Lignicolous mushrooms on straw

Operating instructions for the cultivation of Oyster Mushrooms, Shii-take mushrooms and other lignicolous mushrooms on straw and other agricultural wastes.


  • 50 kg of fresh straw
  • a 2 liter (1,4 kg)- portion of spawn (this amount may be higher for some mushroom kinds)
  • 1 large plastic bag
  • a pair of disposable gloves


substrate selection - straw or corn cobs

1. Substrate selection:

choose good quality straw or chopped corn cobs of the last harvest. Fresh wood chips, originating from deciduous trees, are suitable as well. If you can get to some CaCO3 (chalk), mix in 1-2% to rise pH a little.

tutorial for substrate pasteurization

2. Substrate preparation:

keep the substrate in hot water (between 60 and 65 °C) for ½ hour. Let it drain and cool down to more or less 20 °C on a clean surface. If you can get to some CaCO3 (chalk), mix in 1-2% to rise pH a little. If you put the spawn before the substrate has cooled down sufficiently, the spawn will die from the heat and you are sure to get only molds. If the straw hasn’t sufficiently been drained, it may rot at the bottom. The moisture content of the straw should be 70-75%, i.e. when you squeeze it very hard, you could get out a few drops. Put disposable gloves before touching the pasteurized substrate, in order to prevent recontamination.

tutorial for hobby substrate inoculation

3. Inoculation:

fill a clean plastic bag with 5 cm thick substrate-layers, between which spawn is crumbled. Press well, in order to make intense contact between spawn and substrate. A 2-liter portion of Pleurotus (Oyster Mushroom) spawn (= 1,4 kg) is sufficient for the inoculation of 50 kg of wet material. You should mix in at least about 2% of Pleurotus spawn. Cut the lower edges of the closed bag to allow air exchange.

tutorial for incubating substrate of Oyster Mushroom

4. Incubation:

Keep the substrate in the dark at 20-25 °C. After 2-3 weeks, it will be fully colonised with white mycelium (incubation phase), and will have turned into a firm block (ripening phase).

tutorial for ripening phase of Oyster mushroom substrate

5. Fructification:

remove the plastic or make holes every 10 cm.

Place the substrate block in the light, protected from direct sunlight, and keep it humid e.g. by means of a garden hose with spray-nozzle. Temperature may vary between 5 and 20 °C.

Oyster mushroom blocks - harvesting phase - flush 1

6. Harvest:

mushrooms tend to appear in “flushes” or series, with intervals of 2-3 weeks. The total yield is 10 to 20 % of the original weight of the wet substrate.