How To Use The Grow Kits.
You will also need:
- a syringe with either liquid culture or spores of your chosen mushroom. You can buy that here.
- Bowls/ Containers with lids
There are five key stages to growing mushrooms:
Please read through each stage carefully and make sure you understand fully before proceeding.
Inoculate your substrate by injecting approximately 3ml from your syringe into your Grow Box/ Jar
- Ensure your workspace is clean and draft-free.
- Ideally wash yourself and wear clean clothes.
- Wear your facemask and gloves.
- Wipe your gloves with one alcohol wipe
Making Lid Holes
- Pushing the syringe needle through the lid can clog the needle – make some holes first.
- Start by bending a paper clip:
- Heat the tip of the paper clip up with a flame so it is nice and hot and poke holes (aim for 6 evenly spaced holes, which have been marked as black dots since 22/08/2019, avoiding the filter) through the lid where you will be injecting. The plastic of the lid can crack if you don’t get the tip of the paper clip nice and hot. The end of the clip should go through the plastic easily – Do not push hard! Reheat the clip as necessary.
Injecting culture/ spores
- Flame the syringe needle until it glows red to sanitise, and then allow 20 seconds for cooling.
- Wipe the substrate tub injection ports with the 2nd alcohol wipe.
- Inject approximately 0.5ml through each injection point (your previously made holes) into the substrate cake.
- If inoculating more than one cake, flame sterilise the syringe before injecting into the next cake, to avoid cross contamination.
- After inoculating, cover the holes with the micropore tape provided.
This is where the mycelium will grow, covering your cake with a white, cotton-like appearance. Your cake is fully colonised when covered completely in mycelium.
- Put the cake somewhere safe out of direct sunlight – no light is okay, but not ideal.
- Don’t put the cake onto a direct heat source, e.g., a heating mat, as this both increases contamination risk by encouraging bacteria growth, and also dries out the cake.
- Warmer environments tend to have faster colonisation times but contamination risk increases with increased temperatures. In most cases room temperature is ideal.
- Mycelium growth can occur between 3 days and 3 weeks, depending on mushroom strand and temperature.
- While variable, a fully colonised cake usually takes 1-2 months.
- Once fully colonised, before proceeding to step 3, leave for another week to allow the mycelium to get a firm hold on your cake.
The cake will have dried out substantially during the colonisation period, so requires rehydration prior to fruiting.
- Open the substrate container and carefully turn upside down to release the cake.
- Brush off all the dry vermiculite from the top of the cake and rinse under the tap to wash off any excess vermiculite.
- Place your cake in a large enough bowl/ container and fill with water.
- The cake is quite buoyant and you want it fully submerged in the water, either by: (1) using the container lid, or (2) if using a bowl, using an object, e.g., a plate, to weigh it down.
- Leave the cake submerged for 24 hours to hydrate, and then rinse under the tap again before proceeding to step 4.
This is where your mushrooms start to grow.
Preparing Your Fruiting Tent
- In a bowl, add the vermiculite and the cake, aiming to cover the cake in the vermiculite.
- Don’t worry about pressing the vermiculite into the side of the cake – it should be covered in vermiculite to lock in moisture.
- Wash the perlite using a sieve under a running tap, to eliminate any dust, and then soak the perlite in water.
- Place the perlite at the bottom of your fruiting tent: this is the base that will provide moisture to keep the fruiting environment humid.
- Cut foil slightly bigger than the cake’s base to create a barrier between the perlite and cake. (Don’t let your cake sit on the perlite.)
- Place the foil and then your cake into the fruiting tent, folding the top of the tent over to close it off, and then using the paper clips to secure the tent at the opening.
Misting & Fanning Cycle
- Leave cake for 12 hours before starting a 3-6 times/ day misting and fanning cycle to keep your mushrooms growing.
- Open the fruiting tent and spray water into your tent to maintain the humidity and keep your mushrooms happy.
- Once misted, give them a quick fan to help air circulation.
- After roughly 1 week you will see the mushroom pins popping up.
- After approximately 2 further weeks the mushrooms should be harvestable.
Maturing mushrooms with the veil breaking, exposing the gills on the under side of the cap, are ready to be picked.
- Either hold and twist the mushroom at the base of the cake, or use a knife/ scissors to cut at the base by the cake.
- Pick all mushrooms apart from any newly formed pins, which can be left for the next cycle.
- You can repeat steps 3 to 5 for approximately 2 further cycles, providing 3 cycles in total. You do not need to cover the cake in vermiculite for the 2nd and 3rd fruiting cycle.
- Once mushrooms stop growing or the cake becomes contaminated (mould will appear) the cake is finished and ready to be disposed of.
Good luck and happy mushrooming!