Growing BUTTON/FLAT MUSHROOMS from the kit
1) Where should I put my kit once I have prepared it?
During the first stages of 'Incubation 1 and 2' 20-24 degrees C is a good range. Lower temperatures will just mean a longer time is needed. After cutting the top off the bag (T6) 16-20 degrees is good to aim for. The cooler temperature helps to start the fruiting stage. Temperatures as low as 4 degrees are ok at any time, but ideally they warm back up to above 12C during the day. The Kits are suited to average house temperatures and are best incubated without extra heat.
2) What is the topping growing media meant to be like?
Dark, damp and lumpy after the preparation. It should not have loose water. If it does, please contact us or carefully drain the excess water out, then tip the topping onto the centre of a clean section of newspaper (10 or more sheets) to blot up extra moisture. Leave it wrapped in newspaper overnight, then put it on the growing media next day.
3) How do I know the spawn is growing?
The spawn will sit for a few days to a week, then it will start to get fluffy.1-2 weeks after this the fluff will have spread into the growing media changing it to a lighter colour. Once this has happened, shake the bag in a circular manner to make the top area with the spawn in, get down to the bottom. This gets the spawn to work in a new area and you will see more of the media getting lighter as the mushroom culture starts to digest it.
4) When do I put the topping on?
When all the bag has the white threads and all of the media is a lighter colour, it is good to leave it another 2-7 days to get a uniform light and fluffy look, then put the topping on.
5) What is the topping meant to look like when it is on the growing media?
It should be a bit lumpy when you put it on with cracks and dips, but you shouldn't be able to see through to the growing medium.
Moisture level is important! The growing medium should be ok once you've prepared it, but the topping can dry out after the first few days from T6.
6) How do I know if the topping needs watering?
Check it by taking a small piece out and squeezing it in garlic press or between your fingers. It should just ooze a few drops of water, but not drip. If it drips stop watering until it comes right. Only water with a spray bottle set to make small drops. Do not water with a cup or watering can.
If the newspaper dries out, water it and check the topping. Ideally the newspaper should always be damp, but it doesn't need to be sodden.
Remember to avoid wind, direct sun, air conditioners, heaters because they will suck moisture from the bag or overheat the medium.
7) How much light should there be?
These mushrooms used to grow in paddocks, so they do not mind light as long as it isn't direct sun as the heat will dry out the topping and kill the young mushrooms. In nature, they are protected from the heat by grass
8) Where can I grow my kit?
All of the following have been used successfully sink, shower, bath, table top, carport, garage, shade house, greenhouse, caravan, tent, spare room
AVOID Fruit bowls, rubbish bins/areas, compost, wet mulch as insects and stray spores from these areas can get into the topping and cause problems.
9) How long until fruiting?
Fruiting can begin as quickly as 6 weeks after starting, in summer, to 10+ weeks in cold areas in winter. This is normal as all mushrooms grow slower in cold weather. You can speed them up by bringing them into a warmer environment but make sure they are not exposed to dry air from air conditioning, heaters, wind or direct sun.
10) Is anything happening?
Yes! Even though it appears as though nothing is going on the fine threads will be doing their work.
Checking for good things!
a) The seed grains developed a white fluff that spread into the media.
b) The growing media looks a lighter colour than after it was heated
c) There is a slight compost smell in the first 3 weeks
d) There is a white fluffy mould spreading through the media
11) How will I know it is about to fruit?
Small, white strands will appear in the topping, then white bumps the size of a pinhead. These are baby mushrooms. Stop watering for a few days until the mushrooms get to the size of a 10 cent piece, then spray around, but not on the mushrooms.
12) When to pick?
Pick at any time you want, but don't leave mushrooms to grow past the flat stage as they dry out the media and drop spores on the topping. This will reduce or stop any more mushrooms from forming.
13) My mushrooms started to grow, then dried up
Pick them all then spray the topping 3-4 times a day for 2 days. Fold the white bag over and leave over night. Continue spraying as per usual, but also spray the inside of the white bag and make sure the newspaper is damp at all times.
14) I think my kit is not going to fruit
Contact us we'd like to help.
15) There are little flies hovering around my kit
Remove the kit to a new area. If there are no mushrooms, pull up the white bag and spray lightly with a pyrethrum spray. Peg the bag shut for an hour then open as per usual. Do this once a day for 4 days then whenever you see flies.
IMPORTANT NOTE- Do this before fruiting or between flushes as mushrooms absorb spray
16) The bottom of the bag seems wet
Water is leaking down from the topping. Stop watering, cut 2 slits in the bottom and place fresh dry newspaper underneath until the excess water disappears. Remove newspaper and replace with fresh damp paper.
17) The spawn has strange colours around it.
If the spawn has green or pink colours around it, contact us.
18) What compost can I use?
Manure based composts are best, bark based are not usually effective. Home compost can be very good even without manure as long as grass clippings and brown or stalky materials have been well mixed in. Gypsum sprinkled through at the second or third turn makes for good mushroom production. Activators are recommended as well, these include store bought and anything that causes heat to build up.
Site opened August 1999 Last updated APRIL 2010