Saturday, May 6, 2017

Our Countertop Mushroom Kits- Simple Gourmet!

Counter Top Mushroom Garden Instructions

Use these instructions for growing your own Blue Oyster Mushrooms with our kit.

Livin’ Dreams Farm Counter Top Oyster Mushroom Gardens have four basic requirements: 1: Plenty of Air
2: Soft Light
3: Constant Moisture
4: Cool Temperature
A kitchen counter top or even a bathroom is a great place for your Mushroom Kit. With a bit of care the mushrooms will develop perfectly there right before your eyes.
The mushrooms will grow through the holes that are already in the bag and form on the outside of the kit.

AIR: Mushrooms are just like us in that they need to breathe oxygen. Keep the kit in an open area where fresh air is available; never put them in a sealed container. The clear bag they come in has holes punched in it for them to breathe. The mushrooms will form at the holes and grow right through.

LIGHT: Oyster mushrooms need dim light (not direct sunlight) to develop. The kit simulates the natural habitat of the mushroom, the understory of a forest where they would normally be growing on wood. The mushroom must consume the wood and then find a break in the bark where it can force its way out. The plastic bag has holes in it which act as the breaks in the bark. It is at these points where the mushrooms will form. Indirect light stimulates the mushroom cap to grow thicker and develop brighter pigment compared to when they are grown in the dark.

MOISTURE: Mushrooms need high relative humidity to develop properly. More specifically, there must be a lot of water in the air or they need to be moistened daily with water directly. Moistening them daily is much easier than raising the humidity levels of the air. The goal is to keep the bag moist. The holes are where the tiny mushrooms pins will begin to develop. At this point the mushrooms are most delicate and require twice daily misting. If the pins dry up then they will stop developing and you will have to wait another two or so weeks for the mushrooms to attempt to fruit again. After the mushrooms are about two inches in size the frequency of watering can be reduced to once per day. All that needs to be done is mist them with a spray bottle.

TEMPERATURE: Oyster Mushrooms prefer to fruit during cool weather. They will produce from 65-73 degrees Fahrenheit – Room Temperature – this is quite convenient for the home mushroom producer since they can be grown easily year round indoors. Temperatures higher than the mid-90’s will kill you mushrooms and will cause the bag to develop mold. Never leave them in direct sunlight, in a hot car or outside in the height of summer.

HARVESTING YOUR MUSHROOMS: It’s real easy; just twist them off at the base of the stem. Pick the mushrooms just as the caps begin to flatten out. If you wait too long to harvest, the edges of the caps will flip upward and the mushroom will begin producing spores which reduces the weight of the harvest and makes them less hearty. You can easily get two or three crops indoors. After three harvests take the bag outside and remove the plastic bag. It can be composted or if placed in a moist shady spot may even continue to produce.

Your Livin’ Dreams Farm Countertop Oyster Mushroom Kit contains the living mycelium of the Blue Oyster Mushroom. The kit has been inoculated with spawn (the mycelium of the mushroom grown in a sterile environment on seeds). The mushroom is growing on a substrate or growth medium. The kit may also contain gypsum and or hydrated lime to help control the pH of substrate. Do not be concerned if you see a few green shoots growing from your kit. Because of the natural pasteurization process that we use, some of the seeds in the substrate will remain viable and sprout. This is not harmful to the mushroom growth. Please feel free to contact us throughout the process to share your questions and your successes! Photos of pretty mushrooms growing are always appreciated! Best of luck and enjoyment!

Here's a link to print a pdf of these instructions : )

Plug Spawn Inoculation Instructions

Plug Spawn Inoculation Instructions

1. Cut living tree trunks or large branches into 3’-4' lengths.
The harder hardwoods such as Oak and Maple are preferred though some softer hardwoods such as Poplar work, particularly with Oyster mushrooms. Only living, disease-free wood should be cut for mushroom logs. Inoculate the logs as soon as possible after cutting, no later than one to two weeks after the logs have been cut. This allows the cells in the tree to die but is not long enough for the log to dry out or for other competitor fungi to become established. Our Livin’ Dreams Farm plug spawn can survive in a refrigerator for 6 months.

