Pink Oyster Mushroom

Pleurotus flabellatus

The pink oyster mushroom is the perfect choice for the first-time mushroom cultivator. It grows at room temperature and anywhere warmer. Members of our cultivation group have used many different cultivation methods, and the only one that actually killed the mushroom was direct exposure to the sun and drying in a hot house.

How to grow Pink Oyster Mushrooms on a block of straw

Cut or poke holes in the bag now, if you haven't already done so. Keep the straw block in a warm place. P. flabellatus prefers 60° or warmer. Keep the straw moist, but not wet. Water droplets in the bag are a sign to back off on the amount of water. You may spray water on with a pump bottle or just pour water into a hole you cut in the top. You may remove the bag, but it will be harder to keep the straw moist unless you put it in a plastic tent. This is unnecessary, but I do it to increase yeilds on my first flush.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many holes should I cut in the bag? -- Bill Chalmers says to poke 50 holes with a clean nail. Paul Stamets' book "Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms" has a photograph showing fewer, larger holes. This leads to the formation of clusters. Ten to twelve holes the size of a 50¢ coin are enough for the 18x24 inch bags we use if you want clusters of mushrooms. I have removed the plastic bags completely. The mushrooms in the photo above were the result of that experiment.
  • Do I need to water them everyday? -- Once holes are cut in the bag, yes, it is a good idea to keep them moist. If you notice water droplets inside the bag, you have been watering too much; stop for a few days.
  • Why don't we grow portabellos? -- The myconerds that I rely upon for guidance think they are boring. They require the composting of a large pile of manure and straw, and so far, we don't have a place to do the composting. Perhaps one of our group or someone who would like to join the group will offer a composting site. If that happens, we can try them. They can be purchased locally, so there is not the incentive to grow them that there is for Oyster mushroom varieties that are not available locally.
  • Am I guaranteed success if I follow these instructions? -- No, this is a fungus. We take every precuation to pasteurize the substrate (straw) and to introduce only the fungus whose fruiting body we hope to harvest. Your success will depend on the quickness of the capture and the presence or absence of competition. The P. flabellatus is quite competitive, and usually wins in a fungus to fungus duel to the death. As surprising as this sounds, that is fun to watch. Of course, my fungus won. Otherwise it wouldn' t have been so much fun.
  • Are these good to eat? -- Yes.
  • Can these be grown outside? -- Yes, if it is above 60°.
  • Are there disadvantages to outdoor cultivation? -- Yes. Flies lay eggs (that become maggots) in the fruiting bodies. Wild creatures may sample them before you get the chance.
  • Can this cultivation kit be expanded to new straw to make more kits? -- Yes. Success depends on how clean and complete a capture you have with the kit, and the age of the mushroom when it was expanded into the straw. If you want to do that, check with the kit's cultivator to see how many times that particular mushroom has been expanded before expending the effort to use it for spawn. The cost of new, vigorous, spawn is only about $15 per bale of straw. The largest cost is labor to assemble them.
  • What is the white fuzz inside the cultivation bag, and what should I do about it? -- It is mycelium. Rejoice!
  • But it looks like mold! -- Yes, it does.
  • My straw block has turned white. What are the pink bumps that are forming? -- They are primordia. Each bump will try to become a mature fruiting body. Some will abort.
  • Do they need light? -- No, I have grown them successfully in the dark. Light does encourage primordia formation. When growing mushrooms for market days, I increase light and fresh air a few days before so there will be lots of mushrooms on market day.
  • Will chlorine in my water kill the mushroom? -- No, because like all good cultivators, you will leave the water out overnight in an open container to allow the chlorine to evaporate before you spray it on the mushrooms.
  • Some of my straw blocks have a peculiar problem. They start to fruit, then when the cap is apout the size of a dime, they get covered with dozens of primordia. The blocks have hundreds of pins, and no mature fruit. The other two blocks are fruiting nicely. They are all sitting on the same table top! -- "overpinning" can be a result of too high CO2 (pinning under the plastic can cause this or simply not enough ventilation - of course the requirement for ventilation increases with temperature). Excessive temperature shock can result in overpinning. You can sometimes get an effect like that if you pin before the substrate is fully colonized. That may result in many small fruits but it will not cause the coral-like multi-branched effect which is virtually always the consequence of poor ventilation - high CO2, and aggravated by high humidity. I can't really tell you how you can interpret those symptoms to your packs made and incubated "together." .....reply..... Yes, given the conditions in my grow room, the overpinning was caused by excessive CO2, high temp., and not enough ventilation. The two that fruited were closest to the air source.....
