An oyster mushroom is one of the easiest mushroom varieties to grow. However, finding a reliable and in-depth guide can be challenging. That’s why we've taken it upon ourselves to create these easy-to-follow steps on how to grow oyster mushrooms with little to no skills.
Critical supplies needed for oyster mushroom growth include:
• Oyster mushroom spawn
• Plastic bags or containers
• Bowl or bucket of hot water
• Suitable area to store the mushrooms, 10 to 25 degrees
Substrates are food sources that allow mycelium growth, which is essential in the cultivation of oyster mushrooms. Fresh coffee grounds, cardboard, sawdust, and straw are optimal oyster mushroom substrates. To prevent mold and fungi contamination, make sure you pasteurize your chosen substrate in hot water for one to two hours. You can produce homemade spawn using sterile culture or purchase oyster mushroom spawn from a supplier.
Inoculation is the process of adding your oyster mushroom spawn to the substrate. Before beginning, disinfect your hands and surrounding areas with a spray bottle containing a 1:20 mix of bleach and water.
• Spray all surfaces to kill germs and microbes.
• Carry out a squeeze test to ensure your substrate has the right amount of moisture. You want to aim for 55% saturation with sawdust and coffee grounds substrates and 77% saturation for straw.
• Mix your substrate with the oyster mushroom spawn within a sterile plastic bag or container.
• For straw, sawdust, or coffee grounds, pack 2 inches of it into your bag or container, then cover it with spawn. Repeat the layering till the bag is filled. Tightly seal the top and poke holes on the sides.
• For cardboard, place strips into a clean bag and mix spawn through each strip. Cut roughly eight 1-inch long slits across the plastic bag's sides and seal the top tightly.
• The better you mix the substrate, the more quickly your spawn will colonize.
Colonization or Incubation
Once you've finished the inoculation process, you need to provide your mushroom substrate with the appropriate germination conditions. Find a warm and dark place away from sunlight, such as a cupboard, unused room, or shed. Blue-grey oysters germinate well within 10 degrees, while pink oysters thrive in temperatures of 18 degrees. Ideally, aim for a suitable temperature range between 10 to 25 degrees.
After a few days, check for any residual moisture at the bottom. If there is any, pour out excess water and reseal the bag for about four to eight weeks, depending on the chosen oyster mushroom species. After a few weeks, white mycelia would have already developed over the substrate. If the substrate doesn't look colonized, store the container or plastic bag away for a week.
Once thoroughly colonized, move the bag or container into a lit place as light is used as a catalyst for the mushrooms to fruit. As they begin to fruit, keep humidity levels at roughly 85% to 90% using a spray bottle to moisturize the substrate daily. Also, allow fresh air to permeate through the bag and allow CO2 build-up. You can either add more holes or open the top for a few minutes daily.
After a few days of the first flush, your oyster mushrooms will be full-sized and ready to harvest. Harvest them by twisting the fruits to avoid damaging the mycelia. The remaining mycelia can be used to grow a second flush of oyster mushrooms. All you need is to do is moisten the substrate each day. After one or two weeks, you'll notice the pinning of the second batch of mushrooms. After your second harvest, you can use the substrate as fertilizer.
Learning how to grow oyster mushrooms can be an exhilarating experience. Using our provided in-depth guide, you too can enjoy the delicious harvest of oyster mushrooms at home.