Growing things in the (mushroom) cloud*

We’re getting quite excited about horticulture here at Pi Towers this year; Rachel’s got a desktop greenhouse growing interesting edible leaves with a high degree of Raspberry Pi involvement (we’ll have much more on that, and on how she’s scaling it into a bigger installation you’ll be able to visit, in a month or so). I’m waiting for a warm weekend to set up a new owl box, with Pi camera, in my garden; and there’s another Pi camera deployed in the direction of the plants on my desk so I can check that Clive doesn’t forget to water them again next time I have to go overseas.

(The best) part of Rachel's Pi garden setup.

(The best) part of Rachel’s Pi garden setup.

Green plants benefit from a spot of automated attention from a Raspberry Pi to their water levels, UV light levels and the length of their “day”, and temperature. Kyle Gabriel has been applying a similar process to mycology, automating the cultivation of mushrooms with a Raspberry Pi.

Mushrooms’ needs are not the same as those of Rachel’s salad vegetables; the Pi overseeing a mushroom farm needs to be paying attention to CO2 levels, temperature and humidity, among other things. (Fun mushroom-raising fact: if you’ve got a log prepped with shiitake spores, you’ll need to shock it to get it to start to fruit, either by hitting it hard with a hammer, or submerging it in really, really cold water for a couple of days.)

Kyle’s setup, which heats, humidifies and introduces filtered, sterile air into the mushrooms’ environment, outputs data on temperature, humidity, dew point and how long the setup has been running to a browser, creating handsome graphs to reassure the user that everything is tickety-boo inside the mushroom box.


The results don’t speak for themselves, because they’re mushrooms, and mushrooms are vocally challenged. But they look pretty darn tasty.


Kyle has made a full build diary and detailed explanation of what’s going on in the chamber available at his website. Thanks Kyle!

*A long argument has been going on this afternoon over whether we should have gone with this title, or changed it to “A Fun Guy to be with”. Please let us know your preference in the comments.


ukscone avatar

Should have gone with the later so we could all wear our Miranda “Such Pun” T-Shirts

ukscone avatar

Mushroom walks into a bar.
Bartender says, “We don’t serve mushrooms.”
Mushroom says, “But I’m a ‘fun guy.'”
Bartender says, “I just said we don’t serve fungi.”
Mushroom says, “No, no, not ‘fungi,’ ‘fun guy.’ I made a pun.” Bartender says, “Get the heck out of my bar.”

Steve avatar

Mushroom Cloud – bit nuclear that! Better use the pun.

ric96 avatar

Ahem! “Mushrooms”

J Alway avatar

The term Mushroom Cloud has too much baggage.

John avatar

I’ve felt for some time that my mind has been atrophying, and now since it’s taken me so long to get “fun guy” my suspicions have been confirmed.
I’d like to know who mutilated the dino, though?

Haggishunter avatar

Don’t worry, it’s probably just the stresses of life drawing a universal veil over your mind. Get your thinking cap on and you won’t be left in the dark.

Kyle Gabriel avatar

Thanks for the publication, Liz. What timing… I’m currently in the process of completing build write-up for my newest version of my mushroom cultivator. I’ve been overhauling the code, adding features, and rebuilt the controller with a whole new set of hardware. I should have it up within the next few days. Cheers

Liz Upton avatar

Fantastic – let us know when you do!

Kyle Gabriel avatar

I just posted my latest build documentation for my automated mushroom cultivator at
It details the hardware build, software installation and set up, with photos and (for a limited time) guest access to my RPi running the system. And, as always, all of the source code is freely available.

Phill Rogers avatar

Q: Why did you choose the tiny Raspberry Pi?
A: Because there’s not much-room!

Phil avatar

John may not get this.

John avatar

Get what? :-)

Herbert Crowder avatar

I agree that Mushroom cloud is a bit ominous with the dealing going on Iran! I take it these are are ordinary mushrooms, When the crowds show up for Bonnaroo in June some are more interested in the mushrooms that give them a view of all the pretty colors. Fortunately they are not in the majority.

Maciej Korzeniowski avatar

This project is pretty fly for a fungi.

MalMan35 avatar

Fun guy. That’s the first time I heard that and I didn’t get it at first. Lol :D

David avatar

Definitely Fun Guy – the other is too sporeful to contemplate.

Has Kyle named his software called Code’s Tool by any chance? That would be magic…

David avatar

Sorry, that post went a truffle wrong in the last line.

John avatar

There’s a morel to be learned somewhere in this story.

Niall Saunders avatar

This thread seem to be a load of shitake

Comments are closed