  • Cooked some oyster shrooms last night. Awesomely beautiful but not that tasty. Kinda tough as well. Is that just the nature of the beast or is it the cook. I'm a pretty good cook. Any ideas??? I'll grow em just for the beauty if I can't find a better way to eat em. Any way thanks for selling em to me. I grow mushrooms that taste better. The most frequently requested species for flavor by my farmers' market customers is the Blue Capped Oyster Mushroom. As for the Pinks; they make wonderful soup. Cooked hard, they become more flavorful and crunchy. I use olive oil to fry them. Here are three suggestions:
  • Fry them 'til well done in oil with onions and garlic, then scramble eggs into them.
  • Dip them in crispy batter and deep fat fry them.
  • Crush garlic into olive oil and paint the gills of upside-down clusters and bake at 375 'till golden brown. Just don't eat them raw. Uncooked, they are indeed tough, bland and not easy to digest. Like most mushrooms, they have milder flavor in the button stage. These get 12 to 15 centimeters across when mature. Pick one the size of your hand, and see if it is more flavorful. The second and third fruitings may have fewer clusters or even single fruits. These are more likely to grow large than are mushrooms that are a part of a dense cluster. In any case, if you are patient and let them mature, they will produce spores. Put newspaper or plastic down to catch them. You may get millions and millions of them. Don't count on cleaning them off anything easily. They are 3x10 microns and ornamented.
  • Thanks for getting back to me. Unfortunately, I am not in your area and cannot make any of your meetings. However, I am interested in staying in touch and learning as much as I can about mushroom cultivation. As a novice, I am particularly interested in putting together a mushroom cultivation kit for myself. Could you share with me what I would need and how to go about it?Thanks again.--Yes. See my reply to the inquiry below.......
  • Lowell, At your 'How to Grow Pink Oyster on a block of straw' page, there is no information on what to do BEFORE the straw is in the bag.--There should be. The site was originally made for folks who buy kits from me. To make a kit yourself, just cook straw at 160-180 degrees f. for one to two hours. (I use a hardware cloth basket that just fits inside a food grade 55 gallon drum, and heat it with a weed burner, to make 9 in a batch.) Cool to <100°ree;f. and innoculate with grain spawn at a rate of 5 to 20%, wet spawn to dry straw. Keep everything, including your hands, clean with >90% alchohol. Break clumps of grain apart; a clump has the same effect as a single grain, so breaking a clump into grains multiplies its effect. Distribute kernels of grain spawn throughout straw as evenly as possible. Pack into 18"x24" poly bags. Then follow instructions on the website. When I'm not using spawn I expanded out myself, I buy spawn from Bill Chalmers or from Paul Stamets. When I buy $60-$100 worth of spawn at a time, it costs me about $2 per bag of straw for spawn . It costs $10 or $15 to ship one or two bags of spawn. I'll do what I can to encourage you to try this. Watching the mushrooms grow is fascinating. Watching people's reactions to the fresh mushrooms is also fun.
  • Where do you get the hardware cloth basket? do you make it?--I make the basket from the type of hardware cloth used in the bottom of a rabbit hutch. It's strong and can be tied into the shape of a cylinder with tie wire. #9 tie wire can be used to form handles. Make the cylinder just smaller than the drum. Cut two circles from the hardware cloth for the top and bottom.

  • I hope you don't mind the constant ?'s I was wondering why the Pleurotus Ostreatus are always long stemmed and the Columbinus grow in a beautiful full bunch. Can I control the Ostreatus somehow? When does a person add that dolomite lime stuff? I feel that the customers won't like long stems and little tops.They are different species. The florida strain of ostreatus fruits more like the columbinus. The tendency to grow long stems is often the result of high carbon dioxide levels. Better ventilation and more light would result in no stems and thicker fruiting bodies. Let one of them fruit outdoors and see what you get. They are thick and meaty mushrooms when they grow outdoors.

    You may visit the Kitsap Peninsula Mycological Society's Mushroom Cultivation website.

    Learn more about the Kitsap Peninsula Mycological Society at their website.

    This site is maintained by Lowell Dietz. Mushroom cultivation is my hobby. I make my living doing carpentry in Sequim. You may view my carpentry website at:http://dietzfarm.com/carpentry.html.