Mushroom Growing Kit 

Problems,

Tips and Tricks



Blue Oyster Mushroom Kit fruiting in raised garden bed

Emulating Nature with Your Mushroom Grow Kit

Using a mushroom grow kit is fundamentally about emulating the natural environments where mushrooms thrive. If you've ever noticed mushrooms appearing a few days after a rain shower, you've observed the kind of environment we aim to simulate when misting our mushroom kits. In the wild, aborts, contamination, and browning are all part of the lifecycle of mushrooms. These are natural occurrences and learning to reduce these unwanted effects while enhancing the desirable outcomes is part of the art of mushroom cultivation.


Keen observers will note that different mushroom species appear at different times of the year. This is due to the varying temperature preferences of different mushroom species, which influence their growth cycles. When we use a mushroom grow kit, we're essentially creating an environment that 'hacks' the mycelium, the mushroom's root system, into believing it's the perfect time to fruit. Even if we're growing a species outside of its natural temperature range, we can manipulate conditions to trigger mushroom growth.


As we gain experience with mushroom kits, we refine our techniques and deepen our understanding of these fascinating organisms. In this way, growing mushrooms becomes more than just a hobby or a source of food. It's a connection to nature, a study of life's intricate processes, and a celebration of the adaptable, resilient nature of fungi. Every lesson learned brings us one step closer to the rhythms of mushroom growth and the captivating world of mycology.


However, like any gardening project, you will occasionally encounter challenges that could impact your mushroom yield or even lead to a failed crop. Don't worry though - we've got you covered! This guide is designed to help you identify and troubleshoot some of the most common issues associated with mushroom grow kits. With a bit of guidance and care, you'll be well on your way to becoming a successful home mushroom grower.

1. Mushrooms not growing

 If you're trying to grow mushrooms at home and find that there's no sign of growth, several factors could be the cause. The most common issue is temperature control. Most mushroom grow kits thrive within a temperature range of 18-24°C, although this can vary depending on the specific mushroom species. If you suspect that temperature might be the issue, consider moving your mushroom kit to a more temperature-controlled environment or using a small space heater or cooler to maintain the optimal temperature range.

Other possible reasons for your homegrown mushrooms not growing could include poor air circulation, insufficient moisture, or contamination. Always remember, creating an optimal environment is key to the successful cultivation of your mushroom kit. Each of these factors plays a critical role in ensuring your mushrooms flourish.

2. Slow Growth

When using mushroom grow kits to cultivate your own mushrooms at home, slow growth can sometimes be a concern. This might be due to the temperature being too low, insufficient moisture, or poor air circulation. It's crucial to create a warm, humid environment with good air circulation for your mushroom kit to flourish.

Remember, good air circulation doesn't mean using a fan directly on the kit or leaving it outside, as these actions can lead to your mushrooms drying out or turning brown. Instead, consider a location with natural air movement and avoid placing your mushroom kit in sealed boxes or plastic containers. Mushroom kits are essentially living organisms, and they require proper air exchange to thrive.

Keep observing and learning from your mushroom grow kit's growth patterns. Over time, you'll be better equipped to create the ideal conditions for a successful mushroom harvest.

3. Dealing with Contamination

Contamination is a prevalent issue that arises from a variety of factors, such as inadequate hygiene practices, poor air circulation, or a contaminated substrate. Telltale signs of contamination are the presence of mold, bacterial growth, or unusual colorations on the substrate's surface. Should you encounter such issues, it's advisable to discard the kit. Should the contamination occur before the first flush, we encourage you to reach out to us at brett@thatmushroomguy.com.au for a replacement kit.


It's crucial to understand that despite our meticulous care and attention, a kit might occasionally arrive contaminated. This issue isn't exclusive to our operations; all mushroom farm operations grapple with contamination at some point. Any business claiming complete immunity from contamination is misleading you. Therefore, should you discover any contamination, please contact us immediately so we can identify the cause and rectify the situation swiftly.

4. Small, Stunted or Deformed Mushrooms (aborts)

When trying to grow your own mushrooms at home, you might sometimes encounter small, stunted, or deformed mushrooms, also known as 'aborts'. This can happen due to various factors such as low humidity, insufficient airflow, or improper lighting.

To prevent this, it's essential to create a humid environment with good airflow for your mushroom growing kit. As for lighting, mushrooms don't require as much light as plants. If you can see the mushrooms, that's typically enough light for them to grow. However, it's crucial to avoid direct sunlight as it can negatively affect their growth.

By carefully monitoring and adjusting the conditions of your home mushroom growing kit, you can avoid the occurrence of 'aborts' and enjoy a successful mushroom harvest.

