Flashback: Home Mycology Lab

Flashback: Home Mycology Lab

Start a cultural revolution in your own house with Philip Ross’ Home Mycology Lab project from MAKE Volume 07, our Backyard Biology issue. Mushrooms are fascinating (and tasty), and this article introduces you to what it takes to make them grow. I love this illustration:


Philip offers a detailed how-to on making your own miniature mycology lab using an off-the-shelf home air purifier with a HEPA filter to create a “clean box” pristine environment. The project takes about an hour to build and about 2 weeks to grow, and provides a fun and easy window into the magical world of mycelium.

Philip Ross has extensive experience with mushrooms, and incorporates them (as well as plant life) into his artwork. Here’s an example:


Check out Home Mycology Lab in our Digital Edition. Other projects in Volume 07 include extracting and replicating your own DNA, hacking your plants through grafting and pollination, freezing and reviving a garden snail, building a videocam rocket and a Stirling engine, and a whole lot more. Unfortunately, we’re sold out of back issues of Volume 07. The good news is if you subscribe, you can have digital access to all 17 volumes of MAKE!

10 thoughts on “Flashback: Home Mycology Lab

  1. ap1.myopenid.com says:

    Mushrooms are fungi, not plants. Biologically, mushrooms are no more plantlife than you or I.

  2. Goli Mohammadi says:

    Thanks, Nitpick. Right you are and I stand corrected of a superfluous “other” before “plant life” above. Appreciate the nitpick!

  3. Bob Sinclair says:

    So I guess it would be possible to grow edible mushrooms in the basement? I’m not sure if spores can be bought, but as every mushroom has gazillions of them just buying an assortment from the deli would be enough to get started.

    I’m half thinking to give it a try. I love shiitake and button mushrooms. The last ones are commonly grown on horse manure and give an excellent yield (i.e. it’s hard to eat them fast enough as they grow very, very fast).

    Great article, keep ‘m coming! :-)

  4. Bob D says:

    Hi Bob,

    You can buy spores and starter cultures from Paul Stamets @ Fungi Perfecti – http://www.fungi.com

    His prices for culture stock are high because there is a lot of labor that goes on to isolate viable strains. He also sells kits (or used to a few years ago) for hobbiests. My old roommate had a nice shiitake kit that produced fruit bodies for a couple years.

    Also, forgive me if this was covered in the article – I didn’t read it. I’m a former hobby mushroom grower and found there to be a handfull of books to be pretty good. The “Bible” is still Stamets’ book “The Mushroom Cultivator”


  5. Rhayader says:

    Hey FYI you can do the same thing if you are looking for something more that taste from your mushrooms. You see, while “magic” mushrooms are illegal, their spores are not. So you can buy kits online with a sealed bag full of growing medium and a syringe full of spores in solution. Inject those bad boys through a little resealable membrane on the bag and watch them grow. Just be careful and do your research if you have never used them before, it can be very intense.

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

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