Starting Mushrooms

We have big dreams of raising mushrooms, but we have little experience. So our first step is to grow some oyster mushrooms on coffee grounds, using a kit from Fungi Perfecti.

First: Get some coffee grounds

Oyster mushrooms should grow well on coffee grounds, and the grounds should be fungi-free after having boiled water forced through them.

We needed 3 gallons of grounds for this project. Rather than go to one of the independent coffee shops near our house, we drove across town to a corporate cafe, where I was surprised to find that the employees were downright enthusiastic about collecting grounds for us.

Second: Prepare a bucket

We drilled drainage holes in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket. We put a piece of landscaping fabric in the bottom of the bucket to discourage grounds from falling out.

Third: Mix the mushroom spawn into the grounds

We waited a little too long after receiving the kit to start the project, so weird twisty mushrooms were already growing in the bag. We cut them off and maybe someone put them in dinner, not sure about that.

The kit is a bunch of sawdust full of mushroom growth, pressed into a block. We broke up the block and stirred it into 3 gallons of the grounds. The coffee shop gave us more grounds than we needed, so we put the extra in plastic bags in the freezer, and will use it in stage two of this project.

A lot of water drained out of the grounds, some immediately, more over the next few hours.

Fourth: Drill ventilation holes

To keep carbon dioxide from building up in the bucket, we drilled some more holes just above the surface of the grounds. To keep plastic shavings out of the grounds, we caught the shavings on another piece of landscape fabric.

Fifth: Put the bucket away

We put this perforated bag over the top of the mushrooms, and put the bucket in a shady corner. We’re spraying water on top of the grounds twice a day, and keeping our fingers crossed for the next couple weeks.

All photos by Ben