Thanks to the Astrotas presentation last year I have been roped into talking about how to grow oyster mushrooms at home, cheaply and easily using readily available supplies and non sterile techniques. SIMPLE in theory but I have yet to actually get some mushrooms although my spawn is coming along nicely after two failed batches which succumbed to mold.
For safety please only use food grade cleaning solutions, implements and substrates (including paper or cardboard) – whatever your mushrooms eat will be what you eat! Mushrooms are fresh food – don’t eat any that are slimy or spoiled. Cut them and store in paper bag in fridge before the edges unroll to prevent spores being released into the home ( these can cause allergies).
” oyster mushrooms are very easy to try as they usually have mycelium on the stem butts, they love coffeee grounds and are very vigorous (even if you get some contamination they out compete mould under most circumstances if left alone. Should you get some spots of mould quickly remove them and try a cooler temperature to help the mushrooms get the upper hand. Also you can try filling a spray bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide and give the mold some sprays. Mycelium is actually very tolerant of peroxide so it makes a good choice for keeping things clean.)” ~ http://www.instructables.com/id/Gourmet-mushrooms-in-an-old-coffee-cup/?ALLSTEPS
either purchase spawn or start your own spawn from oyster mushroom stembutts. Follow these instructions from the mad bioneer http://madbioneer.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/coffee-ground-mushroom-spawn.html This batch has been raised in reboiled coffeegrounds without topping up – I just innoculated the grounds with oyster stembutts in a ratio roughly two parts grounds to one part stems to give them a head start and left them in the fridge till I could see mycelium growing through.
Tips to give your mushroom culture a head start against competing germs:
- sterilize all work surfaces containers and implements with heat, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
- wash hands thoroughly
- wear a mask
- work under a fanhood
- Collect coffee grounds for substrate in sterilised containers with lids – keep in fridge or freezer until ready to innoculate if not using immediately
Optional – running the mycelium onto corrogated cardboard before transfer to a bulk growing medium as described by Paul Stamets book “Mycelium Running” which is in the State library http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzmwLrDkruk
Prepare straw for bulk substrate if you want more than coffee grounds using hydrogen peroxide http://www.ehow.com/how_7537106_grow-mushrooms-peroxide-method.html
Pasteurisation – 63 deg C for 60 minutes http://substratecalculator.info/
Q: Should I Pasteurize or Sterilize My Bulk Mushroom Substrate (or neither)?
A: You should always pasteurize your substrate & not sterilize it. The reason for this is because you won’t be innoculating your bulk substrate in sterile conditions like you would if you were doing, say, the PF Tek. You pasteurize a substrate by holding it at 140 degrees Fahrenheit to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 90 minutes.
By only pasteurizing & not sterilizing your bulk substrate, you allow a select group of microorganisms to survive the pasteurization process. These microorganisms in your substrate won’t harm or inhibit the mycelium you’ll be spawning to it, but they do inhibit the growth of molds & other bacteria that may land on your bulk substrate when you’re spawning to it. Pasteurization also ensures that you kill all mold spores, seedlings & most bacteria & other harmful organisms that would otherwise prevent the mushroom mycelium from properly colonizing your substrate.
If you were to sterilize your bulk substrate prior to innoculation, if some mold spore or bacteria were to land on your substrate during the innoculation process (and they most surely will), they will thrive in an environment with no biological competition for the nutrients in your substrate (since molds/bacteria grow at a significantly faster rate than mycelium, the mycelium doesn’t actually count as competition until it has fully colonized a substrate. When mycelium as fully colonized a substrate, it is all but 100% protected from contamination).
How “Wet” Should My Prepared Bulk Mushroom Substrate Be?
A: Your substrate should have enough moisture added to it to bring it to what is referred to as “field capacity”. Field capacity is a term used by mushroom growers (amongst other professions) to refer to the perfect amount of moisture in a given substrate.
To get a rough idea of field capacity, it’s about what a wrung out sponge feels like. If you can pick up a handful of your substrate and hold it in your hand and no water drips from it, then you can squeeze that same handful of substrate kind of hard and only get a couple droplets of water & then lastly, squeeze that same handful of substrate really hard and get a small stream of water for a second or two and then it stops, that’s about field capacity.
Here is an excellent video on YouTube demonstrating how to check your substrate for field capacity.
Spore mass slurry method http://madbioneer.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/spore-mass-slurry.html developed by mycologist Paul Stamets as a way to spread spores over a wide area to help them create mycelium mass.
Further reading in my bitmark collection of websites http://bitly.com/bundles/o_7fsbd1rqgo/1
For the well serious student Milkwood permaculture is sending over Will Borowski Mushroom Cultivation: May 2013 When: May 4 2013 – May 5 2013 9:00am – 5:00pm Where: University of Tasmania – Hobart http://bit.ly/VlONJY?r=bb.
Where to Purchase mushroom kits/spawn
Fungi Culture Attractive counter top box of pearl oyster mushrooms, simple and fully guaranteed kit just open the box and keep moist http://www.fungiculture.com.au/products/pearl-oyster-mushroom-kit
FUNGI Located in Queensland and ships australia wide. http://www.fungi.net Logs or dowel spawn Oyster (white blue and brown) and Shiitake, King Stropharia spawn, button and swiss brown kits. (UPDATE: not reccomended – tried two kits stropharia and shiitake but no mushrooms, worse – won’t answer my phonecalls or emails)
jennys plants, melbourne sells Funghi Mara kits on ebay
The mushrooms may be cultivated by 3 methods:
1. Garden Log Method (shiitake, oyster)
Fresh, green logs approximately 50cm long may be split and seeded with the spawn and then secured together and left to incubate in the garden, Mushrooms start to appear 3 – 6 months on birch wood, and in 8 – 12 months on oak and beech wood. Inoculation may be done all year round. The result is a decorative garden feature which produces edible mushrooms in Spring and Autumn.
Note: Conifer /cedar wood is not suitable for seeding the mushroom spawn.
2. Sandwich Ply Board Method (all)
The sandwich boards are made of specially prepared steam sterilized poplar wood which are used as a “starter” base for the mushrooms, in much the same way as corrugated cardboard method. Once growth is established, the sheets are then transferred to a suitably moist, shady location in the garden where the mushrooms are then picked seasonally. Note: A garage or cellar location with a temperature range of 20 – 30 deg C is is ideal for incubating the wooden sheets.
3. Straw Compost Method (shiitake, oyster)
AQIS http://www.aqis.gov.au/ quarantine regulations. Cultures and/or spawn of certain varieties listed on table 1 of the website may be imported from overseas on agar plates, vials, test tubes, straw, sawdust, wood plugs or grain carriers. An import permit is required (fee applies but it is valid for at least a year and can be used for multiple consignments) and each consignment should have a manufacturers declaration enclosed.