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watertrade

growing oysters

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Hi,

For way too long I have been telling people I was going to explain how I grow most of my fungi.

I used to have all kinds of contraptions like glove boxes. This really gave me the shits so don’t bother any more – nowadays I just use good sterile technique and don’t get many contaminations. I accept the occasional contaminations in favour of the ease of production. I also H2O2 in my agar too.

http://www.umsl.edu/~microbes/pdf/steriletechnique.pdf

Making spawn.

Using COLES budgie seed bring to the boil the desired amount of grain with an excess of water. Once boiling check the grain every few minutes until the largest grains are good through - you can check this by breaking open some of the largest grains. They should be fully hydrated with no starchy centre. Once cooked rinse the grains until the water runs clear. Any broken grains that can make the mass too sticky will be washed away during this process. Drain the grain overnight. The grain should separate individually and not be sticky.

Fill normal jam jars ¾ full with grain and cover the opening with Tyvek. Foil can be used to hold the tyvek on the jars.

Load the filled jars into the pressure cooker. Cook at pressure for approximately one hour.

Once the pressure cooker is finished and returned to normal pressure take out the hot jars and carefully shake to break up the grains. Place them somewhere clean to cool. At the jars cool they will suck air into the jar - placing them in a clean box will minimise the chance of contamination.

Once cool (or at least below 40C) you can add mycelium from agar plates. One, one litre jar I find needs about 4 or 5 little chunks of agar. It doesn’t really matter how big the chunks of agar are. Once you have added the agar the jars should be shaken to mix the agar. With a sort of rolling action you can mix the grain until the agar is mixed throughout the jars. This takes some practice.

Once the jars are mixed remove the foil from the lids and tape the edges of the tyvek onto the jar. I use standard sticky tape. And wrap it around the jar mouth a few times. Excess tyvek is trimmed off. The tyvek lid is then sprayed and wiped with 70% metho. A fresh foil lid is placed on the jar.

The jars are then placed somewhere clean and warm to colonize.

Once the jars are 30% colonized (approximately) they can be shaken again to mix up the grain then placed back into incubation. This speeds up the final time it takes to complete the spawn.

Once the grain is fully colonized it is ready to use.

Preparing the substrate

There are a number of substrates available for growing oysters (wood, straw, paper. Coffee waste) basically any course plant material that can withstand a soak and a pressure cook can be used. The ideal choice of substrate depends on the species grown but to keep this guide generic I provide two examples.

Paper -

Recycled newspaper finely chopped or paper cat litter : 10 units dry

Wheat bran: 1 unit

Full fat milk powder 0.1 unit

The paper is soaked then squeezed to expel excess water - the substrate should be saturated but not have any excess water pooling. Pour boiling water over the bran, carefully squeeze out the bran and mix with the paper. Add the milk powder and mix well. Stuff the mix into oven bags. Bake at 140 for an hour, turn off the oven and leave to cool over night. When cool in the morning add a good amount of spawn (half large jar, maybe 300mls) while maintaining good sterile technique. Seal up the bags with sticky tape and massage the bags to mix the spawn if you are using oven bags its worth taping down the seams of the bag before you massage, I find they often split at the worst times. Move to a dark warm area to colonize. Wait a week and check how it’s going. If you have areas that don’t want to colonize you can try making some holes in the bag to provide gas exchange. There is some gas exchange through the bag wall but not really enough for healthy growth. (Sterile filter patch bags are a perfect for this) once colonised move to a fruiting area - depending on the species this could be outside under a bush, in a terrarium or hanging in the shed.

I have used this paper recipe for a number of different fungi including oysters, shiitake, Ganoderma, Hericium & Agrocybe. It’s a good one. ;)

Straw. My favourite because it is easy. This is good for oysters and can be done on a huge scale.

Straw :lots

Bran : some ?

Get a bale of straw, a couple of mates with eskies (or large drums) and a chainsaw. If you are careful you can slice 1 inch sections off the bale until you get to the strings holding them together. It’s a messy job but it is fast. Hedge trimmer also work pretty well.

