Table Top Farms are an incredible introduction into the world of fungi. They are available in several unique varieties (Shiitake, Oyster, Lion's Mane, Comb Tooth, Reishi, and Chestnut). All are fun and easy to grow. Follow the five steps for setting up your Oyster Mushroom Table Top Farm.
Setting Up Your Table Top Farm:
1. Preparation and Setup
Remove the mushroom block from the box. If double bagged for shipping, remove the outer bag. Do NOT remove from the bag with the white filter patch. Use a sharp knife or box cutters to cut 1˝ X's through the bag and into the block. We recommend cutting 1 X onto each of the four sides and 2 X's on bottom. It is okay to cut into the block, it will recover quickly. Try to remove the air between the block and the bag by folding the excess top of the bag over tightly and tucking or taping it under the farm. Flip the block upside down and place it on a plate. The bottom of the block will now be the top of the farm (see figure 2). The white patch is not needed for anything at this point and can be concealed under the block. The wood skewers are used to support the plastic humidity tent. Poke one skewer into each of the top four corners of the block and drape the humidity tent over the skewers. The two corners of the tent have been trimmed to allow some air flow to the farm.
2. Fruiting Location
Your Table Top Farm is aptly named. It can be grown on your kitchen table, countertop, shelf, or other surface that receives indirect sun or incandescent light (Figure 3). A grow light works equally well (at least 8 hours a day). Room temperature should be between 55-75°F.
3. Maintaining and Monitoring
Mushrooms require high humidity to develop, so water daily by lifting up the humidity tent and lightly spritzing the inside of the humidity tent with water using a plant misting bottle. Oyster pins (young mushrooms) will begin forming from the cut sites (Figure 4).
4. Harvest Mushrooms
Monitor your farm closely as the mushrooms are developing and harvest them when the edges of the cap are still curled down (Figure 5). Over mature mushrooms do not store as long. To harvest, simply grab the cluster of mushrooms, twist, and pull them off the block. Store your harvest in the refrigerator up to 10 days in a brown paper bag or other container.
5. Additional Fruiting
Simply continue to care for the farm by misting daily. Mushrooms will spontaneously begin fruiting after a 1-3 week resting period between flushes. The number of subsequent fruitings depends largely on the individual farm as well as the growing conditions provided (we only guarantee the first fruiting of this farm). The resting period between flushes will increase as the farm ages and the yield will decrease every fruiting as the resources within the block are exhausted. When your farm is done producing, add it to your compost pile.
Oyster Table Top Farms are ready to fruit, so they should be set up shortly after purchasing, otherwise stored in the refrigerator until opening (several months).
Time to fruiting:
7-21 days after setup.
Color dependent on variety. White, tan, or grey to blue-grey cap, white stem, white decurrent gills, white spores. Grows in clusters.
Flavor and texture:
Tender with a mild seafood-like flavor.
Use a sharp knife to cut X's into each of the sides of the block.
Follow the diagram for setup.
Place your farm in an area where it can receive indirect light.
Young mushroom pins growing out of the cuts.
Photo of mushrooms ready for harvesting. Simply grab and gently twist off.