These mushroom kits are some of the easier varieties to grow, follow the steps below to ensure you have great success
Please note: These blocks are a living fungal organism and timing throughout the process is important. If you cannot start the fruiting process within 24-72 hours please store the grow block in the fridge. Keeping it in the fridge will slow its growing process down significantly and it can be delayed for 1-2 weeks.
Grow block location for fruiting;
Somewhere humid if possible, bathrooms with some ambient lighting work great as they tend to be more humid. Especially if the bathroom is used for showers.
Areas of the house with ambient lighting that do not have either heating or cooling, air conditioning and heating systems remove moisture from the air, one of the primary factors in getting good results is maintaining a humid environment.
Unlike button or field mushrooms the gourmet varieties need light to grow properly, varieties such as Yellow Oyster will not grow yellow without lighting. Ambient natural lighting is best, fluorescent or led lighting also works well. Do not place the block in direct sunlight, this will dry the block out and it will not fruit.
We have had customers get great results on kitchen benches, lounge rooms etc this is possible if the area is not heated/cooled removing humidity from the air. The mushrooms grow best at temperatures between 14-26c, varieties such as the Pink and Yellow Oysters can grow at temperatures up to 30-32c
Step 1: Starting the Process
The grow kit you have received will have a perforated section on the box, remove this from the box, this exposed section is where the mushroom grow bag should be cut. Cut the exposed area in an X shape. If you have grown mushrooms before feel free to cut the bag in anyway you choose but we have found the marks we have made provide the best results for the variety you have purchased.
When cutting the grow block use a clean sharp knife, a box cutter or scalpel works well otherwise a sharp kitchen knife will do the job. You can quickly disinfect the knife by dipping it in boiling water or cleaning it with rubbing alcohol.
Make the cut the size of the marking we have put on the block, try not to cut into the substrate the goal is to just cut the plastic without damaging the block.
NB: You do not need to expose the block or pull back the plastic in any way, the cut is only to expose the mushroom block to oxygen, opening up the plastic or exposing the substrate in any way will cause the area to dry out and it may not fruit correctly.
Step 2: Growing
At this point all you need to do is mist the cut 2-3 times per day, a spray bottle with tap or filtered water is fine.
This misting is not to water the block, the mushroom block already has all of the water it needs to grow inside it. The misting is simply to try increase the humidity around the cut and to keep the mushrooms humid as they start growing.
The mushroom block will start to produce pins (little mushrooms) through the cut in the plastic, it will naturally force the cut open to grow the mushrooms. Keep misting these 2-3 times per day until they are ready to harvest.
NB: You will most likely see growth happening inside the mushroom bag away from the cut area, this is totally normal. Do not open up the bag or make additional cuts where you see this growth as it will negatively affect the overall process and you will get significantly less mushrooms.
Step 3: Harvesting
Different varieties grow at different speeds, there is no exact time frame as the average temperature the block has been exposed to will affect the speed. Below is an approximate time frame for the different varieties between step 1 and harvest.
Blue Oyster: 7 - 12 Days
Phoenix Oyster: 6 - 9 Days
Yellow Oyster: 6 - 12 Days
Pink Oyster: 6 - 10 Days
Grey Oyster: 6-14 Days
Growing times can fall outside of this range depending on the environmental conditions.
When to harvest?
The timing of harvest is not determined by their size but rather the shape of the mushroom cap. With all of the oyster varieties you want to harvest them when the outside of the mushroom cap is still slightly downturned. If you leave them until the caps start flattening or upturning they will be more fragile and have less fridge life.
There are many examples of harvest timing online, our images on instagram of harvested mushrooms (@themushroomguys) are also a good example of timing.
How To Harvest?
Your mushrooms are ready to harvest, congratulations! The best way to harvest your mushrooms is to get a sharp knife and cut them off as close to the mushroom block as possible without cutting into the block. If you can try to cut as little of the plastic as possible as this helps keep the block humid for subsequent flushes.
Once you have removed the mushrooms, cut off any excess mushroom material (the bases, leftover mushrooms etc) as this will decompose, affecting subsequent flushes.
You have now hopefully harvested more mushrooms than you can eat, for storage they need to be kept in the fridge. A sealed container with some paper towels in it to absorb moisture works best. Freshly harvested mushrooms will last 1-2 weeks in the fridge.
Step 4: Additional Flushes
Your mushroom grow block will continue to make mushrooms with the right care. The oyster varieties will get anywhere from 1-6 flushes depending on their environment and level of care.
After you have harvested the mushrooms continue to mist the block as you did in Step 2, after the block rests for a short period of time anywhere from 3-7 days you will see the formation of new pins and the next flush. It is important to keep misting, keeping the humidity up otherwise the block will dry out and the process will stop.
On the 3rd or 4th flush the block may start to look too dry, if this is the case you can soak it in water for 12 hours to try get some moisture back into it. Soak the entire block including its protective plastic surround.
Once the mushroom block has stopped producing flushes you can put it in your garden, they are great compost.