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Oysters and phonebooks  RSS feed

 
Haru Yasumi
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[center]I try some mushroom cultivation projects every year, mostly because I need to justify having this big pressure cooker   This year I grew mycelium from an old liquid culture of oyster mushrooms on some soaked/cooked/sterilized wild bird seed. 


I have read people complain about how sunflower seeds aren't very good for mushroom cultivation so I tried skimming them all out of the wild bird seed jars and made a jar with sunflower seeds + some cardboard off of the packaging from a 6-pack.  The sunflower jar was slower than the others but still managed to do well:


I spawned one quart to this phone book.  My procedure was to soak the phone book in a very weak bleach solution until completely hydrated then I squeezed out excess water.  Then I put colonized grains between the pages and put a rubber band around the book to keep it securely together and tossed it into a plastic grocery bag that I rinsed with the weak bleach solution.  It's been sitting out in my room in this condition and growing rapidly, though I should probably block its access to light to make sure it colonizes completely before fruitbody formation.


Here's a day or two after the last picture was taken.




Mini update:



Just thought I'd share

Update - Full colonization and mushroom primordia (pins) are forming.  Baby mushrooms








Almost there:




[/center]
 
Haru Yasumi
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Been making updates - harvested 1st flush today.
 
Franklin Stone
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They look delicious!
 
Haru Yasumi
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Cooked them up with some hedgehog mushrooms and added them to a quinoa/bell pepper/spinach pasta with cheese and nettle greens yesterday and have confirmed they are indeed delicious   I really ought to start some more jars.
 
Haru Yasumi
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Wanted to make a slight update today, though I have no pictures.  I buried the colonized phone book in the garden.  I dug a shallow pit, lined it with some wood chips, put the phone book in a paper bag, and set it on top of the chips.  Then I covered it with a pile of wheat straw so it had a solid 3-4" of mulch.  I have barely watered it - only when it gets hot - but today I found 7 or 8 nice thick oysters growing out of the little mound.  Not bad - this is the 4th flush of mushrooms I've gotten from the one phone book this year   Now I just need to start more so the whole garden is eventually infested 
 
Steven Baxter
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Nathan Johns wrote:
Wanted to make a slight update today, though I have no pictures.  I buried the colonized phone book in the garden.  I dug a shallow pit, lined it with some wood chips, put the phone book in a paper bag, and set it on top of the chips.  Then I covered it with a pile of wheat straw so it had a solid 3-4" of mulch.  I have barely watered it - only when it gets hot - but today I found 7 or 8 nice thick oysters growing out of the little mound.  Not bad - this is the 4th flush of mushrooms I've gotten from the one phone book this year   Now I just need to start more so the whole garden is eventually infested 


Thats super cool, thanks for sharing.
 
Haru Yasumi
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So still no pictures of them actually growing in the ground but I did find some clumps growing yesterday.  Unfortunately I get so excited when I see them I can't help but forget what I was doing and pick them.  Anyway ate these two clumps last night   I've also been propagating these by chopping off the stem butts and sandwiching inside moist cardboard inside plastic bags.  They grow pretty well without sterile procedure this way, albiet I'm not yet a master of this technique.
IMG_4884-(Large).jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_4884-(Large).jpg]
 
Haru Yasumi
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[center]I have another picture update here - I hope no one minds my bumping my own thread shamelessly .  Well this phone book project paid off much more than I had dared hope for.  I've lost the official count but it has sent out 6-7 flushes/sets of mushrooms.  It has adapted well to the shady spot at the back of the garden underneath our large apple tree.  I don't water very often but the phone book is equipped with a solid layer of straw that's retaining moisture.  I ventured into the garden at night to check on what might be going on and decided to take some pictures of the next flush.  I need to check on them again tomorrow







I've also been saving the stem butts off of the mushrooms I pick and wrapping them with moist cardboard and paper products then leaving them in plastic grocery bags.  Oyster mycelium is vigorous so with the right amount of moisture it will grow quite nicely and seems to sometimes even overtake molds or section them off at the least.

Here's some on plain cardboard.  I use rubber bands sometimes to ensure contact but it isn't necessary




Here's one I wrapped in a paper bag that came as packaging for bread


And one I've had going for a bit longer that at some points could have used more water and food but is still doing fine.  It started growing on cardboard but I introduced some alder chips which have become assimilated into the mass:
[/center]



moderator edited to show photographs -tel
 
jacque greenleaf
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Nathan, do you sterilize the phone books, cardboard, paper products before you add the stem butts? As the mycelium grows, do you continue adding material to the mass, and if you do, must it also be sterilized?

