Fungus would normally be the last thing I’d want to find in my apartment, but in this case, I don’t mind.
Tim and I recently bought a “Table Oyster Mushroom Medley Kit” so we can grow our own mushrooms at home. We found our kit at the local farmer’s market, where it cost £8 and claimed to produce about 1kg of mushrooms. This seemed like a pretty good deal, especially when it costs about £22 per kilo to buy oyster mushrooms on their own. Plus, growing mushrooms sounded like fun, and I was really excited to learn that they could be grown indoors.
The kit consists of two myceliated blocks of “mushroom substrate” made from beech sawdust. Setup is a no-brainer – just cut a diagonal “H” into the plastic of each block and place the blocks in a light, airy room away from drafts (or if growing outdoors, place in a sheltered spot protected from the wind and sun).
The mushrooms started out as little “pins” poking through the slits in the plastic after a day or two. It was only a few more days before one of our logs exploded with glorious fungal life. I couldn’t believe how fast they grew! I wish I had taken some time lapse photography to record the process.
The instructions say that the kit can produce about 1 kg of mushrooms over two crops and estimates the growth time to be about eight to ten days. Yesterday, we harvested our first lot of mushrooms from one of the logs (shown above), about seven days after slicing the plastic. It weighed in at 145g which was a little disappointing.
More disappointing is that the other log seems pretty dead. Or is it? I just gave it a closer look today and noticed the “pins” poking through, but this is way slower than the instructions let on. I’ll be super happy if they spring to life. So far, at £55 per kilo, these shrooms are proving to be an expensive experiment! But you can put a price on experience. It IS fun and unbelievably easy to do this. My hope is that the “dead” mushroom log is simply a late but ample bloomer, and that its lively brother will produce an impressive second harvest.
Of course, the best part about growing mushrooms is eating them! We decided to make something simple that would really let the mushrooms stand on their own. I bought a nice baguette while Tim fried up the mushrooms in olive oil with a little onion and garlic. Tim had his mushrooms in a baguette with parsley and parmesan. I put my mushrooms on little baguette slices, kind of like mushroom bruschetta. The mushrooms were delicious, and tasted even better knowing they were made in our flat and picked that day.
If you love mushrooms as much as I do, or even if you just kind of like them a little, I highly recommend growing your own. You can buy a Pearl Oyster Mushroom Patch for just $20 from Amazon and works indoors or outdoors. I’ve never used it but the girl in the picture looks pretty happy. I don’t blame her – growing your own stuff is fun and rewarding. Plus, the shrooms take up very little space, they don’t smell bad, and you don’t even need to water them. It’s the ultimate houseplant for the lazy gardener!
More fungal finds:
Growing Mushrooms Guide on Channel 4