GROW YOUR OWN MUSHROOM KITS
I am raising money for the Phone Books to Mushrooms community project by selling single phone books ready to fruit mushrooms for people to grow at home. I’ll be at Art festivals and community events throughout the summer. Check the calendar to see where I'll be next.
If you already have one thanks for supporting this project. I'd really like it if you photographed yourself with the growing mushrooms to post here on the website.
1 It will take between one and three weeks for your phone book to fully colonize depending on what kind you chose and how long it had been growing before you got it. Place the book in a safe place while it grows inside the packaging. Ideally this place is clean, warm (room temperature) and dark. A closet would work well, but a window sill will do just fine.
2 While it is growing take the time to find the perfect fruiting chamber. It will be a water proof container that will fit the phone book. A clear cover should keep the moisture in and still let in air and light. I have used: a big croissant tray, a new cat litter box with a sheet of clear plastic draped over the top and a seed tray from the hardware store. All of these things made suitable terrariums. Alternately you could leave the book inside the packaging and simply cut some holes in the bag to let in air. This way the mushrooms will poke out through the holes and the book will remain moist with minimal care.
3 Once the phone book is completely covered in white fluffy mycelium it’s time to take it out of the bag. It is likely that the mushrooms will be impatient and start to fruit before you have freed them from the bag. They will grow towards the holes under the filter tape and try to escape. Cut the bag off the book and with clean hands carefully place it in your clean fruiting chamber. The new fresh air will tell the mushrooms to start growing. If your mushrooms are shy try lowering the temperature by placing them in a different cooler location. The change in temperature should initiate mushroom growth.
4 Water your mushrooms every day by misting them with a spray bottle.
5 unless you are growing Reishi; the medicinal mushroom oe Hericium you should have a crop of mushrooms after about a week out of the bag. Reishi will take a month or two to fruit completely and will only produce one crop. Hericium may take a month or more before it begins to produce fruit. The gourmet mushroom kits will go on producing mushrooms each time you harvest until the phone book has been exhausted of nutrients.
6 When the book has finished growing mushrooms bury it in a shady spot in the garden. The book itself will be great compost and it is possible that the mushrooms will come back next year.