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Mushrooms in Containers (Apr)

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Event description



Saturday 1 April - 10am to 1pm (3 hours)

Growing healthy food is usually associated with a garden plot, but luscious soil isn’t always an option for everyone. So what if we said you could grow quality, nutritious, natural food from dried grass clippings, straw, or shredded cardboard boxes?

Join expert tutor Ellen Schindler at Kelmarna Gardens for this crash course in growing native NZ oyster mushrooms. This workshop will give you the materials and know-how to start growing them yourself at home with this simple, small-scale method that can be fun and fruitful for you and the whole family!

What to expect:

The first portion of this session is dedicated to learning about mushroom cultivation, which mushrooms you can grow and eat, what materials are best to use, and what to look out for along the way. Ellen will share her knowledge of mushrooms, focusing on edible and native NZ varieties, drawing on her years of experience with what works and what doesn't, and where to source what you need.

The second portion is for getting hands-on with the materials and instruction to guide you step-by-step through the process of setting up a container with NZ native oyster mushroom spawn. Learn and practise the skills for pasteurising substrate, inoculation, and how to prepare and care for your container, to walk away with the finished product as well as the confidence to create and harvest from more containers at home on your own!

Tickets include: theoretical and practical instruction in propagating native NZ mushrooms; growing materials, including pasteurised substrate and NZ native mushroom spawn

Please note that the cost of this session takes into account the knowledge and hands-on experience provided by your tutor, as well as the quality of materials prepared and provided by your tutor for you take away with you. It's also worth noting that commercial mushroom growing kits generally range from $40 to $50, and aren't always available with native NZ mushies, let alone with 3 hours of quality time with a local expert and a keen group from your community! Ngā manaakitanga

What to bring:


  • a clean 2-litre plastic ice cream container with lid (for your container)
  • scissors and/or box cutter knife (to work your container)
  • a refillable water bottle (to stay hydrated)
  • weather appropriate gear (to keep comfortable)


  • a pen and notepad (to take notes, if you like)
  • a power drill (cordless w/battery, to work your container)
  • drill bits, sizes 6 - 8 (to use with your drill)
  • a snack (if you like, to tide you over)
  • a face covering or mask (for indoor areas and close quarters)


Ellen Schindler is a passionate gardener and community organiser. Since 2006 she has nurtured her home garden in Sandringham into a productive food system with about 55 fruit trees of all types and sizes, beehives, chooks, and vegetable patches. She is also a committed volunteer who has been instrumental in establishing the Homestead and the Dignan Street Community gardens in Pt Chevalier and has been involved in planting and maintaining fruit trees in parks and grass berms across Sandringham.

Over the past few years, Ellen has indulged her interest in cultivating mushrooms on logs as well as in containers, experimenting in creating opportunities for valuable food production in the otherwise darker, more overlooked spaces in her garden.

Ellen believes that healthy food should be accessible to everyone, and teaching hands-on DIY workshops is one of her favourite ways to achieve this goal! In this workshop, Ellen is looking forward to sharing with you her homegrown mushroom experience and encouraging you to explore the process for yourself -- hopefully to find that it’s good fun and a lot easier than it looks!


At Kelmarna, we strive to make education accessible for everyone. So, where possible, we offer a 35% discount on our workshops to valid Community Services Card holders. If you book one of these tickets, please email us a copy of your valid Community Services Card, and remember to bring it along to the workshop. Please note that this option does not include Super Gold Card holders. Ngā mihi.

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