Instructions for the Hantana Phoenix Grow-It-Yourself Mushroom Kit Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 10:39


By following these instructions, you will create an environment that simulates the conditions in a dead or dying tree by combining hardwood sawdust, water, some minerals, and coffee grounds. From this seemingly worthless blob of waste material you will grow some amazingly beautiful, delicious mushrooms. The mycelium in your kit is alive, and it won't last more than a few days without new substrate to grow on. So let's get started!

 

Contents of the kit:

•        poly bag of live Hantana Phoenix™ grain spawn
•        bag of hardwood sawdust pellets
•        zipper bag of mineral supplement (limestone and gypsum)
•        poly growing bag with filter

Additional materials you will need:

•        about two cups of fresh used coffee grounds, drained of excess moisture
•        a clean mixing bucket or bowl of a least 1.5 gallon capacity (or you can mix right in the poly growing bag)
•        a thermal food storage sealer, or strong adhesive tape
•        five cups of water (see "A Note About Water" below)
•        4 ounces (1/2 cup) of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution (available at drug and grocery stores)
•        isopropyl alcohol solution (for sanitizing surfaces)

Preparing the Substrate


1.    Collect your coffee grounds. Drain them of any free-running liquid, so they remain moist but not sodden. If you need to collect them over time to get enough, keep them in the refrigerator or freezer in a closed container until you have the 2 cups you need  - but make sure to thaw them to room temperature before using them!
2.    Choose a clean workspace where you can minimize the amount of air movement. Turn off fans, close windows, and keep others from moving things around in your work area. Prepare your materials and your workspace so you can work quickly to minimize the exposure of the ingredients to airborne contaminants. You don't need a sterile environment, just a reasonably clean and quiet one. The hydrogen peroxide in the recipe helps reduce the chances of contamination taking hold.
3.    Before mixing the substrate, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and wipe them with alcohol solution to reduce the chance of contaminating the mix. It's a good idea to wipe all the surfaces that will come into contact with the mix, like the mixing container,  with an alcohol-moistened paper towel.
4.    Empty the bag of sawdust pellets and the bag of minerals into your mixing container. Add the water and the peroxide and mix by hand or with a clean mixing spoon until the pellets break down into loose sawdust. Using hot water will make it go faster. If you mix directly in the poly growing bag, don't use any sharp tools which might puncture it.
5.    Add the coffee grounds to the bucket and mix well. If the mixture still feels warm, let it cool to room temperature before continuing.

Inoculation

1.    Squeeze the bag of grain spawn to break apart the grains. The bag is sturdy, so you can use a fair amount of force. Cut open the bag, pour the spawn into the substrate, and mix it in quickly but thoroughly. Break up any remaining clumps in the substrate. You want to get the grains distributed as evenly as possible.
2.    Pour the mixture into the poly growing bag (unless you did the mixing in the bag, in which case it's already there). Seal the bag with  a food storage thermal sealer if you have one, otherwise fold the top inch of the bag over and tape it securely. Don't tape over the filter patch! Leave some` space in the top of the bag for air to circulate.

Incubation

To incubate, your inoculated bag wants moderate temperatures, relative (not complete) darkness, and peace.

Place your bag of mycelium where it can incubate, undisturbed, at room temperature. 60°F is ideal, but your Hantana Phoenix™ can thrive during this phase at any temperature between 50°F and 80°F.

To keep the bag in the dark while it incubates you can keep it in a closet, a basement, a paper bag, or just someplace in your house away from bright light.  You'll want to watch as the mycelium grows from the individual pieces of grain and eventually throughout the bag, so choose a place that's convenient to visit.

 

 

After about 10 days, examine the bag once or twice a day - the next stage happens suddenly! If you are incubating your bag in a dark place, you may need to bring it out into the light or use a flashlight to examine it. Look for dots of primordial tissue. Unlike the cottony threads of mycelium, these will appear as solid, rubbery, white masses the size of a shirt button or smaller. You may also see an occasional droplet of pink fluid near them.

 


Small mass of primordial tissue

As soon as you spot either of these signs, move immediately to the next step: preparing your kit to fruit!

 

Fruiting

 

1.    Choose a well-lit spot where you can observe and mist the bag 3-4 times a day with a spray bottle. Keep temperatures between 50-80 degrees F, the cooler, the better.
2.    Make a 2-4 inch X-shaped cut through one end of the bag. Don't worry about hurting the mycelium. Tape the loose top portion of the bag down over the side, cutting off the air supply through the filter patch.
3.    Shade all but the open end of the bag. For example, cover it with a paper or plastic bag to block light. Make sure the open end of the bag gets light and fresh air.
4.    If you have dry air -a common problem during the winter - consider making a humidity tent out of clear plastic to cover the kit with between mistings. If you do, make sure not to seal off the kit entirely; it needs ventilation, especially near the bottom of the bag (where carbon dioxide can collect).
5.    Mist the opening with fresh water often and watch for pinheads. Within a week or two they should start to form, although it can take longer. Have your camera ready - they're too cute to miss!



