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This technique can be used to grow mushrooms in an indoor setting. It’s an easy way to scale up grain spawn without having to use a pressure cooker. There are no special tools required (except a drill bit).

When and where to make the buckets

  • If you are keeping the buckets indoors, you can create them at any time of the year
  • If you are doing these buckets outdoors, then you need to create them in the late spring and summer. The mycelium does not grow in winter temperatures although it can survive being frozen on sawdust


  • Grain spawn (oyster variety) – available to order on our store
  • Sawdust pellets (hardwood fuel pellets)
  • Water
  • Bucket with drilled holes
  • Boot tray or something to place the bucket on to catch extra moisture
  • Plastic bag to cover the top
  • Masking tape


Step 1: Create buckets

  • We drill 1″ holes in buckets.  Typically 3 holes per side.  These buckets shown are slightly smaller than regular 5 gallon buckets.  Any large size bucket works. You should make sure that the bucket is food grade and has not had anything like oil stored in it.  However, you can see that sometimes we don’t follow our own rules…
  • Cover the side holes with masking tape. Leave the bottom holes open to allow extra water to escape

Step 2: Hydrate sawdust pellets

  • Mix sawdust pellets and water in a container with no holes. When you are using cold water, it takes a while for the pellets to hydrate. Be patient
    • We cannot stress this enough. You need to use HARDWOOD pellets (You can buy bags of pellets from Canadian Tire or smaller quantities from our store)
    • Hardwood pellets work with this technique because they are very clean. There is low risk of contamination
  • We don’t have exact measurements for water and pellets – but you will need a full bucket of hydrated sawdust.  It can’t be too wet.  When you squeeze a handful of it, a bit of water can come out but no more

Step 3: Layer grain spawn and sawdust

  • Start with a layer of sawdust at the bottom.  Make it about 3″ deep each time
  • Add a layer of grain spawn
  • Add another layer of sawdust
  • Add a layer of grain spawn…
  • Continue until the bucket is above the last hole that you drilled
  • The last layer should be a thin layer of sawdust spawn
  • For this bucket, we used about 5 cups of grain spawn or 1 kg

Step 4: Maintenance, overwintering and harvest

  • Cover the bucket with a plastic bag (opaque) until the bucket is fully colonized
  • Make sure, especially if the bucket is inside, that you place it on a boot tray or something else to catch moisture
  • Check every 3 days or so to see how it is doing
  • Use the masking tape to take a “peak” at how far the mycelium has colonized – you will see it turn white!
  • Once the mycelium has fully colonized the bucket, take off the masking tape and the plastic bag
  • These buckets will probably survive being frozen but would need a new food source in the spring


  • You can also create these buckets with sawdust spawn
  • After the bucket is colonized, you can add it to a garden bed. It’s an easy way to create more spawn quickly

Fungi Akuafo Experience

  • These buckets are easy to make and typically quite successful
  • Expect to get contamination sometimes – ensure you get rid of the contaminated sawdust before the contamination moves to other healthy buckets
  • We get fruits in these buckets within 2 weeks
  • You can stack these buckets so that there is not such a large surface area on the top of the bucket for fruits – this will help you get better results
  • We like that the buckets are reusable – ensure you clean them very well before using them again

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