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How to Successfully Grow Mushrooms at Home with a Mushroom Grow Kit

Are you a mushroom fanatic who loves to use these fungi in all your favorite recipes? Luckily, mushroom grow kits make it easy to grow your favorite fungi!

Finding and growing mushrooms with a grow kit is an easier process when compared to tending to a garden. Kits also open you to a whole world of mushroom varieties other than your typical grocery store options.

Keep reading to learn what a mushroom grow kit entails and how you can keep your fungi happy and healthy!

mushroom grow kit

Pick and Purchase Your Mushroom Grow Kit

Before considering taking care of your new fungi, you must pick your mushroom variety!

Common Types of Mushrooms Available in Grow Kits

Finding the best mushroom grow kit for you can be a little overwhelming. There are over 2,000 mushroom species, with 25 used for food. If you need some ideas, here are a few common mushroom varieties you’ll find in grow kits.

Keep in mind that these mushroom grow kits do best indoors (except Morels). This is because you can control the temperatures and humidity in your home. You’ll also be able to grow them any time of year indoors.

If you don’t want these fungi growing inside your home, you can try burying the substrates in planting beds. You would typically do this in the spring. But, you may get mixed results due to the uncontrolled environment.

Chestnut Mushrooms

Chestnut mushrooms, or Pholiota adiposa, are European natives that like to grow on hardwood. So, you’ll often find them growing wildly in clusters on stumps, tree trunks, and broken branches.

They aren’t picky with their growing conditions, so they’ll take residence on both living and decaying trees. These mushrooms have the familiar cap shape, along with a scaly look and a chestnut brown coloring. And they have a nutty, earthy taste and a meaty texture.

Chestnut mushroom grow kits typically include a colonized sawdust-based block to accommodate their love for wood.

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion's Mane Mushroom benefits

Lion’s Mane mushrooms, or Hericium erinaceus, are native to Eurasia and some parts of North America. These white mushrooms have a peculiar ball-shaped look with dangling spines. But the spines look more like tentacles, as they aren’t sharp. And they like to grow on decaying trees, logs, and stumps. This type of mushroom has a slightly sweet taste to it, along with a seafood-like texture.

Lion’s Mane mushroom grow kit usually uses a colonized hardwood sawdust substrate block.

Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms, or Pleurotus ostreatus, can be easy to spot, as they have slightly wavy and fanned-out caps. They’ll usually grow in clusters on trees, logs, and around tree trunks. You can find multiple variants of them scattered throughout the world.

The color of the mushroom depends on the type. Blue, yellow, pink, and brown are all colors you might see within the Oyster mushroom family. These mushrooms typically have a seafood-like or meaty flavor and a dense, smooth texture.

An Oyster mushroom grow kit usually comes with a colonized block of straw substrate, which helps keep the spores warm.

Shiitake Mushrooms

shiitake mushroom benefits

Shiitake mushrooms, or Lentinula edodes, are Asian natives that play a massive role in Asian cooking. Their taste brings strong, earthy, and savory flavors to food. The mushrooms have brown, umbrella-like caps that sit on curved stems. And you’ll often find them growing in large clusters on logs and stumps.

Shiitake mushroom grow kit comes with a colonized block of hardwood sawdust and grain.

Morel Mushrooms

Morel mushrooms, or Morchella, are native to much of the Northern Hemisphere. You’ll usually find them growing as individuals on the grounds of wooded areas.

They especially like to grow around the bases of trees. These mushrooms are typically brown and cream, and have a distinctive honeycomb textured cap. Morels have earthy and nutty notes along with a meaty texture.

Morel mushroom grow kit is a little different from other kits, as they are hard to grow inside. Instead, the spores come in a bag mixed with loose sawdust that you’ll need to spread outside.

What to Consider When Picking a Mushroom Variety

You’ll need to put in some serious thought before choosing your mushroom grow kit. The ease of use and your purpose for the mushrooms will help determine which kit to get.

How Easy the Variety is to Grow

Do you want a challenge? Or are you looking for something easy?

Oyster mushrooms are the easiest to grow as they adapt to most growing conditions and produce faster than other varieties. Due to this, they’re best for beginners. Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, and Chestnut are runner-ups, as they’re usually easy to grow with a kit. Just be sure to follow directions.

Morels are on the difficult side of the growing spectrum. They’re picky with their growing conditions and won’t grow unless everything is nearly perfect.

What You’ll Be Using the Mushrooms For

What will you be using your newly-grown mushrooms for? Are they just for show, or will you be using them in recipes?

If you want to use them in recipes, you should consider the cuisine you enjoy making and eating. You should pick your mushroom grow kit based on what flavors and textures the fungi offer.

And choose the mushroom that interests you most if you’re growing them purely for looks.

2. Open Your Kit and Place it in Optimal Growing Conditions

Ripe mushroom in green grass vintage toned photo. Summer forest scene. White edible mushroom macrophoto. Green leaf and white mushrooms. Natural mushroom growing. Ecotourism activity. Pick up mushroom

Opening your mushroom grow kit should be an easy process. Generally, if you buy an indoor kit, you’ll simply need to cut an “x” in the plastic.

Don’t remove the colonized substrate from the bag. If it’s an outdoor kit or you want to try outdoor growing, you’ll need to create a planting bed. Then you can sprinkle and bury the substrate.

If the directions differ on your specific kit, follow what the manufacturer says.

Similar to plants, your mushrooms need specific growing conditions to thrive. Humidity, air exchanges, and sunlight are the most vital factors.

Humidity Requirements

Mushrooms need high humidity levels to grow properly. This means the humidity percentage should be between 80% and 90%. If your home’s air is on the drier side, a home humidifier or a humidity tent might be helpful.

Air Exchange Requirements

Mushrooms produce carbon dioxide as they grow, so they need ventilation. Without this, the mushrooms won’t grow correctly. And if they are struggling to find oxygen, they can grow in a distorted fashion.

When you cut your mushroom grow kit open, the tear in the bag should provide enough air. But, if you’re using a humidity tent, you’ll need to provide ventilation holes. Or you can leave part of the tent unzippered or opened.

Sunlight Requirements

Unlike plants, mushrooms don’t need direct sunlight to grow. They prefer indirect sunlight, as the sun dries them out. So, as long as you expose them to daylight, they will grow just fine.

A good place for your mushroom grow kit would be on your kitchen counter or table. But don’t put them on windowsills! And don’t place them under growing lamps. They need the natural change of light from day to night to support their growing cycle.

3. Care For Your Mushrooms and Allow Them to Grow

wild mushrooms closeup on the park lawn in spring

After cutting your mushroom grow kit open or spreading your colonized substrate, the only required maintenance is watering.

Watering Requirements

To water your indoor kit, you’ll simply spritz some water on the exposed substrate where you cut the bag open. And if you have an outdoor kit, water it like you would water your normal garden. You’ll need to water your mushrooms twice a day to keep humidity and moisture levels high. If your mushrooms don’t get daily watering, they can shrivel up, dry out, and even die.

4. Harvest Your Mushrooms

Harvesting time frames depend on the mushroom variety. Here are some general harvesting time frames after opening and watering your kit:

  • Chestnut: about 2-3 weeks
  • Lion’s Mane: about 2-3 weeks
  • Oyster: about 2 weeks
  • Shiitake: about 2 weeks
  • Morel: about 2-4 weeks

Mushroom Grow Kit FAQs

How much will a mushroom grow kit produce?

The amount you receive from your kit depends on the type of mushroom and the size of the kit. A larger substrate block will typically produce more mushrooms. But, as a general rule, you can get up to three pounds of mushrooms per kit.

How long can you use a mushroom grow kit?

Don’t throw your kit away after your first harvest! You can typically get a minimum of two harvests out of each kit. But you could get lucky and get up to three! Each harvest should be one after the other if you have an indoor kit.

Do mushroom grow kits expire?

There isn’t usually an expiration date on these types of kits. However, your growth results might differ if you wait longer than a few months before opening the kit. Putting your kit in the refrigerator can preserve the mushroom colonies if you don’t plan on using it soon.

Start Growing Some Fungi

What are you waiting for? Grab a mushroom grow kit and begin your fungi-growing journey!

Growing mushrooms is a fun activity that can provide you with a beautiful, edible result. And kits make growing them an effortless process in the comfort of your own home!

Do these edible fungi pique your interest? Check out our Mushroom page for some more interesting information!