Common questions from a FIRST TIME MUSHROOM GROWER

What kind of mushroom is the easiest for a beginner to grow?

  • Easy: Oyster mushroom
  • Less easy: King oyster
  • A little more technical: Shiitake, poplar & shimeji
  • Technical: Maitake (hen of the woods), reishi & button mushrooms (agaricus)
  • Advanced: Truffles
  • Impossible: Khowe (natal beef steak)

We recommend the oyster mushroom to all first time growers, they will give you mushrooms within two weeks. Oyster mushrooms are also very tasty.

What is an exotic mushroom?

Any edible mushroom other than a button mushroom (agaricus).

All the mushrooms on our spawn list are exotic, gourmet and edible mushrooms.

Do mushrooms have any nutritional benefits?

Yes! All the edible mushrooms on our site have anti-cancer health benefits and are high in proteins.

Mushroom seed spawn grain grow cordyceps oyster shiitake

Mushrush – Mushroom Spawn







What is the difference between mushroom culture and mushroom spawn?

The image below is a mushroom culture. The top image is mushroom spawn (seed).

Mushrush - Mushroom Culture

Mushrush – Mushroom Culture







What is a substrate?

The mushroom’s food.

  • Uncomposted: straw, sawdust, meilie cobs, paper, cotton waste, coffee grinds or a combination of any of these.
  • Composted: straw composted with chicken manure.

What kind of substrate should I use?

 Preferably one that is free, cheap and easily available.

  • Ask your local coffee shop for their used coffee grinds.
  • If you have a neighbouring farm, ask for straw or maize cobs.
  • Shred old newspapers and office paper.
  • Garden centres and pet stores often stock straw, wood shavings, wood chips and coir.

How do I choose which mushroom to grow?

Match a mushroom strain to an appropriate substrate.

  • For example: oyster mushrooms grow well on straw, meilie cobs, paper, cotton waste, coffee grinds or a combination of these.
  • Shiitake grow well on sawdust (anything but pine and wattle) and bran.

How do I prepare the substrate?

Substrates can be:

  • Pasteurized (lime soaked, ‘Omo’ washed boiled or steamed)
  • Sterilized (pressure cooked over 100℃)

How much substrate should I put in the bag?

 As much as possible and well compacted.

Where can I buy spawn (seed)?

Mushrush, see our wide variety of spawn.

How should I transport my spawn?

By courier/air

How long can I keep my mushroom spawn before I use it?

Up to two weeks for best results. Old spawn affects the quality & quantity of your mushrooms.

Where can I store my spawn?

In a refrigerator at 3-5℃

How much mushroom spawn will I need?

This depends on the strain you choose but generally;

  • Beginner: spawn to substrate ratio, 1:4
  • Professional: spawn to substrate ratio, 1:10

Do mushrooms need to grow in the dark?

No, only the button mushrooms need a dark environment.

Where can I grow my mushrooms?

This depends on the strain and what facilities you have available.

  • Oyster mushrooms, king oysters & shiitake: anywhere from a bathroom or outdoor trench, to a mini greenhouse.

     What equipment do I need?

Easier mushrooms such as oyster mushrooms and king oyster mushrooms need little equipment to set up.

Shiitake and the likes require more specialised equipment.


Mushrush Oyster Mushroom Grow Log

Mushrush Oyster Mushroom Grow Log

What can I grow my mushrooms in?


  • A clear plastic bag, we have worked with bags from 30cmx12cm to 85cmx30cm. (needs to be strong enough so that the substrate does not pierce holes in it)
  • Cardboard containers (shoe box, egg boxes)
  • A washing basket


What is a mushroom ‘log’?

A commercial word used to describe spawn & substrate mixed together and grown in a long, clear plastic bag.

Shiitake can be grown on this type of ‘log’.

Mushrooms grown on logs from a tree take a long time to grow.

Will poisonous mushrooms infect the mushrooms I am growing?

No, however if your substrate has too much water in it, Ink caps may start to grow in your mushroom substrate.

What is colonising?

Colonising is when the spawn makes thin white threads in the substrate.

Where can I store my logs while they are colonising?

It is best to store them in the same place where you grow them.

Can I hang them, put them on shelves, put them under a tree, in a greenhouse or put them in trenches?

Yes, yes and yes. This is once again dependent on available facilities.

What is fruit?

The fruit is the actual mushroom itself.

When will my mushrooms be ready to harvest?  

Once again this is dependent on the strain you have chosen to grow.

Oyster mushrooms are the fastest, expect fruit within two to three weeks .

More technical mushrooms take six to eight weeks to harvest.

Where can I sell my mushrooms?

Exotic, gourmet mushrooms have become very popular at restaurants, boutique hotels, culinary schools and catering companies.

Farmers markets and food festivals.

