Q: How Do I Get a Second Harvest?
A: Second growth / harvest instructions can be found on our instructions page:
Q: What is the right way to water my kit?
A: Water is the key for a good harvest. When you start, you should water at least twice a day, preferably 3 times a day. When you start to see the little mushrooms growing, you can increase your watering schedule to 4-5 times a day. With each watering, spray the soil under each flap 5 times, for a total of 20 sprays. ALWAYS WATER THE SOIL AND NOT THE MUSHROOMS. Mushrooms get their water from the soil so it is important to get the soil wet. This may be a challenge when the mushrooms start to get big but gently find an opening so that you can spray the soil under the mushrooms. You can place the grow kit on its back side so that water doesn't run off during watering. Tilt the kit around for an even watering. Once the water is soaked, you can put the grow kit back vertically. Another option is to always keep the grow kit on its back side for easy watering. This won't affect the yield.
Q: How should I store the grow kit?
A: We recommend that you start your grow kit at your earliest convenience. This live product has a limited shelf life so the sooner you start the better. Also don't expose your kit to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Store your kit in a shady, room temperature place until you are ready to start growing.
Q: How big of an "X" should I cut into the bag?
A: The "X" shaped cut should be as big as the opening on the front of the box. Once you tear out the perforated opening, cut from the top edge to the opposite bottom edge and then repeat for the opposite side to form an "X" shaped cut.
Q: Is it OK to cut into the soil with the knife while cutting the X?
A: Yes, and a shallow cut, about 1/16 of an inch (2mm), into the soil actually encourages mushroom growth along this cut line.
Q: Do mushrooms need sunshine?
A: No, mushrooms need only daylight to trigger growth. So you can start your grow kit even on cloudy days where there is no sunshine as long as there is light coming in through your windows. And don't expose the grow kit to direct sunshine because sunshine dehydrates the kit. We want to keep as much moisture in the kit as possible.
Q: How often should I water?
A: Mushrooms are 90% water so it is very important to water twice a day at a minimum. With the provided spray bottle, mist 5 times under each flap twice a day, morning and evening. If you are available to attend your mushrooms more often, then mist more whenever you notice that the surface of the soil is dry. Spraying 3-4 times a day helps grow bigger crop especially after you start to see the initial growth. You can leave the grow kit on its back side after you mist so that the water doesn't run off. Another trick is to put a paper towel at the bottom of the box so that the paper box doesn't get wet and soft.
If the mushroom caps start to crack, they are drying and need more water. Keep watering daily until you harvest the mushrooms.
Q: Mold and contamination issues?
A: Since this is a live product, during storage at the retailers or transportation and shipments, the mycelium may start to die. In summer the issue is extreme heat (over 100°F) or in winter it is the freezing cold, both of which will kill the mushroom. If you see contamination/mold growing on your kit when you receive it or after you start your kit, you have limited options to salvage the creature. If the contamination is small enough to cut out and remove the contaminated are, go ahead and cut it out with a clean knife. The uncontaminated part should be OK and produce mushrooms, although the yield will decrease proportionally to the area you cut out. If the contamination is too big or comes back after you cut it out, just dispose of your kit, contact us and we will be happy to send you a replacement.
Q: What is the right time to harvest the mushrooms?
A: First of all, keep in mind that you will harvest all the mushrooms at the same time. Usually the biggest caps in the bundle will be 2-3 inches in diameter when ready. Another criteria is when the biggest caps start to flatten or point upwards on the edges when ready.
Q: What is the right way to harvest?
A: Since you are harvesting all at once, the easiest way is to grab the whole cluster of mushrooms at the bottom of the stems and twist until they all come off. You can also do this multiple times if the mushroom clusters are growing in multiple spots.
Q: Can I store mushrooms until I am ready to cook?
A: We suggest that you cook and eat your mushrooms fresh, as soon as you harvest them. But you can store the mushrooms in a tupperware type container and in the fridge for a couple of days.
Q: Can I eat the entire mushroom?
A: Yes you can but we suggest that you trim the bottom parts of the stems (about half an inch) so that any soil debris is removed. The bottom parts also are chewier than the rest of the mushroom.
Q: Can I eat oyster mushrooms raw?
A: Nope, oyster mushrooms must be cooked for at least 7 minutes. Our recipe on the side of our box is very simple and delicious.
Q: I see mushrooms growing from other parts of the bag but not through the opening of the box. What can I do?
A: Oyster Mushrooms need air and light to grow. That's why we expect the growth to be from the opening on the front of the box. Sometimes, for various reasons only known by the mushroom, mushrooms can grow elsewhere, especially from the top. If that happens, just ignore it. Most growth that is not through the front opening will die back and the front growth should get bigger eventually.
Q: I get no growth. What can I do?
A: if after a week, you start to see green, black or fuzzy mold or the kit starts to stink, let us know and we will send you a new one. If the soil is white and smells good like mushrooms, take the bag out and soak again in cold tab water for 12-24 hours. Make sure the box gets day light but not direct sunshine. Continue to mist twice daily.
Q: Is it possible to get more than 2 crops?
A: It is possible but there is only so much nutrition in the soil to grow mushrooms for a third time, i.e. there is a limit how much mushroom you can harvest. And after the first crop, it gets harder and harder to re-hydrate the soil for the next crop. Your best bet is to try again by following the exact same instructions as the second crop above. If you decide not to try the 3rd time, you can remove the plastic from the log, bury it in a shady spot in your garden covered with half an inch of dirt and soak thoroughly. You may get a surprise harvest after a good rain.