New Project: Culinary Mushroom Grow Kit

Happy Wednesday! Depending on how my week shapes up, there might be only two posts this week. The blame entirely falls on a completely random bout of food poisoning that hit me late Monday night and took until this morning to really shake off again.

Bleh, I say, but on to better and tastier topics! I bought a thing at the farmer’s market last weekend that I didn’t expect to see but had been carefully eyeing online through different sources — an at-home mushroom growing kit.

Why?

Well, why the heck not? I’ve done veggies, herbs, microgreens… why not mushrooms? Purported to be super easy to start and maintain, I couldn’t resist, especially considering the rather low $20 price tag compared to the minimum of $50 I saw on the interwebz. Plus, this place is local, meaning all I have to do is schlep up to market early on Saturday mornings to chat with them if I have an issue, or I can visit their permanent storefront.

You’ll note the term “culinary” in my title… just in case someone thought I might be into the, er, visionary sort of fungi.

Nope. No thanks.

Anyway, someone had snagged the last kit of lion’s mane, leaving me to either try this “pioppino” variety or wait a week. My inner five-year-old made googly doe eyes, and the inner-adjacent impatient teenager rolled hers and tapped a foot rather like Sonic the Hedgehog with arms crossed.

Adult me shrugged and gave in, folks. Kind of an unfair fight, truth be told.


The kit! It already contains everything needed for the ‘shrooms to survive and thrive for at least three (or so they tell me) harvests.

The good news is, I’m not going into this blindly; the shop owner has created a series of helpful tutorials for each step of the process. Now that I’m feeling decidedly less like death warmed over, I can start to watch them and get this sucker set up for “pinning” and “fruiting.”

Key points gathered from the videos:

  • The white square is a fine air filter to allow the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide within the bag.
  • Substrate for the mushrooms includes sawdust, soy husks, water, and mushroom spawn.
  • Pioppino is a “top fruiting” variety, meaning that it should pin and grow at the top of the block. Others grow better on the side of a block, while still more grow anywhere. Noting for next time…
  • Mushrooms don’t use photosynthesis — they only need light and air to grow. And humidity helps, too.
  • A crop of mushrooms is called a “flush.”
  • I need to purchase a spray bottle for misting the pins once to twice a day… living in a dry environment, I can see why this is necessary. Will get one tomorrow.

To set up my top-fruiting pioppino, I needed to complete two steps. First, I needed to put a rubber band around the bag, about two inches below the top of the substrate block. Doing so allows me to control the growth towards the top of the block and prevents growth elsewhere.

As it happens, I do not own a single rubber band. Five precious hair ties were sacrified for this endeavor. They shall not be forgotten… R.I.P., fallen heroes.

Second, I needed to allow the spores access to oxygen; thus, I cut a small hole in the top left corner of the bag. Upon purchase of a spray bottle (tomorrow), I can mist water inside the plastic to keep things nice and moist. The video stated, though, that this method needed less frequent misting than for side cuts. We shall see how this goes, as I should have pins within a week or two?

Published by Allie

Foodie explorer with Stardew Valley dreams. Lover of wine but not beer, cheese but not milk, and all things chocolate. Working to learn as many self-sufficient, at-home food production skills as possible.

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