Well actually, I don't keep them in the dark, the mushrooms that is. :) They seem to appreciate just a relatively dark corner of the house more than the intense dark of the cellar. Mushrooms always bring back the memory of a college holiday many years ago in France.... we went to some mushroom growing caves just out of curiosity while there, but myself and two friends.. Stuart and James, couldn't even leave the minibus as we were still terribly inebriated from our late night pool and snooker playing session in the only bar in Saumur to have a table "Le Liverpool".... I really wanted to see the caves, but they said we were a "health and safety issue" (to be honest, I think they were probably right!! :) Maybe one day I shall return to the caves!
This year I am trying out three mushroom kits from Dobies that they had on offer a few weeks back... buy two, get one free ( I am just the perfect customer... offers never fail to win me over!! :) Anyway, after a few tense minutes of pondering, I decided on white button, brown chestnut and yellow oyster mushrooms. Last year I grew a couple of white button mushroom boxes I got from the garden centre.. we ended up with a good crop from one of the boxes, and not such a good crop from the other, but it was still well worth growing them for the sheer enjoyment of seeing them form on top of the casing compost (and we had a multitude of stuffed mushrooms for dinner for a few weeks! :)
The three kits from Dobies
The new kits came with some pretty straight forward instructions to follow..... how could I go wrong??!??...oh how naive I am sometimes!!! :) It all sounded so simple for the button mushrooms, and having done pretty well last time, I thought a bumper crop was a foregone conclusion. So far I have nothing showing but a bit of mould on the casing compost, whereas the oyster mushrooms which I thought out of the three would be the ones not to grow, are coming along splendidly!! :)
A group of yellow oyster mushrooms forming
Yellow oyster mushrooms
The kit comes with impregnated straw in a plastic bag to grow the mushrooms on, which sits inside a little mini plastic propagator. The plastic bag stays around the substrate all the time, and you just make small incisions in it for the mushrooms to grow through. You keep it in a warm place, 20 - 25 degrees until the straw is covered in white Mycelium, then make the incisions in the bag. After about 10 days or so the mushrooms start to show through the plastic... this is the stage I am at now!! :) I'm not sure how long it will be before I can pick some... but to say I am excited about it is an understatement!!!! Once i've exhausted the first flush of mushrooms, apparently I just make some more incisions in the plastic, and another flush grows through..... happy days!!
Yellow oyster mushrooms going for gold!!
These two kits come in the same mini propagators, but they have a seperate impregnated straw growing substrate, and a dark casing compost to go over the top of it. With this kit you have to place the straw in the bottom of the proagator and keep it warm as you do for the oyster mushrooms until it is covered in the white Mycelium again (completed this part successfully), but then you have to put the casing compost on top of the straw and then apparently the mushrooms grow through the compost..... so far I have a distinct lack of any kind of fungii activity in these two kits... buggar! ... well, unless you can call grey mould on the surface activity?? :( I've given them a good watering at the weekend, as they seemed quite dry under the surface, so now i'm going to wait and see what happens.
I'll keep you posted on my progress with all three kits. I also need to find some oyster mushroom recipes pretty quickly, as it looks like the yellow oyster mushrooms will outgrow their mini propagator in a few days, so i've sorted out an old electric one that doesn't work anymore over the weekend that I can put them in when they reach that point.