How to grow oyster mushroom
Here's all you need to know about how to grow oyster mushrooms. Your reason to grow oysters doesn't matter; simply follow this complete guide.
Oyster mushrooms have varieties from yellow, blue pink, just to name a few. It has a short shelf life and is very delicate. It means to enjoy it fresh, you may have to grow them yourself. It has good marketability for farmers growing them on a small scale.
If you want to pick up mushroom cultivation as a hobby, it is essential to learn how to grow oyster mushrooms. With these skills, you can venture into any area of mushroom cultivation and mycology at large.
Let's get right to it!
Why should you grow oyster mushrooms?
The oyster mushroom is an excellent choice for new mushroom growers, small-scale farmers, and those looking for a hobby in mushroom cultivation. On every small-scale farm, you will find one variety of oyster mushrooms.
This is so because oyster mushrooms are the easiest to grow.
There are various substrates you can use to grow oyster mushrooms, some of which include soy hulls, cardboard, hardwood sawdust, to list a few.
Oyster mushrooms are decomposers to break down any lignous tissues and convert them to food. They don't just work on substrates but also have rapid growth. You can begin to harvest just two weeks after spawning. This rapid growth helps it avoid contamination, making it unique compared to other competitor mushrooms.
There are different varieties of oyster mushrooms. Some thrive in cooler climates, while some thrive in a warmer temperature with good resistance to C02 at high levels. So regardless of your location and the climate condition, there's just the right oyster mushroom for you.
Most oysters are delicate, and they also have a concise shelf life. They don't turn out well when transported over a long distance. For marketing purposes, this benefits small-scale farmers as they can offer fresher mushrooms compared to commercial-scale farmers.
Growing oyster mushrooms have disadvantages too. Most species of oysters can only grow under open-air conditions. They produce thin stems and tiny caps if they don't get enough fresh air. Trying to provide the proper humidity and enough fresh air at the same time could be a daunting challenge.
They have a high spore load. Hence, if not harvested in time, it will fill the whole space with tiny spores. It is not a direct harmful process, but it generates allergies for a few people. Also, fans can be clogged with these spores.
When they stay more than 3 days, they lose their freshness and marketability. It could be a significant challenge if you are growing to sell afterward.
Types of Oyster Mushrooms
Before you start thinking of growing Oyster mushrooms, it is essential to decide on the specific species you want to grow. Your experience level, location, and method of cultivation significantly impact your choice of species to increase. There is just the right oyster for every season and region.
- Blue Oyster (Pleurotus Ostreatus Var. Columbinus)
Plus points: Thrives in cooler temperatures, rapid growth.
Minus points: To have normal fruiting, it needs a lot of fresh air.
- Yellow Oyster (Pleurotus Citrinopileatus)
Plus points: Very nice yellow color throughout the growth cycle, rapid growth, high tolerance for CO2.
Minus points: Delicate fruits, low shelf life.
- Pink Oyster (Pleurotus Djamor)
Plus points: Amazing pink color, fleshy fruits, thrives well on straw, high tolerance to heat.
Minus points: Low shelf life, zero tolerance for low temperatures
- Elm Oyster (Hypsizygus ulmarius)
Plus points: Adapts well to high CO2, high fruit output, low spore load
Minus points: No unique color, short shelf life
- Pearl Oyster (Pleurotus Ostreatus)
Plus points: Exceptional availability, easy to grow, fair enough shelf life, good in cooking, thrives on a variety of substrates
Minus points: Extreme fresh air requirement
- Phoenix Oyster (Pleurotus Pulminarious)
Plus points: Thrives in warm weather, rapid growth, widely grown, sound output.
Minus points: Short shelf life, high spore load.
- King Oyster (Pleurotus Eryngii)
Plus points: Good shelf life, meaty texture.
Minus points: Prone to bacterial blotch
How to grow Oyster mushrooms
The beauty of growing mushrooms is that you can never know it all; you get to learn new things the more you develop them.
You may be thinking, how exactly do you figure out what to grow?
You probably would have seen mushrooms growing out in the wild, growing on cow patty or edges of dead logs. In a way, you assume you don't need to do anything extra to make them fruit. Naturally, it is easier compared to you trying to grow them yourself.
