Easy Method for Growing Oyster Mushrooms: Aspen Shavings in a 5 Gallon Bucket

Pink Oysters are a fun and fast mushroom to grow in warm weather. The deeply pink, clustered rosettes bloom in abundance and can be picked and grilled, or used as exquisite summer table decorations. Simply add hot water to a pot filled with aspen shavings (available everywhere as small animal pet bedding), cool, pack into a bucket with spawn. Mushrooms will be ready to harvest in about 2 weeks,  with another crop coming a week later. Pink Oysters have a very short shelf life so are a perfect as an impressive,  home grown "porch to table" mushroom. You will love this easy method for growing Pink Oysters!

oyster pins on bucket
materials needed for growing oyster mushrooms
pink and blue oyster mushrooms in a bucket
Typically Oyster mushrooms are grown on pasteurized straw or cotton seed hulls. The reason we're taking a moment to focus on growing on aspen shavings is, 1. Aspen shavings are easy to come by and 2. No pasteurization needed!

For this process you will need a 5 gallon bucket with a lid, a 12 or 12.5mm drill bit, aspen shavings (1600 cu in per bucket), a large pot with a lid, and grain spawn (2 lbs per bucket). We have found that pink oyster and grey dove oyster works best for this method. Before you start the project you will need to drill holes into the bucket in a diamond shaped pattern, with each hole being 6-8 inches apart.

Step 1: Hydrate Aspen Shavings

The first step of the process is to fill your pot with water. We used a large 6 gallon pot, but you can also use two smaller pots if you don't have the extra large version. Bring the water to a boil.

While your water is coming to a boil, you can measure out the amount of aspen shavings you will need. Typically aspen shavings come in a bag of 3200 cu inches. You will need half of one of these bags per 5 gallon bucket. The easiest way to measure this out is to pour the aspen shavings into the 5 gallon bucket. The shavings will not expand with rehydrating, so you don't have to worry about the pot overflowing.

Once the water has reached a boil, remove the pot from the heat, and pour the shavings into the water. Recover the pot, and let it sit for 8-12 hours. This process will allow the shavings to rehydrate as well as kill any surface level contaminants.

Step 2: Inoculation

Once the shavings have cooled, it's time to drain the pot with the shavings and inoculate the bucket! To drain the pot simple place the lid askew, leaving room for the water to escape but keep the shavings in, and dump the pot! This stage of the process can be done inside, but it is easier to do the whole thing outside so you do not have to worry about too terrible of a clean-up.

After you have drained the shavings layer one to two inches of aspen shavings in the bottoms of the bucket, followed by a thin layer of spawn. You will need two pounds of spawn to inoculate the bucket, so space it out accordingly. Continue layering the shavings and spawn until you have filled the bucket.

Step 3: Incubation and Fruiting

Cover the bucket with the lid and place the bucket in an area that will be out of the way, preferably indoors. The bucket will begin to pin in 14-21 days, so keep an eye on your bucket. Once the bucket pins place it in an area that is protected with indirect sunlight- again indoors is preferable unless you live in a warm climate. If you live anywhere where the temperatures are steadily over 70 degrees, outside will work just fine.

A secondary flush will being to pin one to two weeks after the first fruiting.


Materials Needed:
5 Gallon bucket with lid, 12 to 12.5mm drill bit, large pot with lid, aspen shavings
Spawn Needed:
2 lbs of grain spawn
When they fruit:
2-3 weeks after inoculation