Amount of care may be too much for me

BRIAN KIDD: From pom poms to cactus, dahlias just keep on giving

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Liz Bourne and her family have transformed their small Southsea back garden into a grow-your-own plot for fruit and vegetables.

In the dark gloom of January, when I only see the garden at the weekend, my mind starts to wander and my not-so-green fingers start twitching. Maybe it’s the fact that clumps of fungus keep popping up amongst the beds, but I begin to wonder about the possibility of growing edible mushrooms.

After a faltering start in my Google search involving a slip of the fingers and a link to a ‘grow your own moustache’ site, and a number of instructions on how to propagate your own illegal mushrooms, I discovered a great company that produces kits to grow edible fungus using mainly old coffee grounds.

Brilliant, I thought. A great use of a waste product, plus delicious mushrooms as well. Then I saw the cost – not massive, but enough to make me think again. Especially when the postage and packing was thrown in as well.

So how difficult is it to create your own perfect growing conditions for edible mushrooms?

You can buy cereal grains impregnated with mushroom spawn for around £3.50 from garden centres. The instructions are clear and seem quite straightforward.

Depending on what kind of mushroom you want to grow a different kind of medium is required, from well-rotted horse manure to a bag of straw. But the amount of care needed might well be beyond my level of patience.

All in all, after my investigations, the kits don’t seem such a bad idea in terms of value and convenience.