Grow at Home Kit FAQ
Click the links below for information on the various types of Grow at Home Kits:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I open the bag? Not with any species except for Shiitake. The block should remain inside the bag. Most species require you to slice the bag (without fully opening it). Make sure to read the instructions carefully before attempting to start your kit!!
Do I take my mushroom kit out of its bag? Only in the case of Shiitake; all other species remain in their bags for fruiting! Simply slice a slit in the bag so that the mushroom block can sense the oxygen in the air. Make sure to gently squeeze out any air left in the bag, take the loose flap of plastic without mushroom substrate in it, and fold it underneath the kit. The slit that you just cut should be facing upwards.
What do you mean by 'fruiting'? Mushrooms are the reproductive organ of the fungus. Your kit is primarily made of mushroom mycelium (think root structure!) that has colonized a bag full of sawdust. When a mushroom kit 'fruits' it is producing its spore-bearing mushrooms, the organ of the fungi that is most easily recognizable and consumed.
How many flushes will my kit produce? We guarantee at least one fruiting of mushrooms off your kit, but depending on the species you choose to grow it is likely you will get a second, third, fourth, or even fifth fruiting with care and patience. Growing mushrooms is an art, and it takes skill to be good at it. Be patient, follow the instructions carefully, and try to maintain a humid environment for your kit and you should succeed.
What do you mean by 'flush'? A 'flush' refers to the production of multiple mushroom fruit bodies. Our kits tend to produce many mushrooms at once - this is known as a 'flush' of mushrooms.
How many pounds of mushrooms will my kit produce? Usually somewhere in the range of 1/2 of a pound to 2 lbs first flush. This varies significantly species to species, environment to environment. It depends greatly on how much care you put into maintaining your kit!
How do I know that the mushrooms growing from my kit are the correct species? Your kit was inoculated in a sterile environment with a selected mushroom culture. It is incredibly unlikely you would ever have a competing species grow from your kit. However, if you'd like to make sure what is growing from your kit is indeed the correct species, simply take a photograph and email it to us for confirmation. Save the image on the front of your kit bag or box for reference.
Should my kit be refrigerated until use? North Spore mushroom kits are living and have a limited shelf life. The sooner you 'activate' your kit the better. If you think that you won't be able to start your kit for a week or more, you should put it in the refrigerator.
When should I harvest my mushrooms? The image on the front of your Grow at Home bag or box shows the mushrooms at their ideal stage of growth for harvesting. As a rule, mushrooms should be harvested before their caps flatten or become concave (in the case of Lion's Mane, before they become yellowed and mushy). If mushrooms become dried out, moldy, or look unappetizing in any way, it is best to send us a photograph by email to see where you might have gone wrong. 9 times out of 10 the mushrooms weren't harvested early enough! Unlike plants, mushrooms grow incredibly fast. Make sure to keep a close eye on your kit so you don't miss the opportune time to harvest! Stringy mushrooms with long stems and little caps are usually suffocating from their own CO2. Give them some air!
My mushroom kit produced pins (baby mushrooms) but they stopped growing, why? Usually mushroom pins abort when there isn't enough humidity around the block. Don't panic! Your mushroom kit still has all the food needed to produce mushrooms. Simply pick off the aborted mushroom pins, wait one week, letting the block dry out on a plate, then soak the block for 20 minutes in cold water, drain all the water out of your kit (species that grow in the bag) and start the process over. If you didn't use a humidity tent the first time (directions for how to make a humidity tent are included in the instructions for each species below) then do so with your second attempt. Make sure to keep a closer eye on the kit. Spray daily with water to keep it humid!
Do I need to cook my mushrooms? Yes! If you plan on eating the mushrooms your kit has produced, you should make sure they are thoroughly cooked.
When I opened my kit, it already had mushrooms growing on it. This is normal. If you are growing Oysters, Lion's Mane, Pioppino, or Chestnut, simply ignore the mushrooms that may be fruiting inside your bag. If it is Shiitake, when you remove the bag also pinch off and discard any premature fruiting mushrooms and continue following the instructions on your kit.
Do the mushrooms grow only in the slit or do I need to open the bag to harvest? Make sure to squeeze out any air left in the bag after you slice it. Gently fold the remaining plastic flap of the bag underneath the kit. In the case of Oysters, Lion's Mane, Chestnut, and Pioppino, this will ensure that the mushrooms will grow from the opening in the bag (in the case of shiitake they will grow all over the exposed block) and not inside it. You shouldn't need to open the bag to harvest the mushrooms, though if they still decide to fruit within, feel free to open the bag up to harvest.
How do I harvest my mushrooms? For Oysters, Lion's Mane, Chestnut, and Pioppino, you can usually just twist the mushroom clusters from the kit. If you'd rather use a knife and cut them, that's fine too! For Shiitake, it's easiest to use clippers or a knife. Cut at the base of the stem.
For the humidity tent, what type of bag should I use? Use a large plastic bag with plenty of 1/2 inch holes placed in it. You may choose to use a plastic basket as a frame for the bag (to prop the bag up if it is not thick and stiff!). Spray the inside of the bag daily to create a humid home for your mushroom kit.
Do the mushrooms grow all at the same time? Usually the mushrooms come in flushes all at once. If some mushrooms seem to be maturing at a faster rate than the rest, harvest those before their caps flatten, and wait a day or two to harvest the remaining mushrooms.
When attempting my second fruiting, should I take the block out of the bag (Oysters, Pioppino, Chestnuts) or do I soak them in the bag? Do not take the block out of the bag. When you soak your blocks, make sure to let the water drain from the slit so there is no standing water inside the bag. Just tip it upside-down and let the water drain. Restart your regiment of spraying the block daily.