Fun fact about me. The only thing I love more than trying out new cultivation methods, is free sample day down at the Costco.

So you can imagine my elation when I stumbled across these tin trays during a cranberry sauce run this Thanksgiving. Long story short, I completely forgot the cranberries, but its cool, because I ended up with something far more valuable…

The Turkey Day Tek

Assuming you are from the first world, you are likely familiar with these tin containers. Apparently you can put casserole in them, meat, maybe a pie, pretty much whatever and that includes mushroom spawn. 

And as far as I am concerned, these little boogers are perfect for mushroom cultivation; featuring a spacious, transparent and easily modifiable lid, an opaque base to combat side pinning.

But can you really grow mushrooms at home using a turkey tin?

We are about to find out.

Things you will need:

  • 1lb of grain spawn – approximately 1 quart
  • Roughly 2 quarts of bulk sub – Verm/coir/gypsum – Something like this with added gypsum
  • Turkey Tin
  • ¼ inch drill bit
  • Lighter
  • Micropore tape
  • Lots of love

Turkey tin mushroom tek

Spawn to Bulk Steps:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Wipe down your work surface and ALL utensils.
  3. Spawn dump.
  4. Get your hands in there and break up the mycelium spawn clumps – *Note* if the spawn has a rank smell, something has gone horribly wrong; toss it out immediately. The spawn should have a fresh mushroom stank to it.
  5. Toss in a hearty fistful of your pre-made bulk substrate. Mix thoroughly, making sure to get all corners of the tin.
  6. Continue adding sub until the tin base is roughly 3/4th of the way full.
  7. Gently pat down.
  8. Add a final thin layer of bulk substrate on top – Use just enough on top to cover all exposed grain spawn. (video cut off before demonstratoin)

Lid Prep for Fresh Air Exchange (FAE)

  1. Remove the lid from the tin and use the existing features on the lid to plot out your holes.
  2. We’re going to be putting 3 holes on each side of the lid.
  3. Grab your torch/lighter and heat up your drill bit or pen or whatever you’re going to use to melt the plastic.
  4. Commit
  5. Once all holes are drilled, place a batch of micro-pore tape over the holes.

*Spoiler alert* I ended up needing to add another 8 holes on the top of the lid about two weeks in. So I would add those at this point.

Once done, place the lid on the base and put away in a dark warm place for incubation/colonizatoin. This will take 7-10 days.

Day 4: First signs of colonization

Peeked in on day four to see our progress. Looking good.

mycelium incubation colonization

Day 10-17: First sign of pins

I placed the fully colonized tub in to fruiting conditions on day 10. (ambient light + fanning and misting once per day).

Pins were pretty visible on day 15, but hadn’t made much progress by day 17. It seemed like the tub was beginning to stall and I had a feeling that it was a gas-exchange/hot air issue. So I went ahead and added an additional 8 holes on top.

That seemed to work.

what are mushroom pins

Day 23: Harvest Baby!

penis envy mushroom grow
penis envy mushrooms

Last Step: Dry

Lastly, layer up your dehydrator with some tasty mango and freshly plucked mushrooms.

A few hours later you will have cracker dry booms and a guilt-free sweet treat. 

drying mushrooms

Final Thoughts:

This little casserole case is actually a pretty darn good grow chamber! However, there are a few things that I want to mention. 

  • Value – These things do seem a bit flimsy and I really doubt I will get a second use out of them. That said, considering Walmart sells 6qt storage bins (shoeboxes) for just a little higher cost per unit, as far as value is concerned, a shoebox or standard monotub will certainly last longer than this tin.
  • Durability – Shortly after day 20 I noticed a few weird splotches on the tin base. Rubbing them with my finger I discovered that the tin was actually degrading in some areas, exposing the substrate through these very small holes. Yep, these will be single use. 
  • Yield – I was very pleased with the yield of these things. Considering using only 1lb of spawn, this was one of the highest yielding (small box) first flushes I’ve had in awhile. I am excited to see how many flushes it will produce!
  • Conditions – These tins seemed to hold humidity very well and provided excellent gas exchange. 
  • Ease of use – Yeah, pretty darn easy.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed this write-up. Excited to say that we’ve got some great content coming up in 2021, including a product feature from one of the mycology industries most innovative companies.

Hint: it rhymes with fax mealed grins.

Until next time

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