To grow oyster mushrooms at home, it is not necessary to be a specialist in mycology (the science of mushrooms), you just need to follow the instructions for growing. All instructions are quite simple, it will not be difficult to follow them, subject to great desire on your part. First of all, it is necessary to stock up oyster mushroom mycelium. It can be purchased at any company that grows mushrooms on an industrial scale, or in a special online store that will send you mycelium by mail.
For the first experiment, do not buy more than 1 kg. 3-4 kg of mushrooms can be grown from it, which is quite enough to get acquainted with the technology. Keep the mycelium in the refrigerator at a temperature of 2-4 ° C. Here we will consider the cultivation of these mushrooms in an intensive way.
The best raw material for the preparation of the substrate is straw of wheat or barley, husk of buckwheat, husk of sunflower, chopped stalks and ears of corn. You should not start with sawdust or shavings of deciduous trees, it is difficult to grow on them. Also you can buy special mushroom growing kits.
Raw materials must be clean, with no signs of mold. You will need about 10 kg of raw material, which will need to be crushed into fractions up to 4-5 cm.
In order to exclude the infection of the substrate with undesirable organisms, as well as for its moistening, it is necessary to conduct heat treatment. To do this, pour the crushed substrate into bulk dishes and fill it to the top with water. Cook for 1.5-2 hours, the softer the substrate, the less you have to cook.
Then drain the water and cool the substrate to 25-28 ° C. It should be moist, but not waterlogged. Squeeze it in your hand – water should not flow, only the appearance of a few drops is permissible.
The formation of mushroom blocks
Oyster mushrooms are grown, usually in plastic bags. Take 2 bags, such that 5 kg of substrate will fit in each of them. Packages, as well as the substrate should be disinfected. To do this, rinse them and place for 1-2 hours in a 1-2% solution of bleach.
Now that the bags are ready for use, fill them in layers with substrate and mycelium (approximately 5-6 cm of substrate, 0.5 cm of mycelium on top, and so on to the top). The last layer should also be a substrate. Then tie a bag at the neck and make a perforation. In a checkerboard pattern, every 10-15 cm, make holes 1-2 cm in size, or holes.
Ready mushroom blocks should be placed in a room intended for growing mushrooms. The incubation period lasts from 10 to 15 days. At this time, it is necessary to maintain the temperature at the level of 18-22 ° С, to air the room several times a day, to exclude the penetration of flies.
The first 3-4 days, the substrate inside the bags will heat up. The most important thing is to prevent an increase in internal temperature above 30 ° C, because this can lead to the death of mycelium. You can reduce the temperature with a fan, directing it directly to the mushroom blocks.
Lighting at this stage of development is not required. On the 3-4th day, you will notice how the whitish threads of the mycelium begin to penetrate the thickness of the substrate.
After about 10-12 days, the overgrown mycelium will completely fill the mushroom block, which will become a dense homogeneous mass of white with the corresponding mushroom smell.
The most interesting process is the period of bearing oyster mushrooms. If you waited for him, then you did everything right. But do not relax, before harvesting you still have to work hard. After the end of the incubation period in a room with mushroom blocks, you must:
- reduce air temperature to 10-15 ° C;
- provide 8-10 hours of fluorescent lighting;
- increase air humidity up to 90-95%;
- often ventilate the room (up to 4 times a day).
To maintain high humidity, you can spray water on the walls and floor of the room, while avoiding the ingress of water into the substrate. Under optimal conditions, the rudiments of fruiting bodies will appear very soon through the slots. The entire fruiting period takes 10-15 days.
In recent days, mushroom caps are growing very rapidly. This period of time is the most suitable for harvesting. It is better to twist the mushrooms from the substrate, and not cut.
After the first wave of the crop, ventilate the room well and wait for the second wave, which will please you after 2 weeks. Indoor conditions remain the same. In total there can be up to 4 waves of fruiting, but the first and second are the most fruitful – about 75% of the total crop can be removed from them.
After the 4th wave, mushroom blocks that have ceased to bear fruit need to be replaced, and for owners of personal plots they can become an excellent fertilizer.
If for you growing oyster mushrooms from scratch seems too complicated, then there is another option. Some mushroom farms, with an established business, sell ready-made mushroom blocks (substrate inoculated with mycelium) with detailed instructions on how to grow mushrooms at home.
You only need to place these bags in a suitable room where you need to create the necessary conditions for growing, and after some time to harvest.
As you can see, growing oyster mushrooms at home is not so difficult. The main thing is to have desire and patience, and then you will understand how mushroom growing can be a fun and enjoyable activity.