If you like to grow your own food, then mushroom growing kits could be a great way to expand your repertoire.
Branch out from growing fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs to explore the wonderful world of home-grown fungi. You can use mushroom growing kits to grow mushrooms in the smallest of spaces – you don’t even have to have a garden to grow a range of delicious mushrooms at home.
You can, of course, choose to take a more DIY approach and order mushroom spawn to grow in your own substrates, or mushroom logs. But if you are new to growing mushrooms, a kit can often be an excellent place to start.
Last update on 2021-04-22 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
Here are five of the UK’s best mushroom growing kits that you could consider:
Extra Large Mushroom Grow Kit
This extra-large kit includes everything that you need to grow your own mushrooms, including in depth instructions and advice, and a voucher for high-quality, fresh mushroom spawn. We like the fact that you can redeem this voucher at your convenience, so you don’t have to worry about leaving it too long and can start growing your mushrooms when you want to.
Most kits come pre-inoculated which can sometimes lead to short shelf life and poor yields. This kit can allow you to control when you start to grow, and use the highest quality spawn for best results. Since you can choose when to get fresh spawn and get started, this could also make a great gift.
The mushrooms to grow in this kit are pink oyster mushrooms – Pleurotus salmoneo-stramineus. They are pinkish and turn orange/brown when cooked. These oyster mushrooms look and taste great, and there are very good for you too.
We also particularly like that when you get this mushroom growing kit you will also receive free membership to the Urban -Farm-It members area – a platform where you can get more information and support to grow your mushrooms.
- A voucher for high-quality fresh spawn that can be redeemed when you are ready.
- Potential to harvest 3-5 flushes of delicious pink oyster mushrooms.
- Easy to follow instructions.
- Access to an online members area for online learning.
- You’ll need to redeem the voucher to get the spawn and get started.
Grow Highly Prized Elm Mushrooms
This is another large grow-your-own-mushroom kit, twice the size of most other kits on the market. It allows you to grow elm mushrooms – a more unusual mushroom with a delicate flavour and texture. They are prized by gourmet chefs and gourmands and yet are almost impossible to buy in the shops.
This is a simple but very good value kit that allows you to grow a type of mushrooms that you would usually find it difficult to taste if you did not grow them yourself. The kit is simple and may not always succeed, but should produce a crop for you in the right conditions.
- Affordable and good value for money.
- Allows you to grow and taste gourmet mushrooms not usually available to buy in stores.
- Does rely on you creating the right conditions for a crop.
- Instructions are not as comprehensive as for some other kits.
Pearl Oyster Growing Kit
Cost: Price not available
This simple kit allows you to grow pearl oysters on used coffee grounds. A bouquet of pearl oyster mushrooms are waiting to burst forth from this box, grown on a substrate of the coffee recycled from 100 espressos. We love the reuse in this product, and also its simplicity to use. In just four steps you can be cooking and eating your own home-grown pearl oyster mushrooms.
All you have to do is open up, water, grow and harvest after around 2 weeks. Each of the growing kits are handmade in Sussex. Printed on recycled card, they contain clear growing instructions, a ready-to-go mushroom grow bag, a free water spray pump and a recipe card. You can then wait and get a second flush of growth, and even a third if you are lucky. After the mushrooms are done, you can use the spend coffee grounds in your composting system.
- A great waste reducing solution, using spend coffee grounds and recycled card.
- Very simple and easy to use, with clear instructions.
- Everything you need to grow popular pearl oyster mushrooms.
- Ready inoculated with spawn, so must be used within around 1 month.
Growing Kit For Popular White Mushrooms
White, button type mushrooms are one of the most common types of mushrooms eaten around the world. They have a mild flavour that intensifies somewhat when cooked. This is your chance to grow these popular and familiar mushrooms for yourself. And this kit allows you to do so easily and quickly.
One of the great things about this kit is that it comes with some excellent instructions that make it very easy for you to understand what you need to do and when you need to do it. The kit contains ready spawned compost, a sealed bag of topsoil and full, comprehensive and clear instructions.
- A simple kit with extremely clear and straightforward instructions.
- Allows you to grow a common and popular mushroom type.
- Kits for other mushroom types are also available from the same supplier.
