If you enjoy eating mushrooms, the thought might’ve crossed your mind to try and grow your own. While you can certainly forage for mushrooms in the wild, you are limited by the time of year, your geographical location, and your identification skills. Growing your own is often a much more efficient and safer way to get a hold of the specific type of mushroom you want. Mushroom growing kits make the process of growing your own mushrooms more accessible than ever.
In this guide, we will take a look at various mushroom growing kits currently on the market. We will also explore the different types of kits out there and further explain some of their benefits.
Let’s dive in.
What is a mushroom growing kit?
With most plants, you simply plant a seed in some dirt and provide regular water and, perhaps, nutrients. Mushrooms are not so simple. To grow a mushroom from another mushroom, you need to harvest spores and plant them in the ideal type of substrate for that type of mushroom. The process isn’t impossible but it can be a bit tough for beginners to tackle. To learn more about that, see The Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Mushrooms.
Mushroom growing kits are a much more beginner-friendly option. With these kits, the hard part is done for you– spore imprints are taken and planted on a substrate. By the time the kit is sold, mycelium has begun to form. Mycelium is sort of like the mushroom’s root system. It absorbs water and nutrients from the substrate and will, if well cared for, sprout mushrooms.
The work you will have to do depends on the type of substrate included with the kit. There are a few different substrates that are particularly popular.
Sawdust mixture substrates use a loose combination of sawdust particles and another base such as coffee grounds or compost. A kit using this substrate may be pre-mixed or it may include just the sawdust and require you to add an additional substrate. After mixing the substrate, you will then need to water the mushrooms daily.
Other kits utilize a compacted block of wood chips. You will usually need to activate the substrate by soaking it in water for several hours, up to a full day. Once the block has been fully soaked, you will remove it from the water and keep it in a cool area with limited access to light. You may need to wrap the substrate in Saran Wrap to preserve some of the moisture, in addition to daily watering.
There are also substrate logs. These kits simply contain a small piece of wooden log with mycelium. Usually, they will require you to soak the log in a similar process to what we described above. From there, you can place the log in a low-light area.
It’s worth noting, too, that not all mushroom kits even contain substrate. Some are intended to be used outdoors, and simply contain spores. In that case, all you need to do is find a suitable tree in your yard and scatter the spores around the base of the tree.
Best mushroom growing kits
Ancient Path Naturals Morel Growing Kit
This kit from Ancient Path Naturals is intended to be used outdoors. By default, your kit could be a mixture of any of the following six types of morel: early black, white, yellow, burn site, autumn, or blushing. The company does note that they are open to requests, too– you can send them a note with your order stating your desired mixture and they will create a batch that meets your needs.
The company provides step-by-step instructions with their kit that break down exactly where and how to plant your morels. Essentially, though, you will need a shady area with a high moisture content. You can also bury the spores under some straw or grass to help boost the amount of moisture present.
GreenBox Family Farm Organic Mushroom Grow Kit
If you are looking for a simple kit, this one from GreenBox Family Farm fits the bill. The manufacturer notes that while the box may not be pretty, it is user-friendly and capable of easily producing over one pound of Pink Oyster mushrooms. Simply place the box in a shady area and mist with water regularly.
Willow Mountain Mushrooms White Button Growing Kit
Willow Mountain’s kit is great for those looking to produce a fair amount of mushrooms. The manufacturer states that if the directions are followed precisely and an ideal environment is provided, each kit is capable of bearing four pounds total of White Button mushrooms spread out over three different harvests. The kit includes substrate and a casing layer that you mix upon arrival. Set the kit in a climate-controlled area and mist with water regularly.
Virgenu 12 Jars Mushroom Growing System
This kit from Virgenu is fairly unique. It contains 12 jars of pre-mixed substrate, a growing chamber, a thermometer, a humidity gauge, a 200-watt electric heater, an LED grow light, and an air pump with a built-in HEPA filter. Note, however, that while this kit contains quite a few bells and whistles, it does not come with spores. You will have to take your own spore imprints. It’s an investment, as well, so this may be a better option once you already have a crop or two under your belt and are confident in your mushroom growing skills.
Forest Origins Specialty Trio Mushroom Grow Kit
If you are looking for variety, consider this trio kit from Forest Origins. The kit contains substrate and mycelium for Brown Oyster, Pink Oyster, and White Oyster mushrooms. To grow your mushrooms, place them in a cool area with access to indirect sunlight– if there is too much light, the substrate will dry out. Mist them regularly and they should bear fruit within several days. Best of all, each kit can grow at least two batches, with some reviewers saying they were able to harvest over three crops per block.
Root Mushroom Farm Mushroom Kit
With Root Mushroom Farm’s kit, you can choose from either a Shiitake log, Lion’s Mane, or Cordyceps. Each kit contains the substrate and mycelium you need to grow your own mushrooms, as well as a humidity tent and spray bottle. The required temperature varies depending on the type you select– shiitakes, for example, require cooler temperatures, preferably near 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit whereas Lion’s Mane may be able to grow in slightly warmer temperatures.
Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Grow Kit
This kit by Back to the Roots is one of the easiest mushroom kits out there. You can choose from either Brown Oyster, Pink Oyster, or mini mushrooms. The kit contains a box with the substrate and mycelium inside. All you need to do is place the box in indirect sunlight and mist with water twice per day. Within 10 days, you should have a batch of mushrooms containing at least three servings. Each box is capable of spawning two different crops.
Growing your own mushrooms doesn’t have to be a daunting and time-consuming task. Mushroom growing kits make the process easy and accessible to mushroom enthusiasts of any skill level.