Grow Wild FAQs

Fungus Labs

What is a fungus lab?

Answer

Fungus labs are what we are calling our "fungus kits", these are self-contained boxes with straw, fungal mycelium and a few extra bits to help you grow and nurture your own fungus.

Our fungus labs are designed to introduce people to the fungi kingdom, which is crucial to life on earth. The idea is that a team of people, learn and work together to create the conditions for the fungus to fruit an produce mushrooms.

Teams can either grow on their own ("solo"), compete against another team ("team vs team"), or compete as four teams ("battle team") to see who can produce the biggest and best mushrooms. The application form is available here.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungus Labs

My fungus lab hasn’t arrived yet!

Answer

All kits were dispatched this week (from 29 April), so it should be with you soon. If you have still not received it by Friday 10 May, please let us know [email protected]

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Fungus Labs

When can I eat my mushrooms?

Answer

You can eat your oyster mushrooms as the top is flattening out – this is when they’re at their very best, but don’t worry, they’re safe to eat before then too.

Be quick though! The mushrooms will grow quickly and pass their best quickly too. Don’t eat them once they have started to dry up and shrivel.

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Fungus Labs

I have flies in my kit, what should I do?

Answer

The mushroom fly or Phorid is a big problem in the mushroom industry. The flies are attracted by the smell of the growing mycelium. They are tiny and can fit into the smallest hole, so they can get into the kit through the neck of the bag. The bag is not intended to be airtight, so there is always the risk when using our kit.

The flies are not known to be a health hazard to humans: neither the adults nor the larvae have been found to carry any human or animal disease-causing organisms. However, if you have flies in your kit or on your mushrooms you should dispose of the flies as soon as possible. 

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Fungus Labs

My straw looks mouldy – what should I do?

Answer

The fungal mycelium is white. This isn’t mould. This is the root of the fungus and should grow and cover all of the straw.

However if you can see areas of blue, green or black, this could be mould. A little bit of mould shouldn’t be harmful to the growth of your fungus, but if there is a lot of mould, unfortunately, this means your fungus will likely not grow.  The ideal temperature for your fungus kit while the mycelium grows is 18 – 25°c – if you think you can see mould becoming a problem, try moving your kit to an area with a more suitable temperature.

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Fungus Labs

Where can I buy a fungus lab?

Answer

Fungus labs are not available to buy. However if you are interested in cultivating fungi or growing mushrooms from a kit, you can find out more here.

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Fungus Labs

I think I missed my lab being delivered, will the mycelium be ok?

Answer

Your local post office should be a cool enough environment for your mycelium to be ok. However there is a small risk your mycelium may have got too hot on its journey to you. If there is a green tinge to your white fluff, get in touch and we will try to help.

Remember: your Fridge Monitor in Chief will need to put the packet in the fridge (or other cold place) until it is ready to be dispersed in the pasteurised straw!

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Fungus Labs

How much water does my fungus need?

Answer

Your fungal mycelium needs moisture to grow. After the fungal mycelium has come out of the fridge and you’ve cut the plastic open, spray twice a day with at least five sprays from the bottle provided in your kit.

The straw should feel damp to the touch, but there shouldn’t be any water pooling up or gathering in large quantity at the bottom of the bag. If your straw looks too wet, just skip a couple of days watering.

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Fungus Labs

Why shouldn’t I pick mushrooms in the wild?

Answer

We discourage people from picking mushrooms in the wild because many species look alike, and distinguishing species is difficult even for experts. Harvesting such species could also, possibly, harm natural fungi and wildflower populations.

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Fungus Labs

How long will my mushrooms take to grow?

Answer

That really depends on the growing conditions you create! Sometimes, particular if the weather is warm, mushrooms may appear before even the fridge stage. Sometimes, even after the fridge stage, if your fungus is too dry it can take several weeks for mushroms to appear. 

