Interested in mushroom growing but don’t know where to start? I remember being super confused when I first decided to grow mushrooms at home.
But luckily, I came across mushroom grow kits. These systems made the process so much easier than I expected.
Today, I’ll be sharing with you what I learned throughout my experience as well as some tips to make things even simpler for you.
But before we dive into all that, let’s answer one of the most common questions among mushroom growing newbies – where to put a mushroom grow kit.
Once you’ve got your kit set up, you’ll need to choose a room where the temperature stays between 60 and 74 degrees F. While you don’t have to keep your mushroom kit in the dark, you must never expose it to direct sunlight since it can dry out, overheat, and even kill your mushrooms.
Additionally, you need to protect your kit from pests of all kinds, so you may want to consider setting it up in an indoor location instead of an outdoor area. Remember to leave the top of your mushroom kit open to allow for adequate air ventilation, otherwise, your mushrooms won’t grow.
What is a Mushroom Grow Kit?
A mushroom growing kit is a pre-colonized “fruiting block” that houses mycelium – the vegetative part of any fungus. These colonies are just waiting for you to provide the right conditions to make it fruit mushrooms.
The mycelium usually comes in a mushroom grow bag, that’s able to sit dormant for quite a while given you store it in the fridge.
You can find grow kits for a variety of mushroom types, although some species seem to be better suited for kits than others. One of the most common and easy-to-grow types of mushrooms is Pleurotus ostreatus, which the fancy name for our good old oyster mushroom.
Are Mushroom Grow Kits Worth it?
Yes, investing in a high-quality mushroom grow kit is definitely worth it. There are a whole lot of different kit brands on the market and many mushroom species to choose from, so do a bit of research to find out what works best for you before jumping in.
Mushroom grow kits are quite effective and easy to manage, which makes them a great option for beginners. I admit it, I had my doubts at first, but the overall experience was enjoyable and the end results were very satisfying.
How to Start a Mushroom Grow Kit
First, open the box and get familiar with the included items and read the instructions for any special steps you should be aware of. Next, set aside the casing (typically a bag of dry peat moss), but leave the bag of compost inside the box.
If newly inoculated, the compost will appear mostly brown. If it’s mature, it’ll look frosty or moldy because the mushroom mycelium grew through it.
If the compost is recently inoculated, close your kit and keep it around 70 degrees for a week or so. After that, add the peat moss casing layer.
Make sure not to seal the compost bag closed to let the mushroom fungus breathe.
How to Store a Mushroom Grow Kit before Starting
If you don’t want to start your kit right away, just fold the plastic bag on to itself and close the box like it was before you opened it.
This should be fine for a week or two raincheck if your kit is designed for immediate starting. But if you plan on waiting for a month or more with such a kit, don’t expect the best results.
Mushrooms may still grow, but they’ll be fewer in number the longer you wait. If you decide to delay starting your kit for a few weeks, keep it below 50 degrees F yet above freezing temperature
Where to Put a Mushroom Grow Kit
As I mentioned early on, mushroom grow kits require a humid location with indirect sunlight. If you’ve tried growing mushrooms from scratch, the fruiting conditions here are pretty similar.
For most varieties, the temperature should stay between 60 and 74 degrees F, check your instructions for the exact values.
For example, the ideal fruiting temperature range for White Button and Portobello mushrooms is between 63 to 68 degrees F. Again, avoid having sunlight shine directly onto your kit because it can dry out and even kill your mushrooms.
Whether you place your kit indoors or outdoors, make sure it’s well protected from insects such as flies, mites, and slugs.
How to Set Up a Mushroom Grow Kit?
Leave the kit box open, then open the bag of compost and scratch the surface of the compost about ½ an inch deep to reactivate the mycelium and stimulate new growth. You can use a fork to do this.
Next, open the bag of the dry casing and add about 1/2 or 1 cup of the scratched loose compost to grow depending on the size of mushrooms you want, as well as some room-temperature tap water.
After the casing absorbs all the moisture, spread the wet casing over the entire surface of the compost evenly. Avoid packing the casing down tightly, just leave it loose and fluffy.
Mist the casing with more water, wait for about 5 minutes, and then rough up the entire surface of the casing to a ¾-inch depth.
How much Water does a Mushroom Grow Kit Need?
Once your kit is parked in a proper spot to grow, make sure you always keep the top of the casing moist. Moderate spray misting or sprinkling water once a day should do the trick.
Pay attention not to let the casing dry out because it can be very hard to remoisten the kit and mushrooms will not grow in the dry casing.
Your kit should be away from drafts and heat sources to avoid drying out. You want the surface of the kit moist at all times, but be careful not to overwater the kit.
Mushroom grow kits have no drainage so excess water will build up, flood, and potentially drown the mycelium.
How Long Does a Mushroom Grow Kit Last?
Generally speaking, a mushroom kit will produce for an average of 3 months. After you’ve placed the casting layer on top, it’ll take about 3 weeks for you to see mushrooms coming through. This can take longer if you live somewhere with a colder climate.
When Should You Pick Your Mushroom?
This part is completely up to you since it depends on what size of mushrooms you prefer to eat. Keep in mind that a mushroom will double in size within a 24 hour period, and remember that the bigger the mushroom, the fewer you can harvest.
And before you ask, no you can’t add stuff to the compost to get more mushrooms because the compost becomes too mature to produce any more mushrooms.
Can You Reuse a Mushroom Grow Kit?
Mushroom kits contain a fixed amount of nutrients that when used up, the kit will stop growing mushrooms and turn idle. Over time, the mushroom mycelium will slowly die and become a source of nutrients for plants.
When this happens, you can recycle your kit by adding it to your compost pile or using it in your garden as fertilizer.
The ideal spot for a mushroom kit offers indirect sunlight, a temperature ranging between 60 to 74 degrees F, good humidity, and protection against insect as well as air drafts. This can be a countertop, garage, under a bed, wardrobe, under the stairs, or anywhere as long as it provides proper conditions.