mushroom grow kit guide

Growing mushrooms with a grow kit is an easy way you to grow at home with minimal time and equipment.

Now that you have a kit you are just few weeks away from harvesting your mushrooms.

So let’s dive in and see what it takes to get started.

what is a mushroom grow kit?

Mushroom growing kits are great for beginners who wish to grow mushrooms indoors. Your kit will come with a ready-to-grow mushroom block that can produce edible mushrooms in 2-3 weeks.

You can also get additional harvests with your kit by re-hydrating it with water prior to harvesting your mushrooms. But we’ll talk more about that later on.

Let’s get our kits growing!

getting started

Inspect The Contents

The first thing you want to do when you get your mushroom grow kit home is open the box. Cut away the tape on the top flap of the box and open it up.

Inside the box you are going to find two or three things – a ready-to-grow mushroom block and an empty spray bottle.

And, if you are growing lion’s mane you will also have a humidity tent.

Remove the grow block from the box and inspect it for signs of visible contamination. Usually contamination will be bright colored blue, green or orange or yellow.

Healthy mushroom mycelium is typically white. Unless you are growing Pink Oysters which have pink mycelium.

This is something you wouldn’t typically know when starting out. So even though contamination is rare, it’s important to know that it does happen occasionally.

If you notice any signs of contamination on your growing kit please email pictures to info@naturelion.ca or text 647-449-7396 to get a replacement.

visual contamination mushrooms

When To Be Concerned

If you see yellow, green, blue, orange, black and colors that don’t seem natural you should contact us with a picture of your grow kit. If there is an issue we can work on getting you a replacement.

When Not To Be Concerned

If you are growing pink oysters and you see pink on your mushroom block this isn’t an issue. The pink oysters produce a very unique color pink that could be confused with contamination.

There may also patches of un-colonized substrate which will be dark brown. You don’t need to worry about this and if you block is 90% colonized with mycelium it’s good to start growing.

If you see that your substrate is less than 90% colonized with mycelium it may mean that you need to wait a little longer until your grow kit is ready to cut open.

Cutting your grow kit open

Place your grow block back into the box and close the top.

Open The Grow Window

Using a knife or scissors remove the perforated window on the back of your mushroom grow kit.

Make The “X” Cut

Once the grow window is open it’s time to make an “X” cut into the plastic of the grow block. Your cut should be 2-3 inches long.

Don’t be afraid to cut into the growing medium a little bit either. Disturbing it slightly will encourage mushroom growth at the cut.

Even though it’s tempting, don’t make the cut too big (2-3 inches max.) or your grow block will evaporate water too quickly and this can negatively affect your yields.

Spray, Spray, Spray!

Next, take the spray bottle provided with your grow kit and fill it with tap water, or filtered water if your prefer.

Spray the “X” cut area really good. You can fold back the flaps and get some water right on the substrate, but make sure to fold the flaps back afterwards.

Keep Spraying!

For the next 2-3 weeks you are going to want to spray your grow kit like this at least twice a day. Once in the morning, and once at night is sufficient but if you do it more often it can improve your final yield.

Dial It Back

In a few weeks you should see baby mushrooms (known as primordia or pins) forming somewhere near the “X” cut you made earlier.

At this point you want to dial back the spraying because mushrooms don’t like direct contact with water. It’s okay if they get wet so don’t avoid it all together, but too much spraying can cause them to dry out prematurely.

Keep Humidity High

Mushrooms absorb water through humidity in the air, not the growing medium. So keep spraying your mushrooms but focus on getting the box a little wet and the area around the mushrooms.

The water will evaporate and your mushrooms will be happy because the prefer the water vapour.

You can spray actual mushrooms themselves  once a day, but avoid overdoing it or they can dry out before being ready to harvest..

TIP: Keep your grow kit close to the kitchen sink as the extra humidity will help them to grow a bit better.

Humidity Tent

If you purchased a Lion’s Mane Grow Kit then you will notice that inside the box is a plastic tent with some holes in it. This is your humidity tent and should be used only when growing lion’s mane mushrooms.

The reason for this is that you shouldn’t directly spray your lion’s mane mushrooms with water. Instead, what you can do is spray water on the inside of your humidity tent and place it over your mushroom kit.

