Post Number: 17268
|Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 08:46 pm:||
Sterilize in oven at 250F for 90min. Stir up the casings after 60minutes then return to oven for 30 more minutes. You'll have to add distilled water to it after there sterilized. If you add