Once you have a huge pile of straw, stuff it into the eskies and pour over hot water aiming to get a final stable temperature of 65 - 75 degrees. Leave it for an hour.

After an hour carefully empty out the water and throw the straw onto a table, throwing it in the air helps cool the straw - you need to spread it around to cool. You can do the same on the floor on a tarp depending on how much you have. The soaking also hydrates the straw so it can be heavy. Once its cool to the touch ( I would guess at about <40 degrees you start stuffing it into a fruiting container, I like to use plastic bags but washing baskets & bins are also good. The plastic ones with big holes are good. I find having a bucket to hold the bag helps with the stuffing and stops the bag from tearing. Stuff a layer on the bottom of the container- pack it down, add some bran (soaking in boiling water first) and then some spawn, more straw, bran, spawn etc until the container if full. Once full either tie up the bag or put the rigid container in a bag. You are trying to keep the moisture in the bag but don’t worry if there are some gaps.

Leave somewhere to colonize. It should be obvious when it’s colonised by having a look. Once it has colonized remove the bag from the washing basket or poke some holes in the plastic bag to increase gas exchange and stimulate fruiting. Again they should be moved somewhere where the conditions suit the species. With straw, the mass of the block maintains moisture to the fruit so you can keep them almost out in the open. I hang mine in a shed. As long as the temperature is about right for the species they should fruit in under a week.

Once the blocks slow production I bury them in the garden where they continue to fruit. If you have a mulcher, make some piles of mulch and add the spent blocks. I have piles of mulch that fruit now and then around the garden and plants. It’s a great way of introducing fungi into the garden for soil improvement and a larger harvest.

There are lots of ways of growing fungi - this is just the way I do it. It’s probably not the easiest or cheapest way of doing it butI have found it reliable and it works well for me.

if anyone has any comments or suggestions please add them to this thread.

cheers

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:worship: you rule! great teks mate!

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Nice write-up watertrade. :)

The additonal of milk powder is novel to me, I've never seen dairy products used for mushroom production before. What do you use it for? Nitrogen and calcium?

I've found cardboard and coffee grounds pretty good for oysters and often so selective for mushroom mycelium that not even pasteurisation is necessary (although occassionally green mould will make its appearance).

Do you find H202 hinders gorwth with Hericium? I've always found Hericium very prone to contamination and not particularly strong. Some species deal with H202 with no problem, but some can't cope with until it's at such a dilution that mould and bacteria that take hold anyway.

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this deserves sticky status.

thankyou watertrade.

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Nice write-up watertrade. :)

The additonal of milk powder is novel to me, I've never seen dairy products used for mushroom production before. What do you use it for? Nitrogen and calcium?

I've found cardboard and coffee grounds pretty good for oysters and often so selective for mushroom mycelium that not even pasteurisation is necessary (although occassionally green mould will make its appearance).

Do you find H202 hinders gorwth with Hericium? I've always found Hericium very prone to contamination and not particularly strong. Some species deal with H202 with no problem, but some can't cope with until it's at such a dilution that mould and bacteria that take hold anyway.

Milk powder - you know tripsis, now you mention it I don't know why I started adding milk powder - I just had a look at a few books and could find mention of it? It doesn't really seem like the ideal supplement. Maybe I imagined it? :D

H2O2- I haven't had any problems with H2O2 and Hericium- they seem to fill the plate in a couple of weeks. I have however had problems with Hypholoma species, capnoides really struggles, sublateritium gets there eventually.

Do you know anything about iodine as an addition to agar?

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No, never heard of iodine as an additive. Is it antibacterial only or antibiotic (in the literal sense - i.e. would it kill everything)? Have you used it before?

I use H202 sometimes, less than I once did. If working with dirty prints I'll sometimes used gentamicin. Works well, but is dangerous and not ideal for other reasons.

