BY VINA MEDENILLA
Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) is a common variety of edible mushroom grown in the Philippines. It comes in pink, yellow, white, grey, and black, with white and grey being the more prevalent types.
Not only does this provide healthy options for everyone, but edible mushrooms can also be a source of sustainable income due to their growing market.
For those individuals planning to venture into mushroom cultivation, here’s the process of growing oyster mushrooms from preparation to collection.
Preparing the fruiting bag
Gather all the materials needed to create a mushroom grow bag. This includes a kilo of rice straw, 6”x12”x.03 polypropylene (pp) bag, rubber band or PVC tube (anything to tie or minimize the fruiting bag opening), cotton, and 10 grams of sugar.
Before anything else, keep the hands clean and sanitized with alcohol to prevent contamination.
Expose the rice straw under the sun for one day. Immerse them in clean water with no chlorine for another 24 hours. Remove and thoroughly drain the excess liquid in the rice straw.
Add 10 grams of sugar to the rice straw and mix it well. Fill the plastic bag with it, then close the fruiting bag by putting a PVC pipe neck or rubber band around the opening. Insert a small piece of cotton in the hole that will lessen the risks of contamination.
Steam the mushroom fruiting bag for eight hours in low heat. Let the bags cool down for 12 hours after that. Once everything is finished, proceed to the next step: planting.
Planting and harvesting
First, prepare the following: mushroom spawn (F1), alcohol, lighter, cotton, hook rod, lamp, and of course, mushroom fruiting bags.
Mushroom growers may reach out to an agricultural extension worker near their area to acquire F1 mushroom spawn.
Start by sterilizing the hook rod and heating it using the lamp. Unfasten the fruiting bag and remove the cotton. Open the mushroom spawn atop the lamp, exposing it to the heat to prevent the entry of microbes.
Using the hook rod, apply about two tablespoons of mushroom spawn to the fruiting bag. Immediately close the plastic after application.
Store it in a shaded area in an upright position and incubate it for 15 days. Afterward, transfer the fruiting bags and lay them down in a clean rack. Poke small holes on both sides of the fruiting bags where the mushrooms will develop and appear.
Spray the fruiting bag with water twice a day. The mushrooms will start to emerge after a month, given that it is consistently maintained.
When harvesting, twist the oyster mushrooms and make sure to pull it all out. Harvesting may be performed after every three days within one and a half months.
Rice straw may also be used as fertilizer for plants later on.
For more information, contact the farmers’ contact center at 09209462474.
The procedure was demonstrated in AgriTalk’s 2 Easy Learning Video Series that presents instructional guides on organic fertilizers and pesticides, urban agriculture technologies, and the production of fast crops. The online series was held in partnership with the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Center (DA-ATI) and Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture Online.