It was discovered that mushroom growers find the simplest way of growing mushrooms at home. The question is, what's the easy way to grow mushrooms at home? Different answers depend on each grower and different mycologists' perspectives.
However, to know if mushroom cultivation is easy, you must consider your access to materials and the cultivation method you adopt. There are many methods, but finding a suitable one that you can efficiently work with is the best.
This article will introduce you to one of the best and the most used mushroom cultivation methods at home. The 5-gallon bucket is the easiest and most productive method of cultivating mushrooms at home. It will also reveal the do-it-yourself steps of cultivating mushrooms at the comfort of your home without stress.
WHY A FIVE-GALLON BUCKET?
Growing mushrooms don't have to be complicated at all times. It should sometimes come with ease, so this method is incomparable.
Regardless of the stage or experience, any grower can grow mushrooms using this procedure. Hence, you can use this method without prior experience and skills. Also, you can grow tons of mushrooms at the comfort of your home without the use of sophisticated tools and less workforce.
Materials Needed For This Procedure.
- Five Gallon Bucket With Lid.
This bucket helps to hold a substrate (soil or spawn) that allows the growth of the mushrooms. So, where can you get this bucket?
This bucket is the same as other standard buckets. So you can purchase it from any hardware store or, better still, use any of your old buckets. However, it would help if you were mindful of the content in the bucket before using them. Just make sure you thoroughly clean it before use.
If you plan to grow edibles, buying new bucket(s) will be advisable. And it would help if you also bought breathable lids, to cover the mushrooms during the colonization.
- Power Drill With ¼ Inches Bit
It will help you pierce holes around the bucket. These holes help in the growth process of the mushrooms because they allow the passage of air and light, which is needed for maximum mushroom growth.
Some growers use a more significant drill bit, and others use a hole saw.
- Hardwood Wood Chips
Hardwood wood chips will be used as the substrate, not soil. And this is what the mushrooms will grow on.
There are various types of hardwood that you can use for their chips. For the sake of this article, I will recommend Aspen and Oaktree chips. Two, because of their availability, you can quickly get these from pet stores (they are also used for pet beddings).
- Plastic Tote
A plastic tote is used in soaking chips in hot water. You need a big size that will allow you to soak plenty of chips at once. However, you don't need to soak your chips in a plastic tote. You can use big bowls, buckets, bathing tubs, and so on. You can soak anywhere convenient; make sure that the place is neat. That's the essence of the tote.
- Mushroom Grain Spawn
There is a need to choose to make a grain spawn or purchase a pre-made one. Generally, new growers buy pre-made spawns because of stress and time.
Also, note that you must be ready to use a spawn before ordering because it's a matter of time; it will get spoiled. Or better still, store it in a fridge to keep the mycelium active. But a fresh spawn is more effective.
However, choosing spawn might be difficult because of different species and their functionalities. I recommend Oyster spawn because it has a savory taste and grows other species.
Additionally, you might need a spraying bottle and a kitchen trash bag. The latter functions as a lid for the bucket during colonization; the former keeps the mushrooms and their surroundings moist.
After getting all materials needed for the cultivation, below are the step-by-step guide, which will make it easy and productive.
- Drilling Of Holes
It is essential to drill holes around the plastic 5-gallon bucket using the ¼ inch drill. It allows proper ventilation, which increases the growth and yields of the mushroom.
However, there is no dimension or quoted spacing; you have to be discrete about it. You can also drill some holes and the base of their bucket. Avoid too many spaces and large holes because the dryness of the mushrooms depends on these holes.
This process should be done to make the wood chips or straw sterile. Wood chips have resistance to contaminants; all you need to do is partial pasteurization which takes about 8hours. However, if you prefer to use a straw, you must undergo complete pasteurization.
Hence, this process involves placing the wood chips in a tote plastic, then pure hot water on it for about 8 hours, or partially steaming it on a stove.
- Cooling and Draining
Cooling allows the wood chips' temperature to decline, so you can easily touch them. This process will make the wood chips softer, free from contaminants, and allow the mycelium to survive on the wood chip easily. Note; the hot wood chips will kill the mycelium.
Also, draining the hydrated wood chips depends on the grower. Some people use their hands to squeeze it, while others might wrap it in a breathable bag and place the heavy metal. So it depends on you, choose the most convenient one.
- Add Spawn To The Wood Chips
Inoculation is when you add good spawn to the substrate (wood chips) for effective colonization. You can achieve this goal by adding 3-5Ibs of grain spawn to the 5-gallon buckets. However, about 10% spawn will form rapid colonization.
Furthermore, there is no need for a laminar flow hood because the wood chips are contaminants-free. Nitrile gloves can be adopted when handling spawn, but it is not compulsory.
- Colonize In A Cool Dark Place
After inoculation, cover the bucket with a breathable lid and place it away from the sun. It is to avoid the dryness of the spawn, which will help fruiting. It will still colonize well if exposed to ambient light, but direct sunlight will be damaging.
The colonization period depends on the type of species, temperature, and spawn rate. Hence, if everything is in place, the spawn will become fully colonized between 14-21days after preparation. However, you need to check the growth process on the 7th day after preparing the spawn; this will help you confirm if there is contamination or not.
If there is no change in the size of the mycelium and no fruiting, it means the bucket is contaminated. That means you need to start the process again.
Fruiting is a maturation process; that is, the pins become evident. The mushroom needs adequate moisture and air for them to mature fully. You can adopt a spraying bottle for constant wetting of the pins.
More so, mushrooms start to germinate about 10days after evident pinning.
- Harvesting and Second Flush
It is the last and most crucial step because you need to be careful at this point, or else there won't be a second flush. That is, harvesting in the wrong way or tampering with the spawn can alter the growth of the mushroom. So, when harvesting, you can use your hands or a sharp knife or saw; be careful not to tamper with it.
The 5-gallon bucket mushroom cultivation method has enhanced mushrooms' growth. There is a need for you to pasteurize your wood chip to avoid contamination partially. Tho, wood chips are contaminants free and give maximum mushroom yield.
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