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When container gardening, or growing food at home, you often assume that your plants need a light source for proper growth.
However, if you’re growing mushrooms, you might ask the question: do mushrooms need light to grow?
The answer might surprise you! We’re covering various methods for growing mushrooms at home and frequently asked questions, such as do mushrooms need light to grow.
Growing Mushrooms – DIY or Kit Method
When growing mushrooms at home, you’ll want to consider the method you’re using to grow them.
One option is to purchase a mushroom log. We’ve done a full review of mushroom logs in this article. However, our favorite brand is 2funguys, which sells multiple mushroom log options on Amazon.
Our top pick for beginners utilizing a mushroom log is Mr. Stumpy from 2funguys. This log grows shitake mushrooms, however they have options for many other varieties as well in their other products.
Another method of growing mushrooms at home is what we call the DIY method. By using a shallow container and a light layer of soil you can grow mushrooms in your own home.
This process typically yields mushrooms a little quicker than a mushroom log will. A typical cycle can take 1-2 months to grow mushrooms using a DIY method, vs So if you’re impatient or wanting to speed the process up, this could be a better option for you.
Growing Mushrooms – Factors for Success
Lets go over what you need to make sure your mushrooms grow and thrive.
Light Source – Do Mushrooms Need Light to Grow?
“Do mushrooms need light to grow” is probably the most asked question for gardeners that are just starting to grow mushrooms at home.
The answer to this is fairly simple – they do not! In fact, they prefer cool, dark places. Whether you’re using a mushroom log or a DIY method you should not give your mushrooms a lot of light.
Mushrooms like to be very moist while growing. Its best to ensure if you’re using the DIY method to spray them with water frequently to ensure they have the moisture they need.
If you’re using a mushroom log, often they ask you to create a moisture tent (full instructions in this guide) to ensure that the air and mushroom log have ample moisture for the mushrooms to thrive.
Growing Mushrooms at Home – Pros and Cons
Growing mushrooms at home can be a very satisfying process. Lets talk about some of the pro’s and con’s of growing mushrooms.
Pros of Growing Mushrooms at Home
Save Money Over Time
Mushrooms are often expensive at a grocery store compared to other produce. Growing them at home can be a way to save money over time.
Mushroom logs are relatively cheap – you can get them from $20 – $50 at most places. You can grow all types of gourmet mushrooms (shitake, oyster, lion, and more!). You can also grow them using a DIY method for relatively cheap as well.
Cons of using a Mushroom Log
Mushrooms can take a long time to grow
Depending on what method you’re using to grow your mushrooms (either a log or DIY method) it can take anywhere from 2 months to 12 months to see the fruits of your labor.
DIY methods typically yield mushrooms within 2 months (sometimes less). A mushroom log takes longer to produce vegetables, but they continue to yield mushrooms for a longer period of time. You can often use mushroom logs for multiple years.
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If you’ve had issues with bats around your house, or found them burrowed in your attic, you know that it can be an alarming experience.
Bat houses are an option to consider if you have a lot of bats in your area. We’re going to cover why they’re beneficial and the best bat house options available today.
Why Bats are Beneficial
There’s a number of reasons that you want to protect the bats in your area and not get rid of them. Lets talk about some of the reasons that you want to keep bats around.
One of the biggest benefits to having bats around is that they’re a natural pesticide for your garden. They eat tremendous amounts of insects each night.
Additionally, they eat mosquitos as well. This means less pesky mosquitos at your next summer BBQ.
Bats are pollinators in some areas
In some regions, bats can act as pollinators for your plants. Aside from bees, they can be one of the better ways to pollinate the plants in your garden.
Certain species of bats are endangered
Depending on what area you live in, the species of bat around you might be endangered. Its best to protect bats whenever possible. If you must remove them totally from your home, its best to hire a professional to do it safely.
Bats are Cool
Aside from giving vampire-like vibes, bats are are very chill co-habitors.
Bats are generally not aggressive, and will leave you alone if you do the same for them. People tend to run into issues with bats when they try to pick them up. Admire them from afar and you’ll likely not ever have an issue.
Best Bat Houses – Full Reviews and Comparisons
Lets go over the best bat house options.
