The Oyster Mushrooms are Mocking Me

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The Oyster Mushroom Kit is seen in stores periodically, about twice a year that I’ve noticed them anyway. The oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus or P. ostreatus) that is in these kits is a delicious (if you happen to like mushrooms anyway) mushroom that makes a nice change from the more common button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) that’s found on pizza and in salad bars.

Mushroom Kit Description

Oyster Mushroom,  Pleurotus ostreatus
An oyster mushroom in the Middlesex Fells Reservation Photo by Aaron Sherman circa 2000

I’ve seen those kits in the stores, those little oyster mushrooms just pushing their way out of their box, growing nice and big all the while being neglected. Then they’re pretty simple instructions, you cut a slit in the plastic, soak it for 12 hours, then let ‘er rip. And in just ten short days, BOOM, you’ve got mushrooms.

Piece of cake, right?

HA!

They were doing that for the sole purpose of mocking me. I just know it! How can I say that you ask?

My mushroom kit results

I bought one of those kits and I’ve gotta tell ya, my results have been lackluster. Perhaps it’s because it needed more water (yes, mushrooms do need water) or more natural light (though what passes in stores hardly qualifies as “natural”. I don’t know. Maybe the air in the house was too stifling.

My Oyster Mushroom Kit
My Oyster Mushroom Kit, out of its box.

What you see in this photo are my results. Approximately six weeks later. After two weeks I soaked it again (per the troubleshooting faq online) for 24 hours instead of 12 (not what they said, but I wasn’t taking chances). And four weeks later I got something, sorta. After noticing that I had some tiny mushrooms growing, not through the cut in the plastic, but under the plastic (go figure), I opened up the bag and set it out on my deck.

See those cracks in the bigger mushrooms, that’s an indicator that it still doesn’t have enough moisture.

Now normally you would leave the bag in it’s box but I had already given up by the time they started growing.  Needless to say I’m very disappointed, and I don’t even LIKE mushrooms. I was trying to grow them for a friend of mine who couldn’t (long story).

In conclusion

I don’t know why they grow big in the store when they’re neglected, maybe the fluorescent lights and open air environment is more conducive. So it can be done, just apparently not by me. I might try again now that we’re getting into better weather and I’ll just keep it out on the deck. If I do I’ll post an update here.

– Jeffery

P.S.

To try your hand at raising your very own Oyster Mushrooms, you can purchase your own Oyster Mushroom Kit.