Commercially, your local spar.

Your closest local fresh produce market eg. Johannesburg fresh produce market.

How much can I sell the mushrooms for?

This depends on the quality, quantity, no packaging/packaging (brown bags to ventilated plastic containers) and your customer.

Generally prices range from R65 to R150 per kg.

Image from: The Plant Kingdom - Weldon Owen PTY LTD

Image from: The Plant Kingdom – Weldon Owen PTY LTD





  1. Please send me information on oyster mushroom farming and the different courses you have.
    Wessel Oosthuizen

    • Dear Wessel
      It sounds like you would do well to attend one of our workshops…

      Our kit gives fantastic information!

      We sell a very popular Rookie ‘roomer kit if you want to try your hand at growing oyster mushrooms. R595.00 including delivery .
      The kit has everything you need to get started (including spawn (seed) and comes with clear, illustrated and easy to follow instructions.
      You will add 10kg of dry cellulose matter – this is simple – shredded paper (from your office/local school), old coffee grinds (easily available from local cafes and restaurants – if you don’t have your own), and even straw/dried grass etc (from your local farm supply store/co-op).
      The kit makes 4 large mushroom grow logs and you can expect 10kgs+ of mushrooms. This oyster mushroom likes moderate light (not dark and not direct sunlight) so don’t tuck it away in a dark corner! They are fun and very easy mushrooms to grow. This may be a good place to start, to see if growing oyster mushrooms is for you. Thereafter you would only need to buy spawn (R150/2kg) and possibly lime (R35/1kg) to continue growing a fresh supply of mushrooms, as you would have the know-how!

      If you are thinking of growing for an income, then I would suggest attending one of our hands-on workshops – R1950.

      I look forward to hearing from you.

  2. Hello sandra,
    Am a zambian national who would love to venture into mushroom farming,what kind of mushrooms would suit our climatic conditions.Please send me additional information on what i need and the prices for the seeds,am now sealing off a 5m by 5m room.

  3. Hi, I am interested in the Rookie Mushroom Grow Kit. Could you please send me your price list.? Also, can you include growing instructions? Training dates and information will be appreciated
    Thank you

  4. hi sandra
    im so so much eager to learn more about mushroom farming bt all these years ive been scared of loses.pliz coul you if possible send me your oyster farming kit and catalogue.

  5. Hello,

    I am interested in growing mushrooms from home. I would like to attend your course.
    I have silver birch logs lying in the garden, can I use those as plugs or is it better in a little greenhouse which I have?

    • Dear Caron
      the birch logs are great for shiitake and oysters, the fresher the logs the better.
      Please see inbox for course details.

  6. Hi , looking at all these there should be an over supply of muchrooms every where … i wonder why not ? Anyways i am also looking for more info on training and growing my own mushrooms. To start small first to built knowledge and then grow bigger if i like it and if it is worth it ! Growing anything is one side , then selling is another story….. I am only familiar with the normal white button type and bruin mushrooms we normally get in the supermarket. I have never grown any or tasted any others … a bit scared with the hole posinous type story ! Would like to be educated on this ! Please also send me prices of your courses and al relavant info !

  7. Hie, can someone help me to locate where i can find oyster mushroom spawn in Harare. I recently attended a training workshop and I’d like to get started now..

  8. Good day Sandra

    I have 12 Acres of sand, rock and unproductive land family land that my family has lived on for over 96 years. Now i shall be-return become home to Zimbabwe at the end of 2017.

    Their is no electricity, 12 km off rood form high way only 64 km from Harare.

    – One borehole have drilled working with fresh water (lot of under ground water)
    – lot of grass, saw dust, chicken and caw waste very close at low prices

    My challenge is I have raised funds to set up a mushroom project, I have no training, can I get trained anywhere. As for energy can I invest in solar power and other forms of power to run the project

    Please advise

  9. Good day. We run energy deployment programmes to non-grid areas and we would like our beneficiaries to be trained in “energy for use” that is they can run self empowerment projects from the electricity provided. We would like to introduce mushroom farming in this initiative. How can you assist and is there any available market because we need this to be highly commercial?

  10. Dear Sandra,

    I am exploring different options around starting a small business from home and one of the areas of interest is growing oyster and shitake mushrooms. I would love to find out more information – please could you assist. I have a back room, which I can convert or else i would be willing to build a wooden hut to accommodate the mushrooms. I really will appreciate any info you can send. Thank you.

  11. Hi Sandra,

    I am also interested to grow oyster mushrooms as a side business. i would like to start small and grow bigger but my worry though is that is there a ready market for the oyster mushrooms? please email me some details.
    ps: I appreciate the way you are so patient with us. we seem to ask one and the same question but you don’t get cross.