Best Overall: Dual Chamber Bat house from Big Bat Box
This bat house from Big Bat House can hold up to 75 bats, with multiple chambers inside to accommodate them. Its made of high quality cedar and has grooves along the entrance to help the bats enter the unit.
Additionally, its easy to install and ships already assembled for easy set up.
They also offer this model in 3 different colors – which you should select based on the outside temperature of your region (cooler regions select the darker colors to absorb the heat, there is a picture reference included on the amazon product page).
This item from big bat house is modeled after their BCI certified bat box (their premium model), which is one of the only BCI certified bat houses available.
There aren’t many cons to this model. A few reviews noted spotty quality when they initially received their bat house, however in most cases this was quickly addressed by the company.
This bat house is a mid sized option with multiple chambers, but if you want a space that is large enough for a lot of bats it may not be big enough. If you need additional space, we would recommend considering the premium option from big bat house.
Best Budget Option: Outer Trails Bat Habitat
The advantage to buying the Outer Trails bat habitat is the price.
This brand offers two size options – a 2 chamber and 3 chamber model. Each option is made from cedar woodsimilar to the big bat house model.
More reviewers on Amazon noted quality issues, however it may be worth chancing it if you’re on a budget or looking for a budget friendly solution to your bat problem.
Best Premium Option: Big Bat House BCI Compliant Box
This model from big bat box is a premium option..
It is a BCI certified bat house, which certifies that it has a higher occupancy rate than other options on the market and provides a safe and comfortable environment for bats to live in.
This bat house can hold up to 200 bats and is ideal for those looking for a large house for bats in the area.
The biggest con for this model is the price. At approximately $200, it is a premium option compared to the first two models mentioned.
However, if you want a high quality house that can house a lot of bats safely, its worth considering this option.
Considerations when Choosing a Bat House
Lets talk about the considerations when purchasing a bat house.
When selecting a house for your bats, you want one that has grooves on the landing area. This will help bats get inside the house more easily.
Most models have this built in, but it is worth checking before purchasing to be sure. A bat house without these grooves likely will not have a high occupancy rate.
The Bat House Entrance
The entrance for your bat house should be small – probably smaller than you think.
Bat house entrances need to be no larger than 1 inch. Any larger and you risk attracting unwanted rodents.
The entrance should also be at the bottom to prevent any unwanted build up of bat guano.
Ideally, you want a bat house with multiple chambers. A good range to aim for is 2 to 4 depending on how many bats you need to house.
A single chambered house will not have a ton of space for the bats and likely will not have as high of an occupancy rate as other models would.
Multiple chambers allows for space between the bats and a better accommodation for them all around.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where should I place my bat box?
A bat box should be placed at least 12 feed off of the ground. It should also be placed against a building, which may be counterintuitive to some.
Often people want to place their bat house in a tree, however this leaves the bats vulnerable to other predators sneaking in.
When a bat house is placed against a building, its much more difficult for unwanted house guests to intrude.
Additionally, bats prefer a warm environment, so if you have a spot that receives direct sunlight during the day this is a good option.
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If you’re new to container gardening, you’ve probably wondered what kind of soil to use in container gardening is best.
Between garden soil, top soil, and potting soil it can be confusing. It can also probably be tempting to either use soil straight from the ground (top soil) since it is free and readily available.
It can also be tempting to purchase garden soil from your gardening store. However,0 if you’re planning on creating a container garden, it is best to use potting soil for any plants in your container garden.
Keep reading to learn more about why potting soil is the right choice, and our top picks for potting soil to use in container gardening!
Why do You Need to Use Potting Soil?
When planting a container garden, its important to choose the right soil.
As a new gardener, it can be tempting to use soil straight from the ground, or even bags labelled garden soil at your local gardening store. These are often cheaper (or free) compared to potting mixes.
However, potting mixes are the best choice for container gardens for several reasons.
Potting mixes contain multiple ingredients in them. Often you’ll see the most common mediums aside from soil are perlite or coco peat (also called coco coir).
These mediums help keep potting soil less dense than garden soil or soil in the ground. As a result, they help provide drainage for potted plants.
