Growing oyster mushrooms

Oyster mushroom kit ©Janet Allen
Oyster mushroom kit

Another way to grow mushrooms is by buying a kit. This is a kit to grow elm oyster mushrooms we got from The Imaginary Farmer.

The bag is a mixture of mushroom spawn, coffee grounds, water, hydrogen peroxide, and sawdust. The bag has a special filter on it.

This photo was taken four days after the kit was started.

Mushrooms ©Janet Allen
Here's the progress after a few weeks

If you saw this sitting somewhere—let alone on a kitchen countertop—you'd probably think it was ready for the trash!

So far, it's been sitting here under a brown paper grocery bag, since it's supposed to be in normal room temperature, but in the dark. I took the paper bag off just to take the photo.

Day 1 ©Janet Allen
They're starting to fruit

After yellow liquid began to form, we sliced an "x" into one end of the plastic.

A few days later, they started to grow!

Day 2 ©Janet Allen
Day 2

Day 2 (after they started developing).

We spray the developing mushrooms four times a day.

Day 3 ©Janet Allen
Day 3

Day 3

Day 4 ©Janet Allen
Day 4

Day 4. They're growing amazingly quickly!

Day 5 ©Janet Allen
Day 5

Day 5. They're still growing and starting to change shape.

Day 6 ©Janet Allen
Day 6

Day 6

Day 7 ©Janet Allen
Day 7

Day 7, and I think we're ready to harvest. We've bought a loaf of our favorite Wegmans country French bread that we buy a couple of times a year for mushroom sandwiches and tomato sandwiches.

Harvest ©Janet Allen
Our first harvest

We harvested them on day 7, twisting the bunch from the bag. They weighed about 0.8 pounds. This means we only need about three more similar harvests from the bag to recoup our $15 cost, then the rest is profit.

New "clumps" of mushrooms are supposed to now grow from this hole, and then we'll cut another "x" in the opposite side of the bag.

Even if we approach breaking even, though, it's a big benefit to have truly fresh, organic mushrooms available with so little work!