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Oyster Mushroom growing at home issue

 
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Hi I am new to mushroom growing. I have started growing oyster mushroom at home as a hobby.  I tried  2 straw bags pasturized in boiling water. After innocculation the mycellium ran well for 2 weeks. After that 2 weeks have gone. No pin heads are growing.  The mycellium spread in one bag seems to have stopped spreading while the other bag has started reducing. Can some one help me in explaining.
 
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Before you see any mushrooms the bags will have to be completely filled with mycelium, at this point you would want to make sure the moisture level is up (mist the bags) which will induce fruiting.

When you say one bag is reducing do you mean that the mycelium is turning yellow and getting slimy looking?
If that is happening then you would need to add some sterile grain or straw that has been soaked well, that is an indication that there is no more food for the mycelium to feed on.
I get my best results in bags that are a  mix of grain and straw, the grain has more nutrient value to the mycelium than the straw does.
The absolute best results are normally from hard wood chip filled bags since oyster mushrooms are found on logs in nature, oak is the best nutrient source for oysters.
 
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I start oysters by using liquid culture onto a sterilized grain bag.  After the mycleium has fully colonized the grain bag (usually 5 lbs), I then put some of it onto pasteurized straw bags.  There is a lot of good youtube videos.
 
Shashi Prasad
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Bryant, thanks for your response and suggestions. Can you tell me how to make mycellium spread faster and cover the whole bag. I mentioned that I am trying now to keep the bag in a Oven at 20-25 degC with a tray with water below the bags to increase humidity. Do you think it will help spread of mycellium?  The bag where mycellium growth has reduced looks very wet at bottom and dry at top. The mycellium though reduced looks to be restricted in the middle. I think it is all because of humidity issues. I plan to change the bag as it has also ruptured at top, after misting the top and making more holes at bottom. As suggested by you I will ad some more spawn also.
 
Shashi Prasad
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Hi Bryant, I am sorry I mentioned adding more spawn in the bag where mycellium growth has reduced  while you suggested adding grains. I will add only grain. The mycellium in that bag has not changed colour. Do you think it may be a good idea to repaaturize it with wheat grain and innoculate it again?
 
Shashi Prasad
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Good news. The bag where mycellium growth was reducing was opened df by me to add some grain and transferring it to another bag. But then I saw pinheads on the mycellium which was remaining. I am confused now. Whether I should put this block of straw back in the bag or keep it open? I have sprayed water on it twice today.
 
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I think it will need containment of some sort to maintain moisture, otherwise it will dry out.

I have had bags of inoculated substrate flush multiple times for over half a year before exhausting it. Just be patient. And yes, as Dr. Redhawk has suggested, make sure they have enough of the right kind of food.

Also, repasturisation shouldn't be necessary unless you have issues with competing organisms. If you have concerns about mould or competing fungi, I would suggest first doing a complete cleanse of the mushroom area, and then adding to your maintenance routine an anti-bacterial misting spray in water misted into the air before opening the substrate containers or bags.

In the past, I would have suggested a dilute solution of bleach and water, but I wonder now if there are less-toxic methods of sterilising an area. Vinegar, I wonder, or a solution of baking soda and water, on the basic end of things. Perhaps a UV light or windows open to full sunlight the day before working with the mushrooms?

-CK

 
Shashi Prasad
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I have 3 fruit bodies on pine needle substrate and almost same on wheat straw sustrate. But only one fruit on pine needle looks big and other fruits are much smaller. On wheat straw substrate one fruit body has multiple fruits growing well. But many fruit heads and pin heads have dried. Please help in identifying the mistake.
20181111_184655.jpg
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Pic of fruit body on pine needle
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Pic of healthy looking fruit body on wheat straw
20181111_184655.jpg
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Pic of dried heads on wheat straw
 
Shashi Prasad
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Sorry, the 1st pic is also dried heads. The fruit body on pine needle substrate is attached here.
20181111_182426.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20181111_182426.jpg]
Pic of fruit body on pine needle
 
Dennis Bangham
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One important lesson I always learn on growing mushrooms on logs, or sawdust or straw bags, is patience.  It took a year and a half for my shiitake logs to produce anything more than one or two mushrooms.  Yesterday I filled up an Aldi plastic shopping bag with fresh shiitake. THe recent cold snap set them a popping out of the logs.  I have delegated unproductive but very myceliated bags to the compost function in my garden only to see them produce nice mushrooms on first warm spell.
 
