Growing The King Oyster Mushroom
Nothing else can be as satisfying as knowing that you have a garden full of edible mushrooms which you can always go and harvest during the day when you feel like having a delicious meal made from Mushrooms. Mushroom cultivation should not cost you an arm and a leg, planting them in your garden is enough to have mushrooms at your nearest. Many types of mushrooms have been planted outdoors, but only one of them will be discussed in this article. I present to you my favorite so far: the King Oyster.
There exists a large array of this strain of mushrooms, and the vastness of king Oyster depends on the various growing conditions available. To add to that, outdoor-grown King Oyster has many variations from ones grown indoors. Larger, darker caps, meat-like texture, and few or no stemming are the signifying features of outdoor-grown King Oyster. In contrast, the stems of indoor cultivated King Oyster mushrooms are greatly fat and their caps seem to be all pale in color. What is responsible for these variations is that the condition in the outside environment allows fresh air and light to get to the ones grown outdoors. This explains why the yield of outdoor-grown Kings is very much better than those on the inside.
Fundamental methods used in growing outdoor King Oysters
If you have decided to grow your King oysters outside, then you do not have a too high mountain to climb as the bulk of your task has been done by nature. You don’t need to maintain much sterility for outdoor King Oysters. All you need to do is introduce grain spawn to your substrate, maintain moist texture and look out for fruiting of the mushrooms. A blend of straw and hardwood sawdust is the best ingredient when looking for what substrate will do the job well. The proportion of spawn to add should be between 5-10%.
A thorough and even mixing of the spawn and substrate is required. Selecting an area that is very good for your growth would be determined by the amount of depth you want. Usually, a depth of 4-9 inches is OK. Another crucial precaution you must take is to not choose the area of land which receives too much direct sunlight, this guard against drying out of your mycelium. Important features of an area good bought for this job is one which has shades and talk trees, these two will help preserve the moisture in the growing bed. After mixing your spawn, be sure that you add a non-nutritious material that will help form a casing layer.
This casing layer is also important because it helps protect the mushroom as it grows in the substrate, and also helps it to adhere to the bed. Failure to add a casing layer leads to getting a very poor yield. One can easily predict what the results will likely be for outdoor-grown Kings when the casing layer is done, but this isn’t true of indoor King Oysters. Note that growing King Oyster takes a longer time before you start seeing fruits. Three factors are responsible for this: the amount of spawn you used to make your growing bed, the time of the year that you did your planting, and the climatic and weather condition in your place. However, you can shorten this period by using an already used spawn that has the testimony of a much faster growing time and better yields.
Using spent straw disks for better results
The idea of using a spent straw to get better results.
Straw logs are good choices for this method. I would recommend that you use States that have undergone complete colonization but are not yet fruited. For better yields, straw logs that have had a complete growth period can be used. This method was discovered by accident when I used a straw log which I formerly used to grow my mushrooms. This straw log had excessive pinning, but couldn’t grow good fruits. That was why I used it in designing garden beds, and I got immense results.
STEP 1: SELECT AN AREA FOR YOUR MUSHROOM GARDEN
It has been already mentioned that the area you want to choose must have enough shade and tall trees that will help keep the moisture intact. When using 2 straws, I designed a 3 ft by 6 ft garden bed. Nothing stops you from making your growing bed more spacious, as much space is available.
STEP 2: BREAK LOGS INTO STRAW DISCS.
This step involves breaking your logs into about 1-3 thick discs. But before you do this, make sure you have removed any mushroom that is still left in your log. Then, lay out the discs you’ve made in a horizontal order in your bed. Half discs allow you to get an even number of discs, put them into flat edges and ensure you leave no space lying fallow between discs.
STEP 3: APPLY A CASING LAYER
With the absence of a casing layer in your growing bed, it’s as good as you’ve not done anything. A casing layer makes it possible to get heavy yield and also shields your mycelium from being dried out. Several non-nutritive materials can be used to make your casing layer, and I enjoy using a blend of half peat moss and garden soil. You will also need to add some amount of water to the mixture to moisten it to a level called the field capacity. When it reaches this level, you’ll know if some amount of water comes out of your hand after squeezing it. It’s not completely mandatory to reach this accuracy but the nearer you get to the level of field capacity, the better your result.
Making a mix of peat and soil appears to be a very excellent way to allow for moisture retention and also to help pin. If only peat is used, your mix would become wet, and you can be sure to have Trichoderma molds attached to your casing layer. If you use just soil, what you have is a quick to dry casing layer, this will only make the mushrooms not be able to pin.
STEP 4: KEEP MOIST AND WAIT
At least once a day, you should try to water your garden bed, this will help your garden bed to remain moist. Be careful to not add too much water so that the garden bed won’t become waterlogged. Just some amount of water is what it requires to start mushroom formation. After about two weeks, pinning should have started. The mushroom formation is said to be very quick after pinning has commenced. However, it should be noted that weather is a great determinant of how long it takes your mushrooms to form, nonetheless, you should have your mushrooms ripe for harvest after about 7 days you saw your first few pins. You don’t have to wait till all your mushrooms are out before you harvest them, endeavor to harvest individual mushrooms.
Look out for fungus gnats
A significant downside of cultivating your mushrooms outdoors has to do with the fact you have to compete with some critters. Critters are parasites who want your mushrooms as bad as you do. These fungi find their way into your garden and they burrow into the stems of your mushrooms and the end is unpalatable because they’d render your mushrooms rotten. This challenge can be overcome by practicing early harvesting. You should also make sure that you look out for potential worms on your stems. The indications are that if you feel your mushrooms are lightweight and that the stems appear hollow, then you can begin to rule out fungus infestation. A hoop screen is also recommended for use to help shield your garden from these gnats.
Smaller Scale Outdoor Grows
A large space isn’t needed before you can grow beautiful mushrooms outside. Smaller containers can also be employed in this kind of mushroom cultivation whereby you can just place them anywhere in your garden. On a final touch, outdoor planting of mushrooms can be very excellent, start it today!