When they’ve appeared, they’ll grow quickly, so keep a lookout; once the mushrooms begin to grow, they’ll be ready to harvest and eat within a couple of days. Don’t wait too long as they’ll be past their best quickly too. Don’t eat the mushrooms if they’ve started to shrivel and dry up.

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Fungus Labs

Why isn’t there a spray bottle?

Answer

We are trying to reduce our use of plastic, so have provided just the spray nozzle - this can be either attached to the right size bottle or simply propped inside a cup filled with water.

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Fungus Labs

How long can I keep the fungal mycelium before use?

Answer

If not using straight away, you can leave your fungal mycelium inside the packet in the fridge for up to three weeks.

 

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Fungus Labs

My fungus kit didn’t work – can I have another one?

Answer

We only have a limited number of free fungus kits and these have all been distributed. If you would like to try growing fungi or mushrooms in a kit we have guidance available here: https://www.growwilduk.com/fungi/how-grow-your-own-fungi

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Fungus Labs

The mycelium in different packets look different, will it affect its growing?

Answer

The brown bits in the packet are organic wheat grain, which are used as a carrier for the microscopic fungal mycelium. The grain also helps to feed it until transferred to the straw, which is a much richer source of nutrients.

This mycelium, or spawn, is essentially mould. However, the white fluff isn't mouldy, promise! In this packet is a living breathing fungus and as it breathes it heats up, like we do. There is a small risk your mycelium may have got too hot on its journey to you. If there is a green tinge to your white fluff, get in touch and we will try to help.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungus Labs

I can see mushrooms growing before putting my straw in the fridge – what should I do?

Answer

If your mushrooms are starting to grow early just cut the plastic open to give them room and oxygen to grow. Spray with water twice a day to keep them moist. They should continue growing.

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Fungus Labs

How does Grow Wild decide who gets a fungus lab?

Answer

Successful fungus lab teams are determined by the extent to which they will meet Grow Wild's aims to engage as many people as possible in learning about the fungi kingdom, this is why we are encouraging 'teams' to grow their fungus together. We are also allocating labs to try and reach as many of Grow Wild's target beneficiary audience as possible: children aged 5-11 years old, young people aged 12-25, adults disengaged from nature, and disadvantaged adults (living in or near an area within the top 30% of the national Indices of Multiple Deprivation).

Fungus labs are also allocated across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in proportion to population size.

You can find out more in the Terms & Conditions for Fungus Labs.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungus Labs

The bag split when I poured in the water, what do we do?

Answer

Don't worry, it will be ok!

We would suggest keeping the straw in the bag – continue to follow the instructions – but if you can use tape to seal the hole before putting the straw and mycelium mix in the kit box that will help keep it moist. There is also the risk that your mushrooms may grow out of the split rather than the slit you make later in the process.

It is better to keep it in this bag, rather than transfer into another bag, as it has the breathable patch at the top.   

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Fungus Labs

I have asthma – are the fungi safe?

Answer

Yes. Our fungus is a specially cultivated sporeless strain of Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus). Unlike the wild variety that produce spores, which can be potentially hazardous for people with asthma, the oyster mushrooms you’ll grow in your lab can’t produce any spores.

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Fungus Labs

What is the white patch on the bag?

Answer

The patch is a breathable membrane which allows gas/air exchange. The patch allows the fungus to get fresh air while preventing contaminants like mould and bacteria from getting in.

You will need to make sure it's at the top of the bag, once you have dispersed the mycelium through the pasteurised straw.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungus Labs

Is my mycelium mouldy?

Answer

two plastic packets with brown grain inside covered in white fluffThe brown bits in the packet are organic wheat grain, which are used as a carrier for the microscopic fungal mycelium. The grain also helps to feed it until transferred to the straw, which is a much richer source of nutrients.

