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An experiment in wild grass as oyster mushroom bulk substrate  RSS feed

 
dan long
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I want to test wild grass as a bulk substrate for oyster mushrooms. I am inexperienced in mycoculture so can you guys weigh in so that I can give this experiment justice?

This is nearly effortless and requires zero time for me to collect since it grows next to the river where I bring my dogs to play every day. I can bundle, cut down and carry it back all while the dogs do dog things. Two birds one stone, thus the "zero time" claim.

When I say "grass" many of you are probably thinking 10:1 carbon:nitrogen ratio. The grass im describing is more similar to bamboo than lawn clippings. It grows perhaps 8 feet tall with 1-2 inch diameter stems. Actually, I have considered using them to make arrow shafts if that gives you folks an idea of what im talking about. It's not practical for me to take a picture at the moment.

I assume that the stalks are going to be high c:n similar to straw or corn stalks. It seems impractical to remove all of the leafy portion but I would chop off the top 1/4 of the bundles to get rid of the majority of the leaves.

I'm thinking I will order some grain substrate so that I can really do this experiment justice rather than try to use any of my home-made spawn (and then the question arrises, was it the bulk substrate or the spawns problem). If succesful i might think of some more low-labor/expense methdos such as spore-mass innoculation.

Chop everything into 4-6 inch pieces, soak overnight in lime solution, drain and innoculate with grain spawn (10% ratio?) outdoors. Cover with a tarp and let it do its thing for 2 weeks (weigh the tarp down to further discourage evaportaion?). Being that the stalks are so coarse, I don't think there is a high risk of things going anerobic if I weigh down the tarp.

This is the part where I need you more experienced mycologists to weigh in and tell me if my proposed methodology has any flaws. If succesful, this substrate is VERY available to me. Even more so than the "free" sugar cane bagass that, althogh doesn't cost money, DOES cost me time, labor and gas to obtain (the time being the most limited of the three).

 
John Saltveit
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I think this sounds like a great idea, and I look forward to hearing the results of your experiment.
John S
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R Scott
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Only potential flaw I see is the size of the pieces and the fact they are still tubes. Do you have an easy way to crush them or cut them smaller?
 
dan long
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R Scott wrote:Only potential flaw I see is the size of the pieces and the fact they are still tubes. Do you have an easy way to crush them or cut them smaller?


I went back and looked at them again and realized that the pieces aren't really 1-2 inches wide. Maybe closer to 1/4-1/2 inch if that.

And no, there is no practical way to crush them. I suppose I could crush each individual stalk with a hammer before chopping but that would be pretty impractical. If that kind of labor input is necessary to make these pieces useable, then I feel like I might be better off using sugar cane bagass.
 
dan long
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To anybody following this post, there has been an update on the project before it's even started. I am having difficulty finding a site that will sell and ship spawn to Taiwan. However, I have king oyster incubating right now and if successful, I will use the exhausted substrate to inoculate the grass stalks for the experiment.

I also came across a refrigerator that my father in law left in the garage. I don't know what he plans to do with it, but I am using it as an incubator. The grass stalks, when i get around to the experiment will be incubated in there instead of outdoors.

 
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