Do-it-yourself Mushroom Man

Josh Kindlesparker with mushrooms at the Pendleton farmer's market. Photo by author

Mushrooms are probably the furthest thing from your mind right now, but that would not include all of us. One man raises them in his basement and a local couple finds them throughout the summer and fall with some fruit to boot.

A month ago, Saturday, at the Pendleton Farmer’s Market, I met the fungi fanatic Josh Kindlesparker, His day job is a realtor for Carpenter but mornings and evenings he does weird things in his basement.

“I learned a lot from You Tube about growing mushrooms and by trial and error. It has turned into a fun side business and is difficult to keep up with demand,” Kindlesparker said.

I learned that there are various techniques for different varieties. One is called log bags where he fills elongated bags with sawdust, cottonseed/soybean hulls, farm waste and even coffee grounds. Long tubing with holes is used for the blue and white oysters. Shitake is a popular variety he grows.

This fungi man has shelves set up in a 11X15 basement space. He gets his spawn or cultures from a company in Lexington, Ky. “It takes about $500.00 to get started with shelves, foggers, lights and spawn,” he said.

After set-up, this does not seem to be labor intensive. Kindlesparker spends 15 minutes in the morning and about 40 minutes in the evening. He continues to learn the variances in habitat from one mushroom to another.

The ideal temperature is 62-65 degrees with humidity levels from 60-70 percent. Kindlesparker keeps the light on 12 hours a day until the mushrooms peak through the bark then they need light to bloom.

Greg and Angie Hubble hunt their mushrooms locally. Thus far, this summer they have found six lbs. of chanterelles, two lbs. of cauliflowers, and one lb. of turkey tails. “Turkey tail can be used to make tea that gives a boost to your immune system.

This Madison County couple as also found time to pick 16 quarts of wild black raspberries and six quarts of blackberries.

They will be looking to gather puffball and hen of the woods mushrooms this fall.
There are some good You Tube videos, that will fill in the blanks on how to raise mushrooms. Also, look up Hoosier Mushroom Society and


Rick Bramwell
Rick L. Bramwell is 74 years old and began writing for the Anderson Herald Bulletin in 1972. He likes to hunt small game, deer, turkey and morel mushrooms. Bramwell’s 174-7/8 typical whitetail is the largest ever taken in Madison County. He used to compete in Red Man and BASS Federation tournaments, but is now content to fish ponds and small lakes for bass and panfish. For most of 43 years Bramwell has coached Baseball and softball. He has three grown children and resides in Madison County, near Pendleton.


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