China is the world’s leading producer of oyster mushrooms, but more people are discovering how easy it is to grow their own. Oyster mushroom cultivation is a rewarding experience. Once the process area is set up properly, the gardener needs only to do some simple maintenance to encourage proper mushroom growth.
A mushroom garden can be made indoors or outdoors. The process of setting up an oyster mushroom garden involves selecting oyster mushrooms to propagate, setting up the container or garden location, and maintaining the mushrooms. When selecting oyster mushrooms from the grocery store to propagate, the gardener should select a bunch of mushrooms connected with a stem base.
To prepare the initial step of the oyster mushroom cultivation, a handful of wet wood shavings like pet bedding should be placed in a small, wet brown paper bag. The mushrooms will be grown from the stem base. Simply cut off the stem base and set it inside the wet paper bag. Gently fold over the top of the bag and place inside another wet paper bag that is also holding wet wood shavings.
This paper bag can also be folded shut and placed in a plastic container. The container should be kept in the refrigerator crisper for three months. During this time, the mushroom stem sprouts and is ready to start a home mushroom garden.
Once the mushroom base has been flowering for three months, the bedding for the mushroom garden needs to be prepared. The material that the mushrooms are to grow in is called the substrate. One method is to sterilize straw in a ten to one mixture of water and peroxide. The straw should be moistened in the peroxide solution. Then the gardener can add some straw to a plastic freezer bag and some of the mushroom base.
Fill the bag with alternating layers of straw and mushroom base. Any excess peroxide water should be poured out of the bag. The bag should be kept at room temperature. Once amanita muscaria of the bag turns white with mushroom seeds, the gardener should slice a small x or small holes in the bag. The mushroom will flower out the hole in the bag. Many mushroom gardeners like to hang a bag in the kitchen and pick mushrooms from it as they cook.
Some people prefer to use sterilized coffee grounds or sawdust rather than straw. Whichever substrate is preferred should be sterilized with diluted peroxide. Some people may be sensitive to the spores of the oyster mushroom cultivation and prefer to keep the bags outside or in a garage rather than in the house. The mushrooms do best in dark places that are kept around seventy degrees.