Do you like mushrooms? I think you do. If it’s true then you would definitely like to grow your own oyster mushroom at home. I am using a simple polybag for this purpose. It’s so easy that even your kids can do this with little help. Get up and start growing your own food today. Respect mother nature.
Oyster Mushrooms and Button Mushrooms are two common edible varieties of mushrooms. You should start with any one of these. I think you can grow both mushrooms simultaneously. There are different ways to grow mushrooms at home.
As the title suggests we are going to discuss the techniques to grow mushrooms especially in Polybags. Oyster Mushrooms are the best varieties to easily grow in polybags.
Mushroom Cultivation does not require much money and skill. It means you can grow these mushrooms in your backyard sheds. Mushroom is one of the best things that you should try to grow during this lockdown.
Don’t worry it does not require much space and time. Just a cool dark spot and 25 days of care can yield you more than a pound of Mushroom. Growing mushrooms on your own can be really exciting even for your kids.
I know managing everything during this strict lockdown is very difficult. So I have tried to explain everything that you can really afford to do at home.
If you have a small backyard or lawn then the only thing you need is a big polybag and a packet of mushroom Spores. It is weird to listen but Yes, these are called Spores. If you can’t buy one then you could use some store-bought oyster mushrooms. They will do the job.
You can read my previous article here- 10 Best Summer Flowers to Grow in April and May
Products You will need to grow Mushroom
- Oyster Mushroom Spores. Check out the price on Amazon.
- Polybags to grow oyster mushrooms. Better to Use a transparent polybag. Check the price on Amazon.
- Water Sprayer.
- Induction Stove (-I think you may have this one)
- Mushroom grow kit-(not required, just optional if you like)
- Mulch to use as growing media.
Best Materials Substrates to grow Mushroom
- Dry Straw
- Rice husk
- Coco Coir
- Coco Peat
- Cowdung Compost
- Dry Leaves or leaf mold
- Dry kitchen Waste
- Banana Peels
- Coffee Ground
- Soy Hull
- Dead plants(small plants)
- Soil is the last option. I prefer soil less cultivation of mushrooms. It is really easy to grow oyster mushrooms without soil.
- Anything biodegradable that fit in a polybag
How Do Mushrooms Grow?
Mushrooms are not plants. They are fungus. In simple words, you can say that they can’t prepare their own food like other plants.
Mushrooms don’t have any seeds, they have spores- Technically called mushroom Spores. You can’t grow mushrooms just like any other plant. They need specific climatic conditions to grow.
Mushrooms love a cool, moist environment. Technically, they can survive on any biodegradable substance. It can stale bread or rotten fruit or anything that will decompose eventually.
Just like other members of the fungus family, Mushroom grows from spores deposited on favorable material called substrates in favorable conditions.
First, the mycelium will grow then the head develops into a full-size umbrella or roof like an oyster mushroom. If you leave the mushroom attached then after few days it develops the spores and dies on its own. The spores produced will spread by the wind & grow again and this process continues.
Where Does oyster Mushroom Grow?
Generally Mushroom loves damp organic materials. The best oyster mushrooms we eat are grown commercially in the cultivation centers. In a cultivation center, dry Staw, sugar cane, or rice husks are used commercially.
These materials are low cost and highly nutritious growing substrates for oyster mushrooms.
Do you know?- Originally, oyster mushrooms are grown on tree barks. The same media was in use for more than 100 years for commercial cultivation.
Initially, mushroom cultivators hunt for these mushrooms in the forest. They usually search for a dead fallen tree. These decaying trees are the best spot for mushrooms to grow in nature. Oyster mushrooms generally grow in the barks of such trees.
We have another post, you can read this also: How to grow Chili Pepper plants.
How to Grow Oyster Mushrooms at Home
I am using Dry straw this time to grow mushrooms. Straw is one of the best substrates for mushroom cultivation. It is cheap and easily available. If you have a horse or cattle then you will definitely have a stockpiled in your backyard. Else you can use dry leaves or even any mulch that you can collect from your garden.
Choosing a substrate for mushroom growing is essential. Next, you just have to follow my steps carefully. I can definitely Assure you that if you follow these steps then you can harvest your own mushrooms in just 25 days.
Preparation for Oyster Mushroom Cultivation
- Start with deciding how many bags you wanna prepare. More bags means more production but it also means more effort and investment of resources. So this is up to you, choose the best scale that suits your capacity for space and money. Remember it needs a cool dark shaded region to grow.
- Next, select the best substrate You have. I think you can mix some and use them accordingly. Just take care of quality. Don’t use anything that already has any fungus on it. It can be harmful. So Choose any clean dry substrate for oyster mushroom. Sawdust, straw, rice husk, or dry leaves are the best available options. These are cheap and easily available in your garden area.
Purchase the Oyster Mushroom Spores
Always purchase mushroom spores from verified sellers. If possible you can get some from a cultivator. Any experienced cultivator can give you some in a few bucks. So It is not that costly.
You can buy the Mushroom Spores available on amazon. I know there are tonnes of fake mushroom sellers. So beware of them. You should only buy the edible varieties. A good looking mushroom does not mean it is safe to eat. Never take any wild mushroom to your home. I strictly forbid that. It is dangerous and sometimes can be fatal.
So a little care is required for the purchase of mushroom spores. Alternatively, you can use mushrooms available in your kitchen. You just need to be sure it is not boiled or chemically treated. Otherwise, it will definitely grow, I have tried once.
Oyster mushroom is really easy to grow at home, just follow my guide and you will definitely hit the goal. Try to grow oyster mushrooms and let me know if you face any problems.
Steps to Grow Oyster Mushroom at Home
- Soak the substrate in clean water for at least 24 hours. Excess water will help to break the cellulose portion of the substrate. Soaking is important to increase the viability of the material.
- Take out Wet substrate and let it drain for 6-8 hours. You do not need any extra effort. Gravity will automatically drain it out. Draining the substrate is essential to remove extra moisture.
- Now sterilize the substrate. Yes, you are reading correctly, you have to sterilize the substrate. This is a very important step. It is necessary because your moist substrate can contain many wild spores of a deadly fungus. This is in the rainy season mushrooms grow on their own. Sterilization will eliminate every possibility of fungal spores, insects, and deadly pests. so…
How to Sterilize Substrate to grow mushroom safe?
- Boil the substrate for 20 to 30 minutes on a high flame. You can use any kind of stove- a gas stove or an electric one. I personally like an electric stove. It is easy to carry and handle. Boiling is the easiest method to sterilize the materials before growing mushrooms. You have to sterilize all the substrate so this is probably the most affordable method.
- Heat or Roast in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. It is another method to sterilize your substrate. This method is effective but a bit costly. Another problem is that for 2 or 3 bags you have to repeat the process maybe 20 times. I think it is a quite tiring and troublesome job. So Use this for single packet preparation only.
- After sterilization let the substrate dry for at least 8 hours. The substrate should be cold and wet during the packaging process. So an 8-hour rest is enough for any kind of substrate to cool and dry enough to start processing.
- Start Preparing the bags. Before everything, First, wash your hand carefully with antibacterial soap at least for 20 seconds. This time it is not for Corona alert, it is for the safety of Mushroom spores. Start with making some holes on the polybag. 10-15 holes would be enough for now.
- Then Start filling the polybags with the substrate. Make a layer of 3-4 inches. Press gently with your hands to make it firm. Fill the bag up to the first hole. These holes will help in air circulation. Mushrooms will grow out of these holes.
- Break the mushroom Spores block into small pieces. Put 10 to 15 small pieces of the spore blocks on each layer. Again repeat with the same layering for two more layers. At last, put some spore over the bundle.
- Press the bundle gently with your hand. Try to make it equivalent to all sides. Balance the bundle carefully. Don’t apply too much pressure or the polybag may burst or tear down. Wrap the bundle carefully. Leave no air on the top portion. You can use a rubber band or string to tie a not on the top. The bundle or polybag should be firm in holding.
- Leave the polybag in a cool dry place for a few days. I have placed the bag on my desk. This is not a good option but it worked for me. You should choose a cool, dark and dry place. Too much light can damage the mushrooms. Don’t put the bundles near the window. Sunlight will kill all the mushroom spores. Be careful and don’t disturb it for the first week at least.
- After 7 days, Mycelium or spores will start growing. Make a few more holes on the polybag if required. make holes near-visible white spots. These holes will let the mushroom grow freely and come out as soon as they can.
- Spray clean water once in 3 days over the packet. If you feel that the substrate is drying then give some water to it. Use a clean syringe to apply water to the growing medium.
- Keep a careful look over it for next week and then you can harvest your homegrown Oyster mushroom.
How to Harvest Oyster mushroom
- It will take 22 to 25 days to harvest mushrooms after starting. Clean white and big mushrooms are good to be harvested.
- Just twist the mushrooms with your hand to harvest them. It is very easy. No extra effort or tool is required. Just twist and pinch your mushroom out of the polybag.
- You can harvest 3 times from each bag. I have collected nearly 2 kg of mushroom from each of my cultivation bags. If done carefully you can also do this for business purposes. Mushroom is very easy to cultivate and can earn you more than $1000 per month just from your backyards.
Note: The white dust seen on the desk are the spores released by the oyster mushrooms in the polybag.
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I have shared all my experience in oyster mushroom cultivation. I think this will be enough for anyone to start growing oyster mushrooms at home. If you are planning to start then give this post a try. Also, share your experience with my reader. I’ll be waiting for your comments. Till then, Stay tuned and Keep gardening. What is your best way to grow oyster mushrooms?
Live the Green!