And, for a complete newbie who lives in a semi-arid climate (low RH yesterday was 15%), what are some good ways to maintain humidity as the mycelium grows - I was thinking of a semi-clear plastic tote, with a dish of water inside.
 
Haru Yasumi
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My background with growing mushrooms started out with doing everything sterile.  I have been working bit by bit each year to try to reduce all the sterile measures I use and for this oyster mushrooms are great because they're so vigorous.  This phone book I originally soaked in a weak solution of bleach water.

The stem butt cultures involve no sterile technique whatsoever.  I simply chop the butts off on my cutting board, tear off some cardboard or paper product from the recycle bin, and raid our cabinet full of plastic bags.  I run the cardboard under water until it's reasonably saturated and squeeze out excess then sandwich the stem butt in there and wrap it up in the plastic bag loosely. 

I do continue to add materials which are not sterilized to these cultures.  I am careful to not add too much at once because I want the oyster culture to be able to colonize everything before other bacteria/fungi can move in.  These materials can be moistened before adding to the culture but sometimes I get lazy and just toss in a handful and squirt in a proportionate amount of water.

As for maintaining humidity it shouldn't be a concern while the cultures are in bags and have adequate water.  I've not grown oysters in any especially low humidity climates but for the most part if the mycelium has enough water and the mushrooms aren't in direct sun they seem to form just fine.  All the mushrooms pictured in this thread were fruited in an open-air setting both inside and outside.  It is preferable to have more air circulation during the mushroom fruiting phase than less circulation which will produce weaker, smaller, generally lighter colored mushrooms.
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Why do you need to sterilize the stuff?
 
Haru Yasumi
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Paleo Gardener - there are ways such as the stem butt technique that don't require any sterility.  The natural way doesn't involve sterilizing anything either.  Depending on the type of mushroom grown, people have other ways of propagating mushrooms but it involves having a bunch of the growing fungus on hand and is a much slower and erratic process (an incredible method when executed correctly, though).

The typical modern method for people growing mushrooms, however, is to sterilize a growing medium inside jars.  Then you introduce the spores of the fungus you want to culture and since it's in a sterile environment it doesn't have to compete with the much faster colonizing fungi like Trichoderma mold.  The colonized dowels you can buy are usually cultured under sterile environments.  In this typical method once you've got jars full of spawn (like the ones shown at the top of this thread) it is broken up and mixed with some more long-term bulk growing medium that has been pasteurized to favor the growth of your desired fungus.  For wood-loving fungi they might be hammered into wood using colonized dowels.

Without adhering to these sterile techniques success is less guaranteed.  In this instance I soaked the phone book in a weak solution of bleach as a pseudo-pasteurization method.  Another phone book I tried without the bleach this year did not turn out so well but that is almost certainly due to other variables as well.  Another benefit of using sterile technique is that you can mate and isolate strains of the fungus you wish to cultivate on petri dishes.

I have allowed many grows to fail in my attempts to try things differently than the usual methods.  Being eco-minded I am not too keen on my own usage of bleach in this instance but I'd never actually tried the method and thought I'd give it a shot.  From what I understand bleach actually breaks down to pretty benign molecules but that doesn't mean it's at all environmentally friendly to produce.
 
jacque greenleaf
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Thanks Nathan, I'm going to give this a try. I am really not interested in running a small lab to grow mushrooms - although I certainly understand why people do! I'd rather try some things that would eventually lead to a reliable crop with little more than an ordinary indoor gardening effort.

In your experience, how much does it matter that a strain grown on paper needs to continue on paper? For instance, if I got a good bed of oysters growing on paper, would it take the addition of coffee grounds in stride? Or would  it be better to start some stem butts in a small amount of coffee grounds and gradually increase the amount of coffee grounds as substrate?

What I have in mind for an eventual bed would be a plastic tote, probably one of the flatter ones meant to go under a bed, to maximize surface area, rather than a deeper one.
 
Haru Yasumi
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Jacque g - they will love both the paper and coffee grounds and they don't seem to mind a switch of diet - they are great opportunists.  I know what I described might sound like you need a lab, and it does use some lab techniques, but it's really little more work than canning something.

Figured I'd add some videos for reference here.  This first guy treats his culture kind of harshly but it seems to work for him.  I would probably add the grounds a bit slower so they are better colonized.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_ej7mC6H1U

These are 4 parts of one video demonstrating the PF tek, which is the most basic beginner method for cultivating mushrooms using sterile technique.

