Sunday, June 6, 2021


I'm not a fan of mushrooms. I won't eat them raw, and I'm only okay with them chopped up into small pieces that I can't easily pick out of my food and it's gotta be in something that I can forget they're in (like stir-fry or pasta sauce).  

So you'll find it pretty interesting that I bought myself a mushroom growing kit for Christmas.  ::shrugs:: I sometimes do the Bart Simpson method of gardening - Bart: "More Lima Beans please.  More.  More."

Lisa: "maybe you should eat the Lima beans already on your plate."

Bart:  "Who said anything about eating them? I just wanted to look at them."

I also bought kits for Roberta, my friend Jameson, and my mother for Christmas  (i.e. I got one of each variety that NorthSpore had available in their Spray n Grow kits).  Roberta had one big harvest, and then misting the growing block for a second harvest fell by the wayside when the big freeze hit (since she was without power for DAYS).  My mom had one harvest and then was like "this block looks icky, I don't think I want to grow any more" though she did gamely cut out a different side and try to get that side to grow, and instead ended up with another small harvest from the side she thought looked bad.  Jameson took a while getting his started because he was worried about the mushrooms sporing and spreading all over his apartment, and when he finally did start growing them and they were looking like they were about to harvest, the big freeze hit and he got more concerned about other things (like making sure his parents still had electricity and water), and by the time he got back to worrying about the mushrooms they were past their prime - he also didn't know at what point he was supposed to pick them, or what he was supposed to do with them (he got the Lion's Mane because I figured if anyone was going to be willing to experiment with a mushroom that's the vegan replacement for fish, it'd be him, but alas, nothing came of it).  

My box produced 2 harvests that were pretty dang big (while my mom had to mix in some store bought mushrooms for her harvests, but Roberta and I did not); and the craziest thing about these boxes is just how much it's like "dang, did you see the mushrooms now?!" because they grow very quickly once they actually sprout. I even tried to do a timelapse, but I think I tried to do it when the shrooms were already too big and I should have started when they were little pin-mushrooms instead.  So instead you get to see photos taken of the mushrooms like 24 hours apart.

Day 1 of noticing little shrooms (probably like 3-4 weeks after I started misting it)

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4 - We harvested a day or so after this I think because Shawn misunderstood what the directions meant by "harvest before the mushrooms have flattened out"

What we learned from our first harvest:  Yes, the oyster 'shrooms really do taste bad when raw.  Oyster mushrooms have a very metallic taste to them when raw so they're always cooked - and they tend to be cooked for quite a while (like 20-30 minutes).  We also learned that the stems need to be cooked for much longer than the caps if you're using them.  After the second harvest, we realized that there is a sweet spot for size of these things because too young and they're tougher and chewy, but if you let them go a little longer they're much better, but if you let them go too long, they get too waterlogged (though that might be more because for harvests 3 and on, the mushrooms have been outside and are subject to the elements).

After the second harvest, NorthSpore recommends breaking the brick apart and mixing in the medium with either straw or mulch and keeping it moist in a shady spot in your yard to get even more harvests.  so that's what I did with my mom's block and our block.

Harvest 1 of the outdoor Golden Oyster Mushrooms (they are now, as of 6/6/2021, producing more mushrooms again).

Harvest 1 of the outdoor Blue Oyster Mushrooms

Harvest 2 of the outdoor Blue Oyster Mushrooms - these are the ones that are old and waterlogged (and this is about a month after the one above)

I do, truly, believe that the only reason these mushrooms are producing as much as they are outside is solely because we've been getting SO MUCH small amounts of rain in Austin this spring - like to the point where I'm thinking of making another weather chart for the year - the average amount of rainfall by June 1 is 13.56" and we're currently at 19.66" (6.5" of that falling in Memorial Day Weekend, but otherwise, there's a lot of 0.1" here, 0.02" there).  Because, let's face it, f these things needed ME to water them to keep producing, they'd get blasted with water maybe 2x a week if they're lucky.

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