Pearl Oyster Mushroom Grow Kit
£12.50 (plus P&P)
Our Growkits are now made and sold over at Fungi Futures
An Easy to Use Gourmet Mushroom Grow Kit – 3 simple steps!
Poke holes in the bag and spray to keep humid.
Watch in amazement as mushrooms begin to fruit out of the bag.
Enjoy the harvest with some of our recipes.
Woodfruit Gourmet Grow Kits
The easiest Mushroom Grow Kit possible – no sterilising, inoculating or incubating needed. Just poke holes, keep humid and watch in amazement as beautiful fresh bouquets of Gourmet Mushrooms grow out of the holes!
These kits come with a 2Kg bag of Woodchip/ sawdust/ organic bran mix which has already been inoculated and colonised with our own fresh Pearl Oyster Mushroom spawn. We grow it to the point of being ready to fruit it’s first mushrooms and it then just needs holes to be cut and to be placed in a tray of water on a windowsill to switch into mushroom production. Full detailed instructions and recipes ideas are included.
Your first small mushrooms should begin to appear about 1 week after poking the holes and they will grow daily until they are full sized bouquets - ready to harvest about 7 days later. If you follow the simple instructions that come with your kit, you should get between 3-5 crops of mushrooms over a 2-3 month period. And it doesn’t need to finish there either! You can break your finished kit up and mix it with woodchips in your garden to create a perennial mushroom bed!
We have only been making our Grow Kits for a short while, but already the feedback is starting to come in.
“Ate some more divine mushrooms last night! 4th round! Gonna soak the bag and see if I can get one more flush”
Tommas Nancarrow, Brighton
“Please can I order three kits from you for Xmas presents. I have tried one already and the result has been excellent.”
Ruth Partridge, Diptford, Totnes
“My daughter sent me a picture message of the grow kit I gave her – it was absolutely covered in mushrooms!.”
Mrs Stitson, Totnes
"I was fascinated waiting and watching my plastic bag full of mycelium start to fruit. Each day we water sprayed it in anticipation of activity and sure enough on day 4 things began to happen. What started as a complicated lump on the side of the kit developed over about five days into a superb array of beautiful mushrooms. The first crop was soon devoured on toast and had a lovely flavour when cooked in butter. We eagerly await the second crop which is just begining to show and look forward to trying different varieties as your business grows."
Jeff Guy, Dorchester
Upcoming Market Dates
We will be selling our Grow Kits at the following markets:
- Sat 5th March: Moretonhampstead Food Drink and Arts Festival
- Sun 20th March: Totnes Good Food Sunday
- Sat 26th & Sun 27th March: Love Food Festival Bristol
- Thu 31st March: Plymouth University Food Market
- 16th April 2011: Our one day Mushroom Growing Course.See link for more details.
- Sun 17th April: Totnes Good Food Sunday
- Sat 1st & Sun 2nd May: The Grow Your Own Show (Losely Park, Surrey)
- Sun 15th May: Totnes Good Food Sunday
- Sat 29th-Mon 30th: Dartington Food Fair
- Sat 18th & Sun 19th June: Bristol Festival of Nature
More Detailed Information About Taking Care Of Your Grow Kit
These kits are very reliable and are almost guaranteed to produce mushrooms just by cutting the holes and following the most basic directions set out in instruction booklet that came with your kit. However, if you really want to treat your kit well, in order to squeeze every little bit of potential from it and maximise your overall harvest, the following information may be of use to you.
1 ~ Cutting holes: Do this over your kitchen sink or outside as sometimes a little water might dribble out. When cutting the X holes, try to just cut the bag and avoid cutting too deeply into the woodchip block. It doesn’t matter greatly; it will just slow mushroom production down, as the mycelium will have to recover at the cut site first. Also, it is possible to cut more than 2 holes in the bag – you could cut 3 or 4 if you want. Basically, the more holes you have, the more separate bouquets of mushrooms you’ll get growing from the holes BUT each will be of a smaller size. The overall harvest you get will be the same – it’s a choice of less, but larger clusters, or more smaller ones! You don not need to cut new holes for additional flushes - mushrooms will fruit from the same holes over and over again.
