Sometimes it's difficult to determine when you can harvest the mushrooms in the grow kit.
It would be easier if the mushrooms were all the same size and all of them could be harvested at the same time.
Unfortunately, this is never the case.
As soon as the mushrooms are large enough to harvest, there are always a number of small and medium-sized mushrooms which might still be able to grow a bit more.
It is a common mistake to remove the large mushrooms first, so the medium-sized and small mushrooms can keep on growing.
This will not increase the harvest and, moreover, you risk contamination of your grow kit.
When to harvest:
The best time to harvest the mushrooms is when the hats have not fully opened and they still have a nice round head.
When a mushroom has reached its maximum size, it will start to open within a few days.
The round hat will release itself from the stem and acquire a hat-shaped form.
This happens because the mushrooms wants to reproduce, and will do so by releasing its spores.
You can find these spores under de cap of the hat.
As soon as this happens, the mushrooms under the hats will turn black from the released spores.
The mushroom loses its power once the spores are released. In addition, the spores are harmful to the mycelium, so no mushrooms will grow.
If a mushroom is harvested, it will still continue to grow a little bit.
The mushrooms may therefore still turn black after being harvested.
This can be prevented by accelerating the drying process of the mushrooms by using a heat mat to dry them.
Choosing the right time to harvest is a matter of experience.
Little can go wrong when you harvest a bit too early, but make sure you don't harvest too late.
How to harvest:
With a Elephantos mushroom grow kit relatively little can go wrong.
But especially during harvesting, the substrate in which the mushrooms are growing, can become infected with other micro-organisms such as bacteria.
In case of infection, your grow kit will become unusable and can even infect any other present grow kits (cross-contamination).
In order to prevent this, you have to work in a hygienic and sterile manner.
Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap.
Or use new sterile gloves.
Remove the container from the bag.
Grab a mushroom with two fingers at the bottom of the stem.
Turn the stem, while gently pulling upwards out of the substrate.
This process can cause a bit of damage to the substrate.
This is almost unavoidable. Try to do this as carefully and sterile as possible.
It may happen that there are magic mushrooms growing on the side of the container.
You can remove these by filling the grow kit with water. This way, the mycelium will come to the top, so you can better reach the mushrooms on the sides.
Make sure that you remove the mushrooms with clean hands and do not breathe in the kit because your breath is full of bacteria, that can contaminate your kit. You can also choose to let the mushrooms stay on the sides and not take the risk of contamination. If it is the last harvest, it will not matter of course.
After you remove all the mushrooms out of the container, you can continue with the next harvest