Fungus, coming right up!

2 May

Opening the mushroom kit

As a child, I remember growing mushrooms with my Mum. We bought a mushroom kit, and it produced a staggering amount of white button mushrooms, much to the delight of my siblings and I. I really want J and little D to experience that excitement too, so for a while now I’ve been waiting for my local nursery, Eden Gardens to receive their delivery of mushroom growing kits. The one I’ve had my eye on is a swiss brown kit from fungi.net.au, and last week it finally came in! The kit was $29.95, and the instructions say that it should produce 4-5kg of mushrooms. That’s good value in my book, although I’m not sure I would normally spend $29.95 on mushrooms over a 6 week period.

Mushroom Compost

Yesterday J and I set it up. When we opened the box, there was a compost at the bottom, and a smaller bag on the top. The compost was covered in a white substance. I have absolutely no idea what that is, but the instructions said that that is what you want, so who am I to question?

Mushroom casings

Next, we took out the smaller bag, which is the mushroom casing material. To this we added 500mls of water.  J did a great job. The instructions said that you should be able to squeeze some water out of the casing material when it is sufficiently wet. We didn’t even add the full 500mls and it was completely sopping wet, so I hope that isn’t a problem.

Wet mushroom casings go into the kit

Finally we dumped the wet mushroom casings onto the compost and spread them around. I tried to do this myself, but the call of a messy job proved too tempting for my preschooler, so she helped too. I was a bit worried about the amount of wet mushroom casing she had stuck to her hands, so encouraged her to wash them thoroughly after this step. Actually I did the insane mother thing and told her that if she didn’t wash them properly, then mushrooms might start growing on her hands while she’s asleep. Untruthful? probably.

All done!

So now our kit was all done. We then put it in a built in wardrobe in the spare room. The wardrobe is completely dark with the door closed and the room is south facing, so it should be cool. Now we just need to keep it moist with a spray bottle.

After I was finished, I thought I’d conduct an experiment. The bag that contained the mushroom casings was still really dirty. Rather than just tossing it in the bin, I thought I’d try to see if I could grow mushrooms somewhere else. I spread a bit of sugar cane mulch in an area under my back deck – it’s quite dark under there and very humid. I have some ferns and rainforest plants under there, and they are very happy. I filled the bag with water to wash it out, then poured the water on the sugar cane mulch. I’m hoping (and it’s a long shot) that I’ll get a few mushrooms growing under there.

Mushroom trial

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