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DeJay2

Oysters

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I'd like to try some oysters on cardboard but I don't want to spend $20. or so on a hundred plugs that I can't use up. Any suggestions?

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You could try using some of the wood that wild oysters are growing on. Cut a wedge out of a tree trunk near a good flush of mushrooms. With a bit of luck you might see the white hyphae in the wood and could use pieces to inoculate a roll of damp cardboard using a technique similar to the cardboard spawn that Paul Stamets describes for stem butt propagation. If the hyphae multiply and spread through the cardboard, then you could use pieces of that to inoculate anything else. It would be a bit uncertain because it's not a sterile method, but it's a cheap method of propagation that works sometimes. Of course, if you find some fresh, young oysters, just use their stem butts the same way, digging out a bit of wood attached to the base, if possible.

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Can't you get oysters from the store to get spores? They are available here and it's not a notable mushroom-eating area and is a fairly small city. But if you live in a place without them at the supermarket - Asian grocers usually have them if you can journey to a larger community with a decent sized store. These would be of strains that are easily cultivated - where wild ones might be difficult - except with outdoor cultivation.

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I'm curious. I plan to start some oysters in wheat straw. If I were to add some ground wood from poplar or hickory, would that give me a longer lasting nutrient pool from which I could expect more flushes over a longer growing cycle? If yes, should I pasteurize my wood shavings with the straw?

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Can't you get oysters from the store to get spores? They are available here and it's not a notable mushroom-eating area and is a fairly small city. But if you live in a place without them at the supermarket - Asian grocers usually have them if you can journey to a larger community with a decent sized store. These would be of strains that are easily cultivated - where wild ones might be difficult - except with outdoor cultivation.

This is the cheapest way to go about it, but it will take a few extra months and then you need to get a few added things, plus you need to be able to start colonies from some form of liquid/jellied starter substrate.......it's pretty difficult to get spores to colonize a cellulose substrate in a controlled environment......don't know why....but something like agar is your best bet for starting successful colonies from spore.

Adding wood chips/shavings etc to something like straw/hay will increase the available nutrients but it will be fairly negligible. You might as well plug some logs or just use pure wood shavings/chips. The number of fruitings will be slightly increased on a cellulose base derived from using denser wood versus straw/hay/grain. Generally, you'd be better off starting new bags of straw using bits from your previous bags in succession and stick to the simple, sterile substrate like hay. Maybe start a new bag every month or two. The more spawn you include in each bag the more expeditiously it will colonize and start to produce mushrooms.

If you plan on growing on cardboard or some form of hay or straw you don't really want plugs. You'd be better suited ordering grain spawn. You could inoculate several bags with this. For a complete beginner, I'd recommend ordering some spawn from a reputable source. Better chances of actually growing mushrooms in the early stages. Plus, you won't get discouraged by growing a crap load of mold on wasted substrate.

Also, if you're going to grow indoors I recommend storing your bags in large, well sterile, clear plastic tubs that can breathe. I also recommend keeping the room you store the tubs in relatively clean.

Successfully growing mushrooms takes a lot of time as well as trial and error. Eventually you might even find yourself with a complete laboratory in your basement. Good luck!

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