The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Propagating oyster mushrooms

Propagating an oyster mushroom from stem butts.Some of you may remember that I experimented with propagating morels this spring.  Paul Stamets made it seem so simple --- snip off the mushroom's end, put it between layers of wet cardboard, and wait a few months.  Mushroom propagation might be that easy in the Pacific Northwest, but even during a very wet summer around here, our cardboard had plenty of time to dry out.  My stem butts shriveled and no spawn formed.

When we got our second flush of oyster mushrooms, I resolved to try again.  Oyster mushrooms are supposed to be some of the easiest to propagate, and I've learned a bit from my mistakes.  This time, after soaking the cardboard, I ripped off the flat layers on either side to leave just the corrugated part behind.  I sandwiched my stem butt sections between layers of corrugated cardboard inside a flower pot, and stuck it under the sink where I can check the moisture content periodically.  If all goes as planned, we might have spawn to expand our oyster mushroom collection in the spring.  Or maybe I'll keep experimenting and learning.

DIYers should check out Mark's homemade chicken waterer.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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