Mushroom Grow Kits are the perfect way to begin your mycological journey. Many species are very easy to get started with and the entire growth cycle (a.k.a fruiting) happens in 7-10 days. Sometimes life happens and you don’t have time to fruit your grow kit immediately and you don’t want it to go to waste. This article will help you understand how to extend your mushroom grow kit shelf life so that you can fruit it later.
Understanding your mushroom grow kits life cycle
Understanding the mushroom life cycle and the conditions that mushrooms grow in nature is important to know how best to store the grow kit. First it’s important to know the life cycle stage of your grow kit when you receive it. To learn more about the full mushroom life cycle, click here. When you receive your grow kit, it should be ready to fruit and the mycelium (the white stuff in the bag) should be fully colonized. When the mycelium runs out of things to colonize or food, this is what signals to the mushroom that it’s time to fruit so that it can spread its spores to a new home to colonize. The first thing you need to understand is how to slow down this process.
Slowing your grow kits metabolism down
Your grow kit is a living breathing thing and just like us, it has a metabolism. The better the conditions are, the faster that metabolism is and the faster it wants to grow. We can control this by simulating different climate conditions. The colder it is, the slower the mycelium will grow.
What is the right temperature to slow the growth of the mycelium?
Each mushroom variety has different ideal conditions. The second thing you need to know is the species of mushrooms you are growing and the environmental conditions they normally live in. In many parts of the world where mushrooms live, the soil temperature can get quite cold and mushrooms still survive; however, if it’s too cold, this can cause the mycelium to die.For more information about environmental conditions for mushrooms to grow and store, check out our in depth article here. For most of the species that we sell at MyCo Planet, they can be stored at temperatures of 38-45 degrees for long term storage..
What are my storage options to extend my mushroom grow kit shelf life?
Now that you understand a little more about your grow kit you probably have a good idea on how best to extend your grow kit life. The following storage options will increase its shelf life.
Store it in the refrigerator
Store it in your basement
Store it at a minimum of < 80 degrees and ideally under 70 degrees fahrenheit.
What species can I store in my refrigerator?
At MyCo Planet, our first recommendation is the refrigerator. Most species we sell can be stored long term in the refrigerator. It’s important that your fridge is not set too low or you choose locations that will not freeze. Sometimes areas of the refrigerator can get below 32 degrees and this can cause permanent damage to your grow kit. The varietals we sell that can be refrigerated include:
*Shiitake Grow Kits
*Shiitake grow kits can be stored for the least amount of time and should be fruited quickly when possible.
What species can’t be stored in cold temperatures?
Not every mushroom grow kit can be stored in the refrigerator. Most commercially grown varieties naturally grow in colder climates but some grow in tropical climates. The most common example of this is the Pink Oyster mushroom. The Pink Oyster grows naturally in very hot climates that rarely freeze. Because of this, refrigerator temperatures are too low and will damage or kill your pink oyster grow kit. If you need to store your grow kit long term, we don’t recommend purchasing pink oyster mushrooms.
How long can I store mushroom grow kits in the refrigerator?
Mushroom grow kits can be surprisingly resilient. While we recommend fruiting your grow kit as soon as possible, if you need to, you can store your grow kit in the refrigerator for up to 6 months! If you start to see “pinning” ,it means that your mushrooms are ready to fruit and you probably should not store them any longer.
Can I freeze my mushroom grow kits?
No! If it freezes, it will kill the mycelium. While the grow kit may still grow, the areas that were frozen may not grow and will create dead spots on your grow kit. If you freeze the grow kit entirely for any period of time, it will completely kill the mycelium. Be careful that you don’t have spots in your refrigerator that will freeze things as well!
What if I can’t store them in my refrigerator?
Mushrooms breathe like humans. They inhale Oxygen and exhale C02. In fact, by opening up the grow kit, you increase the amount of oxygen the grow kit is exposed to which tells it to start growing. You can slow this down by allowing as little oxygen in as possible. You can do this by making sure the bag is folded so that the filter patch on the bag is not exposed to fresh air and there is as little air space in the bag as possible. Be sure to also store it in the coldest place you can out of direct sunlight.
What else do I need to know to extend the shelf life of my grow kit?
While long term storage can be achieved, it should always be treated as your last option. At MyCo Planet, our grow kits are caringly cultivated and shipped at the perfect time in their life cycle so that they can be fruited immediately. Some kits that can be purchased in large box stores may account for storage in a warehouse or sitting on a shelf for a long time. Because of this, they may send them out when the mycelium hasn’t fully colonized the bag or worse, they have been sitting on a shelf for far too long in the store and the mycelium is no longer healthy or even dead. Now that you know a little more about the mushroom life cycle, your better prepared to understand how to store your mushroom grow kits long term.
I’m ready to fruit my mushroom grow kit, now what?
This is just the beginning of your mycological journey. There are so many amazing things to know and learn about mushrooms. We hope that we can be part of your journey of exploration as you discover the amazing fungi kingdom. We recommend you check out some of our other resources as you learn how to take your mushroom passion to the next level. Check out our links below!