As an urban homesteader, I’m always on the lookout for more ways to grow food so when my friend Cori told me she planned to try mushroom kit, I was eager to hear more. Cori photo-journaled her experience and has generously allowed me to share the journey with you. – Karen

Growing Mushrooms from a Kit

Guest post by Cori Soles

After seeing wonderful oyster mushrooms last summer at the farmer’s market in Terrace, BC, I bought a mushroom growing kit for myself and one as a gift for my sister. The company is Aurora Sporealis, based in Hazelton, BC. My choice was oyster mushrooms; she also chose oyster mushrooms, but a beautiful coral-coloured variety.

The idea was that we would grow them at the same time and compare notes. We didn’t get started on our project for some time. I have read that, if kept cool, the mushrooms will stay viable for quite a while. To make a long story short we agreed to open our kits on October 23, 2022.

 oyster kit

Day 1 – The Project Begins

The directions told us to leave the plastic wrap on and cut a 3-inch X in the wrap, turning back the edges. There were no particular light requirements other than no direct sun.

At this point it looked like a big loaf of bread. I kept it in the kitchen.

cut an ex in the mushroom kit bag

Four times a day I watered it with six to eight spritzes from the tiny spray bottle included in the kit. I let the chlorine evaporate overnight before filling the spray bottle. 

Day 6 – white mycelium had formed and the bag was looking sweaty.

water four times a day using the tiny bottle

On the twelfth day there were signs of mushroom life.

he little tubes are called pins

Days 12 to Day 17

Day 12 – When little tubes form it is called pinning

Day 13 and 14 – Many new pins were visible. Every day they doubled in size.

Many new pins

Day 15 – Breaking out.

oyster mushrooms breaking out

Day 16 – Gills were visible and mushroom shapes were developing.

gill are visible and mushroom shape develops

Day 17 – The tipped up edges and the little scallops are probably (in hindsight) the best indication that it is time to harvest.

scalloped edges and gills

Day 18

I was totally enamoured with their beauty and continued to draw and paint mushroom portraits while counting the days … until I noticed wide open gills and saw all the spores surrounding the spot where my bowl had been.

Day 18

Harvesting Oyster Mushrooms

Even though I waited a little too long to harvest, it did not affect the edibility. I sautéed all the tender parts of the mushrooms with olive oil, garlic and onion after slicing them thinly and setting aside the thicker stems. (It reminded me of preparing a cauliflower.) The oyster mushroom is very meaty and chewy compared to other mushrooms. It would be perfect in a stir fry as a meat substitute. The ends I set aside will be chopped fine and dried for use in soups or maybe fried rice.

This is how much joy growing my mushroom kit gave me!

oyster mushroom success

I am resting the substrate for a few days after scraping all the mushroom stalks from it. Apparently I should be able to get up to three more flushes of growth. Then it can go in the garden or the compost.

Additional Notes

Not much water is required, but it needs to be regular and unchlorinated.

It’s probably not good to grow in a damp environment because it is easy to get a mold contamination. That happened to my sister’s kit. It couldn’t be saved.

The mushrooms grow largest with good air circulation. Mushrooms make CO2 but don’t grow well in it.

Try to avoid the huge spore release unless you like dusting. I cast my eyes about, wondering if my house plants will now be sprouting mushrooms. I also wondered how it might affect anyone with allergies.

My white oyster kit came from Aurora Borealis, Hazelton, BC.

As well, I found a kit company on Vancouver Island with a website you might like to look at.

I hope you enjoyed this overview of my first experience with growing oyster mushrooms at home from a kit. – Cori

Cori Soles is a gifted artist
creating in watercolours,
acrylics and pastels.

Visit Cori’s online art gallery:

Cori Soles art gallery