There’s this guy who shows up at the various farmer’s markets around the city. He’s known as the Fun Guy, and he sells gorgeous organic mushrooms of all shapes and sizes. I was too late in ordering my shitake logs for home cultivation, so instead he brought me an oyster mushroom kit. For first time growers, this is the easiest type of mushroom to grow, not to mention delicious browned in butter with garlic and parmesan.
The kit is a plastic bag filled with sterilized sawdust and hardwood chips which is food for the mycelium. The white that you see is the mycelium, a living organism that given the right conditions, will “fruit” and produce mushrooms. A plastic bag and wooden skewers are also included in the kit which costs $20. Not a bad investment considering the price of organic mushrooms.
You simply make a series of small cuts through the plastic. This is where the mushrooms will come through.
After you’ve made your slits, stick your skewers into the block and give it a good misting with the sprayer. Tent with the bag to keep a environment of high humidity. The skewers will keep the plastic bag from touching the block. You don’t want wet mushrooms or they will become soggy and rot. Once the mushrooms start to form, mist the inside of the bag instead. Keep away from direct sun, and mist at least twice a day.
Keep your block on a tray to catch water dripping from the condensation. Everyone who comes into my kitchen wonder, “what the heck is that?”.
Our first flush of mushrooms was harvested in about 3 weeks. You can let it rest a couple of weeks between flushes then soak in cold unchlorinated water and repeat the misting process again. The kit should continue to fruit until the mycelium in the bag runs out of food. What’s left in the bag can be broken and put in your garden. It’s an excellent soil conditioner.
Kits like this make it really easy to grow your own mushrooms since the mycelium is already started, but you can also make your own kits which I plan to do this fall.
The kids really enjoy watching this alien grow.