Shashi Prasad
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I made anew oyster mushroom substrate bag. I added wheat grains for enhancement of the substrate. I am surprised to see that wheat grains have germinated and now growing into wheat grass. I am not seeing much of mycelium in the bag. Please help to suggest the course of action.
20181118_123213.jpg
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Shashi Prasad
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This bag was inoculated 5 days back.
 
Dennis Bangham
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Don't think you sterilized the substrate enough.  Should be in a pressure cooker at 15 psi for 90 minutes for a 5 lb bag of substrate.
Grain should be sterilized.  Straw can be pasteurized by a hot water or cold water and lime bath.
 
Shashi Prasad
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Thanks Dennis for your reply. May be you are right as I only pasturized the grain with straw. Didn't sterilized the grain. Is there something I can do now without throwing the bag? Can mycellium overcome the wheat straws given time? Should I wait to see if moulds grow before throwing the bag?  
 
Dennis Bangham
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Put it in a dark area. Light should only be needed for pinning.  Wait to see if anything other than mycellium grows.  You can always use it as compost.  Sometimes the rejects grow mushrooms out of the garden.
If you do not have a Pressure Cooker look into using wood pellets and hot water.  Wood pellets are sterilized when they undergo pressure and heat to take sawdust and make it into pellets.  Hot water turns it back to sawdust.  40% wood and 60% water (by weight) is what I use.  Straw can be soaked in a lime bath and drained and used that way. The lime needs to be Calcium Hydroxide or Hydrated Lime, also known as Quicklime and it increases the pH.  Make sure it has less than 10% magnesium.  Hi-Yield horticultural lime at your local nursery is the recommended brand for small batches. Adding about 3 pounds of hydrated lime (a big double handful) to a barrel of water will yield a high pH, around pH 12-13, which is sufficient to pasteurize straw in about 4-6 hrs.  
 
Shashi Prasad
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Thanks Dennis, I have kept the bag in a closed drawer. I don't know if this will help. Otherwise I will do the same as suggested by you, through it in the garbage dump. I just wanted to know if moulds will grow in darkness?
 
Dennis Bangham
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The environment required to grow mushrooms will also grow moulds and other.   To give your mushrooms a head start with high inoculation percentages helps.  

Oyster can kick butt if needed.  Just give them what they need to get started.
 
Shashi Prasad
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Thanks Dennis. Till now I have grown Oysters in 2 bags, 1 glass bottle, 1 yogurt container and a plastic bottle. Most of the substrate were Wheat straw alone except 1 in dry pine needle. The were non enhanced pure straws. All the containers got only one fruit body and mostly the sizes were small. The biggest was in the Glass jar.

What should I do to increasing number of fruit bodies and size? Some of the photos are here.
20181111_182729.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20181111_182729.jpg]
Pic of a single fruit body on wheat straw in plastic bag
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[Thumbnail for 20181114_185901.jpg]
Oyster in glass jar
20181111_182426.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20181111_182426.jpg]
Oyster on pine needles in a bag
 
Dennis Bangham
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I usually keep the bag on my straw and usually poke holes but you can also cut slices into the sides.  Keeping the bag on helps reduce the drying out and will influence where the fruits will show. More holes will result in more fruits but smaller in size.  Slices may result in larger bunches but fewer.
I would not worry too much about the size of fruits because it can be determined by the quality of your culture and environment and many other things. Also pick before fruits flatten out because they will spore like crazy.  
Go for multiple flushes and when you think it is done take off the bag and bury it near a tree of bush.  You may get surprises later on.  
 
Shashi Prasad
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Thanks Dennis. May I ask you what is colour of oyster spores? Black or white? I find some white colour paint like thing around the yoghurt can which has fruited but not harvested yet.
 
