how do mushroom grow kits work?

Cultivating mushrooms is a truly unique and fascinating experience. It provides you with an insider's lens into the world of fungi that exists only as a pure mystery to most people. It's unlike growing plants in a garden, and contrary to what some people believe, it can be extremely easy. In particular, the easiest and most hassle free-way to grow mushrooms is by purchasing a ready-to-go mushroom grow kit.

Man holding large Mushroom

what is a mushroom grow kit?

Mushroom grow kits are a fundamental component in the cultivation of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms. It is within grow kits that the fungal mycelium responsible for producing mushrooms is grown. Mycelium is the white spider-web like network of fibers that makes up the fungus. It is also commonly thought of as the “roots” of a mushroom.

mycelium growing

what grow kits are made of?

  • The Vessel: This is what holds the grow kit together. Most commonly vessels are polyurethane grow bags made specifically for mushroom cultivation, but this may vary depending on the producer. These should be airtight except for breathable filters that allow the air exchange needed for the mushrooms to breathe. 

  • The Substrate: This is not only the food for the fungus, but it's also their home and habitat. The most common substrate is hardwood sawdust supplemented with a nutrient-rich medium such as bran or soy hull. Alternatively, straw and other agricultural byproducts are used. Substrates must be properly hydrated and either pasteurized or sterilized to ensure no unwanted microorganisms compromise the growth of your chosen fungus. We use 100% recycled Australian hardwood for our grow kits. 

  • Mushroom Mycelium: To make grow kits, mushroom mycelium is mixed into the mushroom substrate through a process called inoculation. Inoculation should be done with proper technique and under controlled conditions to ensure proper colonization of the substrate.

how to grow mushrooms from a grow kit

Growing mushrooms from a grow kit is easy. It does not require fancy equipment, a laboratory, or even a dedicated clean room like many people tend to believe. When you buy a ready-made grow kit from us, we have already conducted all of the most challenging and technical procedures. We’ve learned from our mistakes to develop a fool-proof method, so you don't have to! This being said, there are important considerations to make to ensure larger and more prolific harvests from your kits. 

● Humidity: As you may already know, mushrooms require high rates of humidity to grow. At least 50% humidity is typically needed for proper growth but greater rates up to 90%or more are ideal. This may be easy during the rainy season or in naturally humid environments but may be difficult to achieve in dry climates. This is particularly important when mushrooms are just pinning and prone to drying out. You can increase humidity by spritzing your mushrooms regularly with a spray bottle or using a humidifier. Alternatively, find a more humid and cooler environment such as a bathroom or basement. 

● Temperature: Best fruiting temperatures for most mushrooms are around 15-25C. This can vary depending on the species. For example, Pink Oysters thrive at higher temperatures around 25C while King Oysters need cooler temperatures lower than 20C. 

● Air Exchange: Mushrooms need fresh air to grow. Like us, they breathe oxygen and exhale CO2. Without access to fresh air grow kits can suffocate, greatly affecting their health and final yields. This is important to consider especially if you are trying to control other environmental conditions by placing your grow kits in fruiting chambers or other closed spaces. Excessive CO2 can result in low yields and can often be identified by the growth of mushrooms with excessively long stems.

● Light: Many mushrooms grow best when exposed to some indirect light. Just two or three hours per day of faint indirect light will improve their color and structure. Avoid placing your mushrooms where they are exposed to direct sunlight.

Getting Multiple Flushes

Mushrooms can fruit multiple times from the same grow kit in stages called “flushes”. The first flush is typically the largest and then followed by sequentially smaller and smaller flushes. After the first flush, you can let your grow kit sit for 1-2 weeks and then submerge it in cold water for 2-4 hours. Most growers are happy with two flushes from a single grow kit, but it is possible to get 3 or 4 flushes!