This mycelium, or spawn, is essentially mould. However, the white fluff isn't mouldy, promise! In this packet is a living breathing fungus and as it breathes it heats up, like we do. There is a small risk your mycelium may have got too hot on its journey to you. If there is a green tinge to your white fluff, get in touch and we will try to help.

Remember: your Fridge Monitor in Chief will need to put the packet in the fridge (or other cold place) until it is ready to be dispersed in the pasteurised straw!

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Fungus Labs

Seed Kits

I applied for a seed kit – when will I receive it?

Answer

Registration closes on the 1st February 2019 and we will begin distributing kits in the first week of March.

You may not have received a kit if the address supplied was incomplete, a non-UK residence, a duplicate or included a profanity. Very occasionally, our kits get lost in the post, we will try to replace these if we have the stock available.

Please note: applications for seed kits are subject to Terms & Conditions.

F.A.Q. Category

Seed Kits

How does Grow Wild decide who gets a kit?

Answer

Successful applications are determined by the extent to which a Seed Kit Applicant will be engaging Grow Wild’s target beneficiary audiences: children aged 5-11 years old, young people aged 12-25, adults disengaged from nature, and disadvantaged adults living in or near an area within the top 30% of the national Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), date of submission (i.e. first come first served).

Seed kits are also allocated across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in proportion to population size.

F.A.Q. Category

Seed Kits

How does Grow Wild define a ‘shared’ space?

Answer

We’d love it if you used your seeds to revamp local spaces that lots of people will benefit from.

‘Shared’ in this context is a space that is accessible by a wider community, rather than an individual or family.

F.A.Q. Category

Seed Kits

How big or small should my space be?

Answer

Your space can be any size! But please be aware that our seed kits come in 4 different sizes and provide enough seed for spaces as follows:

• Smallish - this is 10g of seed and is enough for up to 5m². It's ideal for containers and/or a garden patch
• Middling - this is 20g of seed and is enough for up to 10m², which is about the size of one car parking space
• Pretty big - this is 40g of seed and is enough for up to 20m², which is a space about the size of two car parking spaces
• Jumbo - this is 60g of seed and is enough for up to 30m², which is a space the size of a football penalty box

However this depends on how widely seeds are scattered and whether the space itself will have other features, such as paths and seating.

Seed kits are not suitable for meadows as meadows contain grass species as well as wild flower species. Our seed kits contain no meadow grass species.If you would like guidance on transforming meadows, email [email protected] and we can direct you.

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Seed Kits

What do you mean by ‘Do not use in open countryside or nature conservation areas’?

Answer

Natural areas, usually the open countryside, are ones where wild plants and flowers are already established, particularly nature reserves or other areas where rare, species-rich habitats have been identified and protected.

These intricate and distinctive communities of plants and animals may be damaged by the addition of plants from elsewhere, and should be cherished as they are.

Grow Wild seeds are intended to bring the colour, beauty and wildlife habitats we gain from UK native wildflowers to the human environment: the gardens, streets and shared spaces that make up our towns and cities.

Here comes the science bit…

Grow Wild seeds contain a mix of common UK native and ‘archeophyte’ species. Native species are those that came here without human assistance, with most arriving between the end of the last ice age and the flooding of the English Channel 8,000 years ago. Archeophytes - ‘ancient plants’ - were brought here by humans, often introduced and finding a home amongst our crops. Poppies and cornflowers are examples, and have been part of the farmed landscape here for centuries.

If you already have wild plants growing naturally in your space, pass the seeds from these flowers to someone who is not so lucky, rather than sowing Grow Wild seeds here.

Find out how to collect and store wildflower seeds with Hannah Grows.

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Seed Kits

I just want some seeds rather than a whole kit – are you giving these away this year?

Answer

Grow Wild is not giving away individual seed packets this year.

You can buy wildflower seeds at most garden centres and DIY shops. Or if you want larger volumes, you might want to go to the suppliers directly, or buy online. For more help on what to think about when buying wildflower seeds have a read of our blog.