From the DVD "Let's Grow Mushrooms"
http://youtu.be/ZHJQrsZFQdE
http://youtu.be/a-wEPM1wpZQ
http://youtu.be/zGQok-UnyJE
http://youtu.be/cPi6q5rWi6U

EDIT:
Just checked on the mushrooms I took pictures of last night.  They are now picked and a new stem butt culture was made from them

[center]<img src="http://www.theearthgarden.org/forum/gallery/image.php?album_id=1&image_id=1676">

<img src="http://www.theearthgarden.org/forum/gallery/image.php?album_id=1&image_id=1677>[/center]
 
jacque greenleaf
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Very cool, Nathan, thank you!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Wonderful photos, thank you! 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Would brown rice work in place of bird seed?

 
Haru Yasumi
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Brown rice should work as well, though I haven't tried growing on whole brown rice myself.  The recipe for the "PF Tek" that I linked involves brown rice flour mixed with vermiculite so surely you can have success.  The key is moisture content - the grains holding water but no excess moisture on the sides of the jar or pooling at the bottom.  Most grains will work for oyster mushrooms.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Ok, thanks! 
 
Christopher G Williams
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You should avoid using whole brown rice, it is very difficult to get the moisture level correct and 9 times out of 10 will leave you with bacteria contaminated jars.

I started and ran a commercial mushroom farm for about 3 years and after trying several different types of grain for substrates(including wild bird seed) we settled into using wheat or rye 'berries' exclusively. It is the cheapest/easiest grain to get proper moisture levels with and is easy to find.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks for the warning.  I don't know if wheat or rye berries will be easy to find for me, but I'll try. 

 
richard valley
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Greetings, I've been tempted to try growing and think it may be time. I'll have to do so indoors because of the time of year. I've wanted to grow Oysters so when I looked through the titles, this thread caught my eye. Thanks for posting it.

Richard
 
Bruce Spierer
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I just completed my first phonebook grow, also inspired by this post. Thanks.

One problem I am having is fresh air exchange. As a result, most of my mushrooms are coming out very stemmy. I've found that the best conditions for the season are to keep them with the furnace, inside of a clear garbage bag that is propped up with some holes in it. I am misting it a few times a day. The problem is if I leave the bag open to encourage more air exchange everything dries out; if I close it more I get good fruiting but stemmy mushrooms.

I would like to avoid using perlite, simply to avoiding another input into the system. I am about to start fruiting another phonebook I innoculated, any suggestions to fix this problem would be great!
 
Haru Yasumi
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After it fruits once or if it has dried out considerably you can dunk the mycelium in water from a few hours up to a day then drain it off so it can rehydrate. This way you can rely on the stored reserves of water for the mycelium to take care of itself.
 
richard valley
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Re: The Oysters you have under the Apple Tree, It will be interesting to see if they will winter and return next year! Best of fortune with that.
 
Adam Gulliford
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So this post got me really excited. And I've tried to replicate twice now without success. I've been using the cardboard technique with oyster stem butts. I wet the cardboard to a point where its really moist but not sopping wet. Then, sandwich layers or cardboard and stem butts from store bought oysters. I cover loosely in two plastic bags and store in a warm closet (70 degrees F).

For the first few days all looks well. I try to occasionally mist with water bottle if it starts looking dry. After the third day mycelium growth stops. Then a few days later green mold starts to develop. The second time I tried to used a new ziplock bag (opened on one end) to improve sterilization. Anyway, it has become contaminated both times. Any ideas? Will post pics in the next go round. I really want this to work! I have phone books I want to move the established oyster mycelium to.

Thanks for any feedback.
 
richard valley
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Greetings, Just read your post about mold. We put up several batches with spawn and one with spore. So far we have had one, with torn up phone book, that has had mold growing. We have one going with spore on phone book that looks pritty good, there was something that looked like it could be a start of mold that I piched off, we'll see when we get back to our other place where it is growing.

We have some that are doing very well, the best are growing on ground and/or cooked grain and one on shreaded wood.

The one that had mold growing was also sour to the smell.
 
Haru Yasumi
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Adam, I wonder if the problem might be too much moisture? What I do with the cardboard is get it pretty darn sopping wet then squeeze out all of the excess moisture like it's a sponge.
 
Adam Gulliford
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Nathan Johns wrote:Adam, I wonder if the problem might be too much moisture? What I do with the cardboard is get it pretty darn sopping wet then squeeze out all of the excess moisture like it's a sponge.


Hey Nathan, I'm going to try another round tonight. I felt as though I had similar moisture to what you describe here. This round I will do a day by day picture analysis. Hopefully we can get some fungi going!
 
