What’s the best place to keep my oyster mushroom block?
Unlike button mushrooms or portobellos, oyster mushrooms need light to stimulate growth. Good, indirect lighting where you can see well is ideal. However, you do not want in-direct sunlight as this can dry the block and the mushrooms out too much. Keeping your block out of the wind is important for the same reason. You also do not want to place the block somewhere where it will get wet in the rain, as when the mushrooms get close to maturing they will take markings, or worse, get bacterial growths on them. Keeping out of reach of slugs and snails is important too, as they will mow your mushroom babies down, so up off the ground is wise. When your mushroom block is reaching maturity it will also start to drop spores so you will want to keep your block somewhere where you don’t mind this happening. Placing in a cardboard box can help contain spores. You can start them in the kitchen for the first few days and then move it as it matures if you wish to keep a close eye on it and you have room :)
How long between flushes of mushrooms?
This depends...Temperature can play an important part in this as well as moisture in block and in atmosphere. You can expect that your second flush will take longer to start fruiting than your first as it takes some time before mycelium has recovered enough energy to fruit again. Same with the 3rd flush if your block is still in good condition free from disease.
Should I water my mushroom block?
If your block is in the ideal location, at least on the first flush, you shouldn’t have to water it, but there are times where, perhaps due to dryness in the air and a bit of a breeze the block can dry out. The best way to approach this is to mist the blocks surface where the hole is cut, directly onto the block with a spritzer, as much as seems needed to keep moisture on the surface. Continue until the mushrooms are about 5mm across each, as at this stage your mushrooms will have set in, and then you can sit back and watch your babies grow!
Do I need any special gear to grow my mushroom block?
Apart from a knife and spritzer bottle full of water, there is no other gear you need to grow your mushrooms :)
Can you do innoculated bags of shiitake?
Not yet. It is in the pipeline but it will be a few months away. It takes 3 months for shiitake to innoculate so it would take some time before they were ready. It will be happening though!
Should I extend the cuts in the plastic to allow more mushrooms through?
It's better to concentrate on growing them through the hole cut. Even though there are mushrooms under the plastic if you cut it off the block drys out faster which will mean less productivity.
I’ve got my block but I don’t want to fruit it straight away. Is this okay?
Yes, you can delay the fruiting time by a couple of weeks by keeping it in a fridge if you have space. You will need to keep an eye on it though because if it does start showing signs of fruiting which it will do even in the fridge after a while you will want to set your bag up asap!