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Learning to grow oysters and need advice  RSS feed

 
Posts: 11
Location: Vermont
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Went to a workshop on mushrooms where I was given some lovely oyster spawn and directions on how to inoculate rolled up cardboard. I pasteurized the cardboard, added a little bit of spawn (3/4 of it still sleeping in the fridge). Got a nice mycelium web inside the cardboard with not TOO much growing on the outside after two weeks in a plastic vented bag in dark drawer near the wood stove (admittedly, the bag was a little too small for the cardboard roll I made). After two weeks in the warm darkness, I fridged it for 24 hours and moved it to a shelf in my room. I misted it daily with water and kept it partially covered with plastic wrap on a plate (per the instructions I was given). Left for five days for a trip and had two little cute fruiting bodies. But after this, nothing. I was able to maintain those two fruting bodies for a couple weeks, but no more have popped up. I have tried to change some conditions by shredding the cardboard and moving it to a tray I used to use for growing wheatgrass (I put an unused hydroponic growing mat in there as well and there's a nice little mycelium web interspersed throughout now). It's now been over two weeks since I moved to the tray. Those original fruits have all but withered and haven't seen results since then...have been considering throwing more food (pastuerized shavings or coffee) into the tray since the cardboard seems to be underwhelming. I tried moving the tray into the basement at night and the mushrooms seemed to like that, but I heard they need some light so I took them out during the day. I live in Vermont so humidity is pretty low at the moment and the house is fairly cool (60ish degrees) except in the kitchen where we keep the wood stove.

Thoughts?
 
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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Did you have the two little fruiting bodies before you left for the trip, or were they there when you got back?

The little knots and primordial mushrooms can be very sensitive to changes in the routine they started in. Going from misting three times a day to no misting and back to misting days later can "reset" parts of the culture, and possibly use up its nutrient supply in the longer process. The fruiting conditions seem far more touchy than the colonizing conditions, you do not have the environmental control of a closed system like your colonization bag.

I prefer to grow oysters, and shitake, in wide mouth pint jars. The oysters grow in a mix of vermiculite and brown rice flour, and after they colonize the whole jar evenly you pop out the cakes of spawn and roll 'em in dry(oven baked) vermiculite. You can make a fruiting chamber with a semi-clear tupperware, humidifier, and timer set to on for 2 hours off for 30 min. It really helps to have a 6,500K florescent bulb on for 12 hours a day to get a good pinset and subsequent fruit. The closed fruiting chamber gives me much more control of the humidity, fresh air exchange rate, and temperature. If you're interested I can post longer more exacting details.
 
Heidi White
Posts: 11
Location: Vermont
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Brian,

The fruiting bodies were there after I got back from my trip and I'm pretty sure no one paid gave them any care while I was gone for those five days which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find them there. I'd be interested in finding out how I can produce some mushrooms in the tray system I have set up. I've seen pictures of it online but perhaps I have too much air circulation/not enough humidity for them to be truly happy. The tray is barely covered at this point (and I know oysters are usually grown in those plastic bags, but my source told me standing up the cardboard roll and covering it with plastic wrap would work just fine after the initial colonization and subsequent refrigerator shocking. It was difficult to stand my roll up, though, as the bottom was holding my spawn and was mashed up and uneven...

As of now there's only cardboard and the hydroponic growing mat in the tray...I've considered adding coffee or wood shavings to try and give the mycelium more food. Been watching it closely and the whole system seems to be unchanged for the past several days. I haven't used a direct lightbulb (don't have one that's easily accessible for the mushrooms and trying to minimize expenditures at the moment)...I was under the impression that they would do well under indirect sunlight, or is the lightbulb intended to produce heat and humidity? I could move it back into the wood burning stove room (toasty compared to the rest of the house) and cover it much more tightly with the plastic...
 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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Hmm, so it sounds like when you left it covered for five days it started fruiting. If it was less covered, or even had more air movement from you being back in the house, that drop in humidity could stop the fruiting cold. I am a little unsure exactly what your set-up looks like. I am imagining something like this...?



If your tray has a few inches of room above the growing mushrooms you could carefully spray there, but be careful to have minimal drops running down into the tray bottom. And spray the underside of the clear plastic covering too, anything to raise the humidity. I would cover the tray except for a little part of a corner or two, taking it off three or four times a day should be enough fresh air. You could take the cover off, mist the whole tray but not soak it, fan, re-mist the sides and underside of the cover, and close it all back up minus a corner or so. If you control the majority of the fresh air exchange in person you can make sure the humidity is jacked back up afterwards.

As for adding more food. You certainly could, but make sure it is sterile to the max. Being weeks behind schedule is already giving a lot of time for a competing fungus/mold to take root. The older your one tray gets the more likely contamination is. I think there is still hope to get a fruit out of your tray for sure, however I would also be thinking about your second batch. You could start a second "fresher" cardboard tube and colonize it in a bag while you tend to the current tray. And if you do see any contamination don't even remove the cover inside. Take it outside and clean it thoroughly, the mold spores would stick to everything inside if you did it in there.

The 12/12 light schedule I mentioned stimulates the photosensitive parts to boost fruiting, but is not crucial to it. Indirect daylight will work fine.
 
Posts: 11
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I've also recently started growing Oyster mushrooms and have had really good results with shredded sterilized cardboard and hope this thread helps a bit:

Oyster mushrooms grown on shredded, sterilized cardboard (PHOTOS)

How close are were they to the wood stove? Is sounds like they may have dried out a bit.
 
Posts: 16
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When you cut up the cardboard and added more nutes (after the primordia were forming) it disturbed the mycelium. Im suprised the coffee grounds didnt contaminate if you added them that late in the game.

When the mycelium is in a vegitative state it is thriving and especially in the case of oysters can colonize alot of different materiels, but once it goes into the fruiting stage it might not even try to colonize anything you add.

Mushrooms are nothing like plants and mycelium is nothing like roots. You can not fertilize the mycelium and expect to see the fruits grow. It is a good idea to add a tiny bit of coffee to the substrate at the time of pasteurization or spawning, but not after that.

What I would do, is take all the mycelium you've worked up and erincubate at arount 78F Incubate in the dark and let co2 build up. Once you see that the mycelium is thriving again, use that cardboard to spawn to more cardboard,with coffee grounds then continue to incubate around 78F until its colonized then dropp the temp, add light and oxygen while keeping the humididty(ish) up and you should see fruits.

Keep in mind,when growing oyster mushrooms and supplementing with coffee grounds that you will end up with mushrooms that contain caffine.
 
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Hello Heidi,
You don't need to "sustain" the fruiting bodies for two weeks. Mine usually are ripe for picking in about 4-6 days from primordia
formation. Wheat straw is a very productive medium, and I've harvested up to 4 flushes from a small kit- weighing 6 or 7 pounds and up to 8 flushes from a large 70-80 lb "column". Also using Grain spawn as opposed to sawdust spawn will start you out with way more nutrition and increase yield.
Wheat straw is pasteurized in hot water for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Heat water to 175 degrees, add straw, submerge and weigh it down. let sit,
for about two hours, remove to cool and dry. Pasteurizing in a mesh laundry bag makes it easy to handle and remove. Next add spawn, and pack it into your container... A 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled could be reused. Oysters don't require a cold shock in the fridge, like shiitakes.
 
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