Oyster Mushrooms

From Open Source Ecology
Jump to: navigation, search
Oyster mushrooms: fruiting bodies growing from a bag of mycelium.


  • A type of edible mushroom
  • Can Be cultivated quite easily

Biological Efficiency

Is defined as the weight of wet mushroom to the weight of dry substrate. Biological efficiencies from 50-200% are possible. For wheat straw fermentation, the queestion would be what additive would provide the higher yields.

Medicinal Aspects

Oyster mushrooms contain significant amounts of statins (such as lovastatin), the compounds used to lower cholesterol via inhibition of the enzyme HMG-CoA-Reductase.



(errata: not 5/8", but 5/16" on the injection port)



Peter McCoy

Hi Marcin, Attached is the word doc - [1] . No pics right yet but there is info and pics on the links i provide in the doc. Let me know if you have clarifying questions for the text. I will get to plugging some of this into the spreadsheet as well.

Yes, 1 pound per day is possible per tower. This would translate to one bucket fruiting per day. A bucket may do 1-2 (2-3?) pounds on its first flush so if the grower was rotating out buckets on a schedule, they could be constantly replacing a bucket that has finished fruiting with a new one. this translates to a lot of work. Most farmers work in pulses. For the home scale producer, mushrooms can be dried and stored quite easily. They will also store in the fridge for a week or more. Yield also depends on the amount of grains used and species/cultivar. Lots of variables so its tricky to make exact promises. But an average of 1 pound per day is doable if the grower has a good rhythm.

Cheers, Peter

Procedure for Growing Oyster Mushrooms Using Fermented Straw

Visual Instructions


Preparing Straw

Written Instructions


Questions On Technique

Bill of Materials


Peter McCoy

Oct 25, 2015

HI Marcin Nice to chat tonight. I have added more details to the spreadsheet.

I pulled the syringes and will overnight them on Monday. It'd be good to cook the sugar water tomorrow (sunday) or monday so that you can inoculate them when they arrive in the mail. I sent 2 syringes of most all of them. I'd suggest shooting one jar with one whole syringe (10mL), that way those jars will grow quick and will be sure to be dense for the workshop. Two weeks is a pretty standard wait time from inoculating a jar until it is dense enough that it is work extracting from. The other syringe could be spread to a few more jars. One of these could be your "mother" and the other could just be extras to cultivate with and also are good for redundancy in case one jar gets contaminated. The syringes are labels with the initials of the species

PP = Pluerotus pulmonarius (Phoenix Oyster) - 65ºF-75º°F fruiting temp PO = Pleurotus ostreatus (Pearl Oyster) - 60-70ºF HU = Hypsizygus ulmarius (Elm Oyster) - 55-65ºF

I also sent SRA (Stropharia ruggosoannulata) - The King Stropharia. This is an incredible outdoor garden mushroom that will turn almost anything that isnt rotting or too wet into soil within a year or two. it can be perpetually grow outdoors in the garden, in the ground, as long as it is fed occasionally with straw, woodchips, bamboo, sticks, paper products, coffee grounds, etc.

As for the workshop I have started a rough outline here. Not sure how hands on you want it for the participants. What I tend to do in my workshops is explain the process (slides help) them mock through each stage. Actually cooking all the materials obviously won't be possible due to time but we could make some non-sterile sugar water and put hydrated grains in jars and have them practice using the syringes and needles and other materials. Then say that once the grains are grown out and not contaminated you ferment the straw, etc.

Would you like people make lids there as a take away? I can bring some premade lids and explain how they are made

Will the buckets be prepared in advance or should this be scheduled in? It won't very long to drill out 6 buckets but if they are prepped it would provide more time for other items. I will assume they will be prepped for now but can change that if time wont allow for preparing them in advance.

Also, how many people will there be? I could bring syringes and needles on the plane and if you have extra inoculum, they could each take a syringe home to get started. Just a thought..

I will bring an assortment of materials and tools. You may consider suggesting that participants watch the 3 part video on the liquid and grains so they have some familiarity and come with questions.

In lieu of our conversation, one thing I wanted to mention is that one of the next videos/pamphlets I was thinking to make would be on fruiting mushrooms from 1/2 gallon bottles using the liquid inoculum to create this:

http://flora.coa.gov.tw/graph/web_structure/247/247_01.jpg http://www.mushroomadventures.com/Images/media/Photos_we_like/commercial-enoke-mushroom4.jpg http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_qjbUEdDL4xY/S80r_JeDKNI/AAAAAAAABW0/C6YxFK8WlhE/s1600/commercial-brownclamshell.jpg https://gourmetmushrooms.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/racks-of-miatake.jpg?w=994

This would enable people to cultivate large quantities of mushrooms indoor using all reusable materials. Most farms fruit mushrooms from one time use plastic bags, which are the biggest waste stream in the industry. This "bottle culture" system is so effective that there are automated mushroom bottle filling machines. For the home growers its pretty easy to create these jars, sterilize them, and them inoculate them outside of the lab using the liquid.

Lastly, if you get ten minutes you might want to watch this video from Vice that gives a good sense of where things are quickly heading.

Let me know how else I can help in the interim. Looking forward to the workshop!


October 2016

To get started for the comparison trial, all is needed is to soak the straw in water that has been adjusted to 12-14 pH with hydrated/agricultural lime. The lime can be acquired at most plant nurseries and big box stores. Soak the straw for 16 hours, then allow it to drain until the straw stops dripping. Inoculate the straw in buckets as with the fermented straw. All that is different is the straw preparation method. Shoot for the same amount of grain use (same inoculation rate) to account for that variable in the comparison.

This link also details the process.

Workshop Organization

I have taught this type of workshop in less than 2 hours so 3.5 should be plenty of time. If there is a projector I could also throw in some slides to enhance the learning experience. Otherwise, mushroom biology and ecology, the various reasons to grow mushrooms, and going through each technique with time for everyone to practice should fill the time slot. If we have the grains, straw, and buckets ready, making up 6 buckets won't take much time at all.

I won't be able to bring the liquid culture on the plane. If you or someone else at OSE is interested, I could ship a syringe of liquid culture and that could get started in advance of my arrival. I could probably bring grain spawn but the easiest and safest bet would be to order a bag from Field and Forest. One grain spawn bag is around $30 with shipping. This strain has a wide fruiting temp range (55-85ºF):


The straw should be shredded and fermented in advance of arrival, if the temperature is cold in the fermentation area, I would give 10-14 days to ferment. It should also be drained on Monday night before the workshop.

If the buckets can be drilled before the workshop that will save time. Otherwise, I can factor that into the schedule.

Let me know how this all sounds to you and I can rough out a schedule for the 3.5 hours


Question from MJ, 1/2018:

Great job on killin' it with the Kickstarter.

I was wondering about automating the oyster production that would make it practical for a lazy person. We are working on the next iteration of the aquaponic greenhouse with further levels of automation.

I am considering an automated system of 2 steps, like a washer size Shroomin' Appliance. It consists of a chamber to put straw in for ferment, and an automatic loading system, so that it loads a mushroom bucket for you automatically. Steps:

  1. Load straw, close lid of fermentation chamber.
  2. Put mushroom growing bucket in place attaching a nozzle to it. Growing bucket is disinfected with bleach, via automatic spray.
  3. Machine fills water to the brim for fermentation in fermentation chamber. Wait 2 weeks.
  4. Macerator pump (like we use in our biodigester) sucks in the farment, and shoots it into the 5 gallon growing bucket. Another automated delivery system drops measured spawn into the same bucket.
  5. Take off the nozzle from the mushroom bucket. Now you have a 5 gallon bucket ready for growing out.

Thus the only manual step is loading whole straw into the ferment chamber. Easy. The macerator pump should fill the bucket with finely chopped straw, on the order of 1/4" straw size using the pump I showed. The straw should still have enough airspace so it is not anaerobic.

Do you think this could work? I think the simple macerator pump + automation could make this practical for many people. I would grow more mushrooms if the time for prep wasn't that long, and if I could make the batches smaller and more spread out - as I certainly got overloaded with the flushes all at the same time. I dried the shrooms, but it's better to have them fresh.


See Also

Useful Links