Instructions - Grow Block Kit - Golden Oyster

How to activate kit!

  • Can I keep the kit? If yes, for how long?

Your kit is a living organism, so we recommend activating it as soon as you receive it. If you need to wait, you can store it in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

  • How do I activate the kit?

Place the kit in a cool environment, referring to the cultivation parameters on the site relating to your species. The phase that interests you is that of fruiting. To fructify your kit, make a small cut on the top of the bag, compress that part of plastic by removing the air in order to completely eliminate that empty space. Fold this excess plastic over the side of the block, and turn the kit upside down so that the plastic you just folded is now squashed under the base of the kit. The weight of the block will help that plastic stay folded and in place, the aim is to limit the amount of air on that side of the block and not have excess plastic in the way to disturb. Now make an X cut on one of the two sides of the kit. The mushroom will start to grow right from that cut. It is not necessary to widen the crack, a single cut will do just fine.

  • How much and how often should I nebulize my kit?

It is not necessary to empty the bottle every time you spray, but it is important that the area where you cut the bag is well moistened! Try 5-10 sprays each time. It may take some trial and error to get the frequency and quantity right. If the surface of the block seems very dry the next time you spray it, you should give it a little more water or mist it a little more often. By keeping the kit in a humid area of ​​the house (for example next to the sink in the kitchen) there will be less risk of the substrate drying out.

However, remember that they are not plants and should not be watered! Nebulization helps maintain a humid microclimate in the area where we want the mushrooms to grow and prevents the water already present inside the substrate from evaporating. We recommend recycling a perfume bottle as a nebulizer, as these usually tend to atomize the water very well, producing very small drops!

  • What is this white stuff? Is my kit getting mouldy?

The white you see is probably mycelium, not mold! Your kit consists of a block of sawdust inoculated with mushroom mycelium growing in it. The blockage may appear covered in a soft, white, mold-like substance. This is the mycelium of the mushroom, and it is completely normal and healthy for your mushroom block. The mycelium of some species is more prominent than others. If you're still not sure what's growing on your kit, contact us with a photo and we'll help you figure out what's going on.

If your kit has black, green, or orange spots, it could be mold. It is possible that your kit was damaged in transit. Contact us with a photo and we will send you a new one.

  • There's something wrong with my kit!

You just received your Kit, but something is wrong. To ensure you produce mushrooms successfully, we will help you solve potential problems during growth.

First, inspect your kit upon arrival and save the packaging. If you notice any strange colors (green, black) or bad smells before opening the box, please get in touch with some photos. We will be able to determine if something happened in transit and get you a new kit. A healthy kit should have whitish mycelium weaving through its brown substrate and have a pleasant, earthy odor.

If the mushroom block is broken upon arrival , there is still hope! It may happen as a result of shocks during transportation. While it's still in the bag, you'll want to compress the loose parts of the block all together and give it a little extra time to recover before cutting it to begin the fruiting process. It may take about a week to recover. However, if the plastic bag has opened, try to put it back together and make sure to keep the block moist. We recommend using a humidity tent. Take a bin bag or any large loose bag and pierce it with several 2cm holes - mushrooms need fresh air to form properly! Place the bag on your pad and mist the inside of the bag every day. When you start to see small mushrooms forming, you can remove the bag and continue spraying the blockage as directed.

If your mushroom block seems "dead" or like nothing is happening , there are a few possible causes. It is possible that the block was broken during transport and therefore the mycelium needs some time to regrow. Give it a few days, making sure to keep it moist, and see if the white mycelium becomes more noticeable. If the kit does not start to bear fruit within two weeks, we will send you a replacement.

What if my block has gnats? Humans aren't the only organisms that love mushrooms! It's possible that the bag broke during transit and these opportunistic creatures decided to make a home for themselves. Get in touch with some photos and we'll replace it for you. It may still be possible to fruit it outside: you can try removing the blockage completely and placing it on the balcony or garden in a shaded area, while you wait for a new kit to arrive.

If your mushroom block appears dry and hasn't produced any mushrooms yet , try using a humidity tent. Take a garbage bag or any large bag and pierce it with several 2cm holes - mushrooms need fresh air to form properly! Place the bag on your pad and mist the inside of the bag every day. When you start to see little mushrooms forming, you can remove the bag and continue spraying the blockage as directed.

If your block still seems dry using the humidity tent or if your block has bled once or twice and dried out in the meantime , you can give it a boost by soaking it in a little water. Take the bag out of the box and let it soak, cut side down, in a bowl of water for an hour. Dry the block before placing it back in the box. Spray as directed 2-3 times a day.

  • Why are there already mushrooms growing in my kit?

It looks like you have a very vigorous kit! This is completely normal. Fungi that are growing inside the bag can be ignored. If they are easily accessible, they can be detached and thrown away, in order to start growth again from the beginning. (Do not follow this advice if you have a Hericium erinacues kit!)

  • Why do my mushrooms look strange?

Sometimes mushroom caps can look bizarre when they are small and starting to emerge. As they grow, if there is not enough oxygen or moisture, the mushrooms can become deformed. Long, stringy or sparse mushrooms need more air flow; let them breathe! Try moving them to a more open location or place a fan near them.

