Indoor gardening is a great hobby for gardeners with no outdoor space, but it’s usually limited by light. South-facing windows are at a premium, and outlets are full of grow light plugs. However, there’s some indoor gardening you can do with no light at all. Mushroom growing is a great way to put a dark corner to work producing nutritious, protein rich food. Keep reading to learn more about how to grow oyster mushrooms at home.
Cultivation of Oyster Mushrooms
What are oyster mushrooms? Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) is a variety of mushroom that grows especially well indoors. While many mushrooms will grow only in the wild (making mushroom hunting a popular hobby and certain mushroom price tags especially high), oyster mushrooms will grow with a very high success rate in a box or bucket with virtually any moist, organic material to feed on.
How to Grow Oyster Mushrooms at Home
So how do start growing oyster mushrooms? The cultivation of oyster mushrooms can start in two main ways: with a kit or with existing mushrooms.
If you’re growing oyster mushrooms for the first time, the kit is the easier way to go. It should come with a sterilized growing medium inoculated with mushroom spores. In this case, simply moisten the material and pack it into a plastic container. (Cardboard boxes work well, too, but they leak and decompose quickly).
If your kit hasn’t come with growing medium, you can easily make your own. Straw, sawdust, shredded newspaper, and coffee grounds all work especially well for the cultivation of oyster mushrooms. Before using any of these, however, you should sterilize them so your mushroom spores don’t have to fight for space with other bacteria. The easiest way to do this is in the microwave.
Mix your medium with water until it’s the consistency of a sponge, then microwave it on high for a couple minutes. Let it cool to room temperature before packing it into the container and adding you spores.
Cover your container with plastic wrap and put it somewhere dark and around room temperature (55-75 F. or 12-23 C.). Keep it moist. After a few weeks, the mushrooms should start to emerge.
Remove the plastic wrap and mist the mushrooms daily to keep them moist. Move them to a south-facing window or put them under lights for 4-6 hours per day.
When the mushrooms fruit, harvest them by carefully twisting them out of the container.
To grow from the ends of mushrooms from the store, follow the directions for sterilizing your growing medium. Sink the stem ends of your store-bought mushrooms into the medium and proceed as you would with a kit.