After hundreds of you have unwrapped your Kitchen Gardens gifts, the next thing is to Open Up the box and get growing!
When you get a Kitchen Garden, it’s alive and it’s ready to grow – so be sure to do Step 1 within one month of purchase – you can order a kit in advance and choose delivery date in the future on our website so it’s as fresh as can be when it arrives.
There are 4 simple steps to growing your own mushrooms – here we talk about steps 1 and 2 in a bit more depth so you can get the best from your Kitchen Garden…
Step 1: Open Up
Remove the growbag from the box and remove lightweight outer bag. You’ll see it has a cross marked on. This corresponds to the window in the box that the mushrooms will grow out of.
Make incisions to the bag along the cross – you can use scissors or a sharp knife, but make sure you don’t press too hard and cut deeply into the growbag – although it’s fine to make a small indentation. Make sure you don’t remove the plastic flaps as they’ll come in handy further along the line.
You’ll notice the grow bag is white, this is because the mushroom hyphae known as ‘mycelia’ has colonised the coffee – depending on how long before you open it the bag may be slightly darker, but all our kits are ready to grow when you get them.
Step 2: Water
Soak the bag in water – this is actually the most difficult part!
The grow-bags are surprisingly buoyant so take some sinking, but it’s worth getting it completely submerged. We’ve found the best way is to weigh it down with a saucepan full of water. If you’ve an old Le Creuset pan collecting dust at the back of the cupboard, this is your chance to put it to good use!
The process of watering the grow bag is known as ‘shocking’.
It stimulates the mushroom to come to life and fruit. By putting it in water, you’re effectively replicates seasonal change and cooler autumn nights when mushrooms would typically start to grow. The water (or rain) that’s absorbed acts as a reservoir the mushrooms can draw from which helps generate larger, juicer mushrooms.
It’s good to expose the growbag to as much water as you can – so for best results, when the growbag is under water, give the top a squeeze to expel air pockets and allow the water in. You can leave it over night, and take it out anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after soaking.
When you remove it from the water, pour out any excess water through the cross you’ve made so there is no ‘standing water’, give it a wipe down and replace it into the Kitchen Garden box. It’s best to place it on a saucer, or tray to catch any drips from when you water it over the next fortnight.
The final part of this stage is to work out where to situate your kit.
Of course you’ll want it somewhere you can keep an eye on it, so you can see the mushrooms grow before your eyes. The mushrooms are pretty adaptable to most temperatures – they’ll be OK anywhere between 5 – 25 degrees, but keep them away from heaters as that can dry them out, and if it’s sub-zero at night, keep away from the windows as it might go below 5 degrees. They need a bit of light, and a bit of draft is ideal
Spray twice a day to keep moisture under the flaps – they act as a mini greenhouse to keep humidify in – this encourages ‘pins’(aka mini mushrooms) which will find their own way out, so don’t peel the cross away!
We’ll do a more detailed post about the growing stage in the future, but do keep us posted how you get on – by twitter, facebook or even instagram, and have a look at the FAQs if you’ve any other questions.