no green fingers here

DSCF4918My mum gave me this mad-looking thing for Christmas.

Do you know what it is?

That’s right, it’s a grow-your-own-mushrooms kit – what fun!

I followed the instructions (pretty much) and after a week or two, it looked like this:

DSCF4930You may notice the absence of mushrooms, and you possibly can’t quite see the presence of quite a bit of green mould…

I’ve never had green fingers. I’m not the only one in our family who kills houseplants just by looking at them, and I didn’t want to have to ring my mum and admit that I’d ruined my Christmas present.

Instead, I emailed the nice people at The Mushroom Garden, confessing what had happened, and asking what I’d done wrong, and how to buy a replacement block.

They were very kind, and said mouldy blocks can even happen in their growing room, and that I might have soaked it a teensy bit too long, but otherwise everything I did was ok. They rather sweetly sent me a new block free of charge, and I started all over again.

This time I didn’t soak it for as long, and I put it in the entrance by the back door, instead of the windowsill. I kept a spray bottle next to it, and sprayed it every time I got milk from the fridge (that’s pretty often, I drink a lot of tea).

After a week or so – look!

DSCF5161(At this point, fairly confident I’d get some mushrooms eventually, I finally confessed what had happened to my mum). After another couple of weeks…


Our block didn’t grow quite as many mushrooms as these ones. In fact, we only had six.

DSCF5198Not quite enough to just eat alone, so we made a simple risotto with them. I’ve not had shiitake mushrooms before, and I’m slightly ashamed to admit I couldn’t taste the difference between them and any ordinary mushrooms (oh dear!).

Still, it was fun growing them, once they eventually started growing. I quite enjoyed misting them every few hours, and it was rather exciting to watch them develop.

DSCF5199I love it that the blocks are ones that have already been used to grow mushrooms for sale, so they’re essentially a ‘waste’ product being given another use. It was a rather labour intensive way of getting six mushrooms, and I probably won’t try to grow all the mushrooms I eat in this way, but it was fun to try, and a grand present (you can get the blocks here if you fancy having a go yourself, and there’s another type of kit you can use to grow mushrooms on an old paperback book!)

Have you ever grown mushrooms? Did you have more success than me? What should I have done with shiitake mushrooms to make them taste less like ordinary mushrooms?

This entry was posted in in the garden, in the kitchen, learning new things. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to no green fingers here

  1. I bought one for my step dad a couple of years ago and he is really green fingered. He can neglect things and still get a good crop!!!! But……he didn’t get mushrooms either!! Apparently it is a bit hit and miss which is a shame as we love mushrooms and would have had a go at growing them but I’m not entirely sure I can be bothered!!!! :/

  2. Heather says:

    What a fun thing to do! I saw the Mushroom Garden on TV a couple of years ago and thought it looked like a fascinating place. No growing mushrooms for me though – the cat would have a field day with that stuff!
    Very impressed with your six mushrooms though!!

  3. Lula says:

    I’m slightly ashamed to admit that at first glance I though it was a giant chocolate truffle, dusted with cocoa … mushrooms are fun too though. Well done !

  4. Lula I have NO idea how you thought that was a giant chocolate truffle – although that would be fun!

    I noticed they had reduced mushroom-growing kits in Aldi today for £1.99. I had my arms full of flour (and was in fact not meant to be in Aldi at all…) so I didn’t get one, but if anyone else does, let me know! For £1.99 it’s got to be worth a try (they were button mushrooms rather than shiitake though)

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