Mushroom Grow Kit Instructions
Your kit contains the white mycelium of an oyster mushroom (either golden, elm, pearl, field, blue or pink) growing in a bag of pure hardwood sawdust and soy hull. With a little care it will produce two to three flushes of delicious mushrooms.
For Lion's Mane kits you may have noticed that your kit is not as white as an Oyster mushroom kit, and you may even see some brown sawdust. Lion’s mane tend to “fruit prematurely” before the sawdust is completely covered with thick white mycelium. No need to let it mature longer - you can go ahead and start your kit as soon as you are ready.
Select a Location and Prepare the Kit: Choose an area in your house where you will pass by daily to monitor your kit’s progress. Blue and pearl oysters prefer temperatures ranging from ~10C-21C, while golden, pink and elm oysters prefer ~21C-29C. Lion's Mane grows best at 18-24C.
Avoid direct sunlight but indirect light is necessary for mushrooms to form (enough light to read by).
Place the kit on a plate or cookie tray to catch any dripping water.
With a sharp knife or scissors cut an X on one side or on the top of the bag about 2.5 cm (1 inche) long. This will create 4 triangular flaps from under which mushrooms will soon grow.
Keep it Humid: Mushrooms need very high humidity to form. To increase humidity you can use a clear plastic bag with a dozen dime-size holes. Make sure to arrange the tent to allow space for mushrooms to form at the X. Mist 2-4 times daily with *non-chlorinated water, or more often if needed, to maintain condensation on the inside of the humidity tent. If you don’t have a spray bottle, place a container of water inside the tent. *Note: Chlorine can be removed from tap water by letting it sit in an open pot for 24 hours or boiling 10 minutes and letting cool.
Typically within two weeks a cluster of oyster mushrooms will emerge from the cut X. As the mushrooms grow, air exchange becomes increasingly important. Not enough fresh air results in long stems and small mushroom caps, while too much air exchange can cause them to dry out and abort because it’s harder to keep the humidity high. Oysters in particular like a lot of fresh air, so some people find it helpful to prop up the bottom of the tent or completely remove it once the cluster is well formed (about the size of a golf ball, with caps starting to expand). To compensate for the loss of humidity, mist mushrooms directly and/or place a wet tea towel or water dish underneath.
Pro tip: If it’s a wet rainy week, your oyster kit will be happy to fruit outdoors by the forces of nature – no tent, nor misting required!
When to Harvest: You will be enjoying your mushrooms within a week or so of seeing them start to form. Lion’s Mane are at their prime for eating when the dangling “spines” are several millimetres long. If the colour begins to turn off-white or brown, it is time to eat it regardless of the length of the spines. Harvest by twisting off the entire cluster, or cutting with a knife a the base. Keep in a paper bag in the refrigerator and eat within a week. Always cook your mushrooms before eating. For long term storage dehydrate and store in an airtight container. You can also blanch or sauté and freeze them for later use.
The Second Flush: After your first harvest, soak block in non chlorinated water for 6 hours. After soaking the block drip out any remaining water through the x you previously cut. If necessary, poke holes in the bottom to drain any excess, as water left to pool inside the bag may cause bacteria to grow. Set back on counter and replace the humidity tent and continue to mist a few times daily. A mushroom flush will soon grow from the original hole. (Alternatively, you can cut a new hole in the opposite side of the bag, and tape the original hole closed.) Place kit back under humidity tent and begin misting a few times daily until new mushrooms grow. It may be possible to get a third flush, sometimes even a fourth flush, before the mycelium has consumed up all of the food resources available in the kit.
Once no more mushrooms appear, it’s time to remove from bag and compost the kit. The mushroom block is a super soil amendment in your garden!