Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

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JeremyinCzechRep
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Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 234366Post JeremyinCzechRep
Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:49 pm

In the Czech Republic (and I presume in the UK) you can buy a bag of straw inoculated with oyster mushroom spores. You leave it in a cool place until the bag becomes white with mycellium. You then punch holes in the side and hey presto, oyster mushrooms grow out the side. Rather than buying more bags, I am interested in doing it myself. Has anyone else tried this? I am currently drying some long grass that I scythed this morning. My plan is then to stuff it into plastic bags with a handful of last year's inoculated bag mix. Do you think it'll work?
Last edited by JeremyinCzechRep on Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 234405Post Ellendra
Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:44 am

I've researched the process for growing mushrooms on straw, and the sterilization and the need for added nutrients, along with a long list of other factors, dissuaded me from trying it. On the other hand, I just bought some oyster mushroom plug spawn and used it to inoculate a large, fresh-cut stump in my back yard. We'll see if that works.

(PS: if you do decide to try growing on your own straw, I wouldn't suggest using last year's bag mix. Instead, boil some water with just a touch of molasses or treacle in it, let it cool down just enough that you can hold your hand against it without burning, then soak a few mature mushrooms in it and let it incubate overnight. In the morning take the mushrooms out, and spray the liquid on whatever it is you want to grow the mushrooms on. This recipe is from a mushroom propagation book I bought back when I was researching the topic.)

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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 234406Post JeremyinCzechRep
Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:30 am

Thanks for the advice. I'll make two bags and try my technique and your technique and will let you know what happens.
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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 234434Post kit-e-kate
Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:23 am

Hi! I'd be interested to know how you get on as well, it sounds like something i'd like to try. I've tried one of the "grown your own" white mushroom boxes before, but it wasn't very successful. I like the sound of your Oyster Mushroom Bags, did you get them online?
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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 234436Post JeremyinCzechRep
Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:27 am

Not online, from a local garden centre (but I'm in the Czech Republic). Aren't they available in the UK? This could be a marketing opportunity - unless my DIY method works brilliantly.
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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 234456Post darkbrowneggs
Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:00 pm

I bought the innoculated plugs and spent ages drilling holes in fresh silver birch logs and sealing them in with bees wax. I had a few - probably 10 oysters from around 100 plugs.

I year later I had a big oyster mushroom turn up in the burning wood log pile and picked maybe a couple of lbs, and the year after that picked around 10-15 lb s of oysters. Tried to save the logs that looked as though they had the mycellium, but since then nothing for the last couple of years, just a stray poor specimen.

I offer that as my experience - make of it what you will - it makes no sense to me. :scratch:

All the best
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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 234457Post JeremyinCzechRep
Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:16 pm

Interesting that they seem happy to grow on both straw and in wood; I presumed most fungi were quite specific. I also tried the plugs 2 years ago - but with no success at all. I saw some logs at the same garden centre selling the inoculated bags of straw. They were sold in plastic bags - which, it appears, made the humidity levels much higher and that could be a factor. I've forgotten what kind of mushrooms they were but they weren't oyster mushrooms. I'll give them another go next time I have to bring down a tree.
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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 238042Post CharlieLittle
Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:29 pm

Hello I stumbled upon your forum while studying mushroom related things and had to join. This looks like a very cool place. :mrgreen:

Oyster, Shiitake, Reishi and Chicken of the Woods are four varieties of wood species I am currently undertaking to cultivate but I am by no means the mycology expert. Have successfully grown Oysters in the past years on various substrates and am just now getting back into it.

Your "long grass", is that also the same as switchgrass? If so then it is a favorable substrate for oysters, especially in the brown stage after it has died off. Oysters are probably the easiest of all mushrooms for the home grower. They will grow on anything containing cellulose and lignin found in wood and most fibrous other plant life. Newspaper and cardboard are also favorable substrates as are most any seed hulls.

The common practice is to pasteurize the bulk substrate you plan to inoculate with spawn. This is done by heating the substrate in water to between 131 and 140 degrees F for one hour, draining the water off and allowing to cool overnight then made to "field capacity" moisture by air drying for a time and checked by squeezing a handfull. You want it so that just a few drops of water come out when squeezed hard. This is very important as too wet of substrate will likely develope bacterial contamination issues and too dry will result in poor colonization and poor fruiting.

A popular method of home cultivation in the US is to grow in five gallon plastic pails with lids which can be stacked as tall as you like. 1" diameter holes are cut into the sides of the pail about 4-6 inches apart. A plastic trash bag is used as a liner which holds the prepared substrate like wheat straw which is packed into the pail in the liner. Oyster spawn which was earlier prepared by sterile techniques or purchased is added to the substrate as it goes into the pail at one to two quarts per five gallon pail.

