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Edible Mushrooms come in different shapes and sizes, each unique taste. They also have a fascinating growth cycle compared to other plants and vegetables. Mushroom foragers are always coming up with new ideas to bring their favorite piece of nature to their homes. I have written a detailed article about five methods of growing mushrooms.
Growing kits are a standard method for growing edible mushrooms at home. Using grow kits, the top varieties to cultivate are Oyster Mushrooms, Lion’s Mane, Button Mushrooms, Morel Mushrooms, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Reishi Mushrooms.
Grow kits are recommended for new growers as they are beginner-friendly. Whether you grow the mushrooms indoors or outdoors plays a significant role in the harvest because every mushroom needs a precise environment. This article shares valuable information about the mushroom growing kits and the best varieties for this method.
What is a Mushroom Growing Kit?
A mushroom growing kit is a mycelium-covered fruiting block contained in a mushroom bag. These blocks are ready to start fruiting once you provide the right environment.
You do not need a big garden or farm to produce fresh homegrown mushrooms. Edible mushroom growing kits allow you to enjoy freshly picked mushrooms with little effort and space. You do not need any special skills or tools for this method because these kits usually come with instructions from the supplier.
Mushrooms are simple fruit fungi rich in nutrients, and a variety of strains are sold in the market by seed companies or mushroom kit distributors. If you are still confused about investing in a mushroom kit, let me highlight some of the benefits:
Each Mushroom variety needs a different growing environment, and some are easier than others. You can start a mini mushroom farm indoors with mushroom growing kits. You can either buy a premade mushroom growing kit or create your own DIY mushroom growing kit.
Which Varieties Grow Best using Mushroom Growing Kits
They are the most commonly available and easy to fruit mushroom variety using grow kits. You do not have to create a perfect environment for them because they can fruit in a range of growing conditions. The three reasons why Oyster Mushrooms growing kits should be your top pick are:
- They can resist contamination
- Produce fruit continuously and quickly
- They can adapt to different types of growing mediums
Oyster Mushrooms have a close resemblance to oyster shells and grow in clusters or tiers.
Avoid leaving the remaining stem on the fruiting block because this could contaminate the second harvest. Oyster Mushrooms are the easiest to grow at home, but they need lots of fresh air to produce the best quality, delicious mushrooms. If your Oyster Mushrooms have long stems, you probably need to increase the air supply.
Whether you try the famous Blue Oyster mushroom kit or the colorful Pink Oyster mushroom kit, both are delicious and worth trying. Other varieties like Yellow Oyster, Gray Oyster, White Oyster, and Pearl Oyster can also be grown quickly with kits.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
This variety is not your average mushroom. Home-based mushroom growers love cultivating the Lion’s Mane mushrooms for their rich flavor and unique appearance. This variety is named the pom-pom mushroom because of its furry appearance. These mushrooms might be difficult for new growers unless you clearly understand the growing conditions.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms belonged to the tooth fungus family and were admired by Buddhist monks.
While some mushroom varieties prefer high humidity, these like low humidity, so you will have to either grow them in a low humidity location or use a dehumidifier. You will start seeing results in about two weeks, and your mushrooms will be ready for harvest within 45 days.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms grow in a cool and dark spot. This variety can produce up to three harvests because the long shoots drop spores. Click here to read about how to grow mushrooms from spores.
These low-calorie mushrooms have a reasonable price range, especially the White Buttons.
Button Mushrooms belong to the Agaricus Bisporus family, and the fruit is picked when the mushroom is still in the early stage. Timing is the main factor; therefore, make sure you pick this variety at the right time. You can use the following key points to differentiate between Button, Creminis, and Portobellos mushrooms.
- White and young – Button Mushrooms
- Turn brown – Crimini Mushrooms
- Caps open – Portobellos Mushrooms
Morel Mushrooms are rare to find, and they are like a treasure for mushroom lovers. It makes them expensive, but you can grow them at home for your fresh supply of mushrooms at minimum cost.
The honeycomb pattern on Morel Mushrooms looks like something from science fiction.
Another reason to grow your own Morel Mushrooms is that they grow in the wild in the spring season only. But with a mushroom grow kit, you will have a year-round supply under a controlled environment. If you would like to use both the fruit and the stem, you should harvest the Morel at an early stage.