2 ~ Spraying: There may be a tendency to want to spray or water the kit too much. The purpose of spraying (or dribbling water over the bag if you don’t have a sprayer) is just to keep the environment surrounding the bag nice and humid. Inside the bag will already be humid as it’s an enclosed environment, so it’s really outside the bag that we are concerned with here. During wet periods outdoors (and especially in the autumn), you will hardly need to spray/water at all, as the ambient humidity (even in your house) will be naturally high. Conversely, during dry periods, or if the bag is anywhere near a radiator (not recommended!), you will need to spray/water a little more. Either way, the patches of mycelium at the cut X sites are your guide: if they look much drier than the mycelium next to them under the plastic, then you could probably do with spraying a little more. If you see wet brown patches or even green/blue patches developing, you are spraying/watering too much and creating an environment more favourable to moulds. Scrape any such growths off carefully with a knife and put them in your compost, then don’t water for a couple of days. It should recover!
3 ~ Positioning: Contrary to popular belief, and as mentioned in the instructions, indirect light is needed for mushroom formation, and a windowsill out of direct sunlight is a good place for your kit to be. Beware that in summer, it can get quite hot and dry behind the glass of a windowsill, so you may need to move it somewhere else a little more damp and cool. A garage with a window, the shaded side of your house, a bathroom, even a shaded spot of the garden…although be careful the slugs don’t get there first if you do this one. Artificial light will even do, though it makes sense to make use of the sunlight wherever possible. The colour of the mushroom caps will alter slightly in response to the strength of light it gets. More light produces darker caps, and less light gives lighter, paler caps. Try it out for different flushes if you want. Whatever you do, ensure you keep your grow kit away from radiators or wood burners, as these will dry the mycelium out and can kill it if it becomes too dry.
4 ~ Fresh air: The other thing that developing mushrooms need is lots of is fresh air. Thankfully, so do we humans! Most rooms in a house will have an ample supply of fresh oxygen coming in through windows, opened doors and cracks in doorframes. However if you notice that the stems forming on new mushrooms are looking very long and spindly it is an indication that CO2 levels are too high and they are not getting enough oxygen. Open a nearby window slightly or leave outside for an hour or two each day. Unlikely to be much of a problem in all but the most enclosed of positions.
5 ~ Waiting Times: You should start to see tiny mushroom pins after 7-10 days. They won’t even look like mushrooms for the first few days, just little blobs emerging from the white mycelium. The speed of mushroom development alters with temperature: when cooler, they will grow slower, when warmer; faster. Bear this is mind when waiting for them to appear…In the winter, the whole process will generally take longer (unless you have a super warm house all day and night!), in summer, much faster - to the point where you really have to keep an eye on mushrooms which are nearly ready for harvesting. One day to the next can see them go from nearly perfect to slightly overgrown with caps and gills upturned already. It’s incredible how fast it can happen! During the latter flushes, the whole process may seem to slow down, but don't worry - just hold on in there and you will be rewarded.
6 ~ Harvesting: The first time you harvest, it can be difficult to know exactly when to do it. The photo at the top of this column has a very large bouquet which came from a kit where we just poked one hole. It is an example of mushrooms which are probably one day from harvest. The caps are still rolled a fair bit inwards on most mushrooms. Over the next 24-48 hours these will open up, become flat, and then begin to turn upwards to open up the gills and drop billions of spores. The ideal time to harvest is just before the caps open up to become flat i.e. whilst still very slightly in rolled and before turned upwards. Let them go over a bit on one of your harvests and you’ll see what we mean!
7 ~ Mushroom Form: You may notice that the shape, form, colour and number of individual mushrooms forming changes from flush to flush. This is entirely normal and part of the mycelium’s response to changes in temperature, humidity, light and dwindling nutrient and water resources in it’s bag. Each flush will be different, but will taste equally as good!