The straw is packed in full and the bag liner is tied and the pail lid is put on. At each hole in the pail, an X is cut into the bag liner with a knife to allow air exchange into the substrate or there will be no growth of the mycelium. When the substrate is fully colonized the oysters will poke out through the slits in the bag where they sense the fresh air and grow, provided they receive proper humidity and light.

Oysters benefit from a little direct sunlight but mostly indirect is best. Humidity levels are kept up by various ways. Some use a miniature greenhouse indoors by a window with blinds to regulate the light and a humidifier set inside. Reptile foggers set on a timer work well for these also.

A less expensive option is to drape a clear plastic bag with some small holes poked in it over the pail and misted underneath a few times per day with a spray bottle.

I hope this helps. I will be happy to help you and answer any questions you may have. I know much about home sterile techniques used for preparing liquid cultures and grain spawn with success. All one needs is a pressure canner/cooker, some jars, a few syringes with needles and some spores or culture to get started with.

Here is my closet at home with a variety of oyster mycelium growing on various substrates I will soon be spawning to bulk. I have oil sunflower seeds with gypsum added in the large jars and wild bird seed, wheat berries, sunflower seed hulls with gypsum, shredded newspaper and shredded kudzu vine in quart jars. Also shown are a couple of liquid culture jars.

Some I will try and fruit right in the jar and some will be used for bulk spawn.

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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 238048Post darkbrowneggs
Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:28 pm

Wow Charlie - It sounds like you are really into your mushroom growing. How did you find out so much about it, and is the bulk spawn easy to source.

All the best
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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 238050Post CharlieLittle
Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:03 pm

darkbrowneggs wrote:Wow Charlie - It sounds like you are really into your mushroom growing. How did you find out so much about it, and is the bulk spawn easy to source.

All the best
Sue
Hi Sue yes I am one with the mushrooms :lol:

I browse the online mushroom communities and glean bits of info as I have for a few years. Most of them are mostly about psychoactive mushroom growing but there are a few with decent edible and medicinal species information. One really good one is http://www.shroomery.org where one can type in any specific species into the search function and see all the threads relating.

Depending where you are there are usually online providers of various mushroom spawn in various forms. Most will probably be plug spawn or sawdust spawn. Try to google "oyster mushroom spawn" + your area or country and see what might pop up!

I can tell you now though, be prepared to pay a pretty penny but a little spawn goes a long way toward applying to a pasteurized bulk substrate. Most will be probably 1:10 effectively but you can spawn to higher amounts, it just takes longer to colonize and there are fears of contaminations the longer one has to wait. You want your mycelium to be the major resident and oyster myc is very agressive toward most contaminants.

If one can use a pressure cooker then one can prepare their own spawn very inexpensivly out of lots of things as you see in my closet. Today I'm going to grind some switchgrass stalks in my Vita-Mix blender to make some spawn substrate, it's very easy.

Depending on what one has on hand in way of jars and such, it can be started very well for a few dollars. US about $20 for a liquid culture syringe from a quality vendor.

One hydrates the substrate to field capacity and loads jars to between 3/4 and full but not ever touching the lid underside. Jar lids are prepared by drilling a couple of small 1/8" holes and covering the holes with 3M Micropore tape from a pharmacy. Air exchange is necessary for mycelium growth but not too much or the substrate dries out over time. The jars with lids are then covered with a piece of aluminum foil to keep excess moisture from raining down on them in the pressure cooker and overhydrating the substrate. They are cooked at 15psi for 60 minutes for up to quarts, 120 minutes for half gallons. They are then allowed to cool overnight inside the pressure cooker without removing the weight or lid.

Next day the jars are shaken after they are removed from the pressure cooker to re-distribute condensate moisture throughout the substrate. They may need shaken a few times till there is no more condensate and then they are inoculated with either a multi-spore solution made from a spore print (slow) or liquid culture which is live mycelium in a syringe.

This needs to take place in as clean an environment as possible or a glove box or clear plastic bag which has been sprayed with isopropyl alcohol and hands and all utensils are also sprayed to kill any possible contaminations. The needle on the culture syringe is "flamed" red hot by an alcohol lamp set a safe distance away from any alcohol fumes and 1-2 ml of culture is shot through one of the holes, through the micropore tape and then another piece of tape is applied over the hole.

Some people make self healing injection ports on their lids with 100% clear silicone on both sides of the lid on one of the holes.

