Mushroom grow kit FAQs

Here are common mushroom grow kit FAQs our customers ask.

Can I store the grow kit before using? What is the shelf life?

Inside your kit is a living organism, so we recommend activating it upon receipt. If you need to wait, you can store them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight or in the fridge for around 2-3 months.
All of the species used in our kits are very vigorous and viable, so after storing for a few weeks, they may start fruiting in the bag! It’s no issue, but some recipients can be surprised or concerned which is why we have activation and storage recommendations.

Should I take the block out of the bag?

Our kit should stay in the bag (and inside the box) while they grow.
After removing the front panel of the box along the perforated lines, cut an X into the exposed plastic. Enough oxygen gets to the block through this cut and it directs the mushrooms to form there. Remember to leave the plastic flaps of the X on the bag, they’ll help to keep moisture in. The mushrooms will easily grow out of the sliced X section, so no need to open it up more as they fruit.

How often should I water my kit?

You don’t need to empty the bottle each time you spray, but it is important to get the area where you cut open the bag nice and damp! Try 5-10 sprays each time. It can take a little trial and error to get the frequency and amount just right. If the surface of the block seems very dry the next time you spray it, you should give it a bit more water or water a bit more often. If you run AC or live in an arid climate, using a humidity tent can be useful to prevent your block from drying out.

Is my grow kit the right Species

Your kit was inoculated in a sterile environment with a selected mushroom culture. It is incredibly unlikely you would ever have a competing species grow from your kit. However, if you’d like to make sure what is growing from your kit is indeed the correct species, simply take a photograph and email it to us for confirmation. Save the image on the front of your kit bag or box for reference.
We do sometimes make mistakes, being human and all. So, it is possible we packed a mushroom bag in the wrong box. If this sounds like what happened, please reach out! We want to make it right for you.

What is the white stuff? Is my kit growing mold?

Chances are, that’s not mold—it’s mycelium! Your kit includes an amended sawdust block with mushroom mycelium growing through it. The block may appear covered with a soft, white, mold-like substance. That’s the mushroom mycelium, and it’s totally normal and healthy for your mushroom block. The mycelium of some species is more prominent than others. For example, lion’s mane mycelium tends to be finer and more difficult to see, while oysters can develop into a very thick and leathery mat. If you are still unsure about what’s growing on your kit, reach out to us with a photo, and we will help you identify what’s going on.
 
If your kit has black, green, or orange patches, it’s possible your kit was damaged in transit and has mold. Reach out to us with a photo, and we’ll make it right.

Why is my new kit already growing mushrooms?

Sounds like you’ve got a very vigorous kit! This is totally normal. If you’re growing oysters, lion’s mane, pioppino, or chestnut you can ignore the mushrooms that may be fruiting inside your bag. If they’re easily accessible you can break them off and compost them, so you can start fresh.

Why do my mushrooms look weired?

Sometimes the caps of mushrooms look bizarre and wonky when they’re little and starting to emerge. As they grow, if there’s not enough oxygen or moisture, the mushrooms can deform. Leggy, stringy, or sparse mushrooms need more airflow; let ’em breathe! Try moving them to a more open place or put a fan near them.
 
Mushrooms that are otherwise abnormally shaped may need some more humidity – you can try using a humidity tent. Caps that are pale likely need more natural light. Avoid keeping your kit in closets or cabinets. Ambient sunlight helps them develop rich hues.

Why did my kit start growing then stoped?

Usually, mushroom pins stop growing when there isn’t enough humidity around the block. Don’t panic! Your mushroom kit still has all the food needed to produce mushrooms. Simply pick off the dried-up pins, wait one week, letting the block dry out on a plate. Then, soak the block for 20 minutes in cold water, drain all the water out of your kit (species that grow in the bag) and start the process over. If you didn’t use a humidity tent the first time then it may be helpful the second go around. It creates a moist microclimate that your block should thrive in.
 
When you start to see baby mushrooms form (pinning), you can remove the bag and keep misting the block. Make sure to keep a close eye on the kit. Spray 2-3x daily with water to keep it hydrated.

How do I make a humidity tent?

Mushrooms thrive on humidity and can easily dry out if they don’t get enough of it. We recommend using a humidity tent in dry conditions, when blocks have been broken up, or if you can’t water your block one day. It creates a moist microclimate that your block should thrive in.
 