5. Yellowing or Browning Mushrooms

As you grow mushrooms at home using your mushroom kit, you may notice them start to yellow or brown. This usually signifies that they are drying out, caused by factors such as over-misting, a drafty room, low humidity, or excess light. To prevent this, ensure your mushrooms are receiving adequate moisture and that the growing environment maintains a consistent humidity level.


Specifically for Lion's Mane mushrooms, yellowing can also signify they were ripe for harvesting about 12 hours prior. Harvesting Lion's Mane mushrooms can be a bit of a challenge, as it requires experience to determine the optimal harvesting time. Generally, these mushrooms are ready for harvest before they start turning yellow, but gaining enough experience to know this for certain can take time.


Interestingly, it's often considered best to harvest Lion's Mane mushrooms while they're still in their 'cloud-like' formation for the optimal culinary experience, even though this might result in a smaller yield. As you continue to grow mushrooms at home, you'll become more familiar with these signs and how to respond to them for a successful harvest.

Tips and Tricks

Tips and tricks are suggestions and techniques that can be used to enhance the success and efficiency of a task or activity. In the context of mushroom kits, some tips and tricks might include:

1. Keep the kit in a warm and humid environment with good air circulation.


2. Use a misting bottle to provide moisture to the mushrooms.


3. Avoid direct sunlight, which can cause the mushrooms to dry out and turn yellow.


4. Harvest the mushrooms when they are still young for the best culinary experience.


5. If the mushrooms are not growing, check the temperature, air circulation, moisture levels, and potential contamination issues.


6. Use clean equipment and work in a clean environment to avoid contamination.


7. Research and understand the specific growing requirements of the mushroom species in the kit.


Don't be discouraged by failures or setbacks - growing mushrooms can be a learning process.


Customer Problems and Solutions for Mushroom Kits

damaged Pink Oyster Mushroom Kit sitting on box

The photo has been shared by Michael Pezet, a customer.

From this image we can see a few things that went awry with this Pink oyster mushroom kit.

They are extremly dried out, and when I asked the customer to confirm they were dry he commented saying, "yes, they crumble and break when touched".


There are two things that cause this;

1. Low humidity; Michael lives in North QLD and reported the humidity is very high.


2. Too much airflow; Michael thought to increase aircirculatiuon he would open the window beside the mushroom kits to let fresh air in. While he is 100% right, too much airflow, even if humid, will cause the mushrooms to dry out. And in some case will cause the mushrooms to abort or not grow at all


What can he do?

Harvest the mushrooms and you may find sucess rehydrating them in water. But I advised to learn from this and harvest and dispose of the mushrooms and hope for a second flush.


What can we learn?

It is important to find a balance between adequate airflow and humidity levels to prevent mushrooms from drying out or not growing at all.

damaged Lion's Mane mushroom grow kit sitting on box

The photo has been shared by Michael Pezet, a customer.

In this image we can see a Lion's Mane Grow Kit that is yellowing on the top with some young growth on the bottom.

Lion's mane mushrooms turning yellow can be an indication that they are overripe and past their prime for consumption. It's best to harvest Lion's mane mushrooms before they start to turn yellow, while they are still white and fluffy in appearance. With experience, you will learn how to determine the optimal time to harvest. Don't be afraid to experiment and try different harvesting times.


In this scenario, we are aware that the open window caused the mushrooms to dry out. Interestingly, misting the mushrooms directly in dry or windy conditions, although it may seem counterintuitive, can cause them to dry out more quickly. This can result in the mushrooms, particularly lions mane, turning brown.


What can he do?

You can harvest the entire cluster of mushrooms, and any dry parts can be utilized for mushroom powder or supplements. The younger and whiter parts of the mushroom located at the bottom are perfect for eating!


What can we learn?

Once again it come to the balance between airflow and humidity. 

cracked msuhroom substrate in grow bag

The photo has been shared by Fiona, a customer.

In this photo we have a Lion's Mane grow kit with a crack down the middle.

A cracked kit usually only occurs with Lions Mane grow kits and is caused by handling during shipping.


The wispy, fluffy strands of Lion's Mane mycelium can be delicate, making the mushroom kit susceptible to cracking during shipping.


What can he do?

Allow the kit to rest for 4 to 7 days, giving time for the mycelium to knit the substrate back together. Once complete, start the kit again following the instructions from step 1.




We want to express our gratitude to all the customers who generously shared their photos with us. We believe that there are no mistakes, only opportunities to learn and improve when it comes to growing mushrooms. Experience is the best teacher, and with practice, you can achieve larger yields and higher quality mushrooms. We understand that everyone starts somewhere, and we want to encourage you to keep going and learning from your experiences. It's important to remember that even experienced growers have encountered their fair share of challenges and setbacks, but they persisted and kept learning. So if you're new to mushroom growing or struggling with your mushroom kit, don't give up! Every lesson learned brings you one step closer to success.

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