Remember to try and only sow seeds in the country where they were grown.

Here is a list of suppliers

England and UK:

Scotland:

Wales:

Northern Ireland:

Have a read about the wildflower seeds we provide in our seed kits to get some inspiration of what to get.

F.A.Q. Category

Seed Kits

What is in the seed kit?

Answer

Grow Wild seed kits 2019 contain:

  • UK native wildflower seed for the country where your space is located; find out which seeds are in your mix here
  • A guidance booklet all about sowing and growing
  • Stickers
  • Posters
  • 2 for 1 vouchers to visit Kew

F.A.Q. Category

Seed Kits

Where do the seeds come from?

Answer

The seeds have native provenance, which means they were grown by specialist growers in the country where they’ll be given out and grown. 

Naturescape Wildflowers supply the seeds for England and Wales; Scotia Seeds supply the Scottish seeds and EcoSeeds supply the mix for Northern Ireland. 

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Seed Kits

Can we use our seed kit for an indoor space?

Answer

Wildflowers do best outdoors, where they can be accessed by bees and insects and other pollinators.

We also really want you to use your wildflowers to transform a space that lots of people can see and enjoy.

Remember, you can grow wildflowers in containers as well as in open soil. Read our guidance on sowing in containers.

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Seed Kits

I didn’t get any Grow Wild seeds, can I still get involved?

Answer

Of course you can! We have guidance available on how to get wildflower seeds, if you do still want to try growing them.

You can also enjoy wildflowers themselves, taking photos and sharing them on social media (don't forget to tag @GrowWildUK).

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Seed Kits

Can I have some seeds from another country? We’re in England, but are Scottish, so would like Scottish seed.

Answer

Native plants have adapted over many generations to thrive in their local natural environment.

Sourcing seed from different parts of the UK helps ensure our mixes are well-adapted and able to thrive in the different growing conditions in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It can help reduce the risk that plants from distant parts of the UK will ‘escape’ to areas they would not normally be found, or hybridise (that is, cross-breed) with local wild populations. This is why we also ask that our seed is not sown in or near natural areas.

We are also keen to work with specialist producers across the country, benefitting from their local experience and supporting the development of a diverse native seed industry.

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Seed Kits

Can I have some free seeds, please?

Answer

We do not have any more free wildflower seeds available, but do have some guidance on how to get wildflower seeds.

If you would like to know if we do have seeds to give away in future, sign up here.

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Seed Kits

Community Project Funding

How many projects are Grow Wild funding this year?

Answer

Grow Wild will fund 50 groups in 2019 across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We are aiming for a good spread across each of these four countries.

Applications have now closed for funding and we will publish which groups have been successful in March.

F.A.Q. Category

Community Project Funding

When does my application need to be in by?

Answer

Applications for 2019 Community Project Funding have now closed.

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Community Project Funding

When will I find out if I have been successful?

Answer

If you have been successful, you will be notified by Friday 23 February 2018.

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by Tuesday 27th February 2018.

Unsuccessful applicants will be able to request feedback on their applications. Your relevant Engagement Manager will set aside a date for this, likely during March 2018. 

F.A.Q. Category

Community Project Funding

If successful, what is the time scale for delivering my project?

Answer

Projects will begin delivery in March 2019 and will be required to finish by October 2019.

You will be expected to have accounted for all project spend by the end of this period.

F.A.Q. Category

Community Project Funding

What support is available if my group or organisation is successful?

Answer

Your local Grow Wild Engagement Manager is there to help throughout the duration of the project

You will be given assets to help you promote your project locally, including a profile page on our website and opportunities to share your stories across our network and in the media.

If you have identified a mentor to work with the project in your application form, Grow Wild will provide them with training to enable them to offer a wide range of support. Depending on your project’s location, there may be support from other Grow Wild mentors, who are available to share a variety of useful skills and experience.

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Community Project Funding

Sowing and Growing Wildflowers

Can I save seeds for later use?

