Frequently Asked Questions

I'm a beginner. Where should I start?

Oyster mushrooms are by far the easiest and most reliable mushrooms to grow.  For beginners we recommend our “ready to fruit” blue oyster mushroom grow kit.  Simply cut an X in one side of the bag, cover with a humidity tent, and mist a few times daily.  Within 7-10 days a cluster of baby mushrooms will appear!

*Be sure to order a humidity tent and spray bottle with your mushroom kit, unless you have something suitable at home to create a well-ventilated and humid growing environment.

To learn more about mushroom growing check out our Learn to Grow page.   Check www.youtube.com for the many videos of people growing their own mushrooms.  Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets – is an excellent book about the amazing benefits of fungi and the basic techniques for growing them.

How many mushrooms will my kit produce?

Your mushroom kit can produce anywhere from ½ to 1½ kilograms (1 to 3 pounds) of fresh mushrooms over its lifespan.  The amount depends on many factors including;

1)  which species of mushroom you are growing,

2)  the growing conditions you provide (each mushroom species has its’ own optimal range of temperature, humidity, air exchange and light), and

3)  if you have the patience to fruit your kit a second, third or fourth time.  (Generally the first harvest is the largest, with subsequent crops being smaller and smaller until the kit has used up its’ food resources within the bag.)

Of course your kit has the potential to produce abundantly more mushrooms through expansion into bulk substrates or logs (ie. feed it more food).  See “How Can I Expand my Kit” or have a look through the tutorials on the website to learn more!

What is the best way to store my mushroom kit/plug spawn/liquid culture?

For the best “shelf life” store your mushroom kit, plug spawn or liquid culture in a cold dark place until you are ready to grow.  Your refrigerator is the best option if you have space. While we recommend using your cultures as soon as possible, you will find mushroom mycelium is very resilient and can often survive for a year or more when refrigerated.

I'm not ready. How can I delay my kit from fruiting?

If you do not plan on fruiting your mushroom grow kit within a week of receiving it, please refrigerate.  Keeping your kit in a cold dark place will slow down the growth and delay fruiting.

When you are ready, bring them out of refrigeration and warm to room temperature.  After a few days, follow the growing instructions for your specific mushroom species found here on our Learn to Grow page.

Mushrooms are forming - but not where I cut the hole. Now what?

It is common for baby mushrooms (pins) to form inside the bag, particularly for species like Oyster and Lion’s Mane.  You just can’t hold them back! Not to worry. You can either carefully cut a flap opening to allow those baby mushrooms to emerge, or you can just ignore them and wait for mushrooms to form at the opening you have already created.  Keep in mind that the more holes you have cut into the bag, the faster the kit will dry out and you may need to rehydrate by soaking in water between crops.

Note:  If the baby mushrooms forming inside the bag are already fairly mature before you “set them free”, you might find they grow “leggy” with more stem once you “let them out”.  Stems of most mushroom types are generally more chewy than the caps.

Eeks! I think my mushroom kit is moldy *%#!!!

Grow Mushrooms Canada ships freshly made mushroom kits and cultures that are grown under sterile conditions.  If your kit or plug spawn is full of white fluffy stuff- it’s ready to grow! These white fibres are fungal mycelium  (not mold) which are consuming the sawdust or wooden dowels in your bag. When provided the right conditions, this mycelium will produce delicious mushrooms.

Since mold thrives under the same warm humid conditions as mushrooms, it can be a real problem for mushroom growing.  Mold shows up as areas of black or green. If you see mold on your unopened mushroom kit or plug spawn contact us so we can replace it!

If you are planning to expand your mushroom kit into pasteurized or sterilized substrate, use the contents immediately upon opening.  Some people want to fruit their kit first, and then try expanding. While you can certainly do this, there is more risk of contamination since your kit will have been exposed to mold spores in the air.

When inoculating logs with plug spawn, be sure to use clean hands and disinfect your drill bit to reduce any contaminants.

I stored my sawdust spawn, plug spawn, or liquid culture for months - will it still be good?

While we recommend using your mushroom cultures as soon as possible while they are at their prime, they can easily survive for months refrigerated in a cold dark place.  In fact they are typically still viable even after a year or two!

With plug and sawdust spawn you may find that some yellow or amber liquid collects in the bottom of your bag over time. Not to worry, the liquid is naturally forming metabolites – just a by-product of mycelium growth.  It is still perfectly good to use.

Where are your mushroom kits produced?

We are a family-run Canadian company that grows all of our mushroom kits, plug spawn, and liquid cultures from our home-business on Vancouver Island, BC.  We value supporting Canadian farmers and the substrate in our mushroom kits is pure Canadian hardwood sawdust supplemented with organic wheat bran and rye from the Canadian prairies.

Why won't my kit make mushrooms?

Sometimes a grow kit just doesn’t produce mushrooms in the timeline you expect, despite following the growing instructions.  Oh, those mysterious mushrooms!

Each grow kit is an individual – some are “late bloomers” who need a little more time, and some are quite particular about the humidity or temperature being just right for them.  Mushrooms need extremely high humidity to form, and that is often the problem.

