Mushroom Adventures ~ Grow Your Own Food as a Family

***I was provided a complimentary mushroom growing kit for the purposes of this review. We’ve had great success and a lot of fun in growing our own delicious button mushrooms!***

We are mushroom lovers. I can’t get enough of the little plain colored, wonderfully tasting morsels. I’m still a novice to wild mushroom hunting but I have always wanted to try to grow the edible kind myself. Something a little more to my caliber I daresay! Leave the hunting to my husband, who might as well be a truffle-scenting hog, since he is always able to find so many Chanterelles and Morels. I will bring on a bounty from a box! Thanks to Mushroom Adventures I was able to check this off my homesteading life list!

Preparation:

Initially, I read through the directions, decided it was too complex for me that day, and the kit needed to mature longer anyway, so we waited a bit. The second reading I thought “Wow, that’s simple! Let’s get to it!” I have no idea what made the difference, likely coffee and a better nights’ sleep.

We just had to prep the peat, score the medium and mix the two, for the most part. It was incredibly easy. It smelled like mushrooms, so I had a feeling that SOMETHING would happen! The hardest part? Waiting! I’m an instant results kind of person, so whether sewing a seed or starting a mushroom kit, I’m like a little kid that a day later expects to see a flower garden or a large grove of mushrooms!
Now, in the dead of winter, in a poorly insulated, wood-burning old house with two cats and a toddler, it was a bit of a trick to 1) keep the cats out of the box, 2) keep the toddler out of the box, 3) keep the direct sun out of the box, 4) keep a more or less constant temperature, and 5) keep the mushrooms watered. We are travelers so the watering was the biggest issue. Traveling between two houses, as we have been for the last few months was also a challenge.

Much to my surprise, the mushrooms have survived our bouts of craziness and a day or two of neglect, for which I feared for their livelihood—but our fourth crop is on its’ way!

The results:

The first “crop” was a single albeit gigantic white button mushroom. It was the size of a large Clementine fruit.

The second crop was FOUR button mushrooms, all smaller than the first, but not by much!
The third crop was THREE button mushrooms.

Now the fourth crop looks to be about TEN mushrooms! But they are all smaller than a dime, so I won’t know for a few days! Eek! Squeal!

The crops come in waves of about 8-10 days. The first crop showed up, about as planned around day 16 or 17. I wrote the “start” date on the box, which was very helpful when deciding how long ago it had been started!

Our fourth crop had TEN button mushrooms. One was ginormous and the rest were medium and small, with some just bigger than a dime. This was an exciting crop, one that could make an entire salad or adorn a large pizza. However, it was our LAST crop. I cannot say if it was just the end of the box of if it was a loss of the circumstances, but the box turned off after that.

Circumstances: I left for a week for business and my husband was left to tend to the watering. In that week, he watered it two times. We were watering every day to keep the box moist because of terribly dry conditions in the house, so two times was just not enough. I could tell it was too dry when I got back. So, we waited a week and took care of it, watering as usual. Still no mushrooms. So, that was that. I blame the husband, honestly. In ‘ideal’ conditions, the box would have had another month or so of livelihood.

The bottom line:

This kind of kit is GREAT for teaching kids where your food comes from. Along with raising chickens and having a garden, this has been one of the most tangible ways for us to show our toddler that food can be grown and you can mostly provide for yourself, if in creative ways!

If you can keep your temperature rather constant and you do not travel for more than a few days during the few month stint that the kit spans, you’ll do great! We even brought our kit with us (traveling in sub-zero weather) and its done fine. Letting it get too hot, too cold, or too dry seem to be the worst things for it.

We DID develop some of the little flies that the kit warns of, but I was able to initially just squash 3-5 of them (slow lobbing fliers) and it seemed to have nipped it in the bud. Seemed. Then, we developed several flies and though they left people alone and weren’t malicious, they were annoying. We still (six weeks after throwing the box/kit out) have 2-3 flies. So, follow the ‘get rid of flies’ instructions provided and see if that helps. The instructions are easy to follow and tell you how to get rid of a small infestation – totally normal and not really gross at all. Its way less annoying than fruit flies!


***I was provided a complimentary mushroom growing kit for the purposes of this review. We’ve had great success and a lot of fun in growing our own delicious button mushrooms!***

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