Oyster mushrooms are one of the easiest mushrooms to grow at home. You can buy a kit and are pretty much guaranteed success (for anyone who loves growing things I recommend you give it a try – link to two options here – Mushroom gourmet or Parkvale). To get them growing on a larger more reliable scale it’s a bit more involved but it’s the same basic process.
First sterilise the substrate the mushrooms will be grown on to prevent moulds growing. I use straw and ‘boil’ it in a 44 gallon drum. It’s then drained and left to cool.
Adding mushroom spawn is the next step. Spawn can be likened to the seeds of plants. Because it’s so tiny it’s cultivated on grains to bulk it out and make it easier to work with. I receive this spawn infested grain and mix it up with my sterilised straw in bags.
The bags are moved to a dedicated growing room. The humidity, temperature, air flow and light need to be carefully controlled to meet the exact growing requirements mushrooms need. Very very high humidity (nearly dripping point) is the main requirement. I don’t use any chemical control on the mushrooms so I have to make sure things are kept very clean to reduce the occurrence of bugs.