Shiitake Mushroom Kit Instructions
Shiitake is a delicious and healthy mushroom that is fascinating to watch grow. It has a buttery, umami flavour that is great for making vegan stock and to add to any dish.
Each species of mushroom is a different growing experience. Even if you have grown mushrooms before, please read the instructions for your kit carefully before proceeding. If you run into any problems please see our FAQ.
Step 1: Mycelium Check
Inside this box mycelium has has been happily breaking down the organic growing medium and converting it into energy. At first the mycelium is often wispy and hard to see, but as it gets ready to produce mushrooms it becomes more dense and white in colour and eventually begin to brown.
Open you box and remove the bag of growing medium.
Light brown =
needs more time in a warm location
ready to move on to stage 2
White with dark brown patches =
ready to move on to stage 2
If your block is light brown or white, move your kit to a warm location - over 15°C and NO MORE THAN 25°C. Make sure to keep you block remains tightly wrapped with the bag folded down completely. If the bag is unfurled mushrooms may fruit prematurely. Check it once a week until your block has begun to develop dark brow patches.
If your block is already covered in dark brown patches, you can now move on to step 2. If you do not want to move on to step 2, you can keep your kit in the fridge or a cool place for up to two weeks.
Step 2: Hydration and Cold Shock
Cold shock and hydration is an important step to prepare your mycelium block to fruit. This stimulates the wintery temperatures that tell the mycelium to begin fruiting!
Cut off one corner of the fruiting bag and fill the bag with cold water. Seal the top of the bag with a rubber band or clip
Place in the fridge for 24 hours.
Step 3: Finding an Ideal Location
Shiitake grows best when they are out of direct sunlight and have plenty of humidity and some fresh air. Finding or creating the perfect environment is key to getting the most mushrooms out of your kit.
Find a warm spot with indirect sunlight or artificial light to place your block. If you've purchased thermometer/hygrometer, a temperature reading between 5°C and 30°C and a humidity reading between over 50% is ideal.
Step 4: Initiating Fruiting
Shiitake prefer to grow in an environment that has good airflow and 80% humidity. Because of this, you'll use your fruiting bag to keep humidity up around your block. Be careful to make sure you have enough airflow to keep mould from developing on your block.
Remove your block from the fridge and drain all of the water from the bag.
Cut open the top of the bag
Cut in a straight line down the middle of the bag to give your shiitake block some extra air flow.
Step 5: Misting
Shiitake prefer to grow in an environment with 65-80% humidity. Because of this, you'll need to gently mist your bock regularly with water from a clean spray bottle. You want to create a humid environment for the mushrooms and to keep their bodies moist, rather than to 'water' them as you would a plant.
Before your mushrooms begin to grow, a gentle mist 3 times a week will suffice.
Once you see your mushrooms begin to pin, mist them twice a day and make sure to keep the mushrooms moist as they won't be able to grow if they begin to dry out.
Step 6: Pinning
'Pinning' should begin within 3 -5 weeks of initiating fruiting. If you haven't seen any pinning after 5 weeks please see out FAQ. Once they have begun to pin, your mushrooms will grow rapidly. Keep the mushrooms moist during this period.
Your block will begin to brown and then form small lumps. Individual mushrooms will begin to grow from the sides & top of your block within 3-5 weeks.
Step 7: Harvest
Individual mushrooms will begin to grow from the sides & top of your block within 3-5 weeks. You can harvest the individualy when they reach the desired size. If your mushrooms are producing spores they should be harvested
To harvest, cut off each mushroom at the base using a knife.
Cut off each mushroom when it has reached a desired size until your block is no longer producing mushrooms (usually within 2-3 weeks of the first fruit.
Step 8: Initiating The Next Flush
Did you know that your kit may the ability to produce more than one 'flushes' of mushrooms?
Unlike other mushrooms, Shiitake is less likely to give a satisfactory second flush, but it's definitely worth a try!
Once your block has stopped producing new mushrooms, let it air out to prevent the development of any mould on the surface of the block. Once it is dry to the touch, place your block in a plastic bag with cold water and return it to the fridge for 48 hours. Make sure it is fully submerged. You can now drain the block and return it to its fruiting bag and begin the fruiting process again. Your block should fruit 1-2 times in total.
Step 9: What to do with your kit when it stops producing mushrooms
Did you know that fungi play a key role in storing carbon? Trees and plants remove carbon from the atmosphere and fungi break down plant waste to create new carbon-rich soil. Clean air, healthy soil and delicious mushrooms: just one of the many ways fungi are incredible!
Once your block has finished flushing, Once your block has finished flushing, you can compost the block and dispose of the fruiting bag in general waste . Alternately, you can use your spent block to reinoculate sterilised growing medium to create more shiitake blocks!
We hope you've enjoyed growing your Shiitake mushrooms!
We're passionate about sharing the diversity of the fungi kingdom & making more of its edible & medicinal delights easy to grow. Want to try another strain or learn how to cultivate mushrooms? See our full range of mushroom growing kits and cultivation workshops!