By doing this you will increase the relative humidity around your mushrooms and they will absorb that water as they grow. Remove the humidity tent 2-3 times per day and spray the inside with water before placing it back over your kit.

Not For Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms need more airflow to grow properly so a humidity tent isn’t the best option. If you still want to use one you can but be careful and only leave the tent over your kit for a few hours per day.

Ideal Temperature

Every mushroom has a different ideal growing temperature for optimum growth. As a beginner it isn’t as big of a concern and mushrooms can be very forgiving. Most varieties will grow well at room temperature.

The one things mushrooms don’t like is when it gets too hot. Most mushrooms grow in shaded, cooler areas of the forest so excessive heat is not good and can kill the mycelium.

Ideal Temperatures For Different Species

Black Oyster – 12C – 24C (55F – 75F)

White Oyster – 15C – 26C (59F – 80F)

Pink Oyster – 20C – 29C (68F – 85F)

Blue Oyster – 12C – 21C (55F – 70F)

Lion’s Mane – 15C – 29C (68F – 85F)

As you can see the range of temperature is wide and mushrooms are very forgiving but generally they do not like temperature that exceed 29C (85F) If your growing area become this hot it could result in a failed crop.

Mushroom Pinning & Growth

After a couple weeks of maintaining proper temperatures and humidity you will begin to see very tiny mushrooms forming on the surface of your substrate.

Once the pins form things start to get quite interesting. Mushrooms grow very fast and once they start growing they will double in size everyday until they are ready to harvest.

Different Shapes & Sizes

There are no two mushrooms the same so don’t worry if your mushrooms don’t look perfect… they are!

One thing is for sure, mushrooms are very efficient and your final yield will be roughly the same no matter how your mushrooms look when growing.

Some people will get a large clusters of mushrooms that will grow smaller caps and stems while others will get a smaller cluster that grows very big mushrooms.

Mushrooms have a mind of their own!

Fast Growing

Mushrooms grow very quickly once they are visible so keep a close eye on your grow kit everyday to make sure you are harvesting at the optimal time.

Lion’s Mane Takes Longer

Your lion’s mane may have sprouted in the same time as your oyster mushrooms but it generally grows a little slower. Oyster mushrooms can be ready in as little as 4-5 days but lion’s mane can take up to 14 days to fully develop.

When to harvest your mushrooms?

Oyster Mushrooms

Because oyster mushrooms grow so quickly it’s important to keep an eye on them for signs that they are ready to harvest. In the early stages the edge of the mushrooms caps will be pointed down. When ready to harvest some (not all) of the caps will be turned upwards like trumpets.

Once a few of the caps have turned upwards it’s time to harvest the entire cluster of mushrooms.

Another sign that your mushrooms are ready to harvest can be found on the edge of the mushroom cap. If you look closely you will notice a dark colored ring form around the cap. This is another sign that your mushrooms are ready to pick.

You may also notice a color change as your mushrooms grow. In the beginning they should be dark and lustrous. Near the end they will become slightly dull. This is another sign that your mushrooms are ready to harvest.

When your oyster mushrooms start to have “Wavy” edges (they start off smooth and round) then your mushrooms may be overdone and you should harvest them ASAP.

Lion’s Mane

The signs to look for are different when harvesting lion’s mane. Since we know they can take 14 days to mature you will have lots of time to spot them.

As your lion’s mane grows it will go from smooth to textured. The texture is made up of tiny “hairs” but some people call them “teeth” or “spines”. When you see these it’s a sign that your lion’s mane is almost ready to harvest.

Discoloration is sure sign that your lion’s mane may be ready to harvest. When lion’s mane starts growing it is usually a nice, white color (sometimes pinkish) but as they age they start to turn yellow.

Yellowing is a sign that growth has stopped. If you have yellowing and “hairs” it’s definitely time to harvest.

Yellowing Due To Low Humidity

Occasionally lion’s mane will start to turn a bit yellow before the hairs have formed. This is usually caused by low-humidity and it can be remedied by spraying inside the humidity tent more often.

Increase the amount of times per day that you spray inside the tent and this should correct itself within a couple of days.

Spores Or “Dust”

You may notice a white, or pinkish “dust” on your counter top. These are spores and in small-scale grows they don’t pose a danger to air quality.

