Oyster mushrooms can be an easy-to-grow and protein-rich option for your garden. This food is quick to cook and you can add them to a variety of cuisines and dishes. As they are quite expensive in the market, growing them on your own is a viable alternative. Here’s how you can do so.

What you will need?

You will first need a substrate which is the growing medium for the mycelium. The mycelium is the vegetative part of the mushroom and is essential for the cultivation of mushrooms. The most commonly used substrate for the growth of mushrooms is straw. However, you can use what’s available like wood pellets, cardboards, agricultural waste by-products, sawdust pellets, or coffee grounds for example.

You will also need Oyster mushroom spawn and containers or growing bags.

Your substrate should have the right conditions for the mushrooms to grow while prohibiting other organisms that want the same nutrition. 

  • If you are using straw as a substrate, soak it in hot water (149F to 176F) for about 2 hours to pasteurize it. 
  • If you are using sawdust pellets, then let them absorb in water for an hour which is equal to weight of the sawdust pellets. Once they are hydrated, break the pellets up.
  • If you’re using coffee grounds, make sure you are using fresh ones produced within the last day.

1. Inoculation 

The process in which the Oyster mushroom spawn is added to the substrate is called Inoculation. Your hands should be clean and you should be wearing surgical gloves before you begin working with the substrate.

  • All surfaces should be wiped with bleach to kill any germs that might be present. The growing substrate should be damp and neither too wet or too dry. 
  • The oyster mushroom spawn would require mixing with the substrate using a sterilized container.
  • Next, place the growing medium into a bag with small air holes for permitting air exchange.

2. Incubation

The colonization of the substrate begins in the incubation phase when the first phase of growth starts. Keep the oyster mushroom farm in a dark and warm room with temperatures between 68F to 75 F.

In about 10-14 days, you will notice a spider web or white growth that starts to colonize the substrate. You may begin the fruiting process when it is entirely white.

3. Fruiting

You need to get a number of conditions right to begin the fruiting process, so you can imitate how they grow in nature.

Expose the bag to more light by opening the curtains in the room but don’t place it in direct sunlight. Also, they will need fresh oxygen access, high humidity, and cooler temperatures to thrive successfully,

You will begin to see the mushroom pins develop over the next week. You need to maintain the humidity by spraying them frequently.

4. Harvesting

When the edges of the mushrooms show a curling effect, they are ready to harvest. Harvest the fruit bodies before the spores begin to release by twisting to make sure that stubs are not left on the growing medium you have chosen.  You should pick all the mushrooms in one go from a cube. 

Unlike what you may have believed, mushroom oysters are not that hard to grow. If you get the inoculation process right, the rest of the process is simple to nail.