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Picture of Oyster Mushrooms in a Laundry Basket
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Mushrooms often get overlooked in the grand scheme of gardening, just because they're not plants. However, they are extremely beneficial to your garden's soil, are highly nutritious and make a tasty addition to almost any meal. The high levels of protein also make them especially valuable to vegetarians and vegans.

Most people have never thought about growing their own mushrooms, which is a huge shame. It's true that some species can be a little tricky to grow, but once you learn a few basic requirements, it is feasible to grow all the mushrooms you can eat.

Each type of mushroom has specific "ideal" requirements for temperature, humidity, light, and nutrition. Some grow in soil, others on compost piles, logs, trees - the list is endless. However, for the beginner, we recommend oyster mushrooms. Get your feet wet with this most forgiving mushroom and you'll definitely want to advance into the realm of others like Shitake, Paddy Straw, Garden Giant, and more. 

Growing oyster mushrooms in a laundry basket is easy, cheap and it's a great project to do with kids.  They'll enjoy watching the quick growth of the fruiting bodies as well as the rewards of eating them after harvest.

Check out step 9 for our favorite recipe with mushrooms - Italian Braised Rabbit. It's a delicious, nutritious meal, for which we grow all the ingredients needed (except olive oil, salt and pepper) here on our homestead.

For more information on mushrooms, click here.
For more information about our other how-tos, visit our site www.velacreations.com

Step 1: Materials Needed

Picture of Materials Needed
  • Oyster Mushroom Spawn
  • Cardboard
  • Large Pot
  • Thermometer
  • Ice chest (it cleans up easily afterwards)
  • Chopped Straw
  • Agricultural Lime
  • Agricultural Gypsum
  • Screen
  • Laundry Basket (we use ones that are 15" squares, 10" tall, which we found for $1 each)
  • Medium Trash Bag

WARNING: do not gather wild mushrooms (to clone) or their spawn, unless you can provide a 100% positive identification.  Instead of collecting from the wild, a better strategy for beginners is buying spawn for species you are interested in.
 
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WUVIE2 years ago
Your excellent Instructable has won, and won big! Sincere and hearty congratulations on a job very well done, you absolutely deserve it! Fabulous, fabulous!
velacreations (author)  WUVIE2 years ago
thank you! we are honored to have been selected from so many wonderful Gardening Instructables!
Wepwopper2 years ago
Nice post velacreations, You make it look so simple. :)
I especially love the picture of the pink mushroom! Beautiful! You could sell that. ;)
I have lots of questions.
Can I grow these from store bought mushrooms?
Is it OK to use grass clippings instead of chopped hay?
Is it better to use green or dry grass?
Is it OK to boil the water instead of using it at 180 degrees F?
Should I boil the water to treat the cardboard as well?
Can these be grown outside in summer? Perhaps in an inclosure? It gets plenty hot outside but we keep it cool inside.
Is it OK to let the basket cool at night?
Can our summer harvest be frozen to last all winter?
Is it better to 'can' the unused mushrooms instead?
Is there a limit to the amount of mushrooms we can eat?
Thanks ahead! It all looks very fascinating and delicious!
velacreations (author)  Wepwopper2 years ago
Thank you for your questions! Generally speaking, there is a mushroom for just about every climate and substrate out there.  We use oyster mushrooms, because they are easy to grow and taste great.  There are many strains of oyster mushrooms that have been selected for specific climates and substrates.

Can I grow these from store bought mushrooms?
Yes, this is possible.  It helps to know what mushroom you are buying, and if possible, look up the temperature, lighting, and humidity requirements of that species/strain. 

You can clone from a store brought oyster mushroom to cardboard, like how we do it in this instructable.

Is it OK to use grass clippings instead of chopped hay?  Is it better to use green or dry grass?
Grass will work, and you want dry grass.  Really, for most oyster strains, any dry plant material will work.  Straw, wood chips, paper, dry grass, corn stover, coffee grounds, cardboard, and even junk mail should all work just fine.  You may have to try a few different strains to find one that does really well on your particular substrate.

Is it OK to boil the water instead of using it at 180 degrees F?
We are only pasteurizing the straw, so we don't need to boil the water, but it won't hurt to have it that hot.

Should I boil the water to treat the cardboard as well?
You can, if you want, but generally, you don't have to pasteurize the cardboard.  There are not many nutrients available to molds and competing organisms, so the mushrooms should be able to colonize without a problem.

