Do Space Oyster Mushrooms

 Unwaxed oyster plugs in maple wood. 

Unwaxed oyster plugs in maple wood. 

 Photo: MCC DoSpace @MCCatDoSpace  thanks for the snap. 

Photo: MCC DoSpace @MCCatDoSpace  thanks for the snap. 

March 31, 2017

Participants learned how to inoculate hardwood with mushroom plugs. Today's workshop included oyster mushroom plugs. In addition, participants also were shown a beautiful Lion's Mane mushroom and dried oysters, in addition to a powerpoint of an oyster mushroom operation in Iowa. Oh yeah...I treated everyone to a sample of honey from my honeybees--the girls I like to call them. :) 

Thanks to everyone in attendance! 

Pleurotus Ostreatus---The Oyster Mushroom.  White

Plug Spawn

·      They taste good

·      They are easy and inexpensive to grow

·      They thrive on MOST hardwoods, including cottonwoods, oaks, alders, maples, aspens, ash beech, birch, elm and poplars.

·      They can grow on sawdust, paper, cereal straws, corn cobs, sugarcane and coffee residues.  

·      They are high in protein, vitamin C, vitamin B and niacin.

·      They come in a rainbow of colors:  gray, brown, pink, yellow, blue, white

·      They are said to smell sweet, rich and distinctly like anise or have an almond-like smell.

They take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to fruit. SO when inoculating in the spring expect mushrooms in the fall of the following year.


·      Freshly cut spring wood that’s been cut for at least three weeks. It’s better to cut wood in the spring or fall when the trees have the most sugar content. This way the mushrooms will have available “food”. The natural defenses of the wood should have died off by now—no harm to the mycelium.

·      It’s hard wood.

·      The bark is in tact. The thicker the bark—the longer fruiting.

·      Have good moisture content.


Clean the outside of the logs using a wire brush or similar item.

Cleanliness is important


·      1- ¼ deeper---the space between the plug and the bottom of the drilled log space allow the mycelium to grow and expand.

·      Checker board pattern

·      Add the plugs


Keeps foreign matter and mycelium from entering the inoculated areas

Sealing the ends and “wounds” keep moisture in and other matter out.

·      Seal the inoculation points with wax, optional.

·      Seal the ends of the logs and any other “wounds”


·      Water with a sprinkler or water hose 2 times/week for 15-20 minutes to keep the logs moisture content steady and present. In the fall-going before the cold of the winter soak the logs once or twice for 24 hours.  

·      In the fall- “knock” on the ends of the logs using a hammer.


·      Store in a cool shaded area. During the winter store where the logs won’t get a hard frost.

·      Use a shade cloth, if available. A cool, shade wooded area is best.

·      Store off ground where the logs don’t come in contact with the ground and where they’re able to get good air circulation. Cinder blocks work.

·      Some formations for storing: lean to or log cabin style.


·      Create a mushroom diary:  date of inoculation, type of wood, type of mushroom and other relevant useful information

·      You can also label the ends of the logs using a tin plate and etching tool.


·      Harvesting—pick when young and in clusters.  They should not be slimy or smell foul.

Food for Thought

Don’t mix and match various plugs in a single log

Be Safe---get to know what an oyster mushroom looks like so that you’re able to easily identify it from other mushrooms that may look or smell similar. Mushroom spore prints are helpful. Invest in books, attend classes, attend workshops and participant in online mushroom forums. 

Calandra CooperComment