Maybe you’re an experienced gardener looking for a new challenge? Or perhaps you’re a mushroom lover (like me) who doesn’t always have enough time to forage but also doesn’t completely trust the produce at your local store?
In either case – and indeed many more – growing mushrooms yourself is the answer.
And one of the easiest and quickest ways to get going is by using a mushroom grow kit.
What Are Mushroom Grow Kits?
When you get a mushroom kit, you’ll instantly have everything needed to start growing your own mushrooms.
All kits are mushroom species specific and are not interchangeable. If you buy a kit for morels and then decide you want to grow shiitakes instead, you’ll have to get a different one.
The vast majority of grow kits will include an inoculated substrate – the material mushrooms grow in – wrapped in a grow bag.
A substrate that has been inoculated simply means that it contains the mushroom spawn.
The substrate type will differ depending on the mushroom’s category and species. Morels, for example, like a mix of sand, potting soil, and organic material. Oysters will grow on just about anything, including straw, cardboard, and coffee grounds.
Popular mushroom grow kit options include oysters, morels, shiitakes, reishi, and lion’s mane.
If you’re a beginner, I recommend going with an oyster mushroom kit. Oysters are easy to grow in many conditions and quite forgiving. Starting with them will make cultivating more challenging species later that much easier.
How to Use a Mushroom Kit?
After you pick up a mushroom grow kit, your next steps will mostly depend on the type of kit you bought, which, in turn, is driven by the kind of mushroom you’ll be growing.
More often than not, step one will be to give your mushrooms access to much-needed oxygen. You do this by making a puncture in the grow bag that comes with the kit.
Next, you’ll want to make sure the mushroom fruits have adequate humidity as well as an indirect source of sunlight. The specifics may vary slightly between kit brands, but don’t worry – the instructions tell you exactly what to do.
As to how long it takes to see the fruits (or fungi) of your labor, that depends on the type of mushroom you’re growing. Oyster mushrooms can, for example, fruit in less than a week.
And when can you harvest your mushrooms? Again, that depends on the species. Here too the grow kit instructions will tell you everything you need to know.
Mushroom Grow Kit Types
As mentioned above, different mushrooms need different kits. So, the type of kit you need to buy will depend on what you’re trying to grow.
Since oysters are a popular choice for mushroom growing beginners – and the species I recommend you take on first – here are two of the best kits for growing oyster mushrooms I have come across.
Back to The Roots Mushroom Mini Farm
The Back to The Roots oyster mushroom kit contains a substrate wrapped fruit block and comes, of course, already inoculated. The get the growing process started, you only have to do two things:
- Make a small hole in the grow bag.
- Soak the grow bag for an hour or two to rehydrate the substrate.
Ideally, you should then also place the whole thing in a humid environment to help your mushrooms grow. If you have a humidifier, putting the grow bag next to it will work great.
It will take between one and two weeks before you start seeing baby oyster mushroom heads – also known as “pins” – peek out.
When your mushrooms no longer double in size each day – yes, that’s how quickly they grow – they’re ready for harvesting.
Grow Your Own Oyster Mushroom Kit
The Grow Your Own brand sells many high-quality mushroom grow kits, including, of course, oysters.
Just like the Back to The Roots product, this kit is extremely easy to use and perfect for beginners. It too contains an already inoculated substrate which, in this case, is sawdust based.
The instructions ask you to make a six-inch hole in the grow bag and, for a week or so, leave it in a humid area. Make sure it’s never in direct sunlight too.
It won’t be long before the mushrooms begin to pin and, once they stop growing, can be harvested. Also nice and easy.
If you’re interested in growing your own mushrooms, mushroom kits are an excellent choice. They’re easily accessible, simple to use, and – most importantly – yield a ton of delicious, delicious mushrooms. If you haven’t tried one yet, it’s high time you do.