How to Grow Oyster Mushrooms

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Growing oyster mushrooms at home can be a fun hobby and is a good way to have truly fresh mushrooms. After the mushrooms have been harvested, the ones that will not be used within a week can be frozen or dehydrated for later use. Oyster mushrooms require a certain type of growing medium, but once you have prepared the medium and dispersed the spawn, cultivating the mushrooms is an easy chore.

Things You'll Need

  • Four concrete blocks
  • 55-gallon barrel
  • Firewood
  • Water
  • Chopped straw
  • Large, clear plastic trash sacks
  • Plastic five-gallon pails
  • Oyster mushroom spawn
  • Duct tape
  • Screwdriver or large nail

Sterilize the Straw

  • Set four concrete blocks together to form a square wide enough to hold the 55 gallon barrel securely above the ground.

  • Build a hot fire in the center of the blocks and place the barrel on top.

  • Fill the barrel with chopped straw. Cover the straw with water and bring to a boil. Allow the fire to go out.

Prepare the Medium

  • Line a plastic five-gallon bucket with large plastic trash sacks.

  • Fill the clear trash sacks with the chopped straw as soon as the straw is cool enough to remove from the water. Squeeze out as much water as possible from the straw during the transfer process.

  • Pack the straw tightly into the pails, leaving about 2 inches of open space at the top.

Set the Spawn

  • Mix 1/2 pound of spawn into each five-gallon bucket of straw. Distribute the spawn throughout the straw with your hands.

  • Remove the bag from the bucket and compress the bag, pushing out as much air as possible.

  • Fold over the top of the bag and secure the top with duct tape.

  • Punch holes in the bag every six inches in all directions, using a screwdriver or a large nail.

  • Place the bag in a dark, dry area for 10 days. The temperature of the area should be around 70 degrees.

Fruit the Mushrooms

  • Place the bags in a refrigerator for one day. This will cold shock the spores and promote growth.

  • Make a tent to hang over the mushroom bags using other opened clear trash bags and sticks.

  • Place the bag and tent in an area that will remain at a temperature between 65 and 80 degrees F. Hang the tent about 1 to 2 inches above the mushroom bags.

  • Water the bags to keep the humidity high. Mushrooms will begin growing out of the holes that you punched in the bags.

  • Harvest the mushrooms when they reach the size of a silver dollar. The mushrooms will continue to fruit for two or three more generations after harvest begins.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pasteurized, chopped straw can sometimes be purchased at garden centers. If your garden center or nursery doesn't stock the straw, the store may be able to order it for you. Fungi Perfecti is an online source of all types of mushroom spores, kits and books about mushroom growing.

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References

  • Growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms, By Paul Stamets, 3rd Edition, 2000
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