8 ~ Dunking: So, you’ve had 2 or 3 flushes from your kit over the course of 4-6 weeks and it seems like it’s given up and died...Well, you’ll be pleased to know it hasn’t died. It’s just run out of water and has gone into dormancy until it gets some more. Oyster mushrooms are around 90% water, so over the course of the first couple of flushes, most of the water that was already in the woodchip/sawdust/bran mix will have been put out in those lovely mushrooms you enjoyed. You’ll probably notice it’s a lot lighter than when you first got it! To allow the mycelium to soak up some more water, put it (inside its bag as it is) in a bucket or tub of cold water and weigh it down with a bit of wood and brick, or anything else that keeps in submerged. Leave it for 24-48 hours, then pull it out and lay it on it’s side to drain out any excess water in the bag. You should now get another flush starting to grow in 7-10 days time. After this, leave it to rest for 2 weeks before repeating again. With a little diligence, it’s amazing how many flushes can be induced from this little bag of woodchip and sawdust. With enough water and the right environmental conditions, the mycelium will continue to periodically put out mushrooms until it has exhausted all useable nutrients. And even then, it’s possible to introduce it to new nutrient sources and continue it’s life and your supply of fresh Gourmet Mushrooms! See next step.
9 ~ After your kit has finished producing: After you have had 3-5 flushes from your kit over a couple of months (including giving it a dunk as described in the instructions), you will find that it ceases to produce any more mushrooms. This is because the mycelium has used up all the nutrients in the bag. But this doesn’t have to be the end of it’s life! You can keep it going by giving it a new food source and a new home - somewhere damp outside. First you need to carefully cut the woodchip block out of the bag and crumble it up by hand into smaller pieces, about the size of your thumb, or thereabouts. Collect the crumbled pieces up in a bowl or newspaper etc. Now you effectively have mushroom spawn, and you have a couple of options of what to do with it.
Option 1) Simplest thing: Simply add it to a small area of your garden compost pile and cover with leaves or straw. The mycelium should spread outwards and help to break down your decaying matter quicker. When you spread this out onto your garden there’s a chance you may even get some Oyster mushrooms growing in the autumn!
Option 2) Create a mushroom bed in your garden: Slightly more work, but more rewarding! This will be a 4 ft x 4ft patch of your garden or a vegetable bed in a shaded area which, once colonised by the mycelium, will provide you with mushrooms every autumn/winter for a couple of years. You will need enough hardwood woodchips to cover this sized area with 2 layers, each 2-3 inches thick. Try local tree surgeons or grounds maintenance companies who often have tonnes of woodchip for low cost or even free – just make sure it is from hardwoods (i.e. oak, poplar, elm, beech, chestnut etc), not softwoods (i.e. conifers).
~ Step 1: Lay moist cardboard down to cover the 4 ft x 4ft patch, under a shaded area. Arrange a 2-3 inch layer of moist woodchips on top.
~ Step 2: Sprinkle the broken up mycelium from the Grow Kit in a smaller area in the centre of the woodchips.
~ Step 3: Cover with another 2-3 inch layer of moist woodchips – sort of like a sandwich!
~ Step 4: Water the whole bed so that it is moist all the way through (but not saturated). Keep an eye on the moisture level over time. During dry periods it will need a water every now and then.
~ Step 5: Wait. The mycelium needs about 6 months during warm conditions to spread and colonise your new bed. So at the end of the first summer after you inoculated, dig down an inch or two and see if you can see white threads everywhere. If you can see this there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have Oyster Mushrooms popping up during the autumn/winter period. Use a mushroom ID guide book to confirm they are Oyster Mushrooms and enjoy!
Mushroom Growing Course
Mushroom Growing Course, April 2011
If, in the experience of growing your own Gourmet Mushrooms at home, you’ve been bitten by the mushroom growing bug (and it can happen quite easily!), then you may be interested in coming on our one day Mushroom Growing Course in April 2011.
Also, keep an eye on our website in the coming year as we post lots of photos, start an active blog and launch a much expanded range of Grow Your Own Gourmet Mushroom varieties and products.