Oyster mushrooms are the ingredient of many delicious dishes because of their delicious taste and chewy texture.They’re also the rich source of protein, fiber, vitamin B& E, potassium, selenium, etc., which are very good for our immune system. Moreover, according to recent studies, oyster mushrooms can lower cholesterol level and prevent cancer.
Good news for those who want to grow this nutritious kind of mushroom at home: It is not only easy to grow but also high-yielding. For a step-by-step guide to how to grow oyster mushroom at home, check this post!
What to Prepare
It is recommended to buy a big bag of wheat straw, or you can use sawdust as a substitute. If you live in the city and these materials are not available, you can take advantage of coffee ground and cardboard.
Oyster mushroom needs very little space, so you can grow it almost everywhere as long as there is no direct sunlight. Also, the temperature of the place where you grow the mushrooms should vary according to specific varieties of the mushroom. For blue-grey oysters mushrooms, keep it cool between 10 and 20 degrees C, while pink oyster mushrooms will grow well at around 18-27 degrees C.
- Oyster mushroom spawn: you can buy it in supermarket.
- Plastic bags and rubber band: To hold the mixture of mushroom spawn and straw.
- Water sprayer: To provide and ensure the humidity.
How to Grow Oyster Mushroom at Home – Step by Step
Step 1: Pasteurization
First, you have to make sure that the straw is clean enough to grow oyster mushrooms. It is recommended to cut the straw into small pieces of 2-4 inches and pasteurize it by steaming or boiling at 70-90 degrees C to get rid of bad bacteria. The boiling process should take at least 45 minutes. As the straw may float to the surface, make sure to put a lid or something heavy on top to keep it submerged.
Get the straw out of the water and let it cool down. Be careful because the boiling straw may be very hot and heavy. Spread the straw on a clean surface at 0.5-1.5 inch layer thick. Let it cool to the room temperature before putting the spawn in it, or else the spawn will die.
If you use cardboard, you can either cut them into square pieces or tear into strips. Put them in a container and soak in boiling water, close the lid and leave them overnight for cooling, then squeeze the cardboard to remove the water.
Step 2: Colonization
Remember to clean up your body and wash your hands with soap before working with the straw because human bodies contain many kinds of harmful bacteria.
Once the materials are cool, take a handful of mushroom spawn and mix it well with the straw (or cardboard). 8 pounds of grain spawn is enough for approximately 200 pounds of straw. The more spawn you put in, the faster the process of colonization can be.
Distribute the mixture into plastic bags. Remember to compress the straw so that the bag is firmly packed, but not too tight. Use arubber band to tie the bag. Ventilation is very important, so remember to make small cuts of 1 inch throughout the bags so that mushrooms can grow, but don’t cut too much as the straw may fall out.
Step 3: Prepare the Room
Moisture in the air is important to the growth of mushroom, so you should choose a shaded place with no direct sunlight. However, such places can get damp and attract mounds as well as insects, in that case, you can use plastic sheets to cover the place.
Step 4: Waiting and Monitoring
Similar to growing portobello mushrooms, you should keep the growing place moist all the time and monitor the mushroom everyday. Leave the bag there for incubating. In winter, this process may take up to three weeks compared to only one or two weeks in summer.
During this time, check the temperature and humidity frequently without disturbing the bags. If there are water pools inside the bags, cut the bottom so that the water will flow out. In case the bag gets too dry, you should spray water through the cuts.
Another reason for monitoring is to detect unwanted insects and mounds. If there is an infected bags with black or green mounds, quickly remove it from others so that it won’t spread to healthy bags. Mounds and unwanted mushrooms like ink cap are caused by improper sterilization and cause severe damage to the whole crop.
After a few weeks, the mushroom spawn will develop into mycelium. In this stage, you have to make sure that there is enough moisture in the room. You can either wet the floor or use the sprayer to get the desired humidity (95-100% humidity is recommended). Also, remember to let the air flow to avoid excessive amount of CO2 before spraying.
Step 5: Harvesting
Harvesting is fun and difficult at the same time. At this time, the oyster mushroom may grow very fast, even double in size everyday, so remember to check frequently. They are fully developed when the rims point upward and become wavy; you can harvest them at any time before that. When you pick the mushrooms, be careful to leave the bottom in the bag for the next crop.
The second harvest may produce even bigger mushrooms, and it may take about 15 days. Remember to keep them in moderate light and good moisture. The size of mushroom will get smaller for the third and fourth flush. After that, the straw can be used for gardening or be recycled for the next crop.
Tips: You should mist the mushroom about three times a day. Never spray directly on the mushroom to prevent damage. Moisture is the key factor to success in this case, and good level of can not only increases yield but also helps the harvest last longer.
Do some research before growing mushrooms. Each kind of oyster mushroom requires a different temperature and level of humidity. Also, some may be more productive when grown on wood or straw, rather than on coffee ground. You can ask a professional or the experienced one for better results.
Now you know how to grow oyster mushroom at home! Hopefully, this guide is helpful for you. Thank you for reading!