Are Mushroom Kits Worth It? I Try It.

Mushrooms from kit

During the early days of the pandemic, it seemed like growing your own food was all the rage. I saw these mushroom growing kits mentioned by people and I was pretty curious to try them but never got around to it until now. My S.O. loves mushrooms and it seemed like a cool idea to grow your own. I decided to see if mushroom kits are worth it in terms of the cost and time involved. So come along with me while I try it out!

What is a Mushroom Kit?

First of all, I decided to start with the easiest way to grow mushrooms – from a kit. There are other methods for growing your own mushrooms, like drilling holes into a log and inserting “spawn plugs” into them. Or you could get even more hands-on and create your own substrate and inoculate it with mycelium, etc. But since I know nothing about growing mushrooms and I want to try the most foolproof method first, I went with buying a couple kits.

I actually found a seller who is in the same state as me (Ohio), so I decided to give him my business. He calls himself Mushroom Man and has plenty of helpful videos on his website. Certain types of mushrooms can’t be shipped this time of year due to the cold, but I was able to get a shiitake kit and a white oyster mushroom kit.

The cost for most mushroom kits seem to run about $25. With shipping, these kits cost me a total of $62.80. Oyster and shiitake mushrooms cost about $10-$12 per pound, so to make this endeavor cost effective, I’d need to get about 5-6 pounds of mushrooms from the two kits combined. It’s supposed to be possible to get a second harvest after the first one, so we’ll see how it goes. Regardless, I think this will be fun to try.

The kits arrived very promptly within a few days and look like this:

White oyster mushroom kit and shiitake mushroom kit

The white oyster kit is on the left and the shiitake is on the right. As you can see, there are some instructions on each, along with a QR code that you can scan for instructional videos specific to your variety of mushroom. (I was unable to get the QR code to work, but I still found the videos on the website.)

From what I understand, these kits are basically made up of sawdust inoculated with the mycelium of each specific mushroom variety. For now, there is nothing I need to do with these kits but allow them to sit at room temperature for a while and out of direct sunlight. After a certain period of time (14-21 days for the oysters, 40 days for the shiitake), I will take further steps to hydrate the kits and get the mushrooms to start growing.

So for now I have set them on a shelf in my office where they will get some light from the room, but no direct rays. They need to be out of the box to get some air. There is a vent in the plastic bag to allow some oxygen in:

Mushroom kit bag vent

That’s it for now. Check back in a couple weeks for an update on my mushroom growing experiment!

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