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For your mushrooms to grow, they will need to be in a container that is free from all other contaminates, ie mold and other fungus. If you just threw cow shit in a jar and put some spores in there, you would have yourself what I refer to as a miniature zoo. The Lions would eat your little penguins. As for how old they should be, the best time is after the veil breaks. If you allow them to remain after that, the spores that will be droped will initiate the mushrooms to stop growing. I would worry about the begining first. The best time to harvest your buds is right before the seeds start forming. If growen outside, this is determined by the amount of light the plant gets. Ususally in Sept. or early Oct. is good where I live. (OR) PS I think that your posting your questions in the wrong forum. Try the cultivation section for better results