Take a semi-transparent trash bag or other loose-fitting plastic bag and put plenty of 1/2-inch holes in it. Your mushrooms need to breathe! Drape the bag over your kit and mist the inside of the tent or the slice on your block several times per day. You can use a plastic tote, chopsticks, or anything else you have handy to help prop up your bag if it’s not stiff enough to hold on its own. When you start to see baby mushrooms form (pinning), you can remove the bag and keep misting the kit.

When should I harvest my mushrooms?

The general rule is that mushrooms should be harvested before their caps flatten or become concave. In the case of lion’s mane, before they become yellowed and mushy. Unlike plants, mushrooms grow incredibly fast, sometimes doubling in size each day. Make sure to keep a close eye on your kit so you don’t miss the opportune time to harvest!
 
We like to harvest oyster mushrooms right before their caps begin to flatten out, while the edge is still a little curved under. At this point, the mushrooms have almost grown to their full size and will store better than mushrooms harvested later. You can definitely pick and eat mushrooms after the cap has flattened out, but they won’t keep as long and are more brittle.
 
Lion’s mane doesn’t have caps and gills, but rather teeth. When they’re young, they form dense round balls, sometimes growing more mounds and lumps in maturity. The length of their teeth or spines can be used as a good indicator of when to harvest. We like to pick them when teeth are ¼-½” long before any yellowing.
 
To harvest, reach your hand around the base of the mushroom cluster and twist. This motion should be enough to pop your mushrooms off the block. You can also use a knife if you want, too! Remove any extra loose debris on the block before starting to spritz again for a second flush. Your first flush could produce anywhere between ½-2 lbs. of mushrooms!
 
If mushrooms become dried out, moldy, or look unappetizing in any way, chances are they weren’t harvested early enough. You can send us a photo to see what might have happened. Stringy mushrooms with long stems and little caps are probably in a high CO2 environment. Give them some air, or even try a fan!

What do you mean by fruiting and flash?

The word fruit can be very specific, referring to foods like berries and apples, or a bit more general to refer to how an organism reproduces. So tomatoes and rosehips are the fruits of those plants; they contain the seeds. Likewise, mushrooms are the fruits of a fungus; they contain spores. So when a fungus starts to produce mushrooms, we call that fruiting.
 
Specifically, mushrooms are the reproductive structure of the fungus. The block in your kit is primarily comprised of mycelium (the vegetative body of a fungus), and it’s food (a bag full of supplemented sawdust). As the mycelium grows, consuming the sawdust mix, it uses up the nutrients available in the bag. When it’s fully established, has run out of nutrients or experiences other environmental cues like a temperature or oxygen shift, that’s a cue for the fungus to fruit and produce mushrooms so that it can move on to another food source.
 
A flush refers to the production of multiple mushroom fruit bodies at one time. Many of the fungi we cultivate tend to produce many mushrooms simultaneously – this is known as a ‘flush’ of mushrooms.

How many flushes will one kit produce?

We guarantee at least one fruiting of mushrooms off your kit, but depending on the species you choose to grow it is likely you will get a second, third, fourth, or even fifth fruiting with care and patience. Growing mushrooms is an art, and it takes skill to be good at it. Be patient, follow the instructions carefully, and try to maintain a humid environment for your kit and you should succeed.
In terms of yield, you can usually expect your first flush to be somewhere in the range of 0.5-3kgs. This varies significantly species to species, environment to environment. It depends greatly on how much care you put into maintaining your kit! Each subsequent fruiting will likely be smaller as the fungi use up nutrients in the substrate.

Do I need to cook my mushrooms?

Yes, you should make sure any mushrooms you eat are thoroughly cooked. Mushrooms contain a compound called chitin which is difficult to digest. Chitin also occurs in arthropod shells giving them strength and flexibility. It readily breaks down with heat, so cooking mushrooms makes them easier on our bodies.

How do I harvest my Mushrooms?

Hold the cluster near the base and spin them. If you’d rather use a knife and cut them, that’s fine too! Clean off any loose bits from the kit before continuing to spray and cut off any bits of sawdust from the block on your mushrooms before cooking and eating them.

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Roussoss Demmisse
Roussoss Demmisse

I'm the founder of Mushroom Kenya, a young accomplished mushroom farmer in Kenya with a 5 years plus experienced. At Mushroom Kenya we sell mushroom products and train farmers on how to grow the mushrooms.

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