Mushroom kits have become exceedingly popular not only for fungi enthusiasts but for anyone who wants to try a fun new hobby!
So whether you are already a mushroom kit junkie, or if you want to know a little more about mushroom kits, and specifically how to make them last longer, this is the article for you.
Mushroom experts have reported that you can elongate the life of a kit by letting it rest for 2-3 weeks and by watering and feeding the kit with manure and compost tea in between fruitings.
If you want to learn more about just what manure and compost tea is, and how to take care of your kit so it produces more mushrooms and lasts as long as possible, keep reading! We have everything you need to know.
How Long Does a Mushroom Kit Last?
While most kit brands will tell you that it will only last between 4-5 fruitings, even with the extended 2-3 week rest in between, users have found ways to make them last a whole lot longer!
Your kit can technically always produce mushrooms, however as it is an independent ecosystem, the nutrients the mushrooms need to grow will deplete.
This is why the manure compost tea is so important, it replenishes the missing food and then mushrooms can continue to fruit.
How Can You Make and Use Manure Compost Tea?
You will need manure and compost to make this magic tea for your mushroom kit. If you do not have either on hand, you can easily buy them from a local garden store or a nearby farm.
Once you have your ingredients, mix one cup of manure with nine cups of compost (IMPORTANT: do not use mushroom compost.) Then stir the mixture thoroughly.
From here, take one cup of the concoction and combine it with one gallon of water. Let the solids settle to the bottom, and the remaining liquid is your tea!
Depending on what type of substrate your kit is made of, the next steps vary slightly.
For compost substrate, soak the entire kit once after you’ve harvested your mushrooms, and again after three days.
With other options such as logs or sawdust, it is recommended to water the kit with as much tea as it can hold.
You should repeat this process in between each fruiting to make your mushroom kit last as long as possible.
How Do You Take Care of a Mushroom Kit?
The kits are super simple to take care of, in fact, they are even recommended as projects for your children.
The most important factor when looking after your kit is keeping it moist before, during, and after your mushrooms are fruiting. Read on in the next section for step-by-step directions on how to water your kit.
Another important factor to remember is to keep your kit out of direct sunlight, as this will dry it out.
Lastly, make sure you allow your kit to rest in between fruitings and water it with your homemade manure and compost tea that you already learned how to make and use between fruitings.
Remember that the mycelium that comes ready to sprout mushrooms in the kit is not alive, and without warm temperatures and constant moisture, it will not stay viable and your kit will essentially be useless.
How Do You Water a Mushroom Kit?
When your kit first arrives, soak it in water for 5 full hours, as this will completely saturate it.
Then, when you are beginning to grow your mushrooms, make sure to spray it gently with water 1-2 times per day.
When you have harvested your mushrooms and are leaving the kit to rest in between fruitings, you should water it with your manure compost tea as we discussed above,
Where Should You Keep a Mushroom Kit?
Mushroom kit aficionados recommend that you keep your mushroom kit out of direct sunlight, but in a barely lit and warm area.
This can be either in a shaded area in your yard or inside your home away from a window.
The ideal temperature for mushroom growth is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is a common misconception that kits should be kept in complete darkness, this is unnecessary but would ensure that absolutely no direct sunlight contacts the kit at any time.
Do Mushroom Kits Keep Producing?
Even if you do not use the manure compost tea, your mushroom kit is reusable and will continue producing for up to 4-5 fruitings.
The only reason a kit will stop producing is because it has run out of nutrients, this is where the manure compost tea becomes important as it will replenish the kit with everything the mushrooms need to grow.
You will be able to tell when your kit is losing its luster as the mushrooms produced will become much smaller and more infrequent.
How Many Times Can You Harvest a Mushroom Kit?
How many times you can harvest your mushroom kit depends entirely on how well you treat it.
On average, a mushroom harvest will be ready every several weeks; the time can vary with the variety of mushrooms you’ve planted.
Why Won’t My Mushroom Kit Grow?
Last on our list today is troubleshooting your mushroom kit. If you have followed all of the above instructions and your kit still isn’t producing tasty fungus morsels, there are a few important factors to be aware of.
- The very first thing to note is that you need to take the substrate out of the box and provide it with air, water, and warmth from the start. If you don’t, the mycelium will not be viable for mushroom fruits.
- If the temperature drops below 60 degrees or increases to 80 degrees, your kit will most likely stop producing.
- Not every kit is the same, because there are different substrate options, there are also different and specific instructions for each type. Make sure you are following the directions provided with your particular kit.