I just saw them today for $19.95. Apparently you just need a cool, dark spot and the kit contains everything you need. However, it didn't say what type of mushroom - maybe it's a mixture. I didn't get one yet - just wondering if anyone has tried them.
If not, I'll probably grab one in the next couple of days and give it a whirl - I love my mushies!
If it didn't say what mushroom it is, then it would just be the ordinary white mushroom that are available every where.
I've tried one of these kits before, and didn't get much from it. I get more from mushroom compost bought from mushroom farm gates for a $1 or $2.. so I wouldn't buy these again.. although I would like to try other types of mushrooms in the future, like shitake, oyster or King Stropharia..(see here http://fungi.net.au)
I love mushies too :) Other's might have better experience with these kits :)
Ali has some blog posts about this (link to her blog is on the main page too) here: http://mudpiehomer.blogspot.com/2011/04/mushrooms-part-one.html
I've bought two boxes - one in Brisbane, one in Melbourne. I found that the Melbourne box produced a lot more mushrooms than the Brisbane box, which was fairly disappointing - would have been cheaper to buy them at the shops, and we didn't get many - maybe about 3 big ones and 3 small ones all up - although it was a lot of fun while it lasted.
In theory you should be able to get mushroom compost from growers, add garden compost (made with manure) which has been steam sterilised (or use it hot from the pile as below), let the mushrooms mature and produce spores, let mycelium grow in the garden compost, keep going. Also you can divide the mycelium compost and try to grow it sideways into new batches of clean garden compost. I tried this, it didn't work - after the mushrooms had finished, i removed about a quarter of the box and replaced the compost with commercial, non sterilised compost. Eventually I forgot about it and let it dry out :( so i put it into the no dig garden hoping it might naturalise - no luck :) - you should be able to grow the mycelium into fresh compost in theory. If you fool around in this fashion (growing mycelium into fresh compost and letting spores infect fresh compost) you should be able to have mushrooms forever.
I reckon try to find somewhere COLD and dank - like a cellar for the usual field mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus).
Oyster, straw and shiitake mushrooms are probably more suited for Brisbane. Following info is from Bill Mollison's "Ferment and Human Nutrition".
Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinodes elodes) - must be grown on hardwood (oak) logs or 'logs' of compacted chips and sawdust.
Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) are grown on poplar logs or chip wastes.
Straw mushrooms (Volvariella volvacae) ideal culture temp is 32 degrees (grow in the tunnels after peak oil, lol), stock culture kept at 20 -25 degrees C. Substrate is compacted straw or cotton waste with 2% wet weight of lime. Composted in clear plastic for two days, turned, then again, and made up as 10cm deep beds, sterilised with steam at 60-62 celcius (or inoculated at 2% wet weight), spawn is inoculated at 32-34 degrees C under plastic for 4 days, remove plastic and spray water to get a mist at 5th day after inoculation.
More on growing straw mushrooms from 'Ferment and Human Nutrition':
R.V. Alicbosan (1979, U.n. University Nutrition Bulletin Supplement no. 2, Nov., 1979) discusses simple farm methods to grow straw mushrooms using a varierty of wastes.
Newspaper is 'fertilised' by soaking in 3g (a large pinch) of urea per 4.5 litres of water. The spawn of the straw mushroom is pressed into palm sized pieces of this newspaper, every 5.0cm and 5-8cm from the edges of the bed. Three 2-cup bottles of spawn will plant a 4m bed, with the first layer of spawn (1/2 bottle) pushed down 4cm into each layer. Straw can be mounded on top to 10cm deep at the centre. Each bed is roofed over, often with plastic, so that the condensation drips or rains fall outside the bed. In dry seasons, use only 4 layers of straw, and in the wet 6 layers are used as humidity is higher.
Dry banana leaves, cut from the plant, can replace straw in bundles. Beds are not watered for 5 days, but in dry seasons generous water is given on the 6th and 7th days until mushroom pinheads develop. If water is applied in the wet season, it is on the sides of the bed. When mushrooms reach corn-seed size, the beds are watered again. the first harvest is taken at 10 -14 days, for 3 days. Average should be 1-2 kg per day.
The bed now rests 5 days, and again 3 days of cutting (average now 1/2 kg per day). Production may continue for a month or more. All mushrooms are pulled whole from the bed and later trimmed to prevent bacterial rot. A 4m, six layered bed should produce 12.8kg of mature, or 7kg of button mushrooms. Mushrooms in such open beds convert 10-11% of the dry weight of straw to food.
The rest of the straw can be composted, fed to stock, or mulched around trees and crops. This very basic farm system is a model of food production from waste at village level. The mushrooms are good sources of riboflvain, niacin, and phosphorus. Protein content is close to that of legumes (15-25% for dried mushrooms, 3-5% for fresh mushrooms).
For mushroom growing, substrates such as straw, cotton wastes, bran, paper, and mixes of these (with 5% lime, 5% bran) are steamed for 30 minutes, usually in a drum over a fire. Alternatively, they are composted 10-12 days at 60 degrees C, then pulled apart and cooled before inoculation.
thankyou Bill, you are awesome! my favourite practical anthropologist and futurist :)