However, if you see spores its a sure sign that your mushrooms are nearing the end of their cycle and you should harvest ASAP.

Spores are how mushrooms reproduce. As the mushrooms near the end of their life they begin releasing spores into the air for reproduction.

Don’t worry, about mushrooms taking over your house either (unless you live in a wet cave) you can just wipe them clean with soapy water.

How To Harvest

When it’s time to harvest your mushrooms you are going to want to pick them all at once.

It’s best to harvest your mushrooms by hand. This will ensure you remove all of the mushrooms from the block. Giving you a clean slate for another harvest.

Harvesting is simple. Just grab onto the cluster of mushrooms with both hands and gently twist, and pull.

Your mushrooms should separate from the block pretty easily. Some growing medium will be attached but don’t worry you can just trim this off with a knife or scissors.

Now go back to the block and pick any remaining mushroom pieces. Including all the small caps because these will not grow bigger and could become mouldy.

A clean block will have a higher likelihood of a successful 2nd harvest.

getting multiple harvests

After your first harvest you may be ready to throw your kit into the compost bin… DON’T DO IT!

You can get try for additional harvests after you’ve picked your mushrooms.

Re-Hydrating Your Kit

To get another harvest from your grow kit you will need to re-hydrate the substrate with water. To do this, remove the grow bag from the box and place it in a bowl (or the kitchen sink) filled with water.

When soaking make sure the grow bag is fully submerged in the water. Place a heavy object on top (pot full of water) to help sink it down and leave it submerged for 12-24 hours.

Remove The Excess

After you have completed your soak you can remove the grow bag from the water and drain off any excess moisture. Tip the bag in a few different directions to help get the water out.

You don’t have to get all of the water out, just the majority of it so there isn’t any standing water in the bottom of the bag.

Resting Period

Your mushrooms are exhausted and they need a bit of a break. Your second harvest will take a little longer the first and that’s because the mushrooms need a rest before they can begin to grow again.

This resting period isn’t long however and you should expect to see mushrooms growing again 2-4 weeks after re-hydrating and daily misting.

The right environment

When starting out it’s not crucial to make an environment specific to growing mushrooms. They will grow just fine on your counter top in the open air.

However, by creating the right environment you can step UP your mushroom growing game to the next level.

Getting a mushroom set up going isn’t difficult and it can be fully automated. With a small set up you can grow hundreds of pounds of mushrooms every year.

Grow Tents

If you are just growing a few kits here and there for fun a grow tent isn’t ecessary but if you have a few grows under your belt and you are ready to get serious about growing mushrooms this is a must.

With a grow tent you can provide a more optimal environment for growing mushrooms with just a few pieces of equipment.

Ventilation

Growing in a controlled environment like a grow tent is going to require you to have adequate ventilation installed. You will want a fan that is capable of exchanging all of the air in your tent in under 3 minutes.

You can determine this by calculating the cubic area of your grow tent (L x W x H) and pairing it up with an adequate inline fan set up.

When growing at scale you will have a lot more mushroom spores. Ideally you want an inline fan for this, so ducting can be attached and the air can be vented outdoors.

Humidity

Now that you have adequate ventilation it’s time to add some humidity so your mushrooms will grow. There are a few ways you can tackle humidity but the best way is with an ultrasonic humidifier.

Depending on the size of your grow tent you may be able to get away with buying a household ultrasonic humidifier and attaching it to a humidity controller. You can find these on Amazon for under $100.

If you have a bigger growing area you will probably have to make your own fog machine. It’s easy and the parts can be found online and at your local hardware store..

Lighting

There are a lot of people that believe mushrooms grow in the dark. And technically then can but they do prefer some light.

If you are just growing a few kits on your counter top then lighting isn’t a big concern. Just keep your mushrooms away from direct sunlight and they should be fine.

Most houses will have a shaded area that’s perfect for growing mushrooms.

Mushrooms don’t use light for photosynthesis so intense lights are going to be useless for growing mushrooms. All you need is some LEDs with the right color temperature. The most important thing about lighting for mushrooms is the color temperature of the lights.

The ideal color temperature for growing mushrooms is 6500K (daylight) and that’s what you want. You may not be able to find this exact color temperature but anything close to it will work just fine.