Five ways to get the most of your grow kit
Customers can maximize the potential of their mushroom grow kits in every stage of the growing and harvesting processes.
A JCB Gourmet Mushrooms Grow Kit gives you better value than buying fresh mushrooms. It is an easy way to have gourmet mushrooms that restaurants look for to enhance a meal or be the star of a dish.
The best way to get the most value is to follow the instructions and extra tips that come with every JCB Gourmet Mushrooms Grow Kit. On top of those, we share other tips with customers at farmers' markets and at our facility that help them get the best value for their kit.
Set up as soon as possible
The best time to get a grow kit is when you are ready to set it up. If you are buying a grow kit for someone as a gift, make sure they have a place and the time to grow the mushrooms as soon as possible after they receive it. You should also order the kit so you receive it in time to surprise that special someone instead of keeping it for more than a week beforehand.
Grow Kits should be opened within three days of getting it because the mushrooms need oxygen and hydration to fruit. They may start to grow within the plastic bag if you wait too long. Once that happens, the mushrooms will be stuck with low air circulation and room to grow.
Mist at least three to five times daily
At least half of the growing medium is water. As mushrooms start to fruit, they will be taking up the water from the block and the environment. That is why we made it easier for you to maintain a high humidity level for the mushrooms without turning your room into a cloud.
Every JCB Gourmet Mushrooms Grow Kit comes with a humidity tent to put overtop each block. There are holes at the top for air circulation, but the rest of the tent keeps the air nice and humid for the mushrooms while trapping spores.
Misting the inside of the humidity tent at least three to five times a day re-introduces water to the block and the mushrooms. It keeps a consistent humid environment for mushrooms that are consistently growing.
Luckily, all you have to do is give the spray bottle 15 to 20 pumps of mist each time, which only takes one minute to do. You can do it during breakfast, lunch and dinner, or when you wake up, get back from work, and go to bed.
Harvest and cook everything together
When the mushrooms are fully grown, harvest the whole cluster or side at once. That way, you get all of them in optimal shape – any remaining pieces of a cluster would begin to spoil if you left them on the block.
There are also ways you can preserve the mushrooms after you harvest them. These mushrooms usually stay between three to five days in the coldest part of the fridge, depending on which type you have. Our Grow Kit instructions give specific timelines for each mushroom as well as whether they would store better in a paper or plastic bag.
Cooking the mushrooms briefly extend their shelf life as well. Give them a quick sauté or pan-frying at once and set aside what you don’t need for a meal the next day. You can also freeze the mushrooms after they are cooked – freezing raw mushrooms will not preserve the texture as well.
You can also dehydrate the mushrooms and turn them into a powder to use as a thickener and seasoning.
Use all six sides of the kit
If you are keeping up with the misting and are happy with the size of the clusters you got so far, you should try to grow mushrooms on the other sides of the block. The block weighs three kilograms – about three times as much as other mushroom grow kits found online – so it is packed with nutrients for the mycelium.
We use the two large sides to grow mushrooms at our growing facility. Once we harvest one side, we flip the block over and cut two X-shaped holes on the new side. You should be doing that as well because you are very likely to get a second flush if you are following the instructions.
Once you harvest from the second large side, keep trying out the smaller sides until they stop growing. You will likely only get one harvest per side, but it’s happened more than once where we flip a block over in the grow room and mushrooms grow out the bottom of the metal wire shelves.
Pink Oyster mushrooms begin to grow out of the soil beside potted plants in a greenhouse. Oyster mushrooms are likely to grow outdoors when the finished grow kit is broken up into a garden or hardwood chip pile. Harvest them quickly before the sun dries them out. [Photo © Jonathan Tovell]
Use the block to enhance compost and get a surprise
Once you decide you’re done misting the block and are ready to get rid of it, there is still something you can do to get the best value for your grow kit. The block can be a strong addition to compost and soil. This is because of the nutrients and mycelium that remain in the block. Breaking up the block into the soil can help with water retention and with decomposing nutrients for plants.
It is also possible to get more mushrooms growing outside in large clusters by breaking up the block into a garden. Gardens with hardwood chips work the best since these mushrooms are native to hardwood trees. Oyster mushrooms are most likely to grow, but it's worth trying with any kit.
Are there any other ways you brought the most out of your grow kits? Let us know in the comments!