Getting the perfect spot and knowing when exactly to grow your mushrooms could be a stern challenge on its own. To reap the rewards, you need to give mushrooms precisely what they need when they need them.
The Steps Involved
There are 3 fundamental steps to growing Oysters. Depending on your preference, you can start your cultivation at any of these 3 stages.
The first of all the steps is inoculation. Here you add mushroom grain spawn to your substrate as soil and grain spawn as seed.
You can buy pre-made grain spawn or make them at home. Depending on your substrate size, you will need to add your spawn at a rate of 10% or thereabout.
If you have a substrate of 100 lbs, you will want to add around 10 lbs of spawn. The spawn needs to be thoroughly mixed to get the best inoculation point.
When the spawn is added to the substrate, it expands, grows, explores the whole substrate, and absorbs the nutrients.
This domination process is referred to as "colonization ."It takes a couple of weeks to be "fully colonized." At that point, the mycelium would have taken entirely over the substrate.
After being colonized, the substrate becomes thicker until it has completely consolidated. From that point on, tiny pins will begin to form.
With time, these tiny pins turn out to form healthy fruits of mushrooms. If they are grown well, you can harvest and enjoy them with minimal fuss.
General requirements for growing Oyster mushrooms.
It is a misconception that you have to create a dark room and add manure for them to grow for all mushrooms.
That may be true for some button mushrooms, but for medicinal and gourmet mushrooms, this is almost 100% not accurate.
Throughout the growing process for oyster mushrooms, you need to have just the right balance of fresh air, light, and humidity.
Having to maintain a balance of humidity and fresh air is quite tasking. If the humidity is not correct, the pins will struggle to form, and if they develop, they will not survive to fruit as they will dry out.
If you seal the fruiting chamber to maintain humidity, the fresh air will build high levels of C02 at a fast rate. If it is not a species with tolerance for high levels of Carbon dioxide, you will end up with deformed fruits; Small caps, tiny stems, and fruits that are not fleshy or meaty at all.
Levels of growing mushrooms
There are different levels to growing mushrooms. Where to start from depends on you. These levels include:
Starting from a growing kit
Starting from a pre-made spawn
Starting from a culture
Mushroom growing process
When you grow mushrooms indoors, don't start from spores, you cant guarantee the outcome. It's better to play safe and start the process from the mycelium of a reliable strain of mushroom "culture."
When you start from culture has many benefits. You can guarantee the outcome. You can easily store and propagate the mycelium, which means you can reuse the same strain for a couple of years if you preserve them well.
There are many forms of mushroom cultures. It can be grain spawn liquid, agar, and even slants. Everything depends on when you want to jump in the growing process and how far you are willing to go.
Your mushroom fruiting environment
For sound output, you will want to maintain a high humidity level of around 75-95%. At the same time, you should make fresh air provision for your mushrooms.
For oyster mushrooms, this is very important as they thrive well on enough supply of fresh air. It is more than you imagine they need an excess supply f fresh air.
To achieve high humidity levels, you should use a fan and a humidifier. Though there are "humidifans" specifically designed for the mushroom fruiting process, you may want to get one of those.
If you are not a tech kind of person which will be surprising, you can use a tent as your chamber and use a spray bottle. It doesn't guarantee you will maintain the required fresh air either.
Standard "shotgun fruiting chambers" are also viable options to produce good results.
Harvesting and storing Oysters
It's natural to want to harvest your mushrooms after growing them. Unless you grow them for decoration which will be weird as they have a brief life span.
Before harvesting, make sure the mushrooms dry out just a little, especially those grown in a high humid environment.
You will need a knife to harvest your mushroom. Cut it in clusters and not individually. Cut from the base; as you know, they are very delicate. You will have to tread with care.
Store in fridge
You don't have to wonder why oyster mushrooms don't look great at the store. It doesn't have a long shelf life. If you store them well by putting them in a paper bag or towel and in the fridge, you can extend the shelf life a little bit.
Don't seal and store them in plastic containers or zip nylons; they wouldn't turn out well.
All information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA in any way. Don't be mistaken. Our products are not made for diagnosis, preventing, or treating ill-health. Consult with a physician; you should not take the information above as a direct replacement for proper consultation. Also, don't self-medicate using the statements from this article.
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