July 11, 2008 at 3:25 am #244096
As promised, a tutorial on how to grow Pleurotus eryngii-The King Oyster, and Pleurotus pulmonarius-the Phoenix Oyster. These methods are applicable to other Pleurotus species, as well as Hypsyzigus species.
If you can learn to grow these species, it is easy to move on to other gourmet mushrooms such as Lentinula edodes-Shiitake and Hericium erinaceus-the Lions mane.
The techniques for generating spawn are also applicable to many other edible mushrooms, however different methods are needed to encourage fruiting.
The first step is to get some mycelium. This is the main part of the fungus, which usually lives underground or inside dead wood. This is the tricky part, because you want just the mycelium with no comtaminants. I have a special lab where I can both germinate spores and isolate mycelium onto agar plates. From there I can grow the mycelium on a variety of substrates, to be used as spawn.
Most of you will start from step 2
Obtain live spawn. If you live in Australia, visit my website ForestFungi.com.au
My spawn is coir and grains, with a pinch of gypsum.
The white threadlike growth is the mycelium.
Here’s a picture of a small bagJuly 11, 2008 at 3:30 am #355788MargoMember
HURRAH!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been looking forward to this for ages.off to the website now!!!!!
you tease!!! it’s not ready yet!!!!!!!!!!!!July 11, 2008 at 3:34 am #355789
Sorry Margo, not yet-a couple of weeks to go.
am i there yet?July 11, 2008 at 10:18 pm #355790
Ok, so small spawn bags look like that, sometimes they have only grain or sawdust.
Before the mycelium starts pinning, which is just little mushrooms starting to appear, you’ll want to crumble the contents of the bag with your hands. This will make it easier for you to distribute the spawn onto your chosen substrate. Try and do this just prior to the mycelium fully covering the substrate.
Some growers like to leave the bag for 1 or 2 days to allow the mycelium to recover before using, but I haven’t noticed any difference compared to using it straight after crumbling. That said, I generally wait for a day.
Here’s a picture of a recently crumbled spawn bag (coming)July 11, 2008 at 11:23 pm #355791
Feeding your fungus
If you left the spawn bags and did nothing, they would start to produce mushrooms. However, by making some food-or preparing some substrate-for your fungus, you can keep it alive and enjoy lots of mushrooms over an extended period.
The recipes for substrates are endless. Here are some of my recipes, tried and tested by me.
Recipe 1. 1)Soak grains for 24-48 hours. 2) Place a block of coir in a big bucket or bin, and add just boiled water-allow to expand. Follow the instructions on the coir bag as to how much water to add. 3) In another bin or bucket I start mixing a handful of the soaked grains with a handful of coir, adding a pinch of gypsum for each handful.
Recipe 2. 1)In a bucket, preferably with a lid, start gathering suitable left over food scraps. I have used crushed eggshells, porridge, spent cooking oil, left over brown rice, popped corn, toast, coffee dregs and herbal tea dregs, sprouts that had past their prime, carrot pulp, weevil infested bran…try and avoid dairy. I have heard that citrus skins are food for Pleurotus, but I haven’t tested yet. 2) mix with an equal volume of either coir, sawdust, or woodchips, adding roughly a pinch of Gypsum for each handful.
Recipe 3. 1)Mix 1 part bran (rice, wheat etc.) with from 2 to 10 parts of either coir or sawdust, and up to 10% by weight Gypsum. 2) Mix with water and bring to field capacity-that is, not too wet, not too dry.
If you search around you’ll find other recipes-I like the ones that reuse what would otherwise become waste, and they’re cheap.
Next, you’ll have to try and sterilize your substrates. This process kills off the competition, allowing the spawn we sprinkle in to get a headstart at colonization.
Here’s a picture of some woodchips, wheat and coir, about to be Pressure Cooked at 15psi for 2 hours. Notice the various containers-I have used old bottles, no. 5 plastic containers, special bags-they all work.July 11, 2008 at 11:44 pm #355792
I’m sure some of you recognize those vacola jars. If you don’t have a PC, you can load your chosen containers into a large pot, like a Vacola, put the lid on, and simmer for 3hours.
Or you can try your microwave. I have enjoyed plenty of success using my microwave-which was being thrown away. Some growers insist microwaves don’t work…all I can say is it works for me. I use special plastic bags, and give them multiple bursts (about 6 all up) of 10 minutes on full over the space of a couple of days. This allows any heat resistant organisms to germinate in between zaps, and be destroyed on later zaps.
When you load your bags, jars or bottles, be careful not to fill them more than 3/4s. You need to leave room for expansion of some contents, and have enough room to add your spawn. You’ll want to add 1 part spawn to from 2 to 10 parts substrate.
Here’s a pic of a bag with carrot pulp, eggshells, oats and coir, which was sterilized in the microwave…it’s now almost ready to fruit with King oysters.July 12, 2008 at 12:07 am #355793
If you’re using ingredients you think are likely to be contaminated with other organisms, such as decaying food, allow for a bit of extra cooking time, to be sure.
Tyndallization is a useful method-similar to my microwave method. You could PC for 1 hour at 15psi, then leave for 24 hours and give it another 1 hour at 15psi.
For those using a Vacola, you could try 2 lots of 2 hours, with 24 hours in between.
About 1 in 10 of my attempts contaminates, and of those, the mycelium eats or coexists with most.
Getting the moisture level right is important. You don’t want to have water pooling at the bottom of your container, as this will favor bacteria. If you do, just drain off the excess between sterilizing.
Mycelium release various liquid exudates during their growth. These can be clear like water, or red, yellow, brown…these are harmless to your mycelium, but they are supposedly antibiotic, protecting the mycelium.July 12, 2008 at 12:13 am #355794
More to come;)July 16, 2008 at 10:06 pm #355795
So, once you’ve sterilized your substrate and allowed it to cool down, it’s time to inoculate with your spawn.
To do this, simply cut open the top of your spawn bag (the plastic spawn bag is reusable), and sprinkle some spawn onto your bulk substrate.
I like to make one container of spawn-that is, from the spawn bag, create another lot of spawn for future bulk substrate runs.
The rest of the spawn is used for growing mushrooms. This takes from 1 week to 2 months, depending on species, climate, food source etc.
Here are some Oyster mushrooms in a take away tubJuly 16, 2008 at 10:11 pm #355796
And here is a King Oyster in a Vacola jarJuly 16, 2008 at 10:25 pm #355797
Ideally, when you do your spawn transfers, do them in a clean room. If you want to go to a little more effort, you can build a ‘glove box’, or a transfer chamber. This is little more than a box where you can do your transfers.
The advantages of using the glove box include a small area to clean (spray the inside with 70% metho or other disinfectant), reduced air flow so there’s less chance of airborne contaminants landing in your substrate, and by learning to use a glove box you’re well on the way to learning tissue culture techniques applicable to fungi and plants.
Here’s a pic of my first glove boxJuly 16, 2008 at 10:41 pm #355798
Basically I lined the inside with alfoil, sprayed it down with 70% metho, and draped some glad wrap over the front. That’s my old PC on the left-when it cooled down, I placed my sterilized jars in the box, then put my spawn bag in the box, and sprayed the outsides of the bag and jars with 70% metho.
Never had any problems using the box, but laziness led me to discover that open transfers in a clean room allows for good results, if done quickly and mindfully.
I still use a glove box for my special projects, but now I use a plastic storage tub. To make the holes I heated up an old tin can and melted the holes. Don’t try using a knife.July 16, 2008 at 10:46 pm #355799
Here’s my new oneJuly 16, 2008 at 10:53 pm #355800
I cover the top of this one with glad wrap-it’s easy to see through.
With a bit of practice, you can learn to germinate spores, and clone your own mushrooms in one of these boxes. The alternative is an expensive laminar flow hood with HEPA filter.July 16, 2008 at 11:02 pm #355801
When your bulk substrate has fully colonised, it will almost be time for mushrooms. Some growers poke holes in their bags for the mushrooms to grow out of, others allow the mushrooms to grow from the top of the bag or jar. I do both.
Often you’ll get hundreds of small mushrooms-that’s ok, they’re still delicious. Usually only a few get big. Watch for the development of gills near the mushroom cap-this is a sign your mushrooms are ready to pick.
I harvest all the mushrooms that appear ready-either break off the big ones with a twist, or snip off the little ones with scissors, and allow more mushies to grow.
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