Dennis Bangham
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White
 
Shashi Prasad
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Thanks. How can I use these spores to preserve for a long time in my fridge?
 
Dennis Bangham
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If you can spare $9 go search for "Lets grow mushrooms" by Marc R Keith, also known as Roger Rabbit in many forums. One of the videos that you will get covers that subject.  
I don't bother since I can purchase Liquid Cultures or grain that is ready to go on a substrate or expand to make more.  I use them right away or I can forage for fresh edible and medicinal mushrooms.  Once you learn how to clone and store cultures you will be helping others.
Marc will show you the very strict methods of growing mushrooms that commercial places need to consider.  There are numerous youtube videos on how to make it simpler and cheaper but you might have a few batches that don't do well. Learn from Marc and then learn the shortcuts.  
 
Shashi Prasad
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Thanks Dennis.
 
Shashi Prasad
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Hi, Dennis, I kept the wheat grass bag in dark. The wheat grass is becoming yellowish. There is hardly any mycelium growth.

Can I sterilize the straw with wheat grass and re-innoculate it? I read somewhere that nitrogen helps improving the quality of mushrooms. So I was thinking to leave open the bag and let it dry completely so that wheat grass also gets dried and gives nitrogen to the substrate. I can then sterilize/pasturise the straw and wheat grass together and re-innoculate it. Can it help?

I am wondering why mycellium is not growing in this bag with wheat grass? Is it because of nitrogen?
 
Dennis Bangham
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Yes.  Make sure it is at field capacity for moisture (55% to 60%). Sterilize and inoculate but keep in the dark and around 70F until colonized. Poke small holes on sides. Then put in humid low light environment and wait.
 
Shashi Prasad
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Hi Dennis, is it really necessary to put the bag in dark even after sterilizing? I understand moulds also grow in darkness and humid condition. I have seen people advising poking small holes in beginning itself and make bigger holes when pin heads start showing. If we don't make small holes there will be a build up of CO2? Is CO2 not harmful for mycellium growth?
 
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Hello,
Pleurotus ostreatus grows well on unsupplemented straw. You just need to pasteurize. Do not use conifers substrate because the oyster mushroom that likes that kind of substrate is Pleurotus pulmonarius (and it needs warmer temps to fruit). If you are sure the quality of the mycelium is good repeat your experiment being sure you compact the straw layers into the bag (wood in nature is dense). Apply a filter on the bags because mycelium needs to breath. When the bag is fully colonized make holes around it (like "crosses", if you use a 4 blade darth is easier) and don't remove the bag to reduce water evaporation. Then put the bag in fruiting conditions..this means temperature, oxygen and light. You are sure to give good oxygen if they don't grow like a coral with long stems and tiny caps. And of course, humidity, remember to mist every day. Be sure to don't use a straw that's too much wet or mycelium won't colonize it (generally happens on the bottom part of the bags where water drains). Keep patient and I suggest to buy the videos a user here suggested: Let's Grow Mushrooms.

Ciao,
F.
 
Dennis Bangham
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[quote=Shashi Prasad]Hi Dennis, is it really necessary to put the bag in dark even after sterilizing? I understand moulds also grow in darkness and humid condition. I have seen people advising poking small holes in beginning itself and make bigger holes when pin heads start showing. If we don't make small holes there will be a build up of CO2? Is CO2 not harmful for mycellium growth? [/quote]

Shasi,  The darkness will keep your substrate from growing.  A low level light would not hurt but you should mimic the way they grow naturally.  The colonize underground or inside the tree out of the light. Different mushrooms have different needs as to CO2 levels.  You should make holes after inoculating and then cover them with micropore tape to prevent other things from getting inside.  A Paul Stamets book is a good resource for this kind of information.  
 
Shashi Prasad
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Thanks Dennis, I will do as you suggest.
I have innoculated some news paper recently. While pasturizing and taking the newspaper my hands got lot of colour from the ink. I have read that people do grow oyster on newspaper or old stock piles of A4 papers accumulated in houses and offices. Now my doubt is if the printer ink on A4 size paper or newspaper is harmful and the mushrooms grown on them can take some of the harmful materials in the ink? Please guide me.
 
