Crimini and White Button Kit Instructions

White Button and Crimini/Baby Bella Mushroom Kit Instructions

Your kit is a living organism.  Please be sure to open the growing bag upon arrival – allowing it to breath.  Read through all instructions before getting started.  If you have any questions please email, text or call.

Upon opening the box your kit arrives in you will see:

  • Gallon Ziploc style bag containing dry casing layer
  • Liner (growing bag) with colonized agaricus substrate
  • And these instructions

What you will need:

  • Measuring cup
  • Spritz bottle
  • 4 cups Water + water for misting/watering
  • An area OUT of direct sunlight and away from direct airflow.  Indirect airflow is fine.  Examples:  cold closet space, unused bathroom, basement... if you use a kitchen counter or other space that sees "traffic" you may wish to utilize a humidity tent.  This is simply taking four skewers and putting them into the corners of the box and draping it with clear painters plastic.  Allow a bit of indirect airflow by raising a back corner.  You may find that during times when the furnace or AC are running that your kit dries out fast.  We will mist the underside of the plastic to help keep the optimal humidity (think cool spring day).  If using a shelf in a basement it may be necessary to add airflow.  If this is the case simply put a fan (low speed) on the shelf below the kit blowing away from the kit.  This helps with air circulation and evaporation without adding too much airflow.  Too much airflow can delay development or cause the developing mushrooms to scale (be dry and have curly skin).  This is perfectly fine and is actually a sought after feature by some high end restaurants. If you notice spots developing on your mushrooms there is too little evaporation going on... add a little airflow.  If you have animals, consider sacrificing a tote.  Cut holes in the sides of the tote as well as lid to allow for airflow.  The kits need a few inches on each side.  So, an appropriate size may be 18" x 18" x  12" high (a larger is fine).  You can use this as your humidity tent as well and spritz the inside of the tote to add humidity when needed.  See Oyster Kit instructions for an example of a home built humidity tent with adjustable vents.   

Directions:

Remove the gallon bag with the casing layer.  Open the liner exposing the substrate.  Pull the liner over the sides of the box.

Step 1 - Mixing your Casing layer:

A:  Open gallon bag of dry casing layer material.  Pour 2 cups of warm water over the dry mixture massaging the bag as you go.  Evenly incorporate the water leaving no dry spots or clumps.  Add additional 2 cups of warm water in the same manner, for a total of 4 cups of warm water.  Let sit 2 hours or overnight.

B:  Lightly scratch the surface of your colonized substrate.  Remove a loose handful adding it to your casing mixture in the baggie.  Add to bag, being certain that it is evenly distributed and your casing layer has no clumps or dry spots.   Be sure to lightly pat any remaining loose/scratched substrate back in place.

 Step 2 - Applying the casing layer:

Top the substrate in the box with casing layer evenly making sure to get to all sides and corners… a nice even layer.  To achieve this we scratch the casing:  fingertips down into the casing moving in a circular motion to evenly distribute the casing to all edges and corners.

Bring plastic liner back up tying the tabs together loosely – offering an air space between the top of the casing and the growing bag.  (bamboo skewers may be used to help elevate the bag.)  Let sit in a cool (between 63 and 68 degrees) dark place like a corner in a closet (or basement works well) for five days.

Step 3 - Flushing your kit

At the end of the 5th day you will “flush” your kit.  To do this, simply open the plastic, pulling it over the sides of the box.  Mist lightly with your spritz bottle and Cold water.  This shocks the mushrooms to start producing pins.  Pins are formed by the mycelium strands coming together.  They appear as white dots on and in the casing layer over the next week.  Not all pins will fully develop into mushrooms. 

During this week of developing pins, mist daily.  Keeping your casing layer moist, looking as it was the day of casing.  Be sure your kit is not exposed to direct sunlight or direct airflow.  Imagine a forest full of lush vegetation in the spring… it is neither bright and sunny nor dry.  Instead it is moist and dimly light due to the trees above… with light rustling breezes.  This is what your mushrooms would like.  Some people use a basement (with a fan moving air indirectly throughout), others a rarely used bathroom or even a closet.  You can simply use your kitchen counter.  Wherever you choose, be sure your kit is easily accessible and kept at approximately 65 degrees.  Also, if you cannot find a place with very little airflow, it would work best if you create a “humidity tent” to prevent the airflow from stunting or killing your delicate mushroom pins.  You can do this by sticking skewers into the top edge of the box and draping plastic over making certain that the plastic is well above the bed so there is space for the mushrooms to grow without touching the plastic or placing a second – larger box with small holes/vents over the kit.  Basically, creating a mini growing/humidity room.

Step 4 - Growing

Approximately Day 7 after you flush your kit begins the “Growing” portion.  As the pins begin to develop into mushrooms you will stop misting/watering.  They will be the size of the tip of a pencil eraser.  Do not water on mushrooms as this may result in brown spots on them.  Your mushrooms will double in size every 24 hours.

Step 5 - Harvesting (approx. 3-4 weeks after casing your kit)

Once your mushrooms have grown to a size you wish to harvest you may do so by “breaking” them off the bed.  Gently hold the cap – twist and tilt leaving the casing layer beneath undisturbed so the pins inside have a chance to grow.  Trim the end – tiny bit of casing and mycelium off.  You will pick over a 2-3 day period.

Once your “First Break” is picked off, start to mist your kit heavily being certain to bring/keep moisture up in the casing layer, similar to the moisture at the time of casing.  Do this daily for the next 3-4 days.  At which time you will start to see your “second break” emerge.  Once you see the second set of mushrooms emerging pause watering/misting through the time they are growing.   Harvest as each mushroom is ready, over a 2-3 day period.

Once the “second break” is off… again, water/mist for 3-5 days.  It is normal for it to take a bit longer for the kit to bounce back after the second break than it did after the first break.  Again, pause watering while the mushrooms are growing and harvest when ready.

At this point you may try for a fourth or consecutive breaks.  However, you will see fewer and fewer mushrooms.  On our farm, we dump the compost out of our trays after the third break, mix the casing into the growing layer and then use the “spent compost” in our gardens, around trees and shrubs and to feed our house plants.

Visit:  www.WillowMountainMushrooms.com ~ “Crimini and White Button Kits” tab under Mushroom Growing Kits for photos and additional information.   If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via text or phone at 417-712-4122.  Email:  shroomshack@gmail.com

Check List and notes - Keeping a log is helpful.  Below is an example time line.  We suggest you leave a line or two open between days for notes.  Writing the date before the day like so:  “12/11/17 Day 1:  Case Kit” will help you to keep track of activities. 

Open kit upon arrival.  Kit should be started within 2 days.  If you need to hold off starting your kit, please open and keep it in a clean mold free environment at approx. 65 degrees and allow the substrate to breath as it is colonized with mushroom mycelium – a living organism.  The longer you wait, the slower your kit will grow and may reduce yields.

Mushroom Growing Log Example

Date:  1/1/18  Day 1:  Case kit  notes: ______(something you may want to write about:  what did it feel, look and smell like)_________________

1/2/18  Day 2: rest while building Co2 within growing bag  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/3/18 – 3: rest while building Co2 within growing bag  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/4/18 – 4: rest while building Co2 within growing bag   Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/5 - 5:  rest while building Co2 within growing bag   Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/6  Day 6:  Flush – open to allow fresh air - mist well with COLD water – leave kit open  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/7  Day 7:  lightly mist with cold water to keep the casing layer as moist as it was at the time you applied it.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/8  – 8:  lightly mist with cold water to keep the casing layer as moist as it was at the time you applied it.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/9  - 9:  lightly mist with cold water to keep the casing layer as moist as it was at the time you applied it.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/10  – 10:  lightly mist with cold water to keep the casing layer as moist as it was at the time you applied it.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/11  – 11:  lightly mist with cold water to keep the casing layer as moist as it was at the time you applied it.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/12  - 12:  lightly mist with cold water to keep the casing layer as moist as it was at the time you applied it.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/13 – 13:  lightly mist with cold water to keep the casing layer as moist as it was at the time you applied it.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/14  Day 14:  mushrooms are the size of pencil erasers and growing – doubling in size every 24 hours.  Refrain from watering until the first break is picked off.  This can be 3-7 day period of time depending on growing environment.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/15 – 15   Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/16  – 16   Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/17 – 17   Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/18 – 18   Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/19 – 19   Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/20 – 20   Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/21 Day 21- Harvesting (approx 2-4 days)  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/22  -22:  Harvesting – once all mushrooms from first picking are off, start misting again.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/23 – 23:  Harvesting – once all mushrooms from first picking are off, start misting again.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/24 – 24 – Harvesting – once all mushrooms from first picking are off, start misting again.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/25 Day 24-25 (depending on when harvesting ended) mist to keep casing layer moist while next set of pins develop into mushrooms.  Once they are the size of a pencil eraser, do as you did for the first break – do not water.  Repeat the cycle.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/26 – 26:  mist to keep casing layer moist while next set of pins develop into mushrooms.  Once they are the size of a pencil eraser, do as you did for the first break – do not water.  Repeat the cycle.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/27 – 27:  mist to keep casing layer moist while next set of pins develop into mushrooms.  Once they are the size of a pencil eraser, do as you did for the first break – do not water.  Repeat the cycle.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/28 – 28:  mist to keep casing layer moist while next set of pins develop into mushrooms.  Once they are the size of a pencil eraser, do as you did for the first break – do not water.  Repeat the cycle.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/29 – 29:  mist to keep casing layer moist while next set of pins develop into mushrooms.  Once they are the size of a pencil eraser, do as you did for the first break – do not water.  Repeat the cycle.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

1/30 – 30:  mist to keep casing layer moist while next set of pins develop into mushrooms.  Once they are the size of a pencil eraser, do as you did for the first break – do not water.  Repeat the cycle.  Notes:  _________ (observations)___________

Happy Mushrooming!