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Giant oyster mushroom: How to grow in your garden

The giant oyster mushroom (pleurotus giganteus) is an edible and very tasty mushroom. It belongs to the mushroom family, or pleurotum.

The giant oyster mushroom can be found in temperate and tropical countries around the world. Growth season – from May to December, in a warm climate – all year round.

It grows in the deciduous and mixed forests of Ontario and throughout Canada, in large groups on decaying wood, on stumps, dried or weakened trunks of aspen, birch, oak, willow, rowan, and other deciduous trees. Sometimes it can be found on conifers.

In the spring, somewhere in the beginning of May, after good and heavy rains, take a basket and walk into the forest. Picture that you are going through the spring forest, listening to the singing and chirping of birds, gazing into the crowns of blossoming trees, and suddenly you see huge bunches, burdocks of giant oyster mushrooms hanging on the dead wood. It is enough to find one such a tree or a stump to collect a full basket of mushrooms.

The mushroom is also being grown in artificial conditions. Due to the knowledge and hard work of immigrants from Asia, many species of oyster mushroom (including the giant oyster mushroom) are currently being grown commercially, and can be found on shelves in Ontario grocery stores.

Imagine, you can please your guests with an unusual, nutritious dish, such as juicy oyster mushroom cutlet.

Recipe for cooking mushroom cutlets – 6 servings:

  • 18 giant oyster mushroom caps
  • 6 eggs
  • 18 tbsp. of breadcrumbs
  •  1 tsp. salt, black pepper – by taste
  • 60 ml of olive oil

Select large caps of mushrooms, add spice on both sides and leave for 1-2 hours. At this time the mushrooms will let juice out and become soft and elastic. Beat the caps slightly, so that they become thinner and smoother. Whisk eggs until smooth, add salt, and pepper. It is advisable not to over-salt, since the mushrooms have already been salted at the beginning. Pour the breadcrumbs into a plate and roll in all the slightly beaten caps, let it soak for a couple of minutes so that the crumbs soak in moisture, then dip them into the beaten eggs and fry the mushrooms in olive oil on both sides until cooked. Serve hot, sprinkled with fresh dill or parsley.

Giant oyster mushrooms are known for their unique nutritional properties and can be used to treat many serious diseases, such as gastrointestinal cancer, sarcoma.

They have a tonic effect on the immune system and activate the antitumor defense systems of the body. In folk medicine, they are used to strengthen the nervous system, for the prevention and treatment of the cardiovascular system, hypertension.

Mushrooms and preparation of them have antiviral and antitoxic properties, have antimutagenic and antioxidant effects; are used for the prevention and treatment of muscle pain, cramps, pain in the tendons, numbness of limbs, lumbago, to reduce blood cholesterol, and are used for the prevention of sclerosis; they also contribute to the prevention and treatment of HIV infection (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

And this is not a complete list of the unique healing properties of giant oyster mushrooms. Also, for medicinal purposes, these mushrooms are used to make decoctions, tinctures, extracts, teas, ointments, powders, and so on.

You can’t or don’t want to go out pick wild forest mushrooms? Well, did you know that you can grow giant oyster at home?

It is not difficult at all, and you can get great pleasure by watching the growing mushrooms in your backyard, sitting in a chair in your garden with a cup of tea or coffee…

So, this will require a dark place in the backyard, a few small-sized pieces of deciduous tree log and mycelium on a grain substrate. You can find the required size of logs from farmers who sell firewood. Buying mycelium is not difficult either. A large number of companies from around the world sell it on the Internet. In Ontario we also have mushroom online stores selling ready-made oyster mushroom mycelium on a grain substrate. Besides, beautiful ready-made bags of mushroom mycelium can be purchased in the spring time in garden centers that sell various greens, flowers, bushes, and trees.

In the prepared logs, drill holes in a circle in a staggered manner with a distance of 10 cm between the holes (a hole should be about 2 cm wide and 7 cm deep). Then gently fill these holes with the acquired oyster mushroom substrate taken from the grain substrate, and close the holes with wet sawdust which can also be purchased at garden centers or pet stores. Dig the holes in the ground about 5-10 cm deep, where you have chosen a place for your “Magic Mushroom Garden”. Then add a little wet sawdust and grain with fungal mycelium to the prepared pits.

Attention:we place the logs in the pits on the side where the tree had roots, so that the moisture could rise upwards along the vessels of the tree. Cut the top of the log into a circle about 2 cm thick and place the grain mycelium on top of the log, and then nail the cut part to it, closing the mushroom mycelium laid on top. Bury all logs with mycelium into the prepared pits, in random order.

Do not forget to water your mushroom garden with water, and in a few months, you will be collecting oyster mushrooms in your garden. What a beautiful sight, when all your logs will grow in a circle with young oyster mushrooms!

Please share with us your experience with your newly created mushroom garden. And, of course, stay healthy!

Svetlana Poltavets, Co-author of the book “Atlas of Mushroom Healers”

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