When you think of mushrooms growing, do you picture shady woodland groves with layered pine needles and soggy leaves? If you do, you’re right. Mushrooms love damp, shady spots under a canopy of trees, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow them at home.
Homegrown oyster mushrooms are ideal for novice fungi growers. For the best results with your mushroom garden, get started with an oyster mushroom kit. Depending on the kit, it usually comes with a bag of grain spawn sealed in a plastic bag and instructions for oyster mushrooms growing.
Imagine your first batch of oyster mushrooms popping up in no time. Sometimes, it seems that they grow more if you just take your eyes off them. Not only that, but homegrown mushrooms are also silky, plump, and delicious.
Read more about how to grow oyster mushrooms at home, and the steps to start planning your mushroom garden.
Fun Facts About Oyster Mushrooms
You can find edible oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) growing on the dead hardwood and conifer trees throughout northern temperate zones. They’re saprotrophic, which means they feed on dead organic matter.
The cap of mature oyster mushrooms, also known as basidiocarps, grow from 2 to 10 inches in diameter. The caps are shaped like oyster shells.
Stalks form from the side of the caps. When the caps begin forming, they’re only the size of a pinhead.
Depending on the species of the oyster mushrooms, they can be white, brown, yellow, gray, tan, pink, or blue. The light you expose them to can affect the color of your mushrooms. Mature oyster mushrooms produce large amounts of white or lilac spores.
Oyster mushrooms aren’t only fun to grow, they’re nutritious. Oyster mushroom benefits are that they’re low in calories and full of protein, vitamin B6, vitamin D, potassium, folate, minerals, and fiber.
It’s Not Hard to Grow Oyster Mushrooms
As long as you make sure your oyster mushrooms have optimal growing conditions, such as temperature, moisture, and light, it’s not hard to have a bountiful crop.
Even if you don’t have a large backyard for a garden, you can still grow mushrooms. They don’t take up much room, and you can also grow oyster mushrooms in containers inside your home.
What Are Oyster Mushroom Spawn Kits
Oyster spawn kits include ready-made, colonized spawn. The spawn is the oyster mushroom mycelium that grows on the base of a grain of millet or rye that’s been sterilized with steam. The mycelium is interwoven filaments from the stored culture.
If you’re adventurous, you can try producing your own spawn, but it’s a complex process for the home grower. This is why oyster mushroom growing kits are much easier to use.
You can also purchase spawn from mushroom manufacturers. These manufacturers follow strict quality guidelines so you know you’re getting safe, high-quality spawn.
Substrates for Oyster Mushroom Growing
You can use several substrates for cultivating your oyster mushrooms. The substrates give your mushrooms the food, energy, and nutrients they need to grow. The following substrates support the biomass your mushrooms need to mature:
- Wheat straw
- Corn cobs
- Rice stalks
- Coffee grounds
- Peanut shells
- Cotton pulp
Using any of these natural substrates are an eco-friendly way to reduce paper waste and garbage disposal. You not only grow your oyster mushrooms with sustainable products, but you also get to enjoy your oyster mushrooms taste when you harvest.
How to Use Oyster Mushroom Fruiting Kits
When you get your oyster mushroom fruiting kit, the growing substrate will be in a tightly tied bag. Make sure you don’t open the bag. You don’t want to lose the humidity sealed inside.
Before you get started growing your oyster mushrooms, ensure that you have a few basic requirements for optimal fruiting. These include indirect or fluorescent lighting and temperatures from 75 to 90 degrees, depending on the type of oyster mushrooms you have. Your kit should include instructions for the best growing conditions.
Once you have the correct lighting and temperature, follow these steps for growing your mushrooms:
- Check that your bag has holes so your mushrooms can sprout.
- Place the fruiting bag in a shallow pan or dish.
- Pour a little water into the pan or dish.
- Spray a mist of water on the outside of the bag.
- Place the humidity tent loosely over the bag.
- Cut small slits in two corners of the humidity tent for gas circulation.
- Mist the bag every day after removing the humidity tent.
You can repeat these steps after you get your first fruit. Most oyster mushroom kits will fruit several times.
How to Grow Oyster Mushroom Using Spawn
If you’d rather collect your own substrate and grow your oyster mushrooms from spawn, these tips can help you get started. You can use any of the substrates listed above. If you’re a coffee drinker, start saving your coffee grounds every day.
Collect the coffee grounds in a gallon container that has a screw top or you can use a bucket with a lid. Lightly sprinkle your spawn into the container.
If you have a lot of coffee, you can add two cups of spawn to five gallons of coffee. Gently stir the spawn into the coffee grounds. Leave a couple of inches at the top of the bucket for your mushrooms to grow.
Check your container every day. Once you see it turning white, your spawn starts colonizing. Leave the cover ajar to circulate air but not get too dry. You can moisten it if you notice it drying out.
Once the coffee mass is solid and turned white, it’s fruiting. You’ll notice tiny mushrooms growing after a couple of weeks. You can spray them with a fine mist of water and leave the lid ajar each day. When they finish growing, you can harvest your oyster mushrooms.
Just like the mushroom growing kits, you can add about two cups of water to your container to moisten the spawn media and repeat the steps for more fruiting.
Get Started With Your Mushroom Garden
Whether you choose spawn or a complete kit, it’s easy to grow nutritious oyster mushrooms at home. If you give them the right lighting, temperature, and substrate, you can have a successful oyster mushroom garden.
Contact us for more information on growing mushrooms at home. We can help you choose the best fruiting kits or spawn for your needs.