Chris Kott
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Nathan,

Thanks for your work in this area. I will definitely try oyster mushrooms if I have any trouble, but I was actually wondering about any other varieties you may have tried. I am particularly interested in growing Chanterelles, as there are several species that grow in different conditions and symbiotically with different types of plants; apparently apart from the variety I am familiar with that prefer coniferous root systems as hosts, there are, for instance, oak chanterelles. I figure by incorporating a variety into my hugel beds, the best ones for the conditions involved will come out on top, and I don't know if it works that way, but if similar species compete in close proximity, would hybrid strains develop? I don't know why, but growing a legal crop that can sell for more than pot tickles my fancy for some reason.

-CK
 
richard valley
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Nathan, Thanks for your mushroom layout. My daughter wanted to grow mushrooms, thanks to your incouragement I ordered some spawn. She did all the work and called me over to look as they progressed, they are doing well. Good on yee.
Richard
 
Haru Yasumi
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Chris Kott - I don't have any experience growing mycorrhizal fungi outdoors so not sure what to tell you about the chanterelles. If I were to start I'd probably look for the right habitat with associated trees and spread some wild chanterelles finely and densely, either blended or otherwise cut up into small pieces. My thought being that mycelium can continue growing and reform a colony in the right habitat and if that fails there are still spores present that will have a chance of forming colonies. I'm pretty sure people are able to produce sterile spawn of many mycorrhizal species which might lead to more surefire options but I have not searched down that road. I have grown pink oysters, phoenix oysters, these pearl oysters, elm oyster (Hypsizygus, different genus), reishi, and maybe a couple more. I recently got ahold of many more cultures in different conditions such as shiitake, golden oyster, king oyster, shaggy mane, wine cap, reishi, black poplar and am owed a green shaggy parasol culture. I'm sure some of them will either be successes or failures right away as they are small or weak cultures but that might mean I end up with the ones I can cultivate the best which might not be so bad.

Richard Valley - that's great to hear! Buying spawn is a really fun and easy way to get an idea of what it's all supposed to look like and what should happen. I bought this Hypsizygus ulmarius spawn bag from a local farmer's market for $15 and it's so far put on a good performance.
 
richard valley
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Nathan, My girl is so pleased with what she has growing. She sprays them regularly. They are not near the size of the ones you've shown. Maybe the amount of light? I've had her look at your pictures.
IMG_2510A.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_2510A.JPG]
 
Haru Yasumi
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Ah it looks like she's using the moistened perlite method for humidity? Yes they do need light to grow well but they also need a certain amount of air exchange to do well. The mushrooms I grew I let fruit in the conditions in my room with the exception of a water misting once or twice a day. That means less CO2 buildup around the fruits and more air circulation much like when a mushroom begins to form outside of wood or just above the ground in nature. If there is not enough air exchange the fruits tend to get a less healthy look to them. I imagine that's what is going on in that picture.
 
richard valley
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There are holes drilled in the plastic chamber, think they need more? It's very dry here outside the chamber and the mold spores. What think you?
 
Haru Yasumi
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Colonized substrate will have its own defense mechanisms. It's hard for contaminants to colonize directly on healthy mycelium and there's nowhere else to settle down. Since it looks like your daughter has more than one mass of mycelium there I would recommend she tries different ways of fruiting - not just relying on the one chamber but also trying some outside the chamber. Even with holes in the container it should be opened a couple times daily and the air fanned out/replaced. You say that your climate is dry but I wouldn't assume it's too dry for oysters. I gave my father a box of oyster mycelium that we put in a plastic tote and covered with some regular potting soil in Arizona outdoors and sure enough healthy looking mushrooms emerged. The more comfortable you get with growing oysters the more you'll realize you need not baby them.
 
richard valley
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She is out feeding, watering and milking. I'll have her read your message. Thanks


Richard


Yerani has seperated out three blocks to frute on a plate on the table there is a florescent light overhead. She plans to spray several times a day.
 
richard valley
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The effect being out of the moist chamber was very drying. Maybe it is the wood stove. They were put back into the birthing chamber, hope they will recoup.
 
Devon Olsen
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by takin pics of progress you have now inspired and fuelled a nearly new obsession with mushrooms, thats fucking sweet watchin the little ones grow out like that, thanks for postin this thread, it certainly delivers
 
Patrick Winters
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This has me wondering: any chance this would work with stacks of glossy magazines, which can't otherwise be used as compost, worm food, or weed barriers?
 
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