Updated: Sep 8
When Growing mushrooms you can run into some simple issues - much like any other crop or plant. Mushrooms are roughly 90% water and like a high-humidity environment. Depending on the mushroom strain they can be tolerant of temperature swings and other environmental factors.
This post will cover some of the most-common issues growers will experience with the common oyster mushroom. Whether an imported strain or NZ-native culture, the key issues are the same.
The Oyster Mushroom's Basic Needs: Some Fresh-air & Reading-level Light
Mushrooms are the opposite of plants in that they 'inhale' oxygen and 'exhale' CO2: much like us humans. Oyster mushrooms in particular produce a lot of CO2 as they grow, and need a steady supply of fresh air to develop normal fruit bodies. Unlike button mushrooms, that prefer darkness, oyster mushrooms require reading-level light (not direct sunlight) to get that nice deep-cap-colouring and proper formation.
Signs of Lack of Fresh Air/ Light & A Quick Fix - Repositioning
The first indicator of a lack of fresh air is when mushroom fruit bodies begin to grow with long stems & small caps -- as seen in the photo above. If they do not have sufficient reading-level light -- and a bit of fresh air, (say they are placed in a container or cabinet) -- they will produce very long, stringy stems with tiny caps or no cap at all. Once the mushrooms have gotten to this stage (like in the photo above), the best thing to do is remove the entire mushroom cluster by twisting it at the base. Then move the block to a more suitable environment and wait for the next flush. This won't effect your overall yield by much, as they will grow until they run out of nutrients.
Mushrooms grow at a very fast rate, doubling in size every 24 hours in ideal conditions. Because of rapid growth, the effects of environmental changes can often be seen within 24 hours -- if you act quickly the issue can often be solved while the mushroom is still growing. If you have moved the block and are not seeing a difference in cap size and the stems are still long and stringy, rip them off to start-over as a new flush will give you another chance.
What's that Yellow Liquid in my Oyster Grow Kit Bag?