The easiest way to grow mushrooms at home is with a five gallon bucket full of coffee grounds, and some Oyster Mushroom spawn. The guide below will get you started growing your very own Oyster mushrooms.
Oyster mushrooms can grow quite large and produce a lot of food using little space. Seeing the success others have had growing large Oyster mushrooms made me eager to try it out for myself. One youtuber’s grow kit showed oysters as big as dinner plates, growing out of something the size of a football.
What you’ll need:
- A container to grow the mushrooms in. Our suggestion is of course a five gallon bucket.
- Spent coffee grounds, up to around half the volume of your container. These can almost always be obtained free from a nearby coffee shop. Dry them or keep them in your refrigerator if you won’t use them right away, so it doesn’t go moldy. A herb drying rack can be great for this purpose.
- Mushroom spawn. Oyster mushroom spawn can be purchased online from Amazon or from a mushroom lab near you.
- Plastic wrap (optional but recommended)
- A spray bottle to gently mist your mushrooms with.
- Start off by filling your bucket with the coffee grounds you’ve gathered.
- If the coffee grounds in your bucket are dry, you should add some water to them and let it drain out.
- Take your mushroom spawn and mix it all through the coffee ground. If you’ve filled a large bucket, you might want to drill some holes in the side, to allow air to enter the substrate
- Optional: Cover the bucket with plastic wrap, but add some holes to the plastic to keep carbon dioxide from building up. The plastic helps protect them against direct sunlight and keeps the bucket moist. Once the mushrooms start growing, you can remove this plastic.
Growing the mushrooms:
After you’ve followed the instructions, you need to keep the mushrooms moist, so spray them twice a day with water. After a few days, you can see something white begin to emerge that looks like this:
The white stuff you see is your mushroom spawn springing to life and beginning to colonize the substrate you’ve fed to it. The fibers themselves are called “mycelium” and function similar to plant roots. When you see this, it’s a sign that your work is starting to pay off!
After a while, you will begin to see tiny young mushrooms emerge from the bucket:
The final result, mature oyster mushroom, will look like this:
These mushrooms look about ready to end up on your plate! Here you can see the result of our first harvest:
I never ate mushrooms before I started growing my own – the chewy texture was not for me! Then I discovered that cooking mushrooms for a long time made them taste very similar to bacon, and suddenly I was very interested in growing as many mushrooms myself as possible! How would you like an automatic bacon maker?
Growing mushrooms from spores
You can also grow mushrooms from spores. Spawn is generally preferable over spores however, as spores need an environment that has been carefully sterilized, to avoid contamination. Spawn is less vulnerable.
The poor man’s method of growing mushrooms
Believe it or not, you can buy mushrooms in the supermarket and get them growing in your own bucket! This method is not very easy, but it’s explained here.
Mushrooms for medicinal purposes
The Oyster mushroom naturally contains lovastatin. Lovastatin is a naturally occuring statin, substances that are used to prevent the development of cardiovascular disease. Other mushrooms have other beneficial health effects. Daily consumption of white button mushrooms for example, is thought to drastically reduce your risk of breast cancer.
My suggestion is to regularly eat a wide variety of mushrooms. You could also consider taking supplements made from dried mushrooms. One supplement available on the Internet contains a powdered blend of seven different types of medicinal mushrooms.
Other ways to use coffee
Do you ever throw away cold coffee? Well, why not save it? Check out our page with delicious cold coffee recipes!
Watch our new Gardening with 5 Gallon Buckets video for more ideas like this.