How to Use a Mushroom Growing Kit
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Mushrooms are one of those foods people either love or hate. If you can’t imagine eating a pizza without them or enjoy tossing them in your omelets, you may find yourself constantly picking up packages of shrooms at the grocery store. That can get expensive after a while.
There is another option. You can use a mushroom growing kit to cultivate these scrumptious spores at home and have a constant supply at the ready. Here’s how they work.
What Is a Mushroom Growing Kit?
It sounds pretty straightforward, and it is. A mushroom growing kit contains a fruiting block that is not yet ready to produce fungi. The block, or substrate, is covered in mycelium, a network of fungal threads that will eventually sprout under the right conditions. It’s encased in a mushroom grow bag that can be stored in a cool place, like inside your refrigerator, until you are ready to begin cultivation. However, it’s best to keep it there for no more than a couple of weeks.
You can find multiple mushroom growing kit sources online, and there are many varieties of spores to choose from. Some popular options include oyster mushrooms, lion’s mane, shitake, morel and enoki.
Opening and Storing Your Mushroom Growing Kit
Once you receive your kit, it should be opened so the substrate is exposed to air. This will prompt primordia to form, which will eventually become mushrooms. Follow the directions on your kit based on the variety of fungi you have. Typically, primordia will appear in about a week.
Your mushroom growing kit should be stored in cool, moist and dim conditions after it’s opened to allow for fruiting. You can keep it in your basement or garage, although some varieties might do well in your bathroom due to the steamy environment. Mist with water or use a humidifier to encourage growth, and ensure the temperature is around 55 F to 60 F. Otherwise, you may end up with dry, cracked shrooms.
You’ll also want to provide plenty of fresh air since mushrooms produce carbon dioxide and will grow long and leggy if they don’t get enough oxygen. Be sure to keep up a routine of misting and fanning to maintain optimal growing conditions.
Fruiting and Harvesting Your Fungi
It can take a few days to a couple of weeks for fruiting to begin. This is when the mycelium will start to sprout mushrooms. Continue your regimen of misting and providing air circulation. Your shrooms are ready for harvesting once growth appears to have slowed, depending on the variety you are growing. Be sure to follow the directions on your package to determine when they’re safe to pick.
The great thing about mushroom growing kits is that the substrate can be used more than once. You can get anywhere from two to three crops, or flushes, of mushrooms from one kit. However, the substrate will eventually be spent and no longer usable. Bury the kit outside. You never know if nature will surprise you down the road and you’ll see one or two more fungi popping up.
Enjoy Your Mushroom Growing Kit Harvest
Mushroom growing kits are a great way to cultivate your green thumb because they are relatively simple to use and produce results quickly. You’ll enjoy the fruit of your labors within weeks and can even cultivate more than one crop. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of fungi for your frittatas.
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About the author
Rachel serves as the Assistant Editor of Environment.co. A true foodie and activist at heart, she loves covering topics ranging from veganism to off grid living.