Gardening On Another Level: How To Grow Oyster Mushrooms In A Bucket

I developed a passion for gardening for several years and I enjoy every moment spent with my flowers. Since I live in an apartment building and I don’t have a garden, I resume my passion to indoor plants, but, somehow, I wanted to take gardening on another level. Said and done! Now, I’m growing crops indoors, in pots, buckets, bags or any other empty container I have at hand. I must confess that I’m absolutely fascinated with the results! Trust me! I’m a professional indoor gardener!

Lately, one of my biggest gardening achievements is growing mushrooms in buckets. Somehow, I successfully managed to grow mushrooms in buckets and I already enjoyed their delicious taste. While growing mushrooms in buckets is a simply process, you have to respect some specific requirements. Remember: not all mushrooms can be grown in buckets.

Some mushrooms are particular about their growing environment and other are less particular. For instance, some type of mushrooms grow on hardwood tree logs, while others, such as Oyster Mushrooms, are easy to grow and do well when planted in buckets.

I’ll admit, growing mushrooms can get complicated … but it doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes it can be dirt simple- and that’s why I love the 5 gallon bucket method.

  • It requires no special skills or previous experience.
  • It requires no expensive and specialized equipment.
  • It can produce a metric whack-ton of fresh mushrooms at home, with little effort.

Steps You Need To Take:


1. Drill Holes

  • drill holes all around the outside of your bucket. There’s no exact science here, just drill holes every few inches all the way around
  • you can also drill a few smaller holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain, but it’s not absolutely necessary

2. Add Wood Chips

  • the reason we use straight wood chips is because the wood chips alone are not likely to contaminate
  • wood chips can be treated by simply soaking them overnight in hot tap water, as long as your hot water tank is hot enough
  • the water should be between 65-85 deg C
  • let the chips sit in the hot water for 8+ hours, or until they have completely cooled off

3. Let The Chips Cool Overnight

  • I let the wood chips to soak overnight or longer so that they can get sufficiently softened
  • add grain spawn to piping-hot chips will likely kill off the mycelium
  • drain off the excess water
  • the chips should be fully hydrated, but not dripping wet

4. Add Spawn To The Wood Chips

  • to do this, simply build up alternating layers of wood chips and spawn until the bucket is full
  • each layer of wood chips should be around 1.5” thick
  • you’ll need about 2.5-5 lbs of grain spawn for each 5 gallon bucket

5. Transplant In A Cool Dark Place

  • once all the wood layers are in the bucket lid on and put it somewhere to colonize
  • the best place is to put it in a basement or garage (I live on the ground floor and I let the mushrooms in the drying area)
  • you can leave it in the dark, but that is not crucial- it will still colonize fine if exposed to ambient light
  • the important part is that it doesn’t dry out
  • an easy way to avoid this is to loosely drape a plastic bag over the bucket while its colonizing
  • this will allow the mushrooms to breath, but help retain the humidity
  • if you see no growth, or smell anything funky, it means that your bucket was contaminated
  • this could be from bad spawn, contaminated chips, or poor environmental conditions
  • if that is the case, it’s time to toss the bucket and try again.

6. Fruit Time


  • it’s time to fruit the mushrooms
  • fruiting depends on your situation, time of year, and climate
  • I like to fruit them outside in the spring, summer and fall
  • place your bucket in a well shaded area, away from the wind, and preferably somewhere where you can maintain a relatively high humidity

7. Harvesting

  • you’ll know it’s time to harvest the mushrooms when it looks like the caps are starting to curl up
  • harvest the oysters in whole clusters instead of picking them off one by one. The easiest way to do this is to simply cut the whole cluster off at the back against the bucket with a sharp knife


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