Most people consider them difficult to grow because they will have to replicate their natural habitat closely. However, once you understand their growing needs, you can easily enjoy the rarest mushrooms.
These umbrella-shaped mushrooms sell fast in grocery stores since they commonly use edible mushrooms.
High in nutrients, proteins, and fiber, these mushrooms add a special touch to your meals, mainly when grown at home. They are perfect for mushroom kits because they require less air circulation and humidity. The only drawback is that they have a longer incubation time, so you need to be patient.
The Shiitake Mushroom log can last for several years, and even the simple growing kit can give you up to 5 flushes of fruits. So you will always have a fresh supply of mushrooms for your salads.
These are my favorite varieties for their earthy brown and yellow colors. They are highly recommended for first-time growers for two reasons.
- They are slow growers
- They are low maintenance compared to other varieties
If you haven’t tried growing your mushrooms before, it will take some time to figure out their growth cycle and growing conditions. Reishi Mushrooms give you the perfect opportunity to observe everything at a slow pace.
The Reishi Mushrooms need to be harvested at the right time; otherwise, you will end up with bitter fruit, and they require high humidity. If you are growing them using a grow kit, make sure you do not open the mushroom bag because this disturbs the perfectly created growing environment.
Tips for Growing Mushrooms using Grow Kits
If you have limited space, mushrooms are one of the easiest food crops to cultivate indoors or outdoors. One thing that can ruin any mushroom crop is contamination. Therefore make sure you maintain hygiene by cleaning and sterilizing your hands and containers. If you are planning to store the mushrooms, avoid using plastic containers. Brown paper bags or the original packaging are the best options to ensure your mushroom kit lasts longer.
Most growing kits come as logs or boxes with pre-inoculated growing substrates and detailed instructions. But some of them also include a humidity tent and misting bottle. The logs have holes filled with fungal spores that will transform into tasty mushrooms.
The mycelium is heat-sensitive, so it can die under direct sunlight or high temperatures (higher than 86 o F or 30 o C).
Start by submerging your mushroom kit in water for the recommended time. You can place something heavy above the block to ensure it’s completely underwater. After this, you have to place the fruiting block in indirect light.
When it comes to growing conditions, light levels and temperature are the two most critical requirements. These can vary depending on the variety because some mushrooms need warmth while others fruit in cold and darkness. You will also have to mist the block a few times during the day to maintain the moisture and humidity.
The typical temperature range for growing your mushrooms indoors is between 65 – 70 o F (18.3 – 21 o C). Avoid temperature fluctuations to keep the temperature uniform throughout the growth. It’s best not to place your mushroom kit near heat sources or on a window sill. Mushrooms need a dim and damp growing environment, so you should choose a garden shed or the garage, even outdoors.
The growing requirements can change based on the growing stage, so carefully select the variety and ensure you know everything about it for abundant mushrooms.
The fruiting block needs consistent moisture for healthy growth, so do not let the substrate dry out. Oyster and Shiitake Mushrooms will be ready for harvest within a few weeks, while other varieties can take anywhere between 1-3 months. Take a clean knife and separate the mushroom from the fruiting block to harvest.
The biggest perk of growing mushrooms using grow kits is having multiple harvests with the same kit. You have to submerge the block in water to fulfill the moisture requirements and keep it in a fruiting environment.
Mushroom growing kits are sustainable; after several flushes of fruits, you can use the leftover material as garden compost.
Did you know that you can even use your mushroom kit as a spawn? Break the block into small pieces of mycelium and add it to a suitable growing medium such as straw. Straw is a popular and easily accessible material for growing mushrooms at home. You can read our article about which mushrooms you can grow on straw to know more and some extra tips about the topic.
FAQ about Mushroom Growing Kits
If you do not want to grow mushrooms from scratch, a good-quality mushroom kit is all you need; it is the easiest method to start the fungi culture and have a year-round supply of fresh food for your meals and salads. But before buying your mushroom kits, carefully read the instructions about growing requirements.
Growing the mushrooms in your kitchen or living room gives a forest-like vibe, and your guests will be impressed by your mini mushroom garden.
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