2. Drill holes in an equally spaced diamond pattern around the entire log with a 7/16” drill bit, 6" apart, about 1"-1 ½” deep, in a row running the entire length of the log. Pro tip: wrap your drill bit with tape to mark the correct depth. Next, roll the log approximately 2-3" and drill another row, with the holes 3" offset, creating a diamond pattern. Repeat, drilling a row of holes down the length of the log, around the entire log. It’s okay if the rows are a little uneven, and if you end up with extra plugs you can drill holes in the ends.

3. Inoculate by tapping a plug spawn into each hole with a hammer.

4. Cover each hole with melted wax using a brush or rag.

5. Incubate logs in a shady place, close to the forest floor but not in contact with soil or leaf litter. Lay down tracks of scrap wood that elevate the logs 1-2" above the forest floor (a pallet will work fine). Stack the logs in a layer with a little space for airflow between each log. Keep the stack lower than the average snow line, as the snow cover protects the logs from dry winter winds. Generally no special care is needed while the mycelium grows throughout the log, but watering may be needed if excessively dry weather occurs. It’s Ok if some of the wax flakes off a bit during this stage. Fruiting naturally occurs after rains, and occurs in cycles. Logs generally begin producing 6 months to 1 year after inoculation; after which, they usually continue to fruit once or twice a year for up to 4 years producing 1-2 lbs. per year.

Join our FaceBook group “Study Fungi with Livin’ Dreams Farm” and “Mushroom Recipes with Livin’ Dreams Farm” for more information, ask questions and connect with other people who use our kits to grow gourmet mushrooms at home! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Plantain and Greenlove Salve

Are you making plantain salve for your Winter use?
Plantago Major

Now is a great time to gather it into a jar, and infuse it with olive oil.
After a few weeks, you can strain it and repeat the process (discarding the older plantain leaves) or simply mix it with a little beeswax and store it for Winter healing salve.
A little goes a very long way, so I suggest you start with a pint or jelly jar :)
I've been so happy with the market sales of the Greenlove Salve I make from plantain. It's delightful and fulfilling to hear the stories from repeat customers. Look for it on our Virtual Farmstand on our website soon
Do you have a testimonial story about plantain?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Forming a Vinculum

The honor and responsibilities for caretaking and developing a viable farm are now squarely on our shoulders. In our first year here, we've discerned a niche in the local market, that we also find fascinating and fulfilling to cultivate: Mushrooms! We are currently in the middle of an ambitious project to convert the historic barns to be suitable for mushroom and microgreen cultivation all year long, yet be efficient, prosperous and in line with our values (permaculture strategies, regenerative agriculture techniques, practical physics, and wise routines).

We now heat with local wood, having installed a wood furnace into the largest workspace. A very large window and door now offer natural light in both the office and main workspace. We chose a synthetic spray foam for a thick and efficient insulation. Although we would have preferred a straw or similar alternative, this was the best long-term and moisture-proof choice for us now (the high humidity required for mushroom growth limited our options quite a bit).

Our 5, 10, and 25 year plans for generating more food systems, native plant and insect habitat and our own power sources have grown more defined over the Winter. Our future plans include a biodiesel farm truck, compostable packaging, outdoor mushroom growing, native fruit and nut orchard/native species habitat, firewood cultivation and installing solar panels.
We will soon be filming with our Go Pro Camera to share the information of mushroom cultivation and homestead farming.
Future products development is perhaps the most exciting venture, but I'll save those plans to share later.

Our homestead farm has been occupied since pre-colonial America and we seek both to make it thrive once again for the good of our community and family, and be easily handed off to a future farmer; We are only a link in the golden chain.

To see historical photos, visit the Historic Farm page on our website.
Modern photos can be found on our Instagram account.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Meet Mr. and Mrs. McKee ! 

We are the founders of Livin' Dreams Farm~ a way of life for us  

We are Northerners, loving the cycles of the seasons and the clevernesses needed to thrive in a place where 6 months of Winter is a guarantee. 
We aim to live our marital vows; Roots, Care, Integrity and Adventure. 
We are parents of two home educated children and are devoted to our community through various efforts. 

Our plans are developing as we have moved to a new farm! 

Distribution will be from scheduled farm pick-ups, local stores and shipping through our website (   

Thanks for visiting our farm business blog


Dream Reality~*