Is this normal?
Yes! Those alien looking bumps are the beginnings of your mushrooms! If they are Blue Oysters than they may have a dark blue or black color to them. This is the gorgeous blue color that Blue Oysters are known for. As they mature and depending on light and temperature, they may darken a little at first then they will lighten to an almost white with a slight blue tint as they near full maturity.
Where is the best place in my house to grow my mushrooms?
Mushrooms thrive when three important environmental factors are provided;
LIGHT: Your mushrooms need at least 6 hours of natural or artificial light each day. While a sufficient amount of light is not strictly required, the right amount will help your mushrooms grow healthy with vivid color. For example once they are a few days old, if Blue Oysters are not getting enough light, they will be lighter in color, add more light to see deeper blues.
HUMIDITY: Oyster Mushrooms are 85% moisture. This means they require a lot of water to grow large harvests. This is a bit of a challenge in Colorado and drier climates however, Oyster Mushrooms are very forgiving. Make sure to mist your block 2-3 times a day and try not to forget. If your mushrooms are having trouble thriving or the mycelium is drying out,(it will start to appear more yellow than white) contact us for a custom humidity dome, or you can make your own. (*See more about this under OXYGEN) Especially in the winter months in Colorado and other dry climates it is advised to soak your block in between harvests to provide enough water for larger harvests and to account for moisture loss. See our instructions and video for soaking below. If you forget to mist regularly and your mushrooms dry out, they can be harvested and rehydrated in soup and you can try again with the next batch. We provide enough nutrients in your grow blocks to get multiple harvests. Drying of the mycelium usually will not kill it and rehydrating will revitalize your grow block.
OXYGEN: Oyster Mushrooms enjoy a lot of oxygen. If your stems are growing long then your mushrooms would enjoy more oxygen, they are trying to stretch to find it! Most households have sufficient airflow but you may find that the mushrooms would like a little extra. If this is the case and your stems are longer than you would like, try adding a small fan to the room where your mushrooms are. You may want to try putting the fan next to your grow block for maximum airflow but make sure to place it facing away from the mushrooms. Too much direct air will dry them out. The goal is to provide enough air exchange so that fresh oxygen is constantly available to your mushrooms.
**Humidity Domes: Make sure that your dome has lots of holes to provide extra air flow and make sure that your humidity dome sits a few inches above the box and the mushrooms as they grow.
When is it time to Harvest?
Notice in the middle picture how most of the caps are still curled under, but a few are flattening out? This is the perfect time to harvest. If you harvest slightly earlier as in the first picture, it can increase the shelf-life, if you harvest later like the last photo with the caps turning up, it can decrease the shelf-life.
What do the pieces of fruit look like that I need to pick off after harvest?
These photos are a good example of some of the fruit pieces that you should pick off after each harvest. Neglecting this step will allow those pieces to start to decompose and that can introduce contamination to your block and decrease the number of harvests you will get. Make sure to wash your hands before this step! Take off any chunky white pieces and any baby mushrooms that did not mature. If you remove some of the sawdust in the process, that is OK. Make sure to get any hard yellow or white pieces that even slightly resemble fruit. Healthy mycelium is somewhat soft, fruit pieces are hard to the touch. *If some pieces are under the plastic and out of reach, it is OK to leave those alone or if you feel it's necessary you can cut the plastic slightly.**Also note the fuzzy white mycelium in the middle of the block on these pictures. This is a great example of the healthy mycelium that will grow between harvests.
My first harvest was great but the next pins are not showing up...
(How to soak your blocks in between harvests)
Did you know that oyster mushrooms are 85% water? Especially with the dry climate in Colorado, the mushroom mycelium needs a good amount of water to produce large healthy mushrooms. We suggest that you try to soak your block between every harvest. Follow these steps to soak and recharge your mushroom block.
1. Open box and remove the grow bag.
2. Place the bag with the hole you made facing down into a bowl or pitcher with distilled or filtered water.
3. You may need to place something heavy (such as a plate with a few cans of food) on top of the block to keep it submerged. Let the block soak for 24 hours.
4. Remove from the water and let any excess water drain out. Dry off the outside of the bag.
5. Place you grow bag back in the box and tape it up. Resume misting. You should see you next pinning in 5-7 days.
Grow Your Own Kits
Directions and Tips
1. Use a butter knife to pop out the perforated square in the box. Using a sharp, clean knife slice an X in the bag as large as the hole in the box. Cut away the triangles to have a clean hole exposing the mushroom mycelium to fresh air and light. It is ok if you cut into the mycelium.
2. Place your box in indirect sunlight or in a room lit at least 4 hours a day. Next to your kitchen sink is a great place to provide extra humidity. Mist the block 2-3 times a day (at least 8-10 pumps of the spray bottle). until you see baby mushrooms or “pins” forming. This should happen within 1-2 weeks. Once the pins are formed, mist the air next to the block 2-3 times a day, avoid misting the pins and fruits directly.
3. Once the pins are formed you will notice much smaller ones that have not matured. Pick these off with clean hands to send more energy to the growing mushrooms. Your mushrooms will be ready to harvest about 5-7 days after the first pins have formed. Harvest when the caps start to flatten out, before they turn up. Harvest by gently grabbing the base of the stem and peel away from the block. With clean hands, also pick off any remaining small pins. These are too small to enjoy and need to be removed to make room for your next harvest. Refer to the safe handling instructions on how to store you mushrooms if you do not eat them right away.
4. You may continue the growing process up to 6 times after your first harvest. Just continue to mist as directed in step 2. After the first harvest the block may be susceptible to contamination. *(see tips) If you see mold growing on your block, it is time to get a new one! After aging your spent block outside for 6 months it would be a great compost addition to any garden.
Tips For Success
🍄You can make a humidity dome for your mushrooms to help them grow larger. Using a plastic bag, cut many holes in the bag and tent it over the block using small garden stakes. Place the bag on the stakes so that the bag sits 5-8 inches above the block to provide adequate air flow. Mist the inside of the bag instead of the mushroom block. You can make a humidity dome out of all sorts of containers you might have in your house. Grape containers, cottage cheese containers, the base of a 2-liter bottle and old rubbermaid containers work well. Poke a generous amount of holes in the container you choose and use stakes or skewers to prop it up approximately 4-6 inches above the mushrooms/grow box. Post pictures of your successful humidity domes on our facebook page for 15% off your next order!
🍄 If you are in Colorado or a dry climate, your block may need extra misting. Before the pins form and in between harvests is a great time to get the block extra moisture by spritzing extra and more frequently if possible.
🍄If at any point you notice the block looking dry or cracking, you can soak the block in distilled water in a large bowl. Put the cut side of the bag down and place something on the block to weigh it down and keep submerged. After 24 hours, dry the outside of the bag and return it to its box. Resume misting.
🍄 Normal mushroom mycelium is white and wispy. The mold you are watching out for will typically not be white but green or black. If it is white it is most likely the healthy mushroom mycelium preparing for your next harvest. If you aren’t sure, contact us with a picture.