If you have been trying for several weeks and your kit has not produced, try these steps that replicate the natural conditions that trigger many mushrooms to fruit in the wild.   – heavy rains combined with cold nights and warmer days :

    1. Rehydrate it.  Heavy rains are an important factor that trigger wild mushrooms to fruit.   Completely submerge your kit in cold water for 2-4 hours (use a plate to weigh it down), and then drain off any excess water.  Poke small holes in bottom if necessary to encourage draining, as water pooling in the bag can cause bacteria and mold to form.
    2. Give it a “cold shock”.   Fluctuations of temperature another key factor to stimulate the fruiting of wild mushrooms.  Think of pleasantly warm spring and fall days when the temperature drops to very cold nights.  To emulate this, place your kit in your refrigerator for a night or two.
    3. Keep humid.   High humidity is essential for mushroom formation, particularly tiny new mushrooms which are very susceptible to drying out. Place your kit under a clear plastic humidity tent with holes that allow for air exchange.  Mist the inside walls of the tent several times daily, or more often if you find the water droplets evaporate completely off the walls of the tent. Alternatively you can create a simple fruiting chamber by putting a water vaporiser inside an aquarium or small greenhouse, and using a computer fan to bring in fresh air.

 

  • Change the location.  Some species of mushrooms prefer to fruit in cooler environments (like King and Blue Oysters), others prefer a warmer environment (like the Pink Oyster).  Try moving the kit to a cooler or warmer location.
  • Don’t give up!   As long as your kit is white with fungal mycelium and has no patches of blue/green or black mold, it’s alive!  If you are ready to give up, find a nice shady location outdoors where your kit will be exposed to rain, and leave it be.  You’ll often get a pleasant surprise months later when it suddenly produces a bouquet of mushrooms after a heavy rainfall.

 

If, in spite of following instructions, your kit doesn’t fruit – we are happy to replace it!

The book Mycelium Running, and for the more serious grower, Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, both by Paul Stamets, provide information about setting up lab and grow rooms, plus details of the ideal growth parameters for dozens of species.

Are your products organic?

While we don’t have organic certification, no pesticides, nor artificial fertilizers are used in growing any of our mushroom cultures.   Our “ready to fruit” mushroom kits are grown on pure hardwood sawdust and organic wheat bran and rye from the Canadian prairies. Our plug spawn is pure hardwood dowel pins inoculated with mushroom cultures that are growing on organic Canadian rye grains.  We cultivate our liquid cultures in a sweet broth of malt extract, dextrose, and well water. We use steam to sterilize our mushroom growing substrates.

What do I do with my kit once it's done?

When your grow kit has finished producing mushrooms, it means that the fungal mycelium has eaten all of the substrate – but the fungus isn’t dead, and could potentially keep producing more mushrooms, if you give it more food to eat!  Some people transfer the substrate into logs, or make beds with new substrate to continue harvesting more mushrooms. On our resources page there is a link to a video showing how to inoculate a log with your grow kit.

Do you sell magic mushrooms?

While all mushrooms have a certain magic, the ones you are likely inquiring about are Psilocybin mushrooms, used traditionally for recreational and spiritual purposes. Since they are illegal to possess in Canada, we do not sell any magic mushroom cultures or grow kits. We do carry a book about Psilocybin mushrooms by renowned mycologist Paul Stamets, and many mushroom growing supplies. You might be interested in this article about research of the clinical use of Psilocybin mushrooms for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, depression and addiction conducted by the John Hopkins Institute.  This year the Institute launched the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research thanks to $17 million in private donations.

“Our scientists have shown that psychedelics have real potential as medicine, and this new center will help us explore that potential.”  Paul B. Rothman, M.D., dean of the medical faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

How can I learn more about growing mushrooms?

There are many great resources to help you learn to grow mushrooms!

  • Check out links and articles on our website’s Learn to Grow page.   Keep checking back as we further expand this resource page!
  • Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets – is an excellent book about the amazing benefits of fungi and the basic techniques for growing them.
  • Paul Stamet’s book “Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms” is a valuable resource for those seeking to grow mushrooms for a living.
  • Join facebook forums like the Mushroom Growing group with 60K+ members world-wide.
  • Follow the video blogs from mushroom farmers like What the Fungus, Myer’s Mushrooms, The MushFarmer, Jewel’s Funky Fungus and more on www.youtube.com
  • Jump right into mushroom growing, experiment, learn and have fun!!!  Let us know if you have questions.

How Much Is Shipping?

We do everything possible to keep our shipping costs low for our customers! 

We use Canada Post to ship across Canada, including to PO Boxes, and to those using Flex Delivery.  We have two locations so that your order will come from the closest one, to keep the cost down for you, and we don’t add any handling fees.

To find out how much to expect for shipping to you, simply place your products into your cart and then click on “view cart”.  You will see the option to calculate your shipping costs. The shipping calculator will need your postal code to generate an accurate shipping cost. 

It generally goes up very minimally for additional grow kits, so it’s more economical to ship more than one kit.