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The Second Flush – getting more flushes from your mushroom grow stick

When purchasing our mushroom grow sticks, you can be certain that you’ll be getting at least one good flush of mushrooms from it. If you’d like to get more than that, keep reading!

There are a few factors that come into play when getting your grow stick to produce more mushrooms, and we trust that this article will provide you with enough information to make sure you see those pins again!

First a bit of background

Fungi are living organisms which are made up of mycelium. In order to to reproduce, many species of fungi will form fruiting bodies (mushrooms) that produce spores which are then spread by the wind. Our grow sticks, comprizing of hardwood and other added nutrition, are colonized by a specific species. Once the entire grow stick has been colonized, it is ready to fruit. Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of mycelium and mycelium is all that white stuff you see in your grow stick. The stage in between colonisation (mycelium) and fruiting (mushrooms) is called pinning, during which we get small growths called primordia (pins) – they usually look like tiny little blobs of concentrated mycelium. Getting pins to form is the key to getting another flush of mushrooms.

I’ve just harvested my first flush! Now what?

Now that you know a bit more about the stages of mushroom fruiting, this step-by-step guide on getting more than one flush from your grow stick will make better sense.

Step 1:
After harvesting your first flush of mushrooms, carefully seal up the cut with clear packaging tape. If you had to cut away the plastic completely, use cling-wrap to cover where the plastic used to be, then apply the packaging tape. Try to seal it up as neatly and tightly as possible so that there is no air entering through the edges. The clear tape will allow you to see what’s happening underneath it.

Step 2:
Fill the centre hole of the grow stick with some clean water, leave for about 10min and then pour it out.

Step 3:
Place the fabric plug back into the hole. If you discarded the plug, some cotton wool will do.

Step 4:
Now store your grow stick somewhere cool and dark so that the mycelium can recover. A cupboard with a mostly empty shelf is a great place. For best results, check out the growing guide for your specific species and make sure your stick is kept at the specified pinning temperature.

Step 5:
Check in on your stick every few days, if not every day. Sometimes you’ll see pins forming within days, in which case you can put it straight back into fruiting. Sometimes it can take one or two weeks before you see any new activity happen. Be patient! You should eventually see pins starting to form.

Step 6:
When putting your stick back into fruiting (into the perlite fruiting tray and reintroducing light), try to let the pins grow a just bit before cutting open the plastic. The pins are vulnerable in this stage and can dry out quickly, so when you do make your cut, do it carefully and make sure they have plenty of moisture available to them as often as possible! Don’t drown them with direct close-up spraying – rather spray gently a few times a day as required, and make sure your perlite is saturated. Think of the pins as “scouts” checking to see if conditions are suitable for fruiting.

Factors that could prevent or limit further flushes

Quite a few factors come into play when coaxing your grow stick to produce more mushrooms – here are a few:

  • Size of the first flush
    If you had a big first flush it’s possible that your subsequent flushes will be a bit smaller, and it might even not flush again. There is a certain amount of energy in each stick and once that is used up it will stop producing.
  • Storage temperature
    Storing your stick in conditions that are either too hot or too cold could prevent further flushes. Refer to the guide for your species of mushroom to find out what the ideal pinning temperature is.
  • Length of time between flushes
    If you put a grow stick straight back into fruiting (ie, make a new cut) it’s possible that if it’s not actually quite ready to fruit again, it will dry out and die. On the other hand, leaving it dormant for too long may result in the mycelium dying off. Check on your grow stick regularly between flushes to catch it as it pins!
  • Contamination
    Fruiting or storing your mushrooms in less than desirable conditions could lead to contamination. Try to make sure that your grow stick is fruiting away from possible contaminants, and that the water you’re using to mist is clean. Using filtered water is an added advantage.
  • The season
    Pay attention to the fruiting temperatures of the mushroom species you are fruiting. It’s possible that you may be on the cusp of the ideal season and temperature, in which case you’ll need to create very specific conditions for them to fruit, eg warming up or cooling down a room, increasing humidity with a household humidifier.

We love hearing from you, so if there’s anything you’re unsure of or something we haven’t addressed – we’re ready and willing to respond!

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