make a proper living from growing mushroom. Even 20 or so square feet can make for more than a decent paycheck no matter if you’re growing gourmet or medicinal mushrooms.


Budget Size $$$

Here we’re talking more or less about the same thing as in the previous two segments, but with fancier equipment.

If you can swing it, you may want to invest in mushroom growing chambers. These guys are usually glass or steel cabinets that are equipped with everything you need to create a perfect environment for growing any type of mushroom. You can set the perfect temperature, humidity, and even the ideal amount of UV rays for the species that need sunlight. But they are also quite expensive.

The cheapest available online come from Chinese or Indian suppliers, and even then you are looking at spending over $1000 or $2000 per unit (and that’s before shipping and customs). However, they may be a good investment if you plan to grow expensive medicinal fungi, like cordyceps for example. Since you can price them rather high, you will be able to recover your investment promptly.

As an additional benefit, you can grow several different species in the same room. So if you only plan to grow a few chamber-fulls in your garage, you don’t have to worry about spores going where they are not supposed to.


Budget Size $$$$

If you’re Martha Stewart, you can afford to plant a whole forest on your property just so you could have easy access to truffles. Or you can set up a literal factory and ship out metric tons each week.

Big investments can yield massive profits because of the sheer number of mushrooms you’re producing. You’ll still be making money whether you’re producing super fancy and expensive shrooms or the humble buttons. For a rough calculation, one acre of a setup this big can bring you a gross profit of a minimum of $50,000 per crop.

So, you’ll have to spend big on both your startup and operational costs. Obviously, growing a whole forest might be a step too far, but you will at least have to set up growing hangars, industrial machines, and personnel. And if you don’t own some land where you can set all that up, you’ll have to worry about that too.

Let’s talk about construction first. A concrete hangar is the best choice since it’s more likely to stay cool in warmer months. This (and some good insulation) can save you a ton of cash in the summer months. A lot of species of mushrooms are not too keen on very high temperatures, and a simple uninsulated structure made from metal is bound to cook them in August. Or at least the ones closest to the walls.

When it comes to the machines, there’s only a specialty harvester and other generic ones (like a conveyor belt or a packing machine) that you have to put on your shopping list. You may also need to invest in a system that maintains the perfect humidity in the building, and one that circulated fresh air through the hangar.

Finally, the number of working hands depends mostly on the size of production and the type of mushroom you’re growing. If you went for something a bit delicate where you can’t use the harvester, you will need to hire people who will pick the shrooms by hand. Of course, the types of mushrooms that need such special treatment usually have a higher price tag, so your profits should still be more than acceptable.


Taxes, fees, and other expenses

All of the estimates above address startup and operational costs. There will be other things you have to dish out some cash for, like licenses and registrations.

Check your state’s departments of business and agriculture for more details. Regulations vary from state to state, so get the latest info straight from the source.

mushroom farming