I officially declare the mushroom season open! And to honor this appropriately, I’ve started new king oyster mushroom cultures that I hope will thrive and grow. This time, I used store-bought grain spawn (this shop is cool, give these guys a try!) – the last propagating attempt with the used up mycelium didn’t work out sooo well.
The whole action doesn’t take much time and effort (and it’s perfectly doable, sitting, with a broken knee…). But it is absolutely vital that you work as cleanly as possible, so to give your spawn an edge over any possible competing contaminats. I’ve got two versions:
Two plastic storage boxes, about 25 x 35 cm with a lid, filled with pasteurized straw substrate and inoculated each with 1/3 of the grain spawn. These will go outside as soon as they’re fully colonized and ready to sprout. Here’s what I did:
- Make holes in the lids, about 1 cm dia., disinfect thoroughly with alcohol and seal the holes with Micropore™ tape to ensure gas exchange.
- Disinfect the boxes thoroughly with alcohol, close and set aside.
- Bring about 1.5 l of water for each box to a rapid boil. Add 1 kg of straw pellets to a box (you can obtain this in the small animals supplies aisle in your local garden market. Make sure to buy organic material).
- Then pour in the boiling water. Stir thoroughly with a disinfected spoon to distribute everything evenly and close the lid. Let the straw soak through and let cool to room temperature. Repeat for the second box.
- Once cool, drain off the condensate from the inner side of the lid and mix in 1/3 of the grain spawn, again using a disinfected spoon. Try to keep the open time as short as possible. Close immediately and stow away.
Three glass jars, filled with a straw- / rye grain mixture to propagate the last third of the spawn. They’re intendend for storing and using them later. The approach was the same as last time:
- Make holes in the jar lids, about 1 cm dia., disinfect thoroughly with alcohol and seal the holes with Micropore™ tape to ensure gas exchange.
- Sterilize the jars (I steamed them for 15 minutes on the stove), close them and set them aside.
- Cook 500g of rye grains with 400 ml water and 15g of gypsum until they’re mostly dry and covered nicely with a white-ish gypsum coat. Fill into the jars immediately, close and let cool to room temperature.
- When cooled, use a sterilized spoon to top with the grain spawn, close instantly and let sit in a dry and cool place to thrive.