- Comes ready inoculated so must be used within a certain time.
- Might be more expensive than just buying the mushrooms, depending on exactly how many you get – but you can learn a lot too, so it could be worth it.
Organic White Thistle Mushrooms Growing Kit
Cost: Price not available
This kit allows you to grow some white thistle mushrooms, which are an interesting type of mushroom and something a little bit different to others that you find in grow kits. We like the fact that this is a fully organic option, though it is worth noting that the instructions are in Spanish, and are not as comprehensive as the instructions for some of the other kits mentioned above.
However, the kit can provide you with between 1 and 2kg of mushrooms – far more than many other kits, which could mean that it offers excellent value for money. You could be harvesting your own white thistle mushrooms in as little as two weeks. The substrate is rich in nutrients and can also be used as an organic fertilizer for your garden or houseplants once you are done with your mushroom harvest.
- Chance to try delicious white thistle mushrooms.
- High yields of organic mushrooms.
- Instructions are in Spanish and not as comprehensive as for some other mushroom growing kits.
Tips When Growing Mushrooms At Home
The first and most important thing to understand when growing mushrooms at home is that environmental conditions are key to success. You need to think about:
Unlike many plants, mushrooms need to be out of direct sunlight. They prefer much lower light conditions than most of the plants you are likely to grow. You should usually not leave your mushrooms on a windowsill, but should rather find a spot that has far less direct light.
Most mushrooms that you will grow in kits inside your home will do best when kept at temperatures between around 14 and 21 degrees C. The needs of different mushrooms at different stages of their growth can vary. But it is always important to make sure that the temperatures remain relatively constant, and there are not any extreme fluctuations in temperature. So don’t place mushrooms too close to a stove, radiator or other heat source.
Watering / Moisture
Watering is perhaps the thing that people get wrong most frequently when it comes to succeeding with mushroom growing kits. It is important to keep the mushroom growing substrate moist at all times and not let it dry out. But it is also important not to make the substrate too wet, as this may damage the mycelium of the fungi and lead to rotting, or fewer of the fruiting bodies you want to eat.
How Long Does it Take To Grow Mushrooms?
The majority of mushrooms you can grow yourself at home will typically reach harvest after 1-3 months Oyster mushrooms take less time, however, and can be ready after just a couple of weeks. Another relatively quick growing variety is Shiitake mushrooms. Given the right environmental conditions and substrate, you can usually expect fruits to form on most mushrooms in between 2 and 12 weeks time.
After the initial flush of fruits, there will usually be a bit of a break in production. But a second flush should later appear, and sometimes, there may even be a third. So do not be too hasty to give up on your kit and compost the remains. There may still be some time in it yet.
Alternatives to Mushroom Kits
As mentioned above, a mushroom kit can be a great first foray into the world of edible fungi production. But if you have a taste for mushrooms, and for growing them yourself, you might consider taking up large scale production.
If you want to grow more mushrooms than you can grow in a simple kit, your first choice to make will be which substrate to use. (In other words, you have to choose what you will grow your mushrooms on. You might use:
- A range of different types of mulch/ pulps or mulch mats.
- Logs – with dowels in them that are inoculated with the mushroom spores of your choice.
- Beds (indoors, undercover or outside) made up of moisture-retentive organic materials.
You will buy the mushroom spores, then add them to the substrate and, as in the kits, wait for the mycelium strands to form and eventually, for fruits to appear.
Of course, wherever you choose to grow mushrooms it should be a relatively dim and damp environment. You might consider, for example, growing mushrooms in, or behind, a garage or garden shed.
As soon as mushrooms, of whichever type, have formed fruits of sufficient size, you can harvest these simply by cutting them off using a knife, or twist it and pull them from the mycelium.
Mushrooms are typically best eaten fresh, though some can also be dried for later use, or preserved using another method. However you choose to grow your mushrooms, whether you are using a simple kit, or production methods on a larger scale, you will find that they are a fantastic addition to your home-grown diet.
A permaculture garden designer, sustainability consultant and freelance writer, Elizabeth works as an advocate for positive change. She aims to inspire others to reconnect with nature and live in a more eco-friendly way. She also tries to practice what she preaches as she tends her own forest garden, polyculture beds and polytunnel. See her personal website here.