Saturday, February 7, 2009

gardening in winter; or, the mushroom invasion!

Emily has been super-excited about gardening this year, but we can't even start our seeds (indoors) yet, so I decided to get a little mushroom growing kit so we could grow something in the meantime. I looked at a ton of places online, but most of the kits were really big and/or pricey for something that was just a little experiment. I ended up going with a little oyster mushroom kit from this place, we got it about a week ago and started it the very next day. The directions said it would take up to 21 days to start growing, so we were prepared to wait...imagine our surprise to see little buttons popping out just 2 days later!

fungi day 1

According to the directions, they were just supposed to pop out at the X's we'd cut -- but they were everywhere! I followed the directions and tried to cut more X's over each place they were growing....and ended up removing almost all of the plastic bag. We were worried this would kill them all off. But, the very next day:

fungi day 2

And they keep growing...and growing...and growing....the in-between photos didn't come out, but here they are as of this morning, less than 5 days after that first photo was taken:

fungi day 5

fungi day 5 II

See that second photo? That mushroom is almost twice as big now. 6 hours later. I am so not joking.

Unfortunately, a lot of the original caps seem to have died back, maybe because the monstrous ones are sucking the life out of them! We're supposed to wait a week before harvesting, but the biggest one is now lunging out of the large dish the little mushroom log is in, so they may not last that long. Supposedly we can get another batch or two but I don't know if we can take the chance!

So far what we have learned: 1. fungi really grow like crazy. I wish I'd set up a tripod to time-lapse that thing! 2. next time, I will look for better instructions. I think this set of guidelines would have worked a lot better. 3. next time, I will also grow a mushroom I am more familiar with so I don't have to keep looking online to see if it looks like it's supposed to! Emily would be happy with plain old button mushrooms, so maybe we'll do that. 4. growing mushrooms really is pretty fun.

For now, the experiment continues -- and hopefully they won't climb out of that bowl and get us Matango-style!!


  1. Seriously, six hours?!!? That's amazing and maybe amazingly scary! Thought you might find this useful:
    Tee hee hee!

  2. I seem to recall Leonard Lopate having a please explain segment on mushrooms and it was mentioned that fungus grows large super quick. The only issue is, like pumpkins, if they grow too big too quickly, they explode/implode.

  3. This thing scares the crap out of me. I'm afraid of it, I really am.

  4. Looks like you've got a Little Shop of Horrors there. "Feed Me, Seymour!"

  5. That is so cool. I think I'm going to have to get one for the kids - they'd love it.
    And your photos are awesome.

  6. That is so cool. I think I'm going to have to get one for the kids - they'd love it.
    And your photos are awesome.

  7. Fantastic! I keep walking past the seed stands at the store, and there isn't much we can grow save some herbs in our wee apartment, but the Bea would love watching this! (or that is what I will tell myself to justify getting one)

  8. Another quick bite from the site, they have a Mushroom of the month club!
    "A terrific gift for yourself or for the mushroom lover in your life!"
    I had no idea how hardcore the mushroom community was.
    thanks for the link!

  9. Wow!!!!! I used to go looking for mushrooms as a kid with my dad, but I never knew you could grow them at home!!! This is so exciting!!!!


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