Can these be grown outside in summer? Perhaps in an inclosure? It gets plenty hot outside but we keep it cool inside.
You can grow mushrooms outside if the humidity is high enough.  There are cold and warm weather strains.  Pink oysters tend to be warm weather mushrooms, and they will fruit in temps up to 85 F.  Grey and white oysters like cool weather, so you could grown them inside or in the winter.  They prefer temps in 55-65F range.

Is it OK to let the basket cool at night?
You should not put hot straw in the basket.  If you spread the straw out, it should cool very rapidly, and only when it is no longer hot can you add cardboard spawn to it.  If you add the cardboard when the straw is still hot, it will kill the mushrooms.

Can our summer harvest be frozen to last all winter?
Freezing mushrooms is not recommended.  But, there are many strains that do well in cool weather, fruiting at temps of 45-65F, so choose a strain that is suited to your season and climate.

Is it better to 'can' the unused mushrooms instead?
Drying mushrooms is the preferred method of storage, but for oyster mushrooms, they are best eaten fresh.  This is one of the reason you don't find them in big super markets, they don't store/last.  So, eat them fresh and add a new basket every week to have a continuous supply.

Is there a limit to the amount of mushrooms we can eat?
Generally, no, though some people might have allergies or reactions to certain types.  Oyster mushrooms spores can irritate some people, and if you are growing a lot of them (many, many baskets), you should wear some protection over your nose and mouth to avoid breathing in the spores.
AndrewB392 months ago

Hi there, wondering what your yield is like here? How many lbs of mushroom per lb of substrate. I am looking to grow mushrooms to sell in Newfoundland and want to see what kind of work I can expect.

Brother_Bear2 months ago

If no one else has mentioned it, if you keep having problems with green mold you can mist with 3% hydrogen peroxide instead of water.

rbusch3 months ago

im going to give growing mushrooms a shot here soon.. and i think im gonna try that rebbit recipe as well. i started raising meat rabbits a year ago. so i already got plenty of those lol

LiamW34 months ago

I have a question, what are the ideal questions to colonize the substrate? Darkness? Light? Temp? Humidity? Thanks

velacreations (author)  LiamW34 months ago
Spawn Run: 75F, 85%-95% humidity, 12-21 days

Then to start pinning:
Primordia: 50F-60F, 95%-100% humidity, fresh air 3 times a day, full light, 3-7 days

Fruiting: 60F-70F, 85%-95% humidity, fresh air 3 times a day, full light, 4-7 days

More species here:
http://velacreations.com/articles/gardening/mushrooms/
Chosenempire5 months ago

I leaped with joy when I came across this tutorial, it's more like a treasure to me cos I've been trying to start a mushroom farm but I had no idea how to. I live in Africa and my mushroom farm would be situated here in Africa. One of the many issues I have is measuring the climate, like humidity and temperature.

In the part of my country where I live, we do not have winter, all we have is raining season(Light rain: February - April; Heavy rain: May/June - September/October) and dry/harmattan season(November - January).

A site has it listed on the screenshot I added to this comment, warmest and coldest for each month in my location. Please find attached image.

Please let me know how I can incorporate this table to my mushroom farming as to how to grow my mushrooms and the type of mushroom I should grow per time.

Another challenge I have is this, we do not have straws around here to make substrates. The easiest and cheapest I could get is sawdust from sawmills. Please do you have a tutorial on how to make sawdust substrate, pasteurizing it and all?

I will also like to know if this home growing method can actually be used on a small/medium farming scale.

Thanks and I await your prompt response to this. God bless!

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Citygirl685 months ago

Hi there... I've searched hi and low on the internet, but no luck. I thought you may be able to best answer this question. I cannot find any supporting literature that's supports using AG lime for mushroom cultivation instead of recommended Horticulture lime. I'd much rather be able to use AG lime opposed to Horticulture lime due to economical difference in price. If indeed you do say you use AG lime, that would just be wonderful!??. I could then just follow your wonderful recipe! Please let me know, is it in fact AG lime your using in the straw preparation instructional.

Thank you

velacreations (author)  Citygirl685 months ago
Ag lime is fine, it is the same thing as horticulture lime. What you don't want is construction lime, as it could have other impurities. Ag lime will work great!
ellisdeelover6 months ago
Hey there I'm super excited to get this project goin. once shrooms start poppin what would be the best way to store and maintain the strain? Spore sprint? Then use the spore to noc grains or cardboard?
Also did you ever have contamination issues with cloning to cardboard?
Thanks and much respect for your instructAble, you probably started a new wave of ameteur mycologists
DIYDragon6 months ago

Those pink ones are so pretty that I want to just grow some for decoration. xD

starforest6 months ago

Great Instructable! I now might try growing mushrooms.