If you have a specific substrate in mind to try I can be more specific as to how to prepare it. Different things require different preperations. There is a really good series of mushroom cultivation video's on the YouTube called "Let's Grow Mushrooms" with RR from the Shroomery. I will try and add a link to one of them. Pretty much...a mushroom is a mushroom is a mushroom as far as cultivation goes but there are various differences in species individual requirements such as temperature, humidity and such but they all are started the same way, with cultures and creating spawn on grain or other substrates.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHJQrsZFQdE

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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 238419Post JeremyinCzechRep
Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:50 am

Thanks for the long posts, Charlie. I didn't realise that I would have to sterilise dry grass before using it but my bags of tightly packed straw (not liquidized) and spawn from a commercial batch, has not shown any signs of progress. Ellendra suggested using a bit of mollasses with the spawn. Have you tried that?
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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 238448Post scrap
Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:00 pm

Nothing useful to add,other than my pretty failed shi-take log.

But I'm keeping an eye on this thread though,always wanted to give it another go.
Looks like the fungi-guru just turned up... :cheers:
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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 240028Post CharlieLittle
Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:26 am

JeremyinCzechRep wrote:Thanks for the long posts, Charlie. I didn't realise that I would have to sterilise dry grass before using it but my bags of tightly packed straw (not liquidized) and spawn from a commercial batch, has not shown any signs of progress. Ellendra suggested using a bit of mollasses with the spawn. Have you tried that?
Sorry about the delay in getting back, I have been very busy.

Molasses is a good addition to spawn when colonizing sterilized spawn jars prior to introducing the spawn to a pasteurized bulk substrate such as your grass. Putting molasses on the grass would be a bad idea though since it would attract any contaminations.

Pasteurization and sterilization are two different but important things in mycology and need to be understood when and where to apply each.

Spawn is always made by sterilizing the substrate in an autoclave or pressure cooker. If you purchase spawn from a vendor and wish to put it to a bulk substrate...

You want to pasteurize your bulk substrate (grass) by heating water to 130-140 degrees F and I find a good way to do small amounts is to put the bulk substrate in an insulated cooler or ice chest then pour the hot water on, fully covering it and place a lid on and let it soak for one hour. After the hour, drain off the water and let the substrate cool to the touch.

It then needs to be "field capacity" moist. In the case of straw or grasses, folks will put their pasteurized straw on a table top to dry somewhat before loading into bags along with the colonized spawn. If you can grab a handfull and squeeze it and just a drop or two of water comes out, it is field capacity.

You then load it into bags or buckets with holes in the sides for air exchange. The spawn will colonize the bulk substrate and mushrooms will form where the holes are and grow out of them.

Pasteurizing properly will kill pathogens but retain beneficial bacteria which multiply and fend off attacks from competing harmful bacteria and molds. They also make more nutrients available for the mycelium. Sterilizing kills everything and leaves substrate open to any and everything floating by and so spawn production is done in jars or bags with microporuos filters and such to keep contaminants out while injecting the desired mushroom strain with sterile instruments or doing grain to grain transfers inside a lab with hepa filtration.
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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 240060Post CharlieLittle
Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:14 pm

scrap wrote:Nothing useful to add,other than my pretty failed shi-take log.

But I'm keeping an eye on this thread though,always wanted to give it another go.
Looks like the fungi-guru just turned up... :cheers:
Here is probably the easiest way to grow shiitake at home other than buying a pre made ready to fruit bag...

http://www.shroomery.org/forums/showfla ... t/all/vc/1

Most bag/log fails are due to lack of moisture in the substrate and lack of humidity in the outside environment. Most colonized substrates are contamination resistant to a degree. A fruiting chamber can be easily made from a plastic tub with small holes drilled all around and about 4 inches of wet perlite placed in the bottom. This will create a good humid environment for the mushies and allow the escape of C02 which also hinders fruit formation. See this You Tube video on building a fruiting chamber...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGQok-UnyJE
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Re: Growing your own oyster mushrooms?

Post: # 240330Post CharlieLittle
Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:15 pm

I cut 1 inch holes in a five gallon pail with a hole saw and lined it with a trash sack, then filled (slightly packed) the sack/liner with aspen wood pet bedding with sunflower seed hulls that had been pasteurized and allowed to air dry a bit along with one of the half gallon jars of sunflower seed spawn in my previous pic, layered in all the way full, twisted the liner top closed and put the bucket lid on, then cut slits in the exposed areas of the liner. 13 days later I have baby oyster mushrooms poking out of the holes. I have the bucket in a mini greenhouse that I mist the insides with water 4 times daily for humidity and allow a fine mist to fall on the mushrooms.


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