skip to Main Content

Using Cheap Wilko Mason Jars For Inoculating Grain For Lions Mane

Wilko, for people who don’t know is a UK high street store that specialises in bargain home goods ranging from kitchen supplies to gardening stuff. 

Wilko Logo | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Innoculate Mushroom Grain

I decided that I was sick of messing around with Fibre Fill on my grain jars for gas-exchange. Now, I know what you’re thinking ‘Garf, just use sterilised bags of grain’ and my answer to that is I don’t have a pressure cooker big enough for it to make sense just yet, I don’t want to run and setup my bubba barrel for a few bags of grain and I don’t really have the storage right now and I don’t have to make any more excuses! 

On one of my outings I came across this absolute bargain of 12 jars for £2 with pre-drilled holes. The sceptic inside me said it was too good to be true but £2 is nothing so I thought I would give it a shot! I took home the last 2 crates and had some Lions Mane liquid culture ready to go ordered on eBay.

Mason Jars From Wilko Logo | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Innoculate Mushroom Grain

I ran the usual wheat with a bit of gypsum in it, this apparently stops the grain from caking together and balances the PH of the mix slightly. I washed the grain in hot water first before refilling and putting in a few tablespoons of gypsum.

Bucket Of Soaking Wheat For Mushrooms | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Inoculate Mushroom Grain

The reason I use hot water is because it expands the grain and causes it to release more of its dirt, it also does a fantastic job of speeding up the soaking process, by partially cooking the grain it softens the seed coat much quicker than regular soaking.

Bucket Of Soaking Wheat For Mushrooms | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Inoculate Mushroom Grain

18 hours later I filled up 4 jars, stuffed the holes with Fibre fill, covered them in foil and popped them in the pressure cooker for 90 minutes @ 1 Bar (15psi). Low and behold they didn’t pop or break as I had anticipated they would.

Jars Pressure Cooking Mushroom Innoculating Grain | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Inoculate Mushroom Grain

A few days later I popped them in front of my HEPA and did the usual procedure being more careful since I didn’t have injection ports this time for reason I’ll explain further down the blog.

Jars Infront Of HEPA Filter With Lions Mane Liquid Culture | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Inoculate Mushroom Grain

I cleaned the area and heated the needled up to glowing using a little handheld blowtorch lighter kind of thing used for cooking. Some people use lamps and some don’t bother since the needle and work area is, technically sterile, but I’ve never been one for doing things by halves!

Heated Needle With Liquid Culture For Mushrooms Lions Mane | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Inoculate Mushroom Grain

I cracked the lids and injected 2.5ml of the Lion’s Mane LC into the first 1cm of the grain (usually you would go deeper but I didn’t want to risk contamination being pushed since it wasn’t a typical transfer)

Innoculated Liquid Culture For Mushrooms Lions Mane | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Inoculate Mushroom Grain

I then sealed the lid up and labelled them.

Inoculated Mushroom Jars With Lions Mane | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Inoculate Mushroom Grain

Then popped them into my homemade incubator. Which is built from an old fridge off eBay, a reptile mat and a thermostat plug. It works an absolute treat but is quite small but incredibly well insulated. A chest freezer with some racking would work even better I think.

Homemade Mushroom Incubator For Incubating Mushrooms | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Inoculate Mushroom Grain

Now, earlier I said that I didn’t have an injection port. And from the pictures you can see I’ve just stuffed Fibre Fill, that’s because of a few things. Firstly, my injection ports are too small for the holes in the jar and consequently just fall straight through the hole, so I’ve ordered some new ones that are larger for the holes.

Too Bigger Holes Mushroom Jars | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Inoculate Mushroom Grain

Secondly, I can’t get a decent cut for the new airflow design that I’m using, this is because the metal is so thin that drill bits just chew it, ideally, I would punch it out with a hole punch but because of the depth of the rim of the lid, it won’t fit in. My next step is to drill it smaller and ream it out, with any luck that will do.  You can see below my practice.

Too Bigger Holes Mushroom Jars | Archer's Mushrooms Blog About Using Wilko Jars To Inoculate Mushroom Grain

So that’s my story. This is all for OCD to be honest, the only benefit from using a more tidy air exchange is less chance of contamination from ‘Wicking’ off the fibre fill, but if you’re careful you won’t get that anyway, you can get similar results from micropore tape and silicone. I chose this way because it looks neater, cheap jars and doesn’t require me to mess around with fibre fill or having to find the centre of the lid!

If you’re interested in buying any gear mentioned in this blog  you can checkout my shop (coming soon) or you can use the links above which are eBay and Amazon affiliate links which help support the blog! If you click those links, whatever you buy within 24 hours, I will get a small % fee for referring you to Amazon and eBay, it costs you nothing and benefits me greatly! Thanks for reading!

This Post Has 2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top