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How do you grow awesome oyster mushrooms with straw and a 5 gal bucket?  RSS feed

 
Mart Hale
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I had a great time making this video with David Goodman. Fungi - Tastic!





 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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that is so cool! and I am getting one of those drill bits. they look so useful for so many things and so much better than the flat wide drill bit I have been using.
 
John Saltveit
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Great post and video. I have some slightly different takes, so take it with a grain of salt. I wouldn't put boiling or really hot water into a plastic container, as it will leach plastic toxic chemicals in. I cook my substrate between 140 and 180 , usually about 160, for an hour, then drain. I cook them in metal or ceramic. Lower temps lead to greater yields. I'm trying to protect the bacteria, etc. that help. I don't make that big of holes. Mycelium doesn't like too much oxygen while it is growing. Mine are about 1/2 inch and I just use 1 set every 7 inches at the top third and one set at the bottom third. I also put small holes, 2 in top and bottom-1/8 inch, so the water doesn't run out too fast. They need to stay moist. I put the medical tape over the 1/2" holes so I can keep other stuff (spores, etc. ) out. It lets air in. When the mushrooms grow, they will push out the tape. I don't want the extra bucket to smoosh the mushroom as it's coming out or keep too much water in so it will drown. Just my 2 cents. Take it for what you want.

I love the video. It will help a lot of people learn how to do this by themselves. I also like that you guys seem to be having fun. We need more of that.
Thanks,
John S
PDX OR
 
Mart Hale
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John,

Thanks for you input, and I think you have some great ideas. I am looking for a large Stainless Steel container to hold the straw - hot water we think alike there. Perhaps get a huge cooler, and put stainless steel pots inside to avoid toxic chemicals.

As for smooshing of the extra bucket, after all of the holes turn white I pull it out of the second bucket and start misting the holes.

I will have to try the lower temp, what is the best temp you suggest?

Thanks for the encouragement, and yes we are getting good feedback about the video posted above. Also check out all the links compiled in the "about section" of the video.

 
Mart Hale
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Meryt Helmer wrote:that is so cool! and I am getting one of those drill bits. they look so useful for so many things and so much better than the flat wide drill bit I have been using.



They are Meryt!!!

They rock!. So nice to be able to drill so many hole sizes on the fly.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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John Saltveit wrote:I put the medical tape over the 1/2" holes so I can keep other stuff (spores, etc. ) out. It lets air in. When the mushrooms grow, they will push out the tape. I don't want the extra bucket to smoosh the mushroom as it's coming out or keep too much water in so it will drown.


They push through the tape on their own? And none of the tape ends up in the mushrooms? If so, COOL

I have found mushroom cultivation to be EXTREMELY location dependant. What works in one climate may not in another. And that is OK.
 
John Saltveit
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I usually go between 140 and 160 F, closer to 150 if possible.
Thanks,
John S
PDX OR
 
John Saltveit
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Are you in Florida? R Scott's comments are important to think about. We can learn from others but we might have to adjust something. We all have very different climates. I also use wood chips instead of straw, because they also give higher yields. I can get them rather easily for free here. We're good at growing trees.

So it looks like the advantage of two buckets is that if you're willing to check, you could avoid covering the holes. The advantage of the breathing medical tape is you don't have to check as often, but you do have to buy the tape and put it on.

I love seeing other people's systems and learning from them. I can't tell you how many ideas I've taken from others from this site. Thanks again,
John S
PDX OR
 
drake schutt
Posts: 46
Location: mid. TN
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I'm surprised you permies haven't gotten on the hydrated lime or detergent bath. It will save you a lot of energy, maybe irrelevant on the home scale, but if you start doing more it will save a lot! Heating water is quite expensive. Just soak shredded straw in a saturated hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) solution or detergent solution (all free + oxy)(1-2Cups per 55gal) for 12-24 hrs. Drain for 4+ hrs since it won't be steaming off.
 
