How To Use A
Grow Kit

Learn How To Use a
Mushroom Fruiting Block

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In This Guide

In this guide we discuss what is a grow kit, when and how to open it, how to store it, tips for top fruiting species like king oyster mushrooms and growing lion’s mane.

What Is A Grow Kit?

A mushroom grow kit is a block of supplemented sawdust that has been sterilised and inoculated with a live mycelium culture in laboratory conditions.

It’s really simple to use and perfect for the beginner looking to learn about mushroom growing and how to maintain excellent fruiting conditions.

pink oyster mushroom grain spawn
A fully colonised oyster mushroom grow kit ready to be opened for fruiting.

When Is The Grow Kit Ready?

When grow kits are first inoculated they appear to be like loose, damp sawdust. The mycelium will grow and cover the block during the following 7 – 21 days. This layer of mycelium will provide the substrate with protection similar to the layer of mould on an aged cheese.

The  mycelium requires fresh air exchange for healthy, even growth. It is important to unbox your grow kit upon arrival and allow it to sit upright, undisturbed and out of direct sunlight.  The micron filter patch will allow for sufficient fresh air exchange.

Sometimes the block of substrate may fragment as a result of the vibrations during transit. Over the following days the mycelium will regenerate. The grow kit can only be opened once the mycelium has covered the entire block.

It’s important to note that lion’s mane mycelium can be fine and much less visible than oyster mushroom mycelium. 

A Note About Pinning

Some species like pink, white, tan and phoenix oyster mushrooms will form primordia with ease once fully colonised. Simply open the bag and place into fruiting conditions.

Other species like lion’s mane and king oyster may be challenging to trigger pinning if the humidity isn’t high enough. If growing for the first time or in insufficiently humid conditions, allow these species to begin forming primordia or pins within the humid environment of the sealed grow bag.

How Can I Store A Mushroom Grow Kit?

Mushrooms require humidity to grow. We recommend using a mini-greenhouse. Misting the inside walls of the greenhouse with water will help raise humidity. The frequency of misting will depend on your local climate. A cheap humidifier in conjunction with a humidity controller can used to automate the process.

It’s important to ensure that the grow kit has fresh air exchange. Mushrooms produce carbon dioxide and will grow long and leggy if they require more oxygen. Paying close attention to how the mushrooms are growing will help identify if you require more fresh air exchange.

There is no requirement for mushrooms to be grown in darkness. It’s only important for them to be kept out of direct sunlight.

Check the product pages for species specific requirements.

Alternatively you can build a Shotgun Fruiting Chamber (SGFC) from a few common items found easily in your local hardware store.

How Do I Open A Mushroom Kit?

When opening a mushroom grow kit we want to expose the substrate to fresh air to encourage the formation of primordia or pins. The primordia will develop into mushrooms also known as fruiting bodies.

We want to direct the formation of mushrooms outside the bag where they can grow freely. To do this we minimise air within the bag. For side-fruiting species I prefer to make small incision as opposed to a large opening. A small cut will encourage fewer but larger mushrooms while retaining more moisture. Whereas a large opening may encourage the inverse.

Please Note: King Oyster & Chestnut Mushroom are considered to be top fruiting species which can have the top of the bag removed instead without the need for making a small incision.

Watch Our Video Tutorial

Top Fruiting Species

Some species like the king oyster and chestnut mushroom are considered to be top fruiting mushrooms. These species tend to require high levels of humidity to trigger the formation of primordia.

We recommend gently rubbing the top surface of the king oyster kit through the bag before opening. This will stimulate the formation of primordia. 

The top of the bag can be removed and loosely resealed while waiting for primordia to form. This will allow for a reservoir of CO2 to encourage king oyster mushrooms with thick meaty stems and small caps.

Using A Lion's Mane Grow Kit

Despite it’s unusual appearance, lion’s mane is very easy to fruit. This curious looking fungi requires high levels of humidity and cool night time temperatures below 22 degrees Celsius to trigger the formation of primordia. Once formed this tough fungi will tolerate fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

Pay close attention for yellowing, this is an indication of the mushroom requiring more humidity. 

Although lion’s mane doesn’t require a lot of fresh air, it will begin to grow long and stretched rather than round and bulbous when in need of more fresh air exchange.

Watch Our Video Tutorial

What To Grow This Season

With Winter upon us we’ve made some changes to our greenhouse to keep lots of seasonally appropriate mushrooms on the table.

To work in favour of the cool weather we’re growing a selection of side fruiting oysters like the white, blue, beige and grey oyster mushrooms along with the meaty, hardwood-loving king oyster.

In addition to our oyster mushrooms we’re also enjoying a bumper crop of lion’s mane and chestnut mushrooms.

For growing inside with a little extra warmth or in preparation for an early Springtime harvest pink & yellow oyster mushrooms will return to the menu.

When Can I Harvest The Mushrooms?

Ideally the mushrooms are to be harvested before their caps turn upwards. It’s at this stage they are still firm and can be stored in a paper bag then refrigerated to maximise shelf life.

We recommend dehydrating excess mushrooms until they are cracker dry. They can be reconstituted and used in soups, broths and casseroles.

when to harvest oyster mushrooms
Lion's Mane Mushroom Pakora Vegan Recipe

Do You Want To Grow Your Own Mushrooms?

Are you looking for something new? Or maybe a unique and unforgettable gift for a loved one? Check out our range of mushroom grow kits. I’m sure you’ll find something special whether you’re looking for a new gastronomic delight or to craft your own therapeutic tinctures.

Are You Ready To Take The Next Step?

Do you want to learn how to grow your own oyster mushrooms at home for a fraction of the cost? Did you know that you can grow oyster mushrooms on used coffee grounds or sugar cane mulch? Have a look at our easy to follow guides and video tutorials to growing mushrooms at home.

Grow Oyster Mushrooms

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We’re a small scale producer of gourmet mushroom grain spawn and ready to grow kits located in South East Queensland. We’re passionate about fungi and we love sharing our obsession with the world.

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