It’s been roughly 3 months since I started a series of experiments. Here are a few things I did:
1. Blue Oyster Mushrooms from Out Grow
- Method: Coffee grounds (blue bottle)
- Spawn: Rye berry based
- Container: Take out plastic containers
- Environment: Non-functioning wine cooler
I inoculated the first container (Fig. 1) on April 28th. Since then, I’ve fed the containers every 2 days with 2-3 tablespoons of spent coffee. The containers had roughly 5mm holes drilled all around (Fig. 2) for aeration and moisture retention. It’s also where the mushrooms are expected to emerge from. It’s been exactly 55 days since inoculation and this (Fig. 3) is what I have. So far all I see are small clusters of pinnings, they seem to stagnate at this size and then eventually dry out. Based on my research, there could be several reasons why this is happening:
- Weak air exchange due to the fact that it’s housed in a wine cooler
- Huge humidity fluctuations ranging from 60-80
- Weak strain (bought it from Out-Grow so it doesn’t seem likely)
I have been misting and letting air in the cooler twice a day. I’ve also decided to take a different container and give cold shocking a try to see if I get better results.
2. Shiitake Mushrooms from last year’s class
- Method: BRF Cake
- Spawn: Liquid culture I’ve kept in the fridge since October of last year
- Container: Birthed and placed in a ziplock bag which then was placed inside a cardboard box with a window cutout
- Environment: Room temperature in the kitchen
- Inoculated: March 8
- Birthed: April 10
I’ve had “some” success last year with invitro fruiting so I decided to give it another go, but this time I would birth it. 73 days later (time from birth), I finally get a single pin (Fig 4). To avoid having the same issues as my Blue Oysters, I decided to put some pre-soaked perlite into a plastic container, lay an aluminum foil on top of it, cut a window and move my cake in there. Let’s just say, it’s my DIY (Fig. 5) humidity tent. I’m hoping that it grows into size in a few days.
3. Pink Oyster Mushrooms
- Method: Grow Kit purchased on Amazon by Forest Origin
- Container: Take out plastic container
- Started: November 30, 2017
This one was sort of a fluke because I did not expect anything to come out of it. From what I remember, this kit turned out to be a flop. My kit got contaminated and so I decided to save some viable chunks and throw out the rest. I placed the remaining piece in some container and left it outside my balcony for 2 months unattended. After I got back from my trip in February, I decided to throw the leftover into some coffee grounds. Surprisingly, the mycelium thrived and I was able to get a bunch of pins. Unfortunately, it only produced a semi decent fruit (Fig. 6), which eventually dried up and perished.
4. Shiitake Mushrooms from the 48th Annual SF Fungus Fair
- Method: Spawn plugs bought December 3rd
- Inoculated: Don’t remember! Sometime in May 2018
- Medium: Wood logs soaked in water for 1 week
I drilled holes in the log, plugged them with Shiitake dowel plugs (Fig. 7) and left them out on my balcony. So far, nothing.
My conclusion so far is that I haven’t really gotten a grasp of how this all works. I know how to make my own liquid culture, spawn grain, get a healthy mycelium colony going on coffee and brf substrates, but somehow when it comes to fruiting, I can’t seem to get a good healthy flush. This is a bit frustrating but the work must go on, I’m going to tweak a few variables and keep trying.