R Scott
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You need to find a low magnesium lime, but otherwise it works great. wood ash works as well, and gets higher yields!

Leftover solution goes in the compost pile. Fertilizer.
 
Mart Hale
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R Scott wrote:You need to find a low magnesium lime, but otherwise it works great. Wood ash works as well, and gets higher yields!

Leftover solution goes in the compost pile. Fertilizer.



How much wood ash would you put in the 5 gal bucket?

How many mushrooms have you grown?

Thanks!
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Lime is 2 grams per liter. Ash is to saturation, which depends on the ash. Too much isn't a problem, so I wing it. I think the extra gives longer protection against mold, but that is more opinion than fact. I use about a quarter cup each per gallon and a half of water, plus a tablespoon of gypsum, which is just enough to treat a 5 gallon bucket of sawdust. Straw or chips would be a bit different. Sawdust doesn't drain well, so I have to be careful not to use too much water.

I am in the process of ramping up to 80 buckets a week. My goal is to do all lime pasteurization and no heat sterilization even for spawn, but am not there yet. I am expecting fairly high contamination rates, but I think that is better than the time and money spent on sterilization.

And harbor freight sells a stepless step bit. More like a tapered ream, but it is awesome for drilling holes in buckets--much smoother than the regular ones and usually no burrs.
 
Mart Hale
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Thanks for that info! "stepless step bit" if you get the exact name of that bit, I would like to know it as I drill zillions of holes in 5 gal buckets, not having a burr would save me time.

80 Buckets wow! that is quite a bit to process!

My plan is to get 2 flushes of mushrooms from the buckets, then after they are done, take them out of the buckets, cut them in half and then place in wood chips. I hope that this is a jump start into the wood chips so I can get more mushrooms.


I am experimenting with the substrate, I am doing a 50/ 50 mixture of straw and wood chips, I hope to get more flushes out of the same buckets. It may take longer for the mushrooms to colonize, but I hope the payback will be greater since they will have more to feed on.

I had some fungus gnats invade one of my laundry baskets. I did some research and the recommendation is to drown the basket for 24 hours. I have done so in my ibc fish tank, now I see zillions of small worms floating to the surface. I am thinking this would be an awesome way to feed small fry. I may risk contamination but I don't want the fungus gnats destroying my crop.

I hope your experiments with " no heat sterilization even for spawn" works out for you.

I have food grade hydrogen peroxide, and I was thinking that would be great to be able to process a large amount of substrate without the heat.

I agree with you that it is worth the contamination risk if you can save the time.

I will continue to pasteurize as it seems to give me good results.

Cheers, and Merrry Christmas!
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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http://www.harborfreight.com/3-piece-stepless-drill-bits-66463.html#.VJl0m1h-iec.mailto

Or search for stepless on their site. It only goes to 5/8 or 3/4, but that is big enough for most mushrooms.

I have several plans after the flush.

Stamets talks about how they will eat oil, leaving no trace in the substrate. He was talking crude oil so you don't want to eat those mushrooms because of heavy metal accumulation, BUT...I have a friend that does WVO fuel and has bunches of old fry oil that has too much water or fry bits in it for fuel. I plan to feed it to a few buckets and see if they give an additional flush.

I also am going to start major compost production. Simply being able to call it mushroom compost makes it worth more. I don't know if I will get to the point I sell it or just use it to improve my property. I have a lot of degraded land to restore.

Gnats are a problem I haven't had to deal with, yet. Dunking sounds much easier than vacuuming.
 
John Saltveit
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I have tried to reuse the chips after 2 flushes. Some veterans in my mushroom club said that the mycelium gets spent. I don't know if that means it's biologically inbred or what. I ended up with mushroom compost, which as you've said, is worth a lot in itself. I am currently experimenting with adding the spores from the mushroom or stem butt to see if is more successful. The spores from an actual mushroom will at least be slightly genetically different.

This year, I also have been splitting up the buckets before they fruit, thinking that it might work better that way.

We'll see.
John S
PDX OR
 
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