Jared G9 months ago
Can you use plug spawn to get growth started in this system?
Michaelj1010 months ago

Hi. Thanks for a lovely instructable. I have some spawn ordered, it comes I believe in packs of 60grams. How much do I need for your project? If I need to expand it, what method would you reccomend. Will it colonise jars of grain?.

Thanks.

velacreations (author)  Michaelj1010 months ago

To expand it, use chopped cardboard or paper. That's the easiest method for a beginner. Each expansion should be able to expand the volumes 8-10 times.

For a basket, a quart of span is sufficient.

Thanks for the reply. My spawn arrived I got three packs of 60 grams. I have already sterilised some grain and innoculated that in jars with a polyfill filter. I have two packs left though and I think I'll try the cardboard. I need to disinfect with H2O2 yes? I don't have any, would pasteurising it do instead?
velacreations (author)  Michaelj1010 months ago

Don't worry about pasteurizing. Just soak in hot water, drain, and innoculate.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Oyster-Mushrooms-in-a-Laundry-Basket/step8/Cloning/

American Ruin11 months ago

Awesome! i'm gonna give this a try!

rlynn101 year ago
Thank you for these instructions. I'm growing these oyster mushrooms, but having trouble getting them to fruit. OK, getting the idea to spray and air them, but don't disturb the straw.
nibardo1 year ago

nibardoyesterdayReply

I have just started trying to grow oyster mushrooms in a laundry basket and it produced about 2 lbs of mushrooms so far. I harvested those and have been misting the basket religously but am not seeing anything coming after about 4 days. First of all will the basket continue to produce? and second when it looks like the basket is finished, can the same straw be used again? Your instructable was excellent , and I want to thank you.

velacreations (author)  nibardo1 year ago

yes, the basket can produce more, but it will take a few weeks to do another flush. The best thing to do is to keep it moist and wait. The straw won't be good for mushrooms after it is used up, but you can use it as compost in the garden.

tip: you might just want cloning your mushroom from cardboard only two generations, as fruiting bodies will shrink the more you're cloning it

greetings from IDN

ausieking1 year ago

im doing this for a school project i was wandering if there is any diseases/pests/insects that can affect them and how to treat them

no pests, no insects

just diseases, just be sure you're doing it all clean and you're good to go

Hi, thank you very much for your generous share to this community. I want to know what if the mycelium didn't cover the straw completely in 21 days? should I wait for more time?

I am growing grey oyster by the way.

Thanks

thomas96661 year ago

Congrats on the win :D This is a great instructable! I personally hate eating mushrooms, but would this would be a great way to grow them to try and extract enzymes! Again, great ible, keep up the good work!!

usmacs1 year ago

are you saying there is no nutrition in raw mushrooms?

velacreations (author)  usmacs1 year ago
there's nutrition there, but I have confirmed this information from several mycologists that in general, we can't digest raw mushrooms very easily, and we get little to no nutrition from them.

could you direct me to that literature? ty

velacreations (author)  usmacs1 year ago
Check out Paul Stamets, "Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms" as well as "Mycelium Running"
rguillen1 year ago

Great project! I do have a few questions, I don't know a thing about growing this beautiful food. Is the percent humidity, in the room or in the basket holding the straw? do you expose the basket contents to fresh air by removing the plastic bag? is full light, sun light or artificial light?

Thank you

mushrooms012 years ago
I have read this post velacreations and I appreciate your efforts for providing useful information about how to grow your own mushrooms at home. I have also read that it is very easy to start. Please explain more about it.
mantobrew2 years ago
Hi guys
What substrate do you use for normal button mushrooms. Will just straw work with them as well??
Rune Cutter2 years ago
First, Congratulations! Well deserved, you put some real work into this and it shows. Next thank you! You have broadened my mind and given me a new project.
bajablue2 years ago
YAY velacreations!!!
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Jason992 years ago
I'm guessing it varies with the size of the basket but any general tips on how much spawn is needed?
velacreations (author)  Jason992 years ago
the more the better! actually, for these baskets, we use a stack of cardboard that is basically a 6" cube. You can use more than that, if you have it, and the mycelium will grow even faster!
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