I purchased a kit for growing oyster mushrooms on teepee rolls. I have been following the instructions but after six weeks still have only one small clump of tiny mushrooms. Anyone have experience with these kits? I had plenty of mycellium(sic) visible when refrigerating the rolls. It is very dry here so I check for moisture and spraywater daily. Temperature in the room is 65-75 deg. F. Help?
Oyster mushrooms like and need lots of humidity. They do best when the RH (Relative Humidity) is over 90%. The warmer air is, the more water it will hold, and the more water you need to pump into the air to hold a given RH. One way to keep the humidity high is to encase the fruiting substrate within a plastic tent, however, this can be a problem, as...
Oyster mushrooms also need lots of fresh air. Carbon Dioxide buildup will cause them to have skinny, long stems. Mushrooms breathe like animals do.
They also need a decent amount of light. Not direct sunlight, but lots of indirect sunlight. Or a very bright fluorescent bulb, placed very close to the mushrooms. The more light, the wider the caps will get.
The size of oyster mushrooms is somewhat proportional to the size and weight of the substrate. A toilet paper roll is quite small and will never yield a very large mushroom. You can substitute other kinds of paper, such as phone books, office paper, newspaper etc. and get similar results.
If you are raising oyster mushrooms indoors be aware that that the spores will eventually cause allergic reactions in everybody that breathes them. The effects are cumulative - the more one is exposed to the spores, the more quickly the allergic reaction develops. It can take weeks to months or even years, if the exposure is only intermittent, but eventually the allergy will develop. It's actually a bit more intense than a normal allergic or asthmatic reaction, as it will include a spontaneous fever.
Using solely TP rolls to grow oysters or any kind of wood-lover probably isnt your best route. Toilet paper is pretty darn expensive and just as frankenstoen said, paper that is destined for recycling would be far cheaper. Corrugated cardboard is a great substrate since it has structure that is easily colonized by most mushrooms.
Cardboard is also an easy way to transfer cultures and expand the mycelial mass.
A simply constructed Fruiting Chamber with a clear rubbermaid tub will solve your problems with Relative Humidity. Even a clear trash bag will hold humidty. The only obstacle after that is fresh air exchange and lighting. Diffuse light works well but more important is the rate of air exchange for oysters.
The oyster mushrooms in most stores, at least the grocery stores here, are nasty looking gangly specimens that I cant imagine paying money for. Summertime and spring are great times for outdoor cultivation in most places. Im in minnesota and it's very dry here. I am starting some spawn right now for a laundry basket of straw. I have yet to see how it will go with almost no humidity.
You were right Franken', I started pouring water into the teepee bags daily to increase the humidity. Immediately they started fruiting. Thanks for the alergy tip. I will figure out a way to expand the operation beyond teepee and move it out of the house. You are correct, Clinton, teepee rolls are to expensive. But this "easy" method was intended to get familar with the oyster and see if we even like to eat them. To use cardboard as you suggest, can you give me a link with how to do it. Could I just shred the cardboard bag it and pressure cook at 15 lb. for 20 min? After cooling inocculate with grain spawn and continue as per teepee rolls?
Paper and cardboard have already been cooked during their manufacture, and don't really need to be pressure cooked. I just use boiling water to hydrate them, and once they cool inoculate them with spawn. Some people drill holes into phone books, and fill the holes with spawn. Other people will just layer the spawn between pages. I pack the spawn/paper mixture into cardboard boxes or paper bags to give it shape. You could add an outer plastic bag with holes poked in it to help keep moisture inside if the climate is dry, or just pay lots of attention to watering.
Paper is kind of hard to work with, from a consistency point of view, compared to sawdust or straw. It tends to glop together when wet and it is difficult to mix spawn into it in an even manner. You don't see many professional growers using it to grow mushrooms for this reason. However, literally tons of paper can be had for free, so it is well worth experimenting with.
If you want to learn about growing shrooms, check out the shroomery.org forums. There is a lot of info there, and tons of info about edibles, cardboard, oysters, etc.
I've seen a few folks grow oysters on phone books or cardboard, but the results are nothing like growing on sawdust or straw. In some areas, straw is also a waste product, and folks just burn it (I know, that's just crazy!).
Some people grow oysters on coffee grounds, and I hear they can be had for free from a local coffee shop.
I think the key is finding what is available in your area.
thanks for the info. I will next try sawdust made from wood stove pellets. I have lots of grain spawn left and bags from the teepee kit. I will keep the inocculated media in the bags in the dark in the house untill mycellium shows then move them out after refrigeration to the greenhouse to fruit. It is bright and warm in there and no problem with spoor in the living space. I have room agains the back wall to set up a table for open bags. It will probably get to hot in summer for oyster so may rig a misting system. The link to shroomey.org looks promosing will study more, thanks.
"Some people grow oysters on coffee grounds, and I hear they can be had for free from a local coffee shop."
I recently bought a kit (themushroomkit.com) for oyster mushrooms which uses a coffee grounds substrate. My idea is that now I have a mycelium which is habituated to growing on coffee grounds and I can keep the culture going by providing it with my own kitchen-produced coffee grounds.
I'm thinking maybe that when the kit block has finished fruiting, I can put the spent block into a container with fresh grounds to colonize. I am a complete newb at this, and would appreciate anyone's thoughts!
My idea is that now I have a mycelium which is habituated to growing on coffee grounds and I can keep the culture going by providing it with my own kitchen-produced coffee grounds.
Oyster mushrooms will grow on a wide variety of substrates. Trees, however, are the natural growth medium that oysters evolved to eat, and that is what they will live the longest on. With care you might keep this culture alive on coffee grounds for a few months, but it will eventually give out if you keep feeding it nothing but coffee. Once it is spent, you might try burying it beneath a pile of woodchips or in a mound of compost. A drastic change like that can sometimes prod it back into growth.
Before your coffee oyster bucket gives out, there are ways to keep your culture alive and begin expanding it. You can make clones and spore prints.
A low-tech cloning method somebody mentioned here already is to use wet corrugated cardboard - boil small pieces of corrugated cardboard for five minutes, cool, then layer bits of colonized coffee grounds or chunks of mushrooms (the stem buts work well and are a bit too chewy to eat) between the layers. Place this in a tupperware container in a cool location. Wait. Monitor every few days for signs of growth.
(This method is detailed in Paul Stamets' book Mycelium Running.)
You can also lay fresh oyster mushrooms on the damp cardboard, gills side down, for several hours, and allow the spores to drop onto the cardboard, then remove the mushroom (and eat it), and cover the cardboard. It takes a lot longer to see growth from spores.
Once you get good growth on the cardboard, use it to colonize more cardboard, which you use to colonize more cardboard, etc. and eventually you have enough to do more coffee grounds. (For long term storage place some colonized cardboard in a sealed container in the fridge.)
You can also make spore prints onto aluminum foil and store these prints in a dry place for months or even years, and later grow the spores out onto agar.
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