How to use a grow kit
Growing mushroom at home with a grow kit is easy.
As long as the kit gets sprayed with water mist regularly and you keep it normal room temperature it will produce mushrooms.
We do however recommend that you read the complete guide so that you can get the most out of your kit.
Before you start
Where should I keep the kit?
When you want to grow mushrooms there are three things that are important.
Humidity, fresh air and light.
In an indoor home environment we can meet these needs by keeping the kit in a central place of the home so that air can flow around it and we are reminded to spray it with water whenever we walk by the kit.
It is best to not keep the kit in a cupboard or closet since it is easy to forget about it there and the mushrooms will not develop rich colors if they are kept in the dark for too long.
A popular place to keep the kit is on the kitchen counter.
Please keep the sunlight in mind when placing the kit. Too much sunlight can dry out the kit faster.
What is the white stuff?
The white fluffy stuff you see when you open the kit is not mold.
It is mushroom mycelium.
Mycelium is the vegetable form of a mushroom and it is from the mycelium that the actual mushrooms will sprout.
The mycelium will look a bit different depending of the species of the grow kit.
For example Oyster mushroom varieties have thick mycelium while Lion's mane have very light and whispy mycelium that can be hard to spot at first glance.
The color of the mycelium also varies a bit between species. Pink oyster for example have a bit of a pink hue to the mycelium.
Can I store the kits?
Mushroom mycelium is a fresh and perishable product.
We recommend that you start your kit as soon as it arrives for the best results.
If you however are not able to use your kit when it arrives it is possible to store.
The kits can be stored unopened in room temperature for up to 7 days after arrival.
All kits except Pink Oyster can also be stored unopened in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
The Pink oyster kit can not be stored long term in the fridge due to it's tropical nature. It simply does not fare well if stored at low temperature for a longer period of time.
Starting the kit
Opening your kit
Open your growing kit at the marked line.
Inspect the growth medium inside. Sometimes the substrate get smashed up during shipping and cracks might have formed.
That is however usually nothing to worry about.
If there are cracks in the growth medium you just need to let the kit sit for couple of days before continuing to the next step.
The mushroom mycelium will bind together the block again once it have gotten some time to recover from the shipping.
Slice the bag
Slice an "X" shaped opening into the bag containing the growth substrate.
The "X" shape of the opening allows the mushrooms to expand the opening by themselves once they start growing and need more room.
Please keep the flaps of the bag folded over the substrate.
The flaps help keeping humidity inside the kit and also work as added protection against airborne contaminants.
Spray the kit
Spray the surface of the kit with a fine water mist at 2-3 different occasions every day.
The finer water mist sprayed from the bottle the better.
All spray bottles are not alike. Some disperse more water than others every time you pump.
But in most cases around 6-8 pumps per watering session is a good amount.
You want to disperse around 25 ml of water every time you spray a kit.
If you live in a dry environment or if the kits are kept in a sunny place you will need to spray them a bit more.
If you are not able to spray the kit on multiple occasions every day you can build a humidity tent to help keep the moisture around the kit high.
Take a loosely fitting plastic bag (preferably transparent) and poke a lot of small holes in it. The holes should be around 1 cm in diameter.
Drape the bag over the kit and spray the inside of the bag with water mist once every day.
When baby mushrooms are forming you should remove the humidity tent and spray the kit the regular way.
When you have sliced your kit and started spraying it with water it will in most cases take 7-10 days until baby mushrooms start growing.
Sometimes it however take longer due to environmental causes like temperature or the mycelium recovering from stress caused by shipping.
There are also differences in speed between different mushroom species. Lion's mane for example is a slower grower than Pink oysters.
When baby mushrooms or "pins" start growing the growth process usually is quite fast. In most cases the mushrooms are ready to be harvested in 4-5 days after the mushrooms have started pinning.
Oyster mushrooms and other mushrooms with caps are best harvested once the edge of the cap have started to flat out.
Lion's mane is best harvested when the mushroom have started developing needle like spines.
The best way to harvest the mushrooms is to gently put your hand behind the mushroom cluster and gently twisting and pulling.
The whole cluster should pop right of without that much of the substrate coming of.
Remains of the substrate that is left at the base of the cluster you simply cut of with a knife.
The harvested mushrooms are best stored in a paper bag in the fridge.
How long they can be stored in the fridge before you prepare them varies between species but most species should be used in 2-3 days.
Enjoying multiple harvests
Preparing the kit
The kits are not single use. You can enjoy multiple harvests from them.
The customer record is 5 harvests from a single kit but in most cases you can enjoy 2-3 harvests.
When you have harvested your mushrooms it is time to prepare the kit for the next flush.
Start by removing all mushroom "remains". Small pieces of mushrooms that are left on the surface of the kit will eventually start decomposing and can cause contamination.
Fold down the plastic flaps again so that they cover the surface and protect the substrate.
The mushroom mycelium will now rest for a while before it starts to form new mushrooms.
Continue spraying the kit like when you started it. In around 2-3 weeks new baby mushrooms or "pins" will start forming.
Rebooting the kit
If you have prepared the kit for the next harvest and nothing happens after even 3 weeks you should not give up yet.
It might be due to the substrate drying out too much during the last harvest.
You can try rebooting the kit by soaking it in some water.
Open the box at the top and gently lift out the block in the plastic.
Place the block with the cut down into a bowl of water.
Let the block soak water for around 20 minutes.
Lion's mane kits should not be soaked longer than 5-10 minutes due to it's light mycelium. If left submerged in water for too long the block might start breaking up.
When you have soaked the block it is good to let it lie face down for around 10 minutes so that excess water can run off.
When the water have run of gently place the block back into the box with the cut side facing the opening.
Continue to spray the kit as previously even if it have been soaked.
Planting the kit outdoors
When the growth have started to slow down and you no longer can be bothered with spraying the kit every day you can give the kit a chance of a second life outdoors.
Find a shaded place outdoors and dig a small hole.
Open the box and remove the block.
Gently remove the plastic covering the substrate and place the substrate in the hole.
Cover the block with fresh sawdust, hay or the mulch.
If you use sawdust or hay it can provide extra nutrition to the mycelium.
When you have covered the hole you should water the block down with an garden hose or watering can.
Now it is time to let nature work.
Remember to check out your mushroom patch every once in a while.
Also remember that mushrooms that you have picked outdoors should be parboiled or blanched since they can contain bacteria from dirt.