Answer

Yes, store them in a cool, dark place.

The best time to sow seeds is Spring or Autumn, and you are more likely to be successful if you follow our top tips on sowing seeds.

Grow Wild’s seed have a high viability but bear in mind that this will dip slightly if you save them beyond the year you received them.

F.A.Q. Category

Sowing and Growing Wildflowers

How long can I store seeds for?

Answer

We recommend that you get cracking, and sow them the Spring or Autumn after you receive them.

There’s no time like the present and the bees and butterflies will thank you for helping them do their bit.

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Sowing and Growing Wildflowers

When is the best time to sow wildflower seeds?

Answer

We recommend a fine Spring day, when your soil is neither too wet nor dry - preferably before mid-May.

But if you miss the boat in Spring, all is not lost. You can sow them in September or October and they will get a head start on the next Spring.

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Sowing and Growing Wildflowers

What soil preparation will I need to do before sowing seeds?

Answer

Your seeds will thrive best in soil you’ve prepared well - dig it over and remove all plants and weeds that will compete with your seeds. Use our tips on assessing your soil.

F.A.Q. Category

Sowing and Growing Wildflowers

I live in the city and don’t have a very big garden; can I sow wildflower seeds in a window box?

Answer

Yes, absolutely. Window boxes can make great homes for wild flowers. It’s easy to keep an eye on them and they look brilliant and brighten up your home when they flower.

Read our guidance on how to sow wildflowers in containers.

F.A.Q. Category

Sowing and Growing Wildflowers

Is the corncockle dangerous?

Answer

Professor Monique Simmonds, Director of the Kew Innovation Unit says:

"This plant, like many we have in our gardens, does contain compounds that can be toxic if eaten in large amounts or eaten frequently over a period of time. The toxic compounds are in higher concentrations in the seeds, which are hard and very bitter. If eaten by a child, the child would most likely be sick or complain of a stomach ache. There is no evidence that eating a few seeds would cause acute toxicity. In the past, problems associated with toxicity occurred in Europe when flour contaminated by corncockle seeds were consumed in bread, and this contaminated bread was eaten over a period of time. The fact that there are very few reports about any form of toxicity to humans in other parts of Europe where the plants are more common indicates that although toxic, the plant is not considered a high risk."

Guy Barter, the Chief Horticultural Advisor to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) says:

"Like many garden plants, corncockle (officially called Agrostemma Githago) is potentially harmful especially if consumed. Merely touching this plant is a very low risk indeed. We know of no instances of harm occurring from this plant in gardens, but in historical times cases of poisoning occurred from consuming contaminated bread. Modern agricultural practices have eliminated it from farm crops.

"Like other potentially harmful garden plants, the actual risk of harm is extremely small as a considerable amount of a very acrid (bitter) plant would have to be consumed to cause ill-effect. The usual sensible garden precautions should be followed; refrain from eating any plant not known to be edible, wash hands after working in the garden and before eating or touching lips and eyes, and see that pets and children who cannot be entirely trusted not to consume vegetation are supervised. If these simple precautions are followed there is no reason not to grow this plant.

"Corncockle is a very rare wildflower, but contrary to recent reports has never actually become extinct in Britain, merely hanging on in a very few isolated pockets. Cultivated seed of this plant has been widely sold as a ‘wildflower’ and consequently is not uncommon in gardens. It is a cornfield annual, so it can only grow on disturbed ground. Therefore, it generally has to be sown afresh each year or the ground disturbed to produce its preferred conditions where seed is already present in the soil."

The 2018 Grow Wild seed mixes contained a variety of UK native wild flowers, including corncockle. Find out more about potentially harmful garden plants over on the RHS's website.

F.A.Q. Category

Sowing and Growing Wildflowers

Can I have some free seeds, please?

Answer

We do not have any more free wildflower seeds available, but do have some guidance on how to get wildflower seeds.

