Edible mushrooms, not only popular for their culinary uses, are nutritious and easy to cultivate from a kit. Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotis ostreatus), shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) and nameko mushrooms (Pholiota nameko) are just a few of the edible mushroom species available in kit form from commercial sources. Using a kit takes the guesswork out of the process and helps ensure success for the novice mycologist.
Purchase an edible mushroom kit from a trusted garden supply company. Prices vary, but kits are available for less than $35.
Follow the package instructions, which may vary slightly depending on the type of mushroom and the kit manufacturer. Some species prefer growing in sawdust and wood chips and others grow best in wheat straw. Often, the kit will consist of a mycelial-covered block of substrate enclosed in a bag.
Thoroughly water the mushroom block according to the kit instructions and tent it with the (usually) provided bag. Skewers or dowels help hold the bag off the block and keep the plastic from touching it. Air circulation within the bag is important for mushroom development.
Place the mushroom kit in an indoor location with indirect light.
Mist the tented block as directed in the kit instructions. Continue misting the block with spring water, well water, rain water or boiled tap water (cool before use) until bumps appear, usually after one to two weeks, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. Mist the growing mushrooms until they look ready to harvest. Avoid over-misting, which causes rotting. Package instructions should indicate the appropriate level of misting required for the species.
Pick the mushroom as they reach the desired size. Begin the process again after the first harvest and get another two to three crops from the block. Add the used block to your compost pile after it no longer produces mushrooms.