How To Harvest Mushrooms At Home GardenHow To Harvest Mushrooms At Home Garden
Growing your own mushrooms at home is easy if you purchase a complete kit or just spawn and then inoculate your own substrate. Things get a little more difficult if you are making your own mushroom cultures and spawn, which require a sterile environment involving a pressure cooker or autoclave. However you start them, the question of when to harvest the mushrooms will inevitably come to pass. Read on to learn how to harvest mushrooms at home. When to Harvest Mushrooms If you buy a complete mushroom kit, the instructions will give a time frame for picking your mushroom harvest. This is really a gist, since depending upon conditions, the mushrooms may be ready to pick a couple of days earlier or later than the instructed date. Also, size is not an indicator of when to pick. Bigger isn’t always better. The general rule of thumb is to begin picking your mushroom harvest when the caps turn from convex to concave – turning down to turning up. Oyster mushroom harvesting should occur 3-5 days after you see the first mushrooms begin to form. You are looking for the cap of the largest mushroom in the group to go from turning down at the edges to turning up or flattening out at the edges. Shitake mushrooms are grown on logs and that is how they are sold as kits. Or you can establish a shitake garden by cutting your own logs during the mushroom’s dormant season and then inoculating them yourself. The latter option requires patience since mushroom harvesting won’t take place for 6-12 months! If you purchase pre-inoculated logs or sawdust blocks for your home, they should fruit right away. A couple of days after you see the first signs of growth, they will begin to cap. Three days later or so, you will have the first good-sized shitakes ready to harvest. Picking your shitake mushroom harvest will take place over time and, with proper care, shitake logs can produce for 4-6 years, maybe even longer. How to Harvest Mushrooms at Home There is no great mystery to harvesting your mushrooms, although there is some debate amongst amateur mycologists who hunt for outdoor species. The debate revolves around whether to cut the fruit or twist and pull the mushroom from the mycelium. Realistically, it makes no difference. The only pertinent point for wild mushroom foragers is to pick mushrooms that are mature to a point that they have distributed most of their spores so the species will continue to prosper. Home growers can harvest in either manner, either plucking the fruit by hand or cutting it. In the case of the home mushroom kit, however, there is no need to allow the mushrooms to drop spores, so if you see a white “dust” dropping onto the surface below the colony, harvest them. The white “dust” is spores and that means the fruit is mature.
Harvest of the mushroom grow kit
Sometimes it’s difficult to determine when you can harvest the mushrooms in the grow kit.
It would be easier if the mushrooms were all the same size and all of them could be harvested at the same time. Unfortunately, this is never the case.
As soon as the mushrooms are large enough to harvest, there are always several small and medium-sized mushrooms that might still be able to grow a bit more.
It is a common mistake to remove the large mushrooms first, so the medium-sized and small mushrooms can keep on growing.
This will not increase the harvest and, moreover, you risk contamination of your grow kit.
WHEN TO HARVEST:
Best time to harvest
The best time to harvest the mushrooms is when the hats have not fully opened and they still have a nice round head.
mushrooms not fully opened
When a mushroom has reached its maximum size, it will start to open within a few days.
The round hat will release itself from the stem and acquire a hat-shaped form.
This happens because the mushrooms want to reproduce and will do so by releasing its spores.
You can find these spores under de cap of the hat.
As soon as this happens, the mushrooms under the hats will turn black from the released spores.
The mushroom loses its power once the spores are released. In addition, the spores are harmful to the mycelium, as a result, no mushrooms will grow.
If a mushroom is harvested, it will still continue to grow a little bit.
heat mat to dry magic mushrooms
The mushrooms may therefore still turn black after being harvested.
This can be prevented by accelerating the drying process of the mushrooms by using a heat mat to dry them.
Choosing the right time to harvest is a matter of experience.
Little can go wrong when you harvest a bit too early, but make sure you don’t harvest too late.
HOW TO HARVEST:
Pay attention! With a mushroom grow kit relatively little can go wrong.
But especially during harvesting, the substrate in which the mushrooms are growing, can become infected with other micro-organisms such as bacteria.
In case of infection, your grow kit will become unusable and can even infect any other present grow kits (cross-contamination).
In order to prevent this, you have to work in a hygienic and sterile manner.
Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap.
Or use new sterile gloves.
removing the container
Remove the container from the bag.
harvest the grow kit
Grab a mushroom with two fingers at the bottom of the stem.
take out a shroom
Turn the stem, while gently pulling upwards out of the substrate.
damage the subtrate
This process can cause a bit of damage to the substrate.
This is almost unavoidable. Try to do this as careful and sterile as possible.
Pay attention! It can happen that there are magic mushrooms growing on the side of the container.
the mushroom grows at the side damaged grow it
You can remove these by filling the grow kit with water. This way, the mycelium will come to the top, so you can better reach the mushrooms on the sides.
Make sure that you remove the mushrooms with clean hands and do not breathe in the kit because your breath is full of bacteria, that can contaminate your kit. You can also choose to let the mushrooms stay on the sides and not take the risk of contamination. If it is the last harvest, it will not matter of course.
Remove the mushroom with care next flush
After you remove all the mushrooms out of the container, you can continue with the next flush.
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