If you would like to know if we do have seeds to give away in future, sign up here.

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Sowing and Growing Wildflowers

More About Grow Wild

How can I contact Grow Wild?

Answer

We have a contact us page, where you can meet the team!

Alternatively email us at [email protected]

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More About Grow Wild

Why UK native wildflowers?

Answer

In the UK we’re lucky enough to have some amazing wildflowers, but we’re in danger of losing them as their natural habitats disappear. This means less colour in our lives, less shelter for wildlife and less food for butterflies, bees and other pollinators.

Wildflowers are perfect for spaces where the soil may not be in the best shape. They’re also easier to grow than many other plants and flowers, so are an excellent way to introduce people who may never have sown seeds before to the joys of growing.

This is why we are using wildflowers to Grow Wild.

F.A.Q. Category

More About Grow Wild

What do you mean by 'natural areas'?

Answer

Natural areas, usually the open countryside, are ones where wild plants and flowers are already established, particularly nature reserves or other areas where rare, species-rich habitats have been identified and protected.

These intricate and distinctive communities of plants and animals may be damaged by the addition of plants from elsewhere, and should be cherished as they are.

Grow Wild seeds are intended to bring the colour, beauty and wildlife habitats we gain from UK native wildflowers to the human environment: the gardens, streets and shared spaces that make up our towns and cities.

Here comes the science bit…

Grow Wild seeds contain a mix of common UK native and ‘archeophyte’ species. Native species are those that came here without human assistance, with most arriving between the end of the last ice age and the flooding of the English Channel 8,000 years ago. Archeophytes - ‘ancient plants’ - were brought here by humans, often introduced and finding a home amongst our crops. Poppies and cornflowers are examples, and have been part of the farmed landscape here for centuries.

If you already have wild plants growing naturally in your space, pass the seeds from these flowers to someone who is not so lucky, rather than sowing Grow Wild seeds here.

Find out how to collect and store wildflower seeds with Hannah Grows.

F.A.Q. Category

More About Grow Wild

How does growing wildflowers help insects and animals?

Answer

Native wildflowers are fantastic for our native wildlife. This is because they have evolved alongside each other and are well suited to each others’ needs.

Wildflowers provide food in the form of nectar, pollen, seeds, fruits and foliage, for pollinating insects, or ‘pollinators’.

Pollinators are insects or animals that move pollen from one flower to another as part of the plant reproduction process. This is a vital job that helps continue the life cycle of plants and crops. In fact, approximately one in three mouthfuls of food and drink require pollination

Wildflowers also provide nesting sites, larval food, forage and shelter for wildlife.

F.A.Q. Category

More About Grow Wild

I have some old seeds from Grow Wild, can I still use them?

Answer

Yes, but store them in a cool, dark place.

The best time to sow seeds is Spring or Autumn, and you are more likely to be successful if you follow our top tips on sowing seeds.

Grow Wild’s seed have a high viability but bear in mind that this will dip slightly if you save them beyond the year you received them.

F.A.Q. Category

More About Grow Wild

How else can I get involved with Grow Wild?

Answer

There are many ways to become a Grow Wilder!

Currently you can apply for a seed kit, to help you get people together to transform a shared urban or unloved space.

If you have wildflower seeds – either ones you have bought or ones you have been given – and would like to grow them, then use our guidance to help and share your experiences on social media using the hashtag #GrowWild.

We have Flagship sites and Community Projects that you could visit.

There is also a newsletter that you can sign up for, to keep up to date with all the news and updates from Grow Wild across the country.

Or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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More About Grow Wild

Can I visit Grow Wild’s Community Projects?

Answer

Absolutely! You can zoom into the areas on our project map to find one near you.

Not all of our projects are open all the time, so you may need to get in touch to find out when you can visit. We also have a range of "recommended sites", these are places around the country that are free to visit and celebrate wildflowers and fungi.

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More About Grow Wild