Growing Portobello Mushrooms on Straw Mulch and Manure

May 1, 2012 · 11 comments

This was an interesting little homestead experiment. About two years ago, Henry bought some large crimini button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) at the grocery store and stored them in a moist paper bag, allowing them to ripen into portobello mushrooms. Instead of eating them at that point, he took them out and buried them in the used-goat-bedding straw mulch that he recycled from the goat barn and used to fertilize our stand of Moso bamboo (seen here).

This spring, he found a big cluster of edible mushrooms emerging from the composted straw. Jackpot. Some of the individual mushrooms are over five inches in diameter. We’ve eaten them with eggs and pasta and in big stir frys. It’s been awesome.

I’m not sure if this growing method is something I would recommend to others. One has to be careful when dealing with mushrooms (especially of unknown origin) as well as manure around food, but it’s worked out well for us, or at least we haven’t died yet…

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Growing Mushrooms May 2, 2012 at 7:23 am

that is great that the mushrooms grew in the used goat compost, since you have goats guess you are lucky they didn’t find the delicacy of the mushrooms.


Camille May 2, 2012 at 8:54 am

The goats aren’t actually allowed in the area where the mushrooms are growing.


Sasha May 2, 2012 at 8:43 am

Awesome! I am a great lover of mushrooms – Glad your experiment worked!!


margot May 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

“…at least we haven’t died yet…” awesome quote that i find myself using every now and then, in regards to foraged or preserved foods ;).


Kara May 6, 2012 at 8:17 am

That line cracked me up, too! It is a line I use also, though less around food and more about things like balancing on a ladder on one foot trying to rewire the porch light….


Camille May 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I actually stole that line from my mom who uses if pretty regularly. One time I said it to my mother in law in regards to a canning project, and my mother in law (who’s kind of a food safety expert) replied, “You don’t die until you die.” I thought that was a pretty good line, too.


MrsDG@TalesFromHomemadeHouse May 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm

That’s great. We’ve attempted growing mushrooms here a couple of times, to no great success. We always bought the spores so I might try one last time this way (I do love mushrooms!)…and you never know…it’s worked with growing garlic and potatoes, so fingers crossed :)


Mulch May 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Awesome! I am a great lover of mushrooms.


Martha Mitchell October 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Hi! How do you know those are portobello mushrooms? We have mushrooms that looks identical to yours growing in abundance in the greenhouse. Under the top layer of dirt is a good pile of straw and manure. Sometimes the mushrooms come up like those brown bells you can buy in the store (finally taste one of those today and it was great). Most of the time, they are open and in bunches like your picture. After finding this page, I went and harvested all of the mushrooms currently showing in the greenhouse. Oh, if these are portobellas, we have wasted a lot of mushrooms by letting them dry out and die.


Camille October 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Unfamiliar mushrooms are not something to mess around with. Henry specifically planted portobello spores in that exact spot, and then he made sure that the mushrooms that came up matched the exact photos and descriptions of portobellos. It wasn’t random at all. If you want to know if the ones you have are portobellos, I would recommend that you take samples to a qualified professional that can identify them for you.


Ella February 21, 2018 at 6:59 pm

A standout amongst the most famous starters at my eatery is a heated Portobello mushroom with broiled peppers, cleaved tomato, and goat cheddar. I am happy to share this straightforward yet delightfully brilliant mushroom formula with you!


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