If the mushroom caps are pale they probably need more natural light. Avoid keeping your kit in cabinets or furniture. Diffuse sunlight helps them develop rich shades.

  • What are these amber drops inside my kit?

It is a byproduct of the metabolic process of the mycelium and is natural and harmless. Fungi digest outside of their bodies, then release enzymes into the environment to help them break down materials so they can be absorbed more easily. Those amber drops are like gastric juices!

  • Why did my kit start and then stop growing?

Usually, the fungus primordia aborts when there is not enough moisture around the block. Don't panic! Your mushroom kit still has all the food needed to produce mushrooms. Simply remove these dried aborted primordia, and wait a week, letting the block dry on a plate. Then, soak the block for 20 minutes in cold water, drain all the water from the kit and start the process again. If you didn't use a humidity tent the first time, the second go around might help. Create a humid microclimate in which your block should thrive.

When you start to see little mushrooms forming, you can remove the bag and continue spraying the blockage. Make sure you keep an eye on the kit. Spray 2-3 times a day with water to keep it hydrated.

  • How can I create a humidity tent?

Mushrooms thrive on moisture and can dry out easily if they don't have enough. We recommend using a humidity tent in very dry environments, when blocks have been broken, or if you can't mist your block one day. The tent will create a humid microclimate in which your block can thrive.

Take a semi-transparent bag or other large plastic bag and pierce it with several 2cm holes. Your mushrooms need to breathe! Cover the kit with the bag and mist the inside of the tent or the exposed part of your block several times a day. You can use sticks or whatever you have on hand to support the bag if it isn't rigid enough to stand on its own. When you start to see fungus forming, you can remove the bag and continue spraying the kit.

  • When should I harvest my mushrooms?

The general rule is that mushrooms should be harvested before their caps flatten or become concave. Unlike plants, mushrooms grow incredibly fast, sometimes doubling in size every day. Be sure to keep an eye on your kit so you don't miss the right time to collect them!

We like to pick mushrooms just before their caps start to flatten, while the edge is still a little curved underneath. At this point, the mushrooms are almost fully grown and will store better than mushrooms harvested later. You can certainly pick and eat mushrooms after the cap has flattened, but they won't keep as long and will be more fragile.

The Lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus) does not have a cap or gills, but only thorns. When young they form dense balls, sometimes developing more bumps as they mature. The length of the thorns can be used as an indicator for when to harvest them. We like to harvest them when the thorns are 0.5-1cm long and before they start to yellow.

To collect them, place your hand around the base of the mushroom cluster and rotate. This movement should be enough to pop the mushrooms away from the block. You can even use a knife if you want! Remove any excess debris on the block before you begin spraying again for the second harvest.

If the mushrooms are drying out, moldy, or looking unappetizing, chances are they weren't harvested soon enough. You can send us a photo to understand what may have happened. Stringy fungi with long stems and small caps are likely to be found in a high-CO2 environment. Give them some air or try a fan!

  • How many crops will the kit produce?

We guarantee at least one harvest of mushrooms from your kit, but depending on the species you choose to grow you are likely to get a second, third, fourth or even fifth fruiting, with care and patience. Growing mushrooms is an art and it takes skill to be good at it. Be patient, follow the instructions carefully and try to maintain a humid environment for your kit and you should succeed.

In terms of yield, you can usually expect your first harvest to be somewhere in the 300g to 900g range. This varies significantly from species to species, from environment to environment. It really depends on how much care you put into maintaining your kit! Any subsequent fruiting will likely be smaller as the mushrooms consume the nutrients in the substrate.

  • How do I get a second harvest?

We guarantee at least one harvest of mushrooms from your kit, but depending on the species you choose to grow you are likely to get a second, third, fourth or even fifth fruiting. After removing the first crop, continue spraying your kit as instructed. If it seems a little dry, you can cover it with a humidity curtain. It's important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the process. There is no need to take the block out of the bag or cut a second X into it. It may take a little longer for the mushrooms to appear with each subsequent fruiting. In about 2 weeks, you should start to see little mushrooms forming again.

If there is no progress by then, it's a good idea to wet your block. It is possible that during the first fruiting the kit dried out a little too much. Take your block from the box and place it cut side down in a bowl of water. Let it soak for 20 minutes.

After soaking, leave the block to drain by leaving it cut side down for another 10 minutes or turn it upside down to drain excess water. You don't want standing water left in the bag. Dry the block before placing it back in the box with the cut side facing out and continue spraying it 2-3 times a day.

  • Do I have to cook the mushrooms?

Absolutely, mushrooms should always be cooked well before eating! Make sure you are not allergic to mushrooms before consuming them. Maybe starting with a small quantity.

Fungi produce spores as they grow, which is how they reproduce. People with allergies or who are immunocompromised may consider placing the kit in a well-ventilated area or outdoors during this phase of fungal growth. Mushroom spores could in some cases produce respiratory irritation even in people without allergies and who are not immunocompromised. If you are one of these, we recommend harvesting the mushrooms a little before they fully ripen, as the release of spores will be much lower. Generally speaking, the amount of spores released from one to two kits in a well-ventilated home is not enough to cause problems in most healthy people.