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Expanding from wine caps to oyster mushrooms

 
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Hello all fungal friends!!

So I am having extremely good luck growing wine cap mushrooms.  But in other threads I have documented my progression from a total fungal neophyte to having a basic degree of competency,  though I still have plenty to learn.

Given that my wine caps are working out very well, I am giving thought to branching into oyster mushrooms.  Firstly, I am curious how they taste and wouldn’t mind adding variety to my mushroom harvest.

Secondly, I seem to remember reading that oysters like growing on the chips already composted by wine caps.  I have also read that oysters colonize and break down faster than wine caps which would be impressive indeed given the work the wine caps have done.

Something of a complicating factor though—all of my beds at present have wine caps to one degree or another.  I know that fungi work very well with plants but don’t like to play nice with each other, what with waging chemical warfare against each other.

Are there any suggestions about how to do this, or what type of oyster to use?

I would love to hear your feedback,

Eric
 
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Hi Eric, happy to hear of your success. Oysters are easy to start in bags, i know cause i've done it. Sterilize short pieces of straw(not hay!) in a cooking pot, chuck it in a bag when cooler and layer it with mycelium, then straw , then mycelium. It will grow like crazy and colonize the bag in no time. Then you have a bag of it, which you can use to make 5 bags, which then you can use to infect the whole garden in theory. That i haven't done. I waited for them to flush and again and then composted it, never to be seen again. Have you read "Mycelium running" from Paul Stamets? It blew my mind!
Don't you think there is already some fight going on in your garden, the wine caps against wild mycelia? I wouldn't worry too much about oysters and winecaps fighting till death. Especially when you keep adding to the wine cap territory with fresh wood chips you'll give it space to escape. This guy from edible acres is mad about them too, he transplants it all the time!
winecaps edible acres
Keep it running, keep us updated pioneer!
 
Eric Hanson
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Hugo,

Long time no see!  I am not at all afraid that my wine caps are on the run!  If anything, they need some more food!  I plan to give this food as soon as I can do some serious trimming and shredding.

I was thinking about oysters because I seem to remember reading that oysters like to follow wine caps and break down the wood even better, though this is hard to believe.  Mostly I was thinking about oysters because I liked the diversity of having different mushrooms, and if they further add to my garden’s fertility, so much the better!

But I don’t really know what an oyster likes.  How much shade, moisture, etc?  I did not baby my wine caps, they grew under tomatoes that basically never got water aside from rain.  Wine caps seem bulletproof.  What would I need to do for an oyster and which oyster is the best/easiest to start with?  Can I realistically start one now?

Thanks,

Eric
 
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Oysters are very easy  and yes they do like to further break down chips that have been fed upon by winecaps (the two actually play nice when the winecaps have already flushed once).
Oysters like shade, they love oak (not crazy about red oaks though), hickory and most of the other hardwoods, as Hugo mentioned they also love any high lignin containing materials except for conifer wood. (it is the resin and acidity that stops them)
I use hickory logs since that is one of my primary tree species.

I'd start with your oldest wine cap bed, inoculate it and watch what happens, that will prep you for better success as you proceed.

Redhawk
 
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Oysters are in my opinion the best starter mushroom. I have a few logs that didn't inoculate with shiitake last year due to the very dry summer, and they got partially inoculated with turkey tail which are a bane around here. No problem, threw them in a pile with some oyster logs and they are now growing oysters.

They don't store well, but they are very good, easy to identify, and produce in abundance.

I am now building a raised bed garden from oyster logs (about 1' diameter) and they have mycelium growing into the chips in the raised bed. In my very limited experience they will only fruit from the logs, but the mycelium can go quite a ways into the wood chips and supply the fruiting bodies.

The only downside is that I may have to replace the border logs every 6 years or so, but that may be as simple as placing one on top of the old one for sort of a "raft inoculation" in the moist part o the year (here is is the late fall to mid spring) and they will probably inoculate with oysters.

I have four different strains that are supposed to fruit at different temperatures, but in reality they all seem to fruit at once!
 
Eric Hanson
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TJ,

Interesting that you say oysters are the perfect starter mushroom because I was going to say wine caps are the perfect starter mushrooms.

I know that oysters (especially blue oyster mushrooms) aggressively attack wood, even faster than wine caps, but I was under the impression (correct me if I am wrong here) that oysters were a little more picky about growing conditions (shade, moisture, etc.) whereas my wine caps from last summer got some shade from tomatoes, but other than that, they were on their own for the summer.

To give you an idea of the resilience of my wine caps I will relate an embarrassing story.

