Oyster mushrooms are possibly the easiest variety of mushrooms to grow.
They are super quick, relatively resistant to competitor organisms, and can grow on a wide range of substrate materials.
Abel Kiddu, a mushroom farmer, advises on how to grow oyster mushrooms and what equipment you will need. But the basic process is quite simple and can be broken up into three main phases.
Oyster mushroom spawn is mixed with the substrate material (often straw or sawdust, but a range of other materials can also be used.
This growing medium is then usually placed into bags with small holes or air filters in them for air exchange.
The bags are then placed in a warm (18C-25C/64F-77F) darkroom to incubate and begin the first phase of growth.
Only 10-14 days are needed for the spawn to grow a full web of root-like threads of mycelium and colonize the growing substrate.
Oyster mushroom mycelium colonising straw and coffee ground substrate.
Once the growing medium is fully colonised by the spawn, it is time for the mushrooms to start fruiting.
The bags are exposed to autumn-like conditions with fresh oxygen, high humidity, low-level light & often cooler temperatures.
This signals to the mycelium that it’s time to start producing mushrooms and small pins begin to emerge.
Oyster mushroom pins begin to emerge from holes in the bag.
Fed by water and nutrients from the mycelium, these tiny pins then rapidly grow and develop into full-size mushrooms in just 5-7 days.
Oysters mushrooms, ready to harvest just 7 days after starting to grow out of the bag.
Mushrooms can be harvested three times before the mycelium becomes exhausted, with a new crop of mushrooms manifesting every 7-14 days during this time.
In other words, it takes about just 5-8 weeks to grow 3 crops of Oyster mushrooms…and all this can be done with minimal equipment or expertise.
That is why they are so popular commercially and also for people first venturing into growing mushrooms at home too.