Getting the right amount of drainage can be done in several different ways, but its difficult to do at all if you have a super dense and compact soil. Garden soil or ground soil will hold a lot of moisture and leave you’re plants roots susceptible to root rot.
By using a potting soil instead of garden soil or ground soil you’re helping your plant avoid this risk.
Another key factor that potting soil offers is the nutrients mixed in.
When you use garden soil or top soil, there’s no nutrients already mixed in. Its possible that your soil is naturally rich in the nutrients and ingredients needed for your plants.
However, its also possible that it does not have the right mix.
You also risk other potential issues like pH level. A ground soil’s pH level could be drastically different than what your plant needs to thrive.
Unless you’re planning to add fertilizer, and check the pH level of your soil prior to planting, we recommend using potting soil for your container garden.
Aeration is another benefit you’ll gain from using potting soil.
Similar to how potting soil provides drainage, the fact that potting soil is less compact means that you’re roots will get better air flow. This might sound like a bad thing, but it’s actually quite good for plant’s roots to get some air exposure.
The last benefit of using potting soil that we’ll mention is the fact that if you purchasing potting soil its unlikely that you’ll get a mix that has pests in it.
When you use soil from the ground it can be hard to tell exactly what insects or larvae you’re bringing with it. This can lead to your plant suffering from diseases or infestations later on. If you’re planting a seed it can kill your plant early on when its in its most vulnerable seedling stage.
The Best Potting Soil Options for Container Gardening
Now, lets discuss the best potting soil options for container gardening.
Best Option: Happy Frog Potting Mix
Our top pick is the Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil mix. You’ll notice we have recommended this potting soil in many other articles on Fig and Spruce.
This mix is specifically designed for container planting, and the balance of ingredients will work well for a wide range of plants (meaning you don’t generally need to worry about buying multiple types of potting mix for different plants).
This potting soil is nutrient rich and comes with an adjusted pH level to allow for “maximum nutrient uptake”.
The price on this potting soil is also very comparable to budget potting mixes, so for the quality that you’re getting this bag is a great option for your container garden.
Best Budget Option: Miracle Gro Potting Mix
If you’re looking for a budget option, you could consider the miracle gro potting mix.
It also comes in varying sizes, so if you know you only need a small amount of soil this is a good option.
While this might not have all the high quality ingredients that the Happy Frog Potting Mix has, it still offers a solid potting mix for your plants. It comes with fertilizers mixed in that are balanced specifically for container gardens.
Miracle Gro is a company that is well established as a budget friendly gardening brand, and this potting mix is no exception. You get a very high quality mix for the money spent with this item.
Best Drainage Option: Mother Earth Coco + Perlite Mix
For those with a heavy hand at watering their plants, you may want to consider the mother earth coco perlite mix. This is an “alternative to potting soil” in that it is a mix of 65-75% coco coir and perlite.
This mix will give you’re plant the most drainage and aeration. If you’re someone who has killed plants from over watering, this could be a good mix to consider.
What to consider:
Lets talk about some factors to consider when evaluating potting mixes.
What ingredients are used?
The ingredients that make up a potting soil are the key to selecting a good one. Look for mediums like coco coir or perlite that add drainage.
Also look for descriptions that note organic ingredients, this will help ensure a nutrient rich mix.
Does it include fertilizer?
Something to consider is does the potting mix include fertilizer? Often times it does, but its always a good idea to check before buying. If it does not you’ll want to consider adding fertilizer to the mix to ensure your plants have everything they need to thrive.
Can I use Garden Soil?
So – if after reading this article you’re still considering using garden soil, our answer is yes, conditionally.
It is definitely possible to use garden soil in place of potting soil in a container garden.
However, you’ll want to ensure that the pH level in your soil is right. Youl’ll also need to confirm that it has the nutrients you need (likely this will mean adding fertilizer).
You’ll also want to mix a medium in like perlite or coco coir/coco peat to ensure that the soil is not too dense for your potted plants.
So – can you use garden soil for a container garden? Yes. Should you? We would only say yes if you’re comfortable making several adjustments and testing the soil prior to use.
For beginners just getting started with container gardening, we would recommend a potting mix to help avoid these pitfalls discussed above.
What potting soil have you used that you loved? Let us know in the comments below!
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