Oyster mushrooms are one of the most popular mushroom to grow at home. They have several benefits including provided high yields, quick fruiting periods, and being able to grow on a wide range of substrates.
For these reasons Oyster mushroom are one of the easiest and most rewarding mushrooms to grow at home, and as an added benefit they are significantly valuable as a food source due to their high density of nutrients and health benefits including reducing blood pressure, anti inflammatory, and cholesterol lowering just to name a few. Read below to find out how you can grow oyster mushroom easily at home!
- Can start fruiting within 3-4 weeks
- Can grown on many different substrates ( sugar cane, coffee grounds) however the two most popular methods include the ‘Masters Mix‘ or straw substrate
- Grows on trees in the wild
- 6 main types of oyster mushrooms
Obtain Grain Spawn
If you are planning on growing oyster mushrooms for the first time, you will need to obtain the spawn that will in turn grow your mushrooms. Most commonly this can be purchased as grain spawn online. Grain spawn is sterilised grains that have been inoculated and colonised by the mycelium using an agar or liquid culture.
Alternatively you could purchase a culture directly that you can then use to make your own grain spawn bags. This adds an extra step into the process that ultimately presents a higher risk of contamination and an increase in the time taken to yield mushrooms as you must wait for your grain spawn bag to colonise, whereas when purchasing grain spawn it will arrive 100 % colonised. It would be recommended for your first grow to purchase grain spawn. After a successful harvest you can even make you’re own agar or liquid cultures from what you have grown, creating an ongoing cycle. If you have more experience growing mushrooms, liquid culture can be a great way to grow your collection, and they are much cheap to ship.
Once you have obtained or colonised your own grain spawn, its time to prepare your substrate, for this guide we are recommending the masters mix using grow bags. An in-depth guide to the masters mix can be read here: Masters Mix
For each 5lb grow bag you will use, combine the following:
- 2.5 cups of Soy Pellets
- 2.5 cups of Hard wood pellets
- 1.4 litres of water
Seal and sterilse the bags at 15 psi 90-150mins
After your bags have cooled you can inoculated them with your grain spawn. This process is best done using an aseptic technique in front of a flow hood, or using an SAB to minimise the chance of contamination to your grow bags.
Your Spawn to substrate ratio can vary widely when growing oyster mushrooms depending on the substrate you are using. When using the masters mix substrate, mix no less than 1 part spawn for ever 9 parts substrate, or roughly 10% spawn . Increase your ratio can provide quicker colonisation and reduced contamination rates if you are having issues with contamination, increase your ratio to 1:4 and gradually reduce as you become more and more experience growing mushrooms.
Luckily Oyster mushrooms will colonised at normal room temperature, between 20-24 degrees. Oyster mushrooms are known for being a very quick growing mushroom, and full colonisation of your grow bag can be achieved anywhere from 1-3 weeks depending on your spawn to substrate ratio. They do not require any light during this time.
Once the grow bag is fully colonised, it has turn fully white with the mycellium covering all surfaces inside the bag, it is ready for fruiting conditions. To encourage fruiting, cut a cross made from two 5cm lines into the front of your grow bag. Cutting too big a cross can lead your grow bag to dry out.
Unlike Enoki and Lion’s Mane mushrooms, oyster mushroom will required adequate fresh air exchange. If your mushroom are in a room bigger than a closet, this should occur naturally, however if they are in a confined space or container, fan your bags before and after misting to enhance air flow.
Mist your bags twice daily. They do not need to be wet or dripping, just a light surface moisture is required. If the bag has water droplets on the surface of the incision sight, skip the misting until its next due. Allowing the microscopic water droplets to touch the mycelium and then evaporate will trigger the fruiting of your grow bag.
Allowing the presence of indirect sunlight into the room will also have the added benefit of encouraging pinning, This is where the mycelium recognises it is time to fruit and starts to produce small pin like fruits. These then grow into harvestable oyster mushrooms
Within 2 weeks of being in fruiting conditions, your oyster mushrooms will be ready to harvest, harvest them once the veil have broken, however they have not completely flattened. This can be done simply by gently twisting and pulling the clump of oyster mushroom from the mycelium. Do not rip the fruits off as this can damage the mycelium and reduce your next flush. A clean scalpel can also be used.
You can then continue to keep your grow bag in fruiting conditions to encourage a second- 4th flush. If little to no activity is noted, you can submerge your fruiting block in water for 12 hours, then return to fruiting conditions.