Growing Oyster Mushrooms at Home: TP is an Easy Option to Try
If you’re interested in growing oyster mushrooms at home you can try using one of the most common consumer goods around: toilet paper
Today I’m talking about an easy way of growing oyster mushrooms at home, and I’m using toilet paper as the substrate. In the video below I use sawdust spawn but you can also use grain spawn or the stem butts of oyster mushrooms for inoculating the toilet paper substrate. You don’t need much spawn for this process. In addition to the toilet paper and spawn I am using a pair of tongs, a plastic bag, and boiled water. You can avoid the boiling water if you don’t have access to it but it will help ensure that there are not any other organisms living on the toilet paper. The plastic bag is used to wrap the toilet paper.
A step-by-step process for growing oyster mushrooms at home the easy way
First, start by breaking up the sawdust spawn. You can do this by hitting the bag a few times with your hands. Once the spawn is broken up, open the bag. I love the smell of a newly-opened bag of mushroom spawn. It’s a sweet, earthy scent that reminds me of the forest floor. A wonderful aroma!
Then, take the plastic bag and put a handful of spawn into it at the bottom. You will only need enough for the toilet paper to cover. Next, grab your tongs and pick up the toilet paper. Dip the toilet paper into the boiling water. I flip the toilet paper roll over to ensure that it gets completely wet. Once you’ve dipped and rotated the roll, you can pull it out of the boiling water and let the excess water drain off. It’s important to drain off as much of the excess water as possible because you do not want to have the mushroom substrate sitting in a puddle of runoff. Once your roll is fully drained, bring it over to the plastic bag with the spawn and place the toilet paper roll right on top of the spawn. The oyster mushroom mycelium will eventually grow up from the bottom of the bag.
Now you can begin to add more spawn into the toilet paper roll tube. Fill it with as much spawn as you can, and also put spawn on top of the roll itself. You can see me do this all in the video above.
Now that the top of the roll is covered, place some additional spawn on the sides going around the toilet paper roll. One of our standard five-pound sawdust spawn bags will probably allow you to inoculate up to 10 rolls of toilet paper if you want a big yield while growing oyster mushrooms.
Once you’ve covered the roll and surrounded it with spawn, you can then close up the plastic bag by tying it together. Allow the bag to sit as it is for about two weeks. The mycelium will colonize and after about two weeks the bag will begin to fruit mushrooms. At that time all you have to do is open the bag up and mist it a couple of times each day. The oyster mushrooms will grow directly out of the toilet paper roll.
A few great strains to use for growing oyster mushrooms
Blue Oyster Amycel 3015 is a high yielding oyster mushroom with fast mycelial growth. It can fruit at a wide range of temperatures between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The fruiting clusters are large with large caps that range in color from blue to white depending on the temperature grown in and the stage harvested.
Pink Oyster VDE-1 produces pink to red fruiting bodies, which fruit at temperatures from 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit. This mushroom cannot survive temperatures below 40 degrees. The mycelium is extremely fast to colonize and has the ability to grow on a wide range of substrates. The clusters and cap size are smaller than blue oysters mentioned above. The yield is for this mushroom medium. This is a good mushroom for farmers markets or CSAs but not for the wholesale market because storage and shelf life of this mushroom is limited.
Yellow Oyster AM1 is a vibrant yellow oyster mushroom that likes to fruit at higher temperatures between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. The caps of these mushrooms are typically small and numerous, and the large stem mass that develops which can be eaten. Its yields are medium to high.