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This article is taken from Five Gallon Ideas, which features over 100 uses for 5 gallon buckets with more being added all the time.
This post is a continuation of our guide to growing oyster mushrooms here. If you haven’t read it yet, please check it out first, as we go through a lot of vital information, demonstrating how to grow oyster mushrooms using old coffee as a substrate.
You might wonder after reading our guide whether there’s a low cost alternative, one that doesn’t require you to buy spawn on the internet. The answer is: Yes there is. The pay-off may not be guaranteed, but it’s certainly worth a shot.
The next time you go out and buy mushrooms in the supermarket, find a mushroom that seems to have some white mold covering its stem. This white fungus may be some of the mycelium of that particular mushroom. This mycelium can be grown quite easily. I am growing mushrooms myself in coffee, using white button mushrooms I bought in the supermarket.
If you look at the above image (click it for a full size version), you notice white threads expanding from the mushroom stem that I cut in four parts and placed on top of the coffee. These mushroom threads, are mycelium, the foundation of a mushroom growing operation. After enough time, this mycelium should colonize the entire coffee pot.
The mycelium in this picture is currently growing at room temperature (22C), which is near the ideal temperature for white button mushroom mycelium to grow. When it’s time for the mycelium to sprout actual mushrooms, the temperature should ideally be a bit lower, around 14-18 degree Celsius. That temperature is easily reached in my house, by moving the bucket to a room that’s not heated.
Downsides to the cheap method
We would have recommended this method right away, if it didn’t have certain disadvantages. The less living mushroom tissue you start out with, the easier it is to end up with a contamination. When your substrate is contaminated, you might see green mold growing, or you might not notice anything odd, as there are different kinds of contamination possible.
If it doesn’t work
If you can’t get it to work, that might take you a few weeks to find out. Hopefully you won’t let this discourage you from enjoying the pleasure and harvest of mushroom cultivation in your own home. Instead, order some oyster mushroom spawn on the internet and you will probably have a higher success rate than you would using the cheap cloning method. As your spawn is growing, you can always try out the cheap method again.
For many more ways to use 5 gallon buckets for self sufficiency, visit Five Gallon Ideas. When citing this article, please link to