Shimeji mushrooms Pleurotus spp. are very easy and fast to grow. When they are small or young they can have a blue cap colour which becomes a silvery beige as they mature. At Fungi Co headquarters we have made sculpture from shimeji `Mount Shimeji' and Peter has constructed images from shimeji `Shimeji Blue' -
Here are our growing notes on shimeji.
What’s in the grow kit?
The kit is composed of sawdust inoculated with a strain of Shimeji Oyster mushroom, comprised of interconnected white filaments called mycelium. This network is a living organism that digests the sawdust with its enzymes, breaking it down into sugars, water and carbon dioxide then using this as food to grow and produce mushrooms. As the kit nears maturity you can see the small ‘primordia’ form, some of which will then become mushrooms. This kit demonstrates the natural process that occurs when this fungi inhabits fallen timber in forests.
Remove the string and open the bag (without removing the bag). The mushrooms will grow from the top surface of the kit where there is access to oxygen in the air. The Shimeji Oyster grow kit needs spraying with water morning and night. After the first harvest, continue to spray the surface with a small amount of water daily while the mycelium gathers more energy to grow the next crop (approximately 2-3 weeks later). The surface of the spawn may naturally change colour somewhat over time.
Grow indoors - kitchen, laundry, bathroom or in a protected outdoor area. The kit can be placed in a well-lit area to grow, but not in direct sun light. Your kit will grow mushrooms best at temperatures between 18-28 oC.
Under favourable conditions, mushrooms will begin to appear in 7 - 14 days. Mushrooms grow in clusters and are best harvested in all at once. They are ready once the mushroom cap shape goes from convex (cap edges rounded down) to concave (cap edges flattening out or turning up); after this they will tend to produce spores and dry out. Pick the entire cluster by twisting and pulling away from the spawn. Remove any residual stems, as they will no longer grow.
After you harvest the mushrooms keep the surface of the kit moist. Avoid over watering the kit, as water pooled in your grow kit will hinder vital gas exchange - making it hard for your grow kit to breathe! Continue watering once the mushrooms start forming again (approximately 2-3 weeks) and as the next crop develops. The most productive mushroom crops are usually the first and second. Subsequent mushroom fruiting may occur over the following weeks, but fewer mushrooms will grow as time passes and the mushroom nutrients are used up.
If growing under dry conditions, you can create a humid environment by placing a bag or container over the kit to act as a humidity tent – BUT be sure to allow fresh air every day so that your kit can breathe.