Bucket Tek Review

Hi all, I’m also looking for a review on the way we are making buckets for cultivating oysters in them. Seems simple enough but would be nice to get a second pair of eyes and a recommendation for a hole layout.

Here is what we are currently doing:

We are collecting 10L buckets (which were originally peanut butter buckets from a local Sudanese restaurant called Sahara). We drill 6mm holes in the bucket. We use 4 columns, with two holes in each column (also tried a few other buckets with variations of this).

We fill the buckets with inoculated substrate almost to the brim.

Then we’ve tried two methods:

  1. Putting micropore tape over the holes while its colonizing
  2. Putting one bucket with holes into another bucket without holes around it.

Here are some photos.

Here you can see one of the 10L buckets with 5mm holes in 12 columns, which we let sit in another bucket. This photo is after 3 weeks of colonizing. You can see the mycelium is growing out of the holes (is that a bad sign?)

I know its good practice not to open the lid and check in on it, but we wanted to see what was going on in there. Here’s a photo with the lid open. Looks like mycelium, but still not very close to fully colonized after 3 weeks of sitting. But also its cold in the basement so maybe it will just take a while?

Here’s a photo of a smaller bucket we did as a sanity check. And a couple 1L bags on top as another sanity check. They all appear close to fully colonized.

Do you think bringing them to the fruiting chamber and removing the micro pore tape will be enough of a trigger to get them to fruit?

We haven’t tried to fruit any of the buckets yet, any feedback appreciated.

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@notplants

Looks like you’ve been making great progress! So cool to see the project coming along.

would be nice to get a second pair of eyes and a recommendation for a hole layout

I generally go with a diamond-shaped hole layout which gives each cluster a bit more room to expand (without bumping into neighbouring clusters). This drawing might help illustrate what I mean (note: you don’t have to stick to those same dimensions - the gaps between the holes can be shorter if your bucket is small):

You can see the mycelium is growing out of the holes (is that a bad sign?)

I take this as a good sign. It generally signifies that the mycelium has secured the existing nutrient base (substrate) and is scouting for further nutrition. You can initiate fruiting once you see mycelium at the majority of holes (at least that’s what I usually do).

Both the micropore and bucket-in-bucket approaches will work well. There will be some slight damage to the mycelium at the holes when you remove the micropore tape but this disturbance is not harmful and can actually encourage the mycelium to fruit.

But also its cold in the basement so maybe it will just take a while?

Definitely. I wouldn’t be too worried about the colonisation times being a bit slow. Do you know what your ambient temperature is in that room?

Do you think bringing them to the fruiting chamber and removing the micro pore tape will be enough of a trigger to get them to fruit?

In short: yes. The increased fresh air exchange (FAE) and therefore decreased CO2 levels should be enough of a cue for the mycelium to form primordia, provided that the humidity levels are sufficiently high. Decreasing the ambient temperature slightly can also help to encourage mushroom formation. One technique I’ve used in the past to encourage primordia formation, especially on “stubborn” buckets, is to use a clean scalpel blade to cut / scratch some of the mycelium at each hole (to make a small cave inside the hole). That can help to create a small pocket (microclimate) where the humidity is a little higher (a bit like a hole in a log).

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And we have action! Lots of pins on some buckets inoculated Dec 11. Interestingly these happened on the buckets where we did not remove the tape. The buckets that we untaped remain pin-less.

Pin sets on multiple buckets but also nearly every hole on several buckets is pinning simultaneously. This last fact is making me hopeful for our goal of a big single day harvest.