Pinheads


Older pinheads


Pinheads, Still Maturing

6.    Keep misting the pinheads gently as they grow into more mature mushrooms. When they have started to take on mushroom-like shapes, the most vigorous ones will weep pink "tears". This is something we have only seen Hantana Phoenix™ oyster mushrooms do. It indicates healthy growth (just let the tears flow).


      
The pink tears of the Hantana Phoenix

Harvesting

 

You can tell when a mushroom is ready to be harvested by the way the cap looks. When the edge of the ca p turns up, exposing more of the gills, the mushroom produces spores in abundance. You will want to harvest your mushrooms before this happens because they will be less fragile and keep better. Harvest when the caps still turn downward at the edges. In a cluster of multiple caps, if one or two have upturned edges, harvest the whole cluster.

Harvest them by twisting the whole cluster gently by the base of the stems until it comes loose. Trim off any sawdusty substrate. Now you can cook up something tasty with your own homegrown mushrooms!

 

Ready to Harvest


A Note About Water
Our kit formula works best using water with a neutral or somewhat alkaline pH (7 or higher). More acidic water favors mold and other contaminants over your mushrooms. If you have acidic water (pH under 6), or if you just don't know about your water's chemisty, we suggest using distilled or bottled drinking water instead of tap water.

If you have chlorinated tap water, let it sit for a day to lose its chlorine, or use distilled or bottled drinking water.

Fruiting Outside
If your outside weather conditions match the requirements described in step 1, you may put the bag outside to fruit in the shade. Check it frequently, though, as slugs and other pests love these mushrooms. Don't let them beat you to the harvest. 

Dealing with Premature Pinhead Formation
If pinheads form on top of the mycelial mass, inside the bag rather than out of the hole on the end (or before you get to cutting the hole), you can open the top to let them grow out of the bag, but do so gradually to let them adjust to the changing conditions. Start with a small incision near the surface of the substrate and extend it daily until the pinheads have enough room to grow out of the opening. Remember, if you cut off other sources of air, like the filter patch, the mushrooms should find their way out through the opening where you want them to go.

Contamination
It helps to think of growing mushrooms as a contest between the many organisms that can grow in the substrate you have provided. Your kit contains a relatively large amount of grain spawn for the volume of substrate you prepare, which greatly increases the odds that your fungus will overwhelm any competitors that might gain a foothold. 
Contamination will appear as areas of green, blue-green, yellow, orange, red, brown, or black that increase in size and overrun the white mycelium. Ideally, your kit will turn from sawdust-and-coffee brown to white, with a pale yellow fluid appearing when it's mature. Anything else probably results from contamination. As long as it doesn't seem to overwhelm the mycelium, everything will probably turn out fine.
Multiple Fruitings
After you have harvested the first flush from you mycelium block, it usually won't fruit again right away, but will take a couple of weeks to get ready to fruit again. You can just keep misting the bag between flushes, but it often works better if you tape the original opening shut and cut a new one on another side of the bag, turning the new opening to the air and light while shading the rest of the bag. Flushes tend to decrease in size, and eventually stop. If the substrate seems to be drying out, you can soak the bag in a bucket of water for a few hours to moisten it.

 

Using the Spent Mycelium Block
When your block of mycelium stop producing mushrooms, it still has uses, depending on its condition. If it's still a healthy white block fairly free of contamination you can use it to inoculate another mass of substrate. It usually does not work well inoculating another batch of sawdust substrate in a container, because it has been exposed to the open air too long, and almost certainly contains contaminant spores that can spoil another batch in the cozy conditions of container culture. Outside, however, it has a better chance of getting a new start in a compost heap or bed of straw or wood chips. Break the block up and mix it into the substrate material, making sure to cover it - with compost material, straw, or wood chips - to protect it from sunlight. Water it well and give it some time, and chances are you will see another crop of mushrooms.
If you grew your mushrooms indoors in winter, don't inoculate an outdoor substrate until most of the danger of frost is past. Freezing will not kill Hantana Phoenix mycelium, but it will not grow in freezing temperatures. Keep it in a cold, sheltered place, at or near freezing, until the weather warms.
When harvesting from a mushroom bed outdoors, make sure you can identify your mushrooms positively. Wild mushrooms can spread quickly into used sawdust substrate and fruit, so never assume that the mushrooms growing where you spread inoculant are the mushrooms that you put there. Examine them carefully. 

 

Questions?

Email or call us with your unanswered questions. We'll be glad to help.

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 28 October 2012 19:23