There are over 80 species of known edible mushrooms around 20 of these are cultivated on a large scale and yet here in the UK we are unlikely to find more than 2 or 3 species on the supermarket shelves. Beyond the edible mushrooms there are species of fungi that have been shown to have health benefits, and although not “edible” as such they are prepared in other ways, and some of these mushrooms have been used as medicine for millennia such as Reishi (Ganoderma sp.). There is a growing interest the use of “medicinal mushrooms” and the wider health benefit of consuming more fungi. The challenge is how to produce more mushrooms to meet this growing demand.

We have chosen 6 species the we believe are the easiest to cultivate for SMSFE new to mushroom cultivation. All but one species involve “natural methods” of cultivation, that is to say, grown outdoors on relatively unprocessed substrates.


Wine Cap

Also known as the Garden Giant or King Stropharia this is an ideal mulching mushroom grown in a layered bed of woodchip.


Commonly sold and easy to cultivate it’s a familiar mushroom to the beginner home grower experimenting with “grow kits”.

Turkey Tail

Possibly the easiest mushroom to grow on logs. This is sold dried as medicinal mushroom (“herbal remedy”) and has become increasingly popular of the last few years.

Wood Blewitt

A late autumn and winter fruiting mushroom, it is grown in a mulch/bed of mixed organic matter.


Shiitake (lentinula edodes) cultivation dates back to at least 800 years ago. Farmer in China and Japan imitated the natural process of shitake fruiting from falling barachens of the Shii tree after heavy rain.

Almond Portabello

We are experimenting with cultivating this interesting species of the same genus of the closed cup/chestnut/portabello, the agricus bisporus.