Ready-to-use substrate mushroom kit: instructions for use

A substrate mushroom kit is the easiest way to grow mushrooms at home. You will have the smallest amount of work and you will have great results. The below instructions are applicable for all the following species: Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus pulmonarius, Pleurotus eryngii, Pleurotus salmoneostramineus, Pleurotus citrinopileatus, Pholiota nameko, Grifola frondosa, Agrocybe aegerita, Auricularia auricula-judae, Hypsizygus tessulatus, Hericium erinaceus, Coriolus versicolor, Ganorderma lucidum and Flammulina velutipes. It does not apply to Shii-take mushrooms (Lentinula edodes). For the instructions on Shii-take, click here.

Option 1: cutting the top off the bag

Requisites:

  • Substrate bag
  • Scissors/knife
substrate bag mushrooms

1. Substrate selection: You will receive the substrate in a sealed Microsac. Make sure it does not overheat. Keep the bag at its optimum temperature, between 18 and 23°C. The inside of the substrate is always warmer than the outside and it should never heat up above 25°C or the center of the block may die. The bag is sterile and breathing, keep it complete and unpunctured. Keeping the substrate at lower temperatures is also fine, it will slow down the growing process but not harm it.

climate requisites mycelium ripening

2. Ripening: Most of the time, your substrate bag will be inoculated and incubated, but it will not be fully ripe. Ripening time depends on the species (check technical data sheets on our website for more details) and is between 5 and 25 days. You don’t need to keep the bag moist, the substrate contains enough water to ripen inside the bag. Try to not disturb your substrate too much during ripening, or you will accidentally induce fruiting too soon. You will then still get mushrooms, but less.

Opening a substrate bag - primordia appearing

 3. Fructification: When you see small mushrooms – primordia – coming up naturally on the surface of the substrate bag under the plastic, cut the plastic and put the bags in a damp and shady place, between 15 and 20°C or even a bit colder and with relative humidity (RH) above 90%. A shadowy corner or a moist greenhouse / cellar (with windows) will do just fine. Make sure the atmosphere in and around the bag is moist. Don’t use direct watering or raining or the mushrooms will rot. You could put the bag on a moist surface like wet earth to keep moisture up.

maitake growing in substrate bag - grifola frondosa

pleurotus eryngii eringii eryngi eryngy king oyster on substrate

4. Fructification (continued): Contradictory to what many may think, mushrooms also need a certain amount of oxygen and sunlight. Make sure you cut the bag so that the fruits receive a lot of light and oxygen. Most people cut the top off the bag 15 cm above the substrate, but you can also make slits in the bag through which the mushrooms will grow. Cutting off the top keeps the bag more moist, so choose this option if the surroundings of the bag are on the dry side. This technique works for most species if the climatic conditions are right, but it is not advisable for Hericium erinaceus, the Lion's Mane (see Option 2 below).

 

 

 

Option 2: cutting the substrate bag with a knife

Requisites:

  • Substrate bag
  • Scissors/knife
substrate bag mushrooms

1. Substrate selection: You will receive the substrate in a sealed Microsac. Make sure it does not overheat. Keep the bag at its optimum temperature, between 18 and 23°C. The inside of the substrate is always warmer than the outside and it should never heat up above 25°C or the center of the block may die. The bag is sterile and breathing, keep it complete and unpunctured. Keeping the substrate at lower temperatures is also fine, it will slow down the growing process but not harm it.

climate requisites mycelium ripening

2. Ripening: Most of the time, your substrate bag will be inoculated and incubated, but it will not be fully ripe. Ripening time depends on the species (check technical data sheets on our website for more details) and is between 5 and 25 days. You don’t need to keep the bag moist, the substrate contains enough water to ripen inside the bag. Try to not disturb your substrate too much during ripening, or you will accidentally induce fruiting too soon. You will then still get mushrooms, but less.

cutting mushroom substrate bag with a knife

3. Fructification: Upon receival of the substrate, make slits in the bag through which the mushrooms can grow. This technique can mainly be used for aggressive species like Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus pulmonarius, Pleurotus salmoneostramineus and Pleurotus citrinopileatus. Make 5 to 10 slits all over the bag.

Making slits is essential for Hericium erinaceus, before primordia have come up, but you should only make 2-3 slits. The fruitbodies will grow through these slits and become large. Harvest them when they are 15-20 cm in diameter. If you don't make slits for this species, you will only get a lot of small fruitbodies.

Pleurotus ostreatus osreatus Winter Oyster mushroom first flush 4. Fructification (continued): The mushrooms will come up through the slits, as Oyster Mushrooms need a lot of fresh air. You can either cut them off or pull them off.