Dennis Bangham
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I cannot comment on newspaper ink but the oysters should break down any toxins if there are any.  As to edibility I am not sure.
I can suggest taking a local or store bought mushroom you want to expand by using plain brown cardboard.  Heat cardboard up with hot water, let cool and unravel the layers and put in mushroom bits and  roll it up.  Then put in plastic bag for a week or two.  Let it grow and expand and then remove the mushroom bits and put this into pasteurized straw for oyster or sterilized wood shavings for others.  Reishi and oyster are strong growers and this will show how easy it can be to make your own.
 
Shashi Prasad
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I didn't understand meaning of "breakdown ink"? Do you mean it will neutralize it or absorb it?  In case the mycelium grows on the newspaper, which is happening as I have innoculated small amount of it already and I use them only as spawn will the mushroom fruit will still remain toxic if they have absorbed the toxins?

If I innoculate cardboard as suggested by you should I use it only as spawn or even growing oyster mushrooms? I have put Oyster Spawns in cardboard mixed with sterilized broken wheat and sterilized whole wheat separately. Mycelium is growing well in it.
 
Dennis Bangham
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Oyster mushrooms are frequently used in soil remediation.  That is to remove toxins and oils from the soil.  They can break down these chemicals into less hazardous forms.  That is about my extent of knowledge on remediation. I cannot know what the ink is made of and I would not know what the mushrooms would break the chemicals down to.

The mushrooms grown on cardboard can be used to inoculate straw or sawdust or another interesting aspect is to inoculate wood dowels and use them to plug logs.  I have shiitake, reishi and oyster logs in my back yard.  You could even do wood chip beds with some kinds of mushrooms. I recommend buying Tradd Cotters book since he shows many methods that you can do at home.
 
 
Fabio Rinaldi
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Paul Stamets writes inks -often- are soy based, so can be used to produce mushrooms...but honestly i'll use your mycelium to inoculate other substrate that's not paper with ink..so you can expand your mycelium mass.

Everything thay contains cellulose can be used..straw is easier because its low nutrients rate (= less food for molds), and it's dried (=not contaminated with other mushrooms).

The Tradd Cotter book is very useful but in my opinion you need to read a bit of 'standard' process with Growing Gourmets and Medicinal Mushrooms, first. There's a lot of theory there, but it's interesting and creates the base for a strong mushrooms production.

F.
 
Shashi Prasad
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Hi, after going through Kotter book many of my problems got resolved. However a few are still remaining.
1. Very thin long stem and small head of florida Oyster Mushrooms. Though from same spawn I got good size of oyster mushrooms but recently 1 crop went totally haywire. The stems became thin and long and head became small. When I looked around I found one of the reasons as High CO2 concentration which was likely as the substrate was eggtrays which have high carbon content. May be I have to add som wheat bran and keep the container in a high air exchange area in future. This should be true even for cardboard substrates.

2. The 2nd more intriguing phenomenon is short thick stem and short head. Almost opposite to 1st one. I don't see any way I gave exposed the substrate to high oxygen.

Any help in this matter will be appreciated.

 
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As a mushroom professional I see a lot of comments where terminology is mixed.

Different substrates need to be treated differently. Some need to be pasteurised [straw] some need to be sterilised [Wood dust] some may never be sterilised [straw]. So make sure your answer is related to the correct substrate.
And boiling straw is never a good idea. Because boiling means above 100 C and you should never boil your straw.

I would be reserved in using pine needles as a substrate. Especially when you are a beginner. Straw is by far the easiest to learn to grow mushrooms. My advice: Use chopped straw. Easier to handle. :-)

Dry mushrooms are in most of the cases related to the environment [To dry] or waiting to long with harvesting.
On our YouTube channel [rotterzwam] we offer several videos on how to handle mushrooms.
This one is on dry mushrooms. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0gql3TIM50&list=PLhXTewbEDkBdP-NJyKlG4xL13t46La0-I&index=7&t=0s

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Siemen
 
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