So the day after I sowed the wine caps last year, I covered the bed with a nice, thick (2-4”) layer of straw.  I then very carefully, thoroughly watered the whole bed down.  Partly this was to help pack the straw down, but also to really load up my bed with a second round of water.

After watering I collected some miscellaneous materials into a burn pile, set them on fire, watched them burn down, the fire go out and I went inside to get a drink of water (You can see where this is going).

While drinking my water, I noticed smoke—a lot of smoke.  I looked outside and my just-finished bed was on fire!!  I had just watered the bed very thoroughly just an hour earlier!  Apparently it dried out, the wind shifted and a spark flew into newly dried straw.  By the time I got the hose out, the entire bed burned from one end to another!  The recently straw-colored bed was now black!  And watered a 3rd time in 2 days.

I checked closely, and only about the top two inches of straw burned and the lower two inches were still wet and unburned.  I feared my mushroom experiment was a bust.

In the end, everything was fine and the wine caps did just fine.

So out of curiosity, can Oysters stand up to being set on fire?

Eric
 
Tj Jefferson
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Eric I have not done any of the classic tests of royalty on my fungi. I suspect oysters would be Able to get the sword out of the stone.
 
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TJ, would love to see some pictures of your raised beds when you get a chance - love the concept.
 
Tj Jefferson
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On the left is a nursery bed with a border of lions mane. Behind is the initial log walled raised bed which is colonized by turkey tail and false turkey tail. On the right is the sandy herb hill which has massive logs plugged with a different lions mane on one side and oysters on the other. I have one other bed but you get the idea.

I try to get the logs about half buried in real soil, and backfill wood chips behind to make depth. I started doing it to keep the chics from flinging the chips all over.

My upcoming massive garden will have about 18” logs on the perimeter and will get 18” of chips behind. Since the logs are partly buried it will take a year to get the chips to grade. Probably all those logs will be oysters since they are so easy. I may make some totem gardens as well using the fence pounder to set logs upright but that’s a lot of time commitment. The nursery bed took about two hours per side including bringing the logs from the plugging area with the little tractor. With a grapple would have been speedy.
D037555B-92C2-40C6-8D89-C54405AF48E4.jpeg
Raised garden beds log edges wood chips mushrooms
Raised garden beds log edges wood chips mushrooms
F3DC072E-5DAE-4D41-A464-FD0649412284.jpeg
Garden bed wood chips log edge
Garden bed wood chips log edge
 
Eric Hanson
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TJ,

I like your approach!!

Your beds look somewhat like mine when I started, that is to say that they were raised beds with logs as edges.  I estimate that mine were about 12" in diameter and mine just sat on the ground.  But you are being a bit more thorough burying yours and actually inoculating the logs themselves.

My log edges are just about finished.  Maybe I can get one more summer out of them.  I have actually pulled up and "retired" logs that looked better than the ones I currently have.  But no matter.

Good work!

Eric
 
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Oyster mushrooms.

David the Good and I put together a video where we show how to grow Oysters with 5 gallon buckets..




Oysters were very easy to grow,   I did have like a 50 / 50 percent success rate growing them, I think the fungus gnats did me in :-(

I attempted wine caps but was 100% failure on my attemps :-(

I have tried plugs in oak wood with oysters but that ended in failure as well for me.


 
Tj Jefferson
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Making a couple new garden borders today. These are shiitake logs which require isolation from oysters since they are slower to colonize. These were spawned last spring. There is a mix of three strains in different logs.

Average log size is 8” with some 6” and some up to 10”. This is on the downhill of a set of fish scale swales backfilled with wood chips which will be a primary winter garden since it has good winter exposure and wind protection from the barn.

Just have to bring in the tractor whenever I have it running next and dig them in. This area is wet enough I’m aiming for 25% in the soil and the rest exposed which seems to be happy for shiitake.
image.jpg
Logs for raised bed garden
Logs for raised bed garden
 
Eric Hanson
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TJ,

Looks very nice!

Are the ends of the logs sealed?  I can’t quite tell, but they almost look painted.

Also, is the plan to roll those logs up to the edge of that garden there?  Are the woodchips also inoculated or do the shiitake mushrooms just colonize what they colonize?

Shiitake mushrooms are personally not for me, but your setup looks great

Eric
 
Tj Jefferson
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I’ve tried wax, latex paint and nothing. I have not seen much difference in success rate with any of them. The most important factors for me have been high spawn intensity and sprinklers each day for the first six weeks unless it rains . I was gone for a while last summer which was really hot and really dry and I lost a bunch of logs, an automatic sprinkler would have saved a lot of them.

Happy shrooming
 
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