  12. Dear Sandra,
    Please could you send me your Rookie Room starter kit for growing oyster mushrooms. I would like to learn how to grow mushrooms.
    Just one question – if I wanted to grow them in an unused garage without natural light, would I have to install ordinary incandescent lights, such as used for reading, or could I use the white kitchen-light type light? What works best?
    Thanks in advance.

  13. I would like to start home project growing mushrooms. I need some info as to how to start. I have about 1000sqm of flat land with a little stream that runs alongside it. there is plenty of sunshine in Pietermaritzburg, Kwa Zulu Natal.

    • If you are wanting a home growing experience then i would definitely try out our Rookie Roomer kit – R595 including delivery and 2kgs of fresh oyster spawn. I have attached the details for you.

      However, for commercial growing I would strongly recommend attending one of our workshops. Details attached.

      I’ll wait to hear from you..

  14. Good day!
    I’m based in Maputo-Mozambique and we are trying to start growing oyster mushrooms for now , we are bulding 2 rooms/structures one with 6mx2,5m and the other one with 8.20x6m we are having an acessement from someone from Zimbabwe with some experience on growing mushrooms however we problems in getting seeds from Zimbabwe and for us we rather have them from South Africa will you please kindly advise how many kgs of seeds we need and the clear transparent bags of 10kgs we need as weel as if you can supply us. If you can also send us your phone ctcs we will appreciate
    Looking forward to hear from you soon
    Best Regards
    Eleuterio Ribeiro

  15. Hi, I am interested in purchasing the Rookie Mushroom Grow Kit. Does the kit provide information on optimal growing environment i.e. can I grow it in my garden or do I need to build a special enclosed space to plant it in?

    • Yes, the kit comes with excellent growing instructions for growing conditions. They can be grown in the garden as long as the area is humid and has some light. I’ll email you some details on the kit.

  16. Please i need white bottom mushroom spawns. Do you have them? And how do you sell them? How do you sell 1kg of oysters mushroom spawn?

  17. Hi. Please send me prices for your Shiitake and Oyster mushroom kits. I live in Benoni Gauteng, and would like to grow mushrooms at home on a small scale. thank you

  18. I would love to get information on preparing a room for growing Oyster Mushrooms. I’m running my farming business in the rural areas and at home there are many unused houses with plenty of rooms. I’m converting one room into a suitable mushroom growing area.

    I have a 5m X 3m room with concrete walls and ceiling on the roof. I bought the black (????) dampkos to be used to seal the room, sides and ceiling, I have available tall grass from the veld that can be prepared as a suitable substratum. Electricity is available, temperature gauge available, but will need one to measure humidity.

    Need spawn and very good advice on firstly preparing a suitable grower room.

  19. Good day. Where can I purchase a grow kit in south Africa? Where can I grow it, is it possible to grow in containers?

  20. Hi, I would like to grow mushrooms on a small scale. How do I get a starter kit to Gaborone, Botswana. Are the guidelines for growing included in the kit.


  21. I would like to start my own mushroom farm and i have a 12m Shipping container that i can start from, Is this Ideal? I would like to get more knowledge and maybe some practical experience. who can i talk to or see.


  22. Please provide program workshop for 2016 and also types of oyster mushrooms . Kindly send price list of spawn and grow kits price list.

  23. Hi. I’m starting a poultry business in East London but I would like to expand it by growing mushrooms. I would like you to assist me with the all the mushroom types that can be grown in East London, Eastern Cape, as well as the mushroom kit prices.

    Please send all the proposed info via my email address.

    Your assistance would be highly appreciated.


  25. HI Neil.
    Hope you, Sandra and the family are doing ok. Sent you a facebook message but not sure if you check on those regularly. Anyway I was wondering if you could email me a price list for your Oyster Started kits.


    Benn & Lauren Pieters

    • Hi Tshepang, We sell all our prodcuts on-line and courier your parcel to you. The kit is R595.00 including delivery. SHould you wish to place an order, kindly send me your delivery details and contact number. Kind regards,

  26. I am intressted in growing mushrooms for my own use at home. I require a starter kit for
    the ordinery white button mushroomsand the guidelines for ideal growing success.

    Location Northan KZN Natal

  27. I am a novice and would really like to start growing mushrooms I live in cape town I would like info on how to start and a price list of sead and all goods I will need will the garage be ok or do I need to build wooden boxes with slide drawers please any info IWANT TO DO THIS THING!!!!

  28. Hi Neil,
    I live in the Limpopo on the Soutpansberg on a farm and are very interested in identifying the fungi on the farm, what is your suggestion for books.
    I do have Mushrooms demystified and a few other field guides

    • I’m a starter in Pretoria and interested in the oyster mushroom. I read one can purchase a “carton box” and that would be the easiest to start! Is that true? Any info please. Thanks.


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