Mushroom kits have actually had a fair amount of bad press in recent times with many critics claiming that they provide very poor value for money when comparing the yields good trip bars of the mushroom kits with the actual price of the mushrooms in the shops. I find this a very unfair comparison and feel that it is wrong to simply compare the two with the amount of mushrooms that they produce.
You can buy mushroom growing kits for only a few different species of mushroom – you can get button mushroom grow kits and you can get oyster mushroom grow kits. These two are the most common and can be purchased at most garden centres and usually on garden centre websites. However you can also grow other varieties from more specialist websites, allowing you to grow your own mushrooms like Shiitake, Portobello and more. These kits usually cost around £5 to £10 and will probably provide you with around £5 worth of mushrooms (if grown in the best possible environment, and depending on the variety as some mushrooms cost more then others in the shops).
I don’t understand why people moan when it costs more to buy a mushroom growing kit then it does to buy the mushrooms themselves. Most of the supermarket mushrooms are grown massively in bulk and are usually grown in other countries and imported across, where it is so much cheaper for them to grow them. Then theres the fact that in a kit you get a box and get the substrate (compost or straw) as well as a small bag of spawn. When you buy mushrooms from a shop you aren’t left over with excellent compost for your garden (mushroom compost is one of the most expensive and nutritious forms of compost as the mushrooms break down and recycle many nutrients present in the substrate). And then there’s the fact that you are growing mushrooms yourself – surely the excitement and fun factor are worth paying for too.
In my opinion mushroom growing kits are an excellent way of growing your own mushrooms and even if sometimes they don’t offer amazing value for money when compared to the shop price you will learn so much from doing it yourself and will probably take great pride in growing and then eating your own mushrooms. Maybe even once you’ve learned a little more about cultivating mushrooms you could cut out the middleman and find your own substrate (straw, newspaper, manure) and buy or make your own mushroom spawn. This is where you can get real value for money too, growing hundreds of pounds worth of mushroom from literally a couple of pounds investment.