Growing Pink Oyster Mushrooms- Lessons Learned

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(Not My Results)

Last winter I attempted my first grow of Pink Oyster Mushrooms while comparing 2 types of substrate.
This is the process I followed along with what worked great and what didn’t work:

Substrates Used

Brown Rice Flour, Vermiculite, Water (Known as BRF Tek)
6 cups vermiculite, 3 cups brown rice flour, 3 cups water (ratio to remember 2-1-1)
Mix evenly and fill jars 90%. Add dry vermiculite to the last 10%.

Oat Grains
I first rinsed the oats in a strainer until the water running through was clear. I then soaked the oats in a bowl for 24hrs. After, I simmered/low boiled oats 15-20 minutes, dumped them in a strainer, then let them steam dry. Oats were then ready to fill glass jars.

Make sure jar lids have 4-5 holes punched through, top the jars with aluminum foil to prevent moisture dripping through the holes while Pressure Cooking for 90min @ 15psi. I let it cool down about 12 hours before opening PC and inoculating the spawn plugs. Once inoculated, I used the Shotgun Fruiting Chamber method to fruit.
Check out this video to watch the process.

What worked

1/10 jars were contaminated by a red fungus. 9/10 colonized pure white mycelium “cakes”.
The cake jars with BRF colonized quicker than the grain jars.

What Didn’t Work

The jars I used made it nearly impossible to remove the cakes. I used standard pint mason jars that I already had around where the neck of the jar is a bit narrower than the base. The first couple I tried pinching through the narrow hole, trying to squish it with a couple utensils. It basically just damaged and bruised the cakes. The next few I tried breaking the jars which resulted in a shattered implosion of glass shards into the cake, again, damaging and bruising the mycelium network. I kept a couple of the least damaged cakes and try to fruit anyway.

The Results

The cakes produced small and weak looking pink oyster fruiting bodies.

Lessons Learned

ALWAYS use wide mouth glass jars. I used the jars I had around and have previously seen people successfully extract the cakes from them (albeit with difficulty). I knew it’d be difficult but attempted it anyway. Having tried it now, I’ll say it’s not worth the headache, struggle, and disappointment. I’d also recommend the 8oz half pint wide mouth jars to reduce the colonization time.

The setback was a bit disappointing to say the least, but I plan on a 2nd attempt with all the correct equipment in the near future. The process itself was fun (reminded me of doing high school science experiments) and when perfected can be a great year round source of protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin B3, Copper, Vitamin B2, and Vitamin B5 (https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/oyster-mushroom/).

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