Oyster Project

home experiment after catching this Paul Staments clip


Tons of Shit

March 10th, 2013Tons of Shit

Stables generate a steady stream of organic waste. Horse and Hive Farm in Glen Arm Maryland was courteous enough to give me unfettered access to their poo pile in the name of Sccccieence.

Horse manure queuing station

Two Totes

Cooking Time

March 11th, 2013Cooking Time

It’s time to introduce oyster mushroom spawn a new food source.  Pasteurizing the horse manure and hay should kill off the poo-eating microbes. This will give oyster mushroom mycelium a competitive advantage for expansion.


The Setup


A secret santa chicken fryer, and an eviction salvaged pot + basket and good old fashioned horse shit.

The boil


Heated to 180 Degrees for 1 hour (or until propane runs out).  Use a rock to keep the hay from floating.

Cool it down:


Spread the freshly boiled mass onto a tarp, and wait until it gets below 90 degrees

Add the spawn


Mix in the pre-bought oyster mushroom spawn.  I used my fingers to break up the sawdust-mushroom mix before tossing it thoroughly with the hay and poo… Mmmmm

Loot Bags


I created 2 thin poly bags full of the pasteurized haymanure.  In a 3rd bag I mixed the oyster spawn with unpasteurized straw (Control group to see if it was worth the boil)

After a week out of town

March 23rd, 2013After a week out of town
unpast 2 wk

Unpasturized Control – No detectable spreading of mycelium.

past 2 week

The 2 bags that were pasteurized have a spiderweb like expanse of white fibers everywhere.  There are a few seedling sprouts showing up as well.

My oyster mushroom instructions recommended that I keep the spawn around 70 degrees for optimum growth. With snowstorm forcasts I slipped the bags into the guest bedroom before skipping town for the week. Upon returning, the entryway smell was a compelling remindeder of the oyster mushroom experiment. Both bags that were filled with boiled and pasteurized manure/hay had a fascinating white silk sweater surrounding them. The pasteurization waste must have given the oyster spawn some kind of advantage or incentive for the expansion. I think the bags all seem overly moist, though i’m not measuring. The spidermand expansion of mycelium web through the material is fascinating; The mat is visibly more efficient tracking across fine granular areas. Adding a run through the chipper before pasteurization could do well. Some seeds that passed through the horses are also starting to sprout in the bags.

Sandworm in a diamond mine

April 17th, 2013Sandworm in a diamond mine


Some cool activity that looks like mushrooms forming. I can’t recognise as oyster at this time. Unfortunately this is all going on inside the bag. I was hoping the mushroom would birth through the nail holes. Starting to myst inside.

Harvest Day

April 23rd, 2013Harvest Day

We finally got some recognizable oyster mushrooms growing out of two adjacent holes in the plastic bag. A nice cluster indeed, although there are quite a few small, black, gnat-like insects hovering around the bag, and a few actually in between the gills on the underside of the mushrooms.