Grow Your Own Chestnut MushroomsNorth Spore
Chestnut mushroom kits are one of the easier Grow Your Own kits. They are very reliable producers and tend to yield a single large flush of mushrooms. However, they are not the easiest kit to get subsequent fruitings and rarely produce a second flush. Chestnuts like cooler temperatures.
Cooking: Chestnut mushrooms have a full flavor that is evoked with thorough cooking. We recommend you use its rich, nutty flavor as a compliment to autumn soups.
Properties: The Chestnut mushroom has medicinal qualities that inhibit tumor and microbial growth. In one study conducted on lab mice, polysaccharides taken from Chestnut mushroom mycelium reduced the growth of cancerous tumors by about 60% (Ohtsuka et al., 1973). Acting as an antimicrobial, an extract of Chestnut mushroom was shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (Dulger et al., 2004).
1) Your Chestnut mushroom grow kit is an amended sawdust block that has been completely colonized by Chestnut mushroom mycelium. Take the block and place it on its side, exposing a side where the block presses right up against the plastic bag. Take a sharp knife and slice a 5-6 inch slice along the bag, slicing the bag with as little damage done as possible to the block. Gently squeeze out any air left in the bag, take the loose flap without mushroom substrate in it, and fold it underneath the kit. The Chestnut mushroom mycelium will sense the oxygen in the air and produce mushroom ‘pins’, another word for ‘baby mushrooms’. This should begin to happen within two weeks of slicing your bag.
2) Mushrooms need proper humidity and ventilation to survive. Place your sliced bag in the most humid part of your home and outside of direct sunlight. We suggest putting your bag on a kitchen counter somewhat close to a sink. If your home is really dry you may want to make a humidity tent to place over your bag. Simply take a trash bag or other loosley fitting plastic bag, put PLENTY of 1/2 inch holes in it (THIS IS IMPORTANT: Mushrooms exhale CO2 and inhale oxygen. They will suffocate themselves if there isn’t adequate airflow! Chestnuts that look stringy or strange are usually growing that way because they need more air!). Spray the outside of your block near the slice at least once per day. If you choose to use a humidity tent make sure to spray the inside of the tent once per day to maintain humidity.
3) Harvest your mushrooms when they resemble the photograph on the front of your kit! Harvest before the caps flatten out and become concave. Mushrooms grow quickly, so when you spot your first mushroom pins keep a close eye on them. The warmer the environment the faster they will grow. Mushrooms should be ready to harvest 5-10 days after pin formation.
4) We guarantee the first harvest of Chestnut mushrooms, but you may choose to attempt a second fruiting off your block! Harvests usually diminish in size with each consecutive fruiting. We recommend giving your block a one week break from spraying, then soaking your block in cold water for 20 minutes, and re-starting the process of spraying your blocks with water daily!
*CAUTIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS:
IF YOU PLAN ON CONSUMING YOUR HOME-GROWN MUSHROOMS, MAKE SURE TO COOK THEM THOROUGHLY. IF IT IS YOUR FIRST TIME EATING THIS SPECIES, IT IS BEST TO START WITH A SMALL AMOUNT TO SEE HOW YOUR BODY RESPONDS!
MUSHROOMS PRODUCE SPORES AS THEY DEVELOP. THIS IS A NATURAL MEANS OF REPRODUCTION FOR THE FUNGUS. THEY USUALLY APPEAR AS A DUSTY SURFACE ON YOUR GROW KIT BENEATH THE MUSHROOM CAPS. PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES OR COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEMS MAY WANT TO CONSIDER PUTTING FRUITING MUSHROOM KITS OUTDOORS OR IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA AS AIRBORNE SPORES SOMETIMES CAUSE RESPIRATORY IRRITATION. SPORES MAY ALSO CAUSE IRRITATION FOR SOME NON-ALLERGIC OR IMMUNE COMPROMISED MUSHROOM GROWERS, THOUGH THIS IS RARE. HARVESTING MUSHROOMS WHILE STILL IN THEIR YOUNGER GROWTH STAGES WILL REDUCE THE OVERALL SPORE LOAD.