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mushroom kit

One of my co-workers received a mushroom kit as a Christmas gift last winter. They are becoming very trendy as “the gift that keeps on giving” because you can harvest 2-3 crops from the kit and they are an alternative to the more traditional fruit bouquets or cookie food gifts. If you enjoy gourmet mushrooms such as Portobello, Shiitake or Enoki varieties, you can grow them at home for a much lower cost.

Gourmet Mushroom Kits

Most mushroom growing kits usually consist of a 12 by 12 inch square block of compressed sawdust “medium” that has been enriched and inoculated with spawn of the particular mushroom variety being cultivated. Mushrooms, being fungi, do not grow like regular garden vegetables. They are generated from spores, not seeds. The growing medium may vary, depending on the type of mushroom in the kit. Manure and compost may also be used to start mushrooms.

Mushroom growing kits are low-maintenance. All they really need is fresh air, water, a decent location, and a little patience.

Harvesting Time

Once you harvest the first crop of gourmet mushrooms, you will probably generate 1-2 more crops. Allow the spawn to rest for a couple of weeks and then you can repeat the entire process to produce additional harvests.

The subsequent crops of mushrooms will tend to grow smaller and produce fewer mushrooms as the nutrients contained in the growing medium become depleted. Once the crops have finished producing, discard the compost (you can throw it in your mulch or dig it into garden beds). If you decide to get serious about growing your own mushrooms, you may want to take the next step which is growing mushrooms on logs.

Nutrition Tips

Mushrooms are high in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and counteract the bad effects of sodium in the diet. Mushrooms are low calorie and low carb; one cup of mushrooms contains about 15 calories and three grams of carbohydrates.  They are virtually fat-free.

If you like the big Portobello mushrooms, they can be used as a meatless entrée as well as a side dish. Portobellos have huge, flat, open caps that lend themselves extremely well to being grilled. Eat one in place of a hamburger or steak to reduce your saturated fat intake and lower your risk for heart disease.

Sources:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/278858.php

https://gardenerspath.com/plants/vegetables/best-mushroom-growing-kits/

https://www.popsci.com/mushrooms-health-benefits/

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

 

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