Monday, January 30, 2017

oyster mushroom inoculation

the mushroom spawn that arrived on the 20th of this month has been hanging out in the refrigerator while i've been gathering logs for the shiitakes and soaking some straw for the oysters.  i filled 6 buckets with straw and water a week ago.  soaking the straw gets it hydrated and kills some of the organisms that may compete with the mushroom spawn and keep it from successfully colonizing the straw.  yesterday i drained the straw and inoculated it with three varieties of oyster mushroom spawn.

three of six buckets filled with soaking straw (the bricks keep the straw submerged)

soaked straw, draining on wire screen.  oak logs in background awaiting inoculation with shiitake spawn.

i read about growing oyster mushrooms in nursery containers and since we've got a lot of nursery cans i thought it would be a good way to start---use what you've got on hand kind of thing.

layering straw and spawn into #3 and #5 nursery cans

the straw and the spawn were layered (first a layer of straw, then spawn, then straw...) until the containers were full.

king oyster, Pleurotus eryngii, grain spawn on top of a layer of straw

when the cans were full i stacked them into a little mushroom tower.  i did this for each of the three varieties of oyster mushrooms so i ended up with 3 towers (a total of 6 cans).

oyster mushroom nursery can tower 1 of 3

i also decided to try making burlap mushroom bundles because i have burlap and because they seem like a really neat thing to me.  i cut about a 4.5 ft length of burlap off the roll and dunked it in a bucket of water to get it damp.  i spread some of the soaked straw on the burlap, then spread some spawn and rolled it up.

once i had the burlap rolled up i tied it closed with some sisal twine.

then i rolled it up from one end to the other using the tails of twine to tie it as i rolled.

and i ended up with a cute little bundle of potential mushroominess.  i did this for each variety of oyster mushroom so i ended up with three bundles total.

not sure what i'll do with the bundles.  they'd be good set into the mulch under a fruit tree in the orchard garden or maybe set into a pot in the greenhouse.  we shall see.  they were a lot of fun to make.  right now i've got the towers and the bundles in a shady spot in the greenhouse keeping the snow peas company.  i set the bundles on top of the towers to help keep them from drying out.  the greenhouse isn't heated so the temperature fluctuates quite a bit from day to night but it stays humid in there and doesn't get too hot this time of year.  if it seems like the greenhouse isn't a good environment i'll look for a more suitable location. 

i'm excited to see what happens.