Cold Weather Instructions and Growing Tips

Cold Weather Instructions and Growing Tips

During the winter months please follow these instructions upon the arrival of your kit.  

We have been experiencing severe cold weather snaps in the Ozarks which make it necessary to allow for at least a 12 hour acclimation period before following the instructions included with your kit.  

Please open the kit upon arrival.  Exposing the compost to allow respiration and facilitate in temperature acclimation.  Do so by lifting the tabs of the box to an upright position, remove the baggie containing the casing layer as well as any papers and raise the plastic liner that conatains the compost up over the box tabs holding the tabs in an upright position by folding the plastic liner over the top.  Place kit in a corner where there is little airflow.

Allow 12 hours for the kit to acclimate - come to a room temperature of 70-78 degrees.

White growth on the compost is the mushroom mycellium (not mold).  This is good.  It may take just a day to bounce back (see the mycellium) after shipping.  In some instances it may take a day or two more.  You should start the kit, following the included instructions, once the kit has both come to room temperature and you see the white growth or on day three.  Whichever comes first.  

During the winter, when things are cold and dry, it may be necessary to utilize a "humidity tent" during "Step 4" of the instructions.  Mushrooms enjoy a minimum of 70% rh (relative humidity)... think moist spring morning.

Humidity tent examples:

 

  • A piece of plastic draped over the open kit tabs.  Allowing air to filter around the surface of the kit - the plastic may have 1/2 to 1" holes in it to facilitate respiration or just leave a corner of the kit box uncovered.  Just like us, mushrooms like to breath.
  • A dampened light weight flour sack towel resting over the opening.  Keeping it damp throughout Step 4 by running it under warm water, wringing it out and then draping it over the kit box tabs which are far above where the mushrooms will be.  A dry towel may be all that is necessary... or a light spritzing on the towel when you water your kit to help add humidity.
  • A box larger than the kit box - inverted and placed over the kit with its tabs down instead of upright.  Put holes in the box or vents to adjust airflow and humidity level.  See a more elaborate example in the oyster and shiitake kit instructions.  The exanple there has plastic sides for viewing your kit.  A fun project for kids to help with.  The box shown is rather tall and was used for an upright oyster log.  You would need a box about 1.5 feet tall for that example and fold down the box tabs as the box over the box acts as the airflow buffer making it unnecessary to keep them upright.  Some find it easier to use a tote with vents cut into the lid.  Whatever works best for your situation.
Helpful tips:

 

 

  • If you see the mushrooms are scaling or cracking this may indicate that there needs to be less airflow and/or more humidity.  
  • If you see spots developing... you need more airflow for proper evaporation.  Open things up a little to allow for more evaporation. 
  • If you note that the casing layer is drying out between watering - water more and spritz the sides of the kit as well as the towel.  
  • You do not want to allow the casing layer to dry out as this is where your mushrooms are living until they emerge and develop over several weeks of picking.  Likewise you do not wish to overwater and cause the casing to seal up.  Your goal is to keep the casing layer as moist as it was when you applied it.
  • It can take 21-25 days from the day you case your kit (approximately 2 weeks from flushing "step 3") to see mushroom pins.  
  • Over the 2 - 2.5 weeks after your kit is "flushed" you will see the cottony looking mycellium that is running through the casing layer start to come together and become more spiderwebbish.  Eventually forming little white dots throughout the casing that can become pins that could potentially develop into mushrooms.  
  • Once the first set of pins reach pencil eraser head size - you will stop watering and allow them to develop to the desired size.  
  • If utilizing a towel over the top of the kit or a tote/plastic lined box - in really dry conditions - you can keep humidity up while allowing the mushrooms to size by spritzing the sides of the box/tote and/or towel.  Avoid spraying directly on your developing mushrooms as this can lead to undesirable spots.     

 

We recently had someone with a kit who placed it in their kitchen with a towel resting over the top.  There was not enough humidity + too much range of temperature and airflow - the mushrooms were stunted, dry and cracked... even with a dry towel resting over it.  He moved the kit to a closet (more consistent 65 -68 degrees) leaving the towel overtop to help hold in humidity and the next flush of mushrooms are perfect.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Email to:  ShroomShack@Gmail.com  Please use "Kit ?" or "Kit Question" as your subject line.

Thank You!

Bob and Wendy

1-18-18