Inoculated spawn mixture usually consisting of spores mixed with a sawdust product.
A drill with 1 to 3 cm ( .5-1 " US ) drillbits.
A few food grade buckets ( with lids ) and a large plastic tote or container .
Access to a very large and safe container or a standard bathtub.
straw broken up
Usually about 10-15 lbs of wet straw per bucket.
Plastic sanitation gloves optional
A couple of pots for boiling water
A large plastic garbage bag
A little bit of food grade alcohol. ( or bleach , more in this later )
Paper towels or small rag
The 5 gallon bucket mushroom grow system is not only versatile but it's also practical. This method is not for anal retentive cerebral folks looking to prove how much they think they are a god. This is a simplified method for people who
Just want to grow some shrooms .Single food grade buckets ( often free ) could be kept on your countertop or the corner and since the buckets are stackable it allows you to grow many different varieties of mushrooms all-in-one place. Oysters are used primarily by me with this system but experiment if you like.
Boil water and place straw in a basin . Pour hot water over straw in basin and keep soaking for a few minutes .Your straw can be roughly chopped or just broken up well. The more you chop the less spawn mix you can use. I skip the chopping method and instead beak it up
Well and use more spawn because ... Spawn is cheap especially if you make it yourself .
Now comes the straw sanitation.
Purists will say you have to place your straw in a pressure cooker and heat the it to all Hades .
Some will say you have to boil it in a pot for an hour
Truth being they are also destroying the nutrient base that is suppose to feed the mushrooms by doing this. A few minutes is all that's needed to destroy the native spawn. If your making your own spawn then use their techniques because sanitation is key, therwise keeping it simple is my plan. You'll find some say one whole hour of boiling some a half some none at all .
Some claim you shouldn't heat it at all. If you have good spawn it should be in a condition that would be able to take over before native spawn that's dormant even has a chance. They also say that you preserve more of the nutrient base by not heating it. Truth is I like the Buddhist path to mushroom growing ... The middle path .
Now is the perfect time to drill the holes in that bucket. Using a drillbit a couple centimeters across ( 1-3 C ) begin drilling in a diamond pattern by alternating the holes .
While you are maintaining your temp , now is a great time to take out your spawn medium which is mixed with sawdust and place that in a sanitized bowl.
After your chopped straw is sanitized you may then drain the tub or bucket. Removing the straw from the tub or bucket and place in a large sanitized container to cool, you are now ready to begin the seeding of your bucket.
Put a nice thick layer on the bottom and sprinkle some spawn over it . Place another layer of straw on top and push down generously and repeat the spawn sprinkling . Alternate layers inside this bucket by placing packed straw and then a small handful of your inoculated sawdust spawn mix on top of that, followed by yet another layer of straw. Alternate these layers until you get to the top of the bucket.I usually make 3-5 layers and you can use another 5 gallon bucket on top to push the straw down in your mushroom bucket and that works very effectively to pack your bucket. Make sure you sanitize the outside of hat bucket .You can also bulk mix your spawn with your substrate and some people go anywhere from 5-7 lbs per 100lbs of your sanitized substrate. Usually I go a wee bit heavier than that in my mix.
When your bucket is packed to the top ,put the lid on the bucket and place the entire bucket into a plastic garbage bag and tied shut. Please keep in mind that certain commercial garbage bags have added fungicides to them like hefty and many other namebrand products. This is where using the cheapest product is best because the cheaper plastic bag will not have such antifungal treatments.
I usually leave mine in a position like this for a month and then I will inspect everyday . When I see a bloom I then remove the bucket from the plastic bag and stack them. You may find, depending on the humidity in your house, you may need to "water "your bucket after removing it from the bag. This can be easily accomplished with the water spray bottle and clean non-chlorinated water. Spraying a little bit into each hole every now and then( like once or twice a week ) will help ensure that the bucket never dries out. It may take a few months for your first "flush " ( bloom of mushrooms ) to appear it may happen as soon as a few weeks . And a bucket is usually good for 2 to 4 flushes before it has to be replaced.After that , dispose of the spent material and reseed .
This method can be used to grow a few mushrooms in the kitchen or stackable towers in your basement for commericial purposes.
There are hundreds of you tube videos and papers teaching you how to grow mushrooms. Don't like this method ? go find one you do . That's the beauty of growing food , so many beautiful ways and only control freaks claim they know the only right way ... Take it easy and have fun first !