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Thanks very much WT

I just wanted to ask if large WBS is ok & whats else could i use to replace the the tyvek,

i have been sifting through many teks & i think this one is the one for me ill grab some Straw & Bran & try both the paper. Coffee waste straw substrates

Edit: my shocking spelling

Edited by mac

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Polyfill, a.k.a. polyester fill, can be used to replace tyvek. Synthetic filter discs are also good, but far less widely available and much more costly.

WBS is good, but I find the range of grain sizes can lead to problems. It is much less forgiving of being over-cooked than larger, uniform grains like wheat. The millet will explode and turn to a starchy sludge if you don't watch it carefully, as will the sorghum. Wheat however will take more of a cooking without becoming unuseable and is much easier to shake during colonisation. It is also far cheaper.

Coir is a good substrate for oysters too. :)

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Awesome write-up of your accumulated experience there Watertrade. Thanks heaps.

Re Tripsis query re the milk, I recall the peroxide tek book (by R. Rush Wayne, Ph.D.) suggests milk powder as a protein/nitrogen supplement that is free of peroxide decomposing enzymes.

Cheers, T

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Another way to do it is rinse the grain first, let it soak overnight and then put it on the stove and once you bring it to the boil then let it simmer for 10 minutes before turning it off and straining it. That way the grain gets plenty of time to soak and hydrate overnight and when you strain it after boiling then moisture disappears a lot faster because of the steam.

Also, if you let the grain soak for 24 hours or so first then it gives the endospores a chance to germinate/reactivate first which makes them a lot easier to kill by autoclaving or putting in a pressure cooker as they are tough mother lovers!

In addition to this, if you add a teaspoon or so of gypsum so your grain whilst you let it soak then it will prevent your grain from sticking together and forming clumps. Don't rinse the gypsum out though! You can buy it from garden shops and places like Bunnings.

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I was just in Coles the other day and had absolutely no idea of the range of bird seed in there. So I took a couple of pics...Watertrade, would you mind pointing out which is the seed to go for? Especially now that Coles have re-branded, trying to convince us that we'll love their products (cretins).

http://tinypic.com/r/iw6bmo/7

http://tinypic.com/r/2qc4leu/7

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Just grab a big bag from the bottom. Something that is mostly millet and wheat (and possibly milo) should be good as the size of the grains should be about the same which is good when you're soaking and boiling the grain as some might not get soaked enough if they're too big and the other grains might get soaked (or boiled) too much.

Add a little gypsum to your grain whilst you let is soak as it'll stop the grain from clumping together. You can get it from Bunnings.

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Thanks for your tek. Very helpful.

I hear you on the glove box/ SABs, etc...

Someone recently mentioned that they simply spray soapy water inside their glove box to pull the contaminates to the bottom. They pointed out that the idea of a "still air box" was not to kill contaminates but to prevent them from remaining air borne where they can wreck your work.

My glove box used to have a pair of dirty big black elbow length gloves attached to the spigots inside the box. They made for hot, slow, clumsy work. I've ditched them now and simply use regular gloves (sanitising up to my elbows). I rely on the principle of 'still air' inside the box, working carefully. If anything, the contamination rate has dropped. It is so much easier to work this way.

 

Ethereal oysters (sideways:unsure:)

ethereal_oysters.thumb.jpg.afb0a18a2fd178a08bc414d0117e80a8.jpg

 

These were done on chopped sugar cane mulch from Bunnings, a sprinkle of builder's lime (I'm told this helps to knock out contaminates) and a handful of gypsum. The spawn was added to the substrate in the open air.

 

I'm certainly no mycology expert but I love growing oysters because they always seem to overcome my amateurish mistakes. They give you the freedom to learn without giving you the flops and failures more challenging species can serve up.

 

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I thought I would share my most recent yellow oyster flush. Oat spawn, 5L bucket and unsupplemented pasteurised straw

 

Culture from a member here. I'm looking for more varieties if anyone has.

oyst.jpg

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