Mushroom production at Kuckucksmuehle

Produce enough mushrooms to meet local demand for mushrooms, eliminating the need to buy mushrooms. This should be as low-maintenance as possible and as automated as practical.

If this proves successful, supplying fresh mushrooms to nearby shops and restaurants should be considered, increasing the production accordingly.

After some consideration it was decided to try growing Oyster Mushrooms initially. This is because they are easy to grow, as they grow well in a wide range of environmental conditions. There are several varieties of various oyster mushrooms:

  • Oyster mushrooms
  • King oyster mushrooms
  • Golden oyster mushrooms
  • Blue oyster mushrooms

The proposed setup uses 24x5l buckets, spread out in 6 batches of 4 buckets.

Each 5ltr bucket is projected to produce an average of 0.2kg of edible mushrooms every 3 weeks, which is about 1.6kg of mushrooms / week. Mushrooms cost €9/kg, so each week will save €14.40 in mushrooms. Over 1 year it is expected to save €750, producing 83kg of edible mushrooms.

Week Batch 1 Batch 2 Batch 3 Batch 4 Batch 5 Batch 6
1 Harvest 2 Wait Wait Harvest 1 Wait Wait
2 Wait Harvest 2 Wait Wait Harvest 1 Wait
3 Wait Wait Harvest 2 Wait Wait Harvest 1
4 Harvest 1 Wait Wait Harvest 2 Wait Wait
5 Wait Harvest 1 Wait Wait Harvest 2 Wait
6 Wait Wait Harvest 1 Wait Wait Harvest 2
Item Cost Cost in € Comments
Labour 312 hours / year 441 / year Assumes 2 volunteers for 3 hours each per week at €1.26/hour
Straw 1040kg / year 195 / year Assumes we need 5kg of straw/bucket, and bales are small
Water ??? 0 (local)
Electricity ??? 0 (local)
Air filters 2 / year 20 / year Assumes new filters every 6 months
Respirator filters 4 / year 40 / year Assumes new filters for both respirators every 6 months
Gloves 0 (sourced)
Replacement buckets 96 / year 144 / year Assumes buckets last for 6 months, cost €1.50 each
Total 840 / year

Mushrooms require a stable temperature. Therefore the cellar is an obvious location for the mushroom growing space.

Inside the cellar we want to create a stable environment where temperature, CO2, and moisture levels can be controlled. This environment should not be contaminated by the outside environment, i.e. prevent spores and microorganisms from outside from entering inside. It should also avoid contaminating the cellar itself, i.e. prevent large amounts of spores and moisture escaping from the enclosed space and degrading the structure of the house.

Physical structure for enclosure

  • Hydroponic grow tent

Carbon dioxide control inside tent

  • 120mm PC fan blowing air into the grow tent from the cellar
  • Can be linked up to CO2 censor to only turn on when needed

Prevent contamination from the outside

  • Particulate filter on the fan vent

Prevent contamination from the tent to the cellar

  • Output fan ducted to the outside through the window
  • Metal grill to prevent rodent ingress from the outside

Moisture control inside the tent

  • Mister linked to a humidity sensor

Temperature control inside the tent

  • Heater linked to a temperature sensor


  • Mushrooms do not need much light, but some should be there.

Cleaning / maintenance

  • Cloths and steriliser to wipe down the inside of the tent and shelving unit
  • Brush to clean out the air supply vents


  • Rodent ingress through the tent structure
  • Maintaining positive internal pressure in a system with an outlet fan
  • No response to overheating
  • Not currently any system for alerting to abnormal conditions
  • Shelving system to accommodate the growing mushrooms. It should be spore and corrosion resistant, and should be easy to clean.
  • Buckets with holes drilled into them containing the growth medium
  • Straw - it is suitable for the mushrooms we want to grow (oyster mushrooms), and we have an ample supply. Wood chips would also be suitable.
  • A large pressure boiler or pot with a heater to heat up the straw in buckets to above 80 degrees. Needs to be large enough to contain a full bucket.
  • A table
  • A knife
  • Container for freshly harvested mushrooms

Spore exposure can initially lead to flu-like symptoms, and then develop into a permanent mushroom allergy. To avoid that, spore contamination of people should be avoided as much as possible. At the same time, when working with mushrooms, the intended growth sites should not be contaminated by things that we do not want to grow. Hence, what is needed is:

  • Particle filter masks to avoid breathing spores
  • Gloves to avoid contaminating the growth sites
  • Clean clothing / coats to avoid contaminating inside
  • Hair netting / shower cap to avoid cross contamination
  • Keep the growth area shoe free

Purchase parts


Assemble the setup

Erect growing tent

TODO: Instructions

Add lights

TODO: Instructions

Add shelving system

TODO: Instructions

Add air intake

TODO: Instructions

Add air outtake

TODO: Instructions

Add mister

TODO: Instructions

Add heater

TODO: Instructions

Add shelving unit

TODO: Instructions

Add workbench

TODO: Instructions

Add steriliser

TODO: Instructions

Add location to store PPE

TODO: Instructions

Prepare buckets

TODO: Instructions

Once the above is set up, the procedure for growing the mushrooms is:

Task Time estimate in minutes per week
Clean the buckets 20
Place straw into buckets 20
Sterilise the buckets 120
Introduce mushroom culture into the buckets 30
Place buckets onto the shelf in the enclosure 5
Wait for mushrooms to grow (about 3 weeks) 0
Harvest mushrooms 60
Wait for mushrooms to grow again (about 3 weeks) 0
Harvest mushrooms again 60
Place straw into compost 10
Perform maintenance tasks 30
Go back to the beginning 0
Total time 5h55m

Cleaning the bucket

TODO: Instructions

Placing straw into bucket

TODO: Instructions

Sterilising the bucket with straw inside

TODO: Instructions

Introducing mushroom culture to the straw

TODO: Instructions

Waiting for the mushrooms to grow

TODO: Instructions


TODO: Instructions


TODO: Instructions


The straw leftover form the mushroom production can be added to the garden compost when in large quantities or the vegetable compost in smaller quantities eg. 1 bucket a week is ok for the vegetable compost but anything over this would have to go in the garden waste compost as it would need to be mixed with additional organic matter to compost effectively.

  • research/mushroom_production_kuckucksuehle.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/01/26 17:13
  • by antz