Oyster mushroom is a popular edible mushroom that is loved by many. Different substrates can be used for growing this oyster mushroom. But do you know which is the best oyster mushroom substrate? Let’s find out.
Oyster mushrooms are a group of gilled mushrooms, and this means they are classified as fungi. However, they are the type of fungi that is totally different from plants. Oyster mushrooms can be enjoyed in your various dishes. They are also known for their great health benefits.
So, this article covers what you need to know about growing an oyster mushroom, choosing the best substrate for your oyster mushroom, and so on. So, continue reading for some knowledge on this.
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About Oyster Mushroom
The popular edible oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) is a member of the Pleurotus genus. Oyster mushroom is a close relative to king oyster mushroom, and oyster mushroom is one of the most cultivated mushrooms around the world.
These mushrooms were first cultivated by the Germans during World War 2. Then this mushroom has now been grown commercially around the world for food.
The shape of the oyster mushroom tends to be a funneled-shaped cap. It has a white to light brown to a darker brown color. The flesh is white, then the gills appear whitish-yellow that runs up a short off-center stem. The gills of oyster mushrooms tend to be recurrent, and the stalks are short and stout.
You can find oyster mushrooms in the forest in both temperate and tropical climates. These mushrooms are saprotrophic and are mostly found as fungi on hardwood trees. They can as well be found in unhealthy dying or dying trees or on decaying conifer woods.
Surprisingly, oyster mushrooms are carnivores that kill and digest nematodes just to obtain nitrogen from them.
Oyster mushrooms are edible and can be enjoyed in various dishes such as pasta and stir-fries. These mushrooms can be eaten raw or you can cook them. They also offer impressive health benefits.
What Is The Best Substrate For Oyster Mushroom
Generally, when it comes to choosing the best substrate for mushrooms, straw is the most used for growing mushrooms. However, there are other varieties of substrate that you can go for. It all depends on what you have available.
Other substrates such as wheat straws, sawdust pellets, coffee grounds, cardboard, coco coir, as well as other agricultural waste byproducts all make an ideal growing medium for oyster mushrooms. Just go for the substrate that is easier to access.
Wood pellets are also a great substrate to be used for your oyster mushroom. This is because they come sterilized. You just need to add water to get a good growing substrate for your mushrooms.
How Do You Make Oyster Mushroom Substrate?
A substrate is a medium for growing things. A substrate is used to grow mycelium that provides the root of the mushroom. Now, this is essential for the successful cultivation of mushrooms.
Preparing your substrate refers to the process of inoculation. Now inoculation is the point where you add the mushroom spawns to your growing medium.
So, when it comes to making or preparing your substrate for oyster mushrooms, you need to be very careful not to contaminate the substrate. Contamination can encourage mold to begin to grow on the substrate and mushrooms, which is what we don’t want.
Therefore, ensure you wash your hands properly and use a clean kitchen glove. Then use mild bleach to wipe down all surfaces to eliminate any microorganisms or germs.
Once you’ve successfully prepared the growing substrate, you can then proceed to the next stage. You can learn further about how you can grow this mushroom below.
How To Grow Oyster Mushrooms
Growing oyster mushrooms can be an easy thing if you get the right knowledge about them. Although oyster mushrooms are usually seen growing abundantly in the wild, it’s quite possible for you to grow oyster mushrooms in your home.
Here is a quick guide on how you can grow oyster mushrooms at home:
To grow oyster mushrooms, you need to prepare your growing site and procure your growing materials. Here are the important supplies you will need:
- Growing substrate (e.g. sawdust, straw, coffee grounds, and so on)
- You will need oyster mushroom spawn
- Then you will need growing bags or containers (note that oyster mushrooms can be grown in buckets or even Ziploc bags)
However, you can obtain ready-made growing kits for your oyster mushrooms from some retailers.
The process of growing oysters can be broken down into 3 phases:
Oyster mushroom growth stages
The substrate material of your choice is mixed with the oyster mushroom spawn. The growing medium, which is the substrate, should be placed in the bag or container. Make sure there are holes or air filters in the bag for air exchange.
Next, place the bags in a warm dark room. This is to incubate and begin the first phase of growth.
For the spawn to grow a full web of root-like threads of mycelium and colonize the growing medium; it only needs about 10 to 14 days to achieve this.
The mushroom will begin fruiting once the growing substrate has been totally colonized by the spawn. Then the bags or containers will need to be exposed to autumn-like conditions with fresh oxygen, low light levels, high humidity, and cooler temperatures.
Doing this will signal to the mycelium to begin to produce mushrooms. Then small pins will start to sprout. So, you will start to notice oyster mushroom pins coming out from the holes of the bag.
The last surviving response of the mycelium results in fruiting. In the wild, this fruiting is a result of the response to stress from the mycelium that happens due to changes in the environment.
Hence, imitation of this stress in the form of starvation will give rise to the survival response in your bag or container.
In just about 5 to 7 days, the tiny pins sprouting will grow and develop into a full-size mushroom.
When it comes to selecting the best oyster mushroom substrate, it really balls down to which substrate you can easily obtain. Most types of substrates will work just fine. Therefore, you can simply go for what you have available.