Introduction: Water Jet Cut Wall Hanging Mushroom Garden

Photo by Charlie Nordstorm

I'm mushroom obsessed. It's not just their deliciousness, the savory umami characteristics that give the pleasure of meat, yet are a fungus. They are inherently poetic-they link edibility & appetite with death and decay. The mushrooms themselves are the fruit of a vast underground network-mycelium. The ones in the wild are varied and beautiful and at times deadly. I'll be posting some Instructables on how to harvest wild mushrooms as well.

Cultivated ones are also a marvel. They have wonderful architectural shapes, can grow indoors, and require with minimal care. So along with Vanessa Sigurdson, who works with the Artist-In-Residence program at Autodesk, we created an indoor mushroom garden with three varieties- shiitake, oyster, and lion's mane. The goal was to make beautiful boxes to hang on your kitchen wall to grow mushrooms. You can see a time lapse (made by Vanessa Sigurdson & Charlie Nordstorm) of them here. This was over the course of 2 days. Fellow Artist-In-Residents Kristina Larsen and Sebastian Martin who are making felt cloths with mushrooms growing from them. Wish us luck, as mushrooms are fickle and mysterious.

Step 1: Mix the Compound to Grow Mushrooms

We purchased the mushroom mycelium from Far West Fungi. According to their instructions, for the growing compound blend:

50% oak sawdust

25% oyster shells-ground up

30% brown rice ground into flour

Boil in water for 1 hour to get any contaminants out.

Step 2: Mix Mycelium With Growing Compound in Sterile Bags

We purchased bags from Far West Fungi that they use in their lab- as they are sterile, yet allow some breathability. I put on gloves to do this, so couldn't take pictures of mixing the mycelium with the compound.

Step 3: Label Bags and Store in Fridge

I labeled the bags by mushroom type and put into a fridge for 3 weeks. White mycelium began working its way through the compound. When there's lots of white, it's ready to take out.

Step 4: Make the Boxes

These boxes, both the wood (Plyboo) and aluminum, were cut on an Omax water jet laser. (Here's an Instructable on this: Getting Metal Parts Laser or Water Jet Cut). We also sandblasted them to smooth out the edges.

Step 5: Cut Plastic and Then Cut Mushroom Block to Size

The mushroom blocks didn't fit precisely into the boxes, so I removed them from their plastic, and cut them down to size. I then sprayed the plastic bags with water that had been boiled, and then cooled, and put the plastic back around them. I then put them into the box and slid the metal grate over it.

Step 6: Watch Your Mushrooms Grow

Hang or place these in dappled light indoors or out. (They drop spores as they mature, so indoors, you may want to set a tray under them.) And here's a link, once again, where you can watch the time lapse video (made by Vanessa Sigurdson and Charlie Nordstrom) and literally watch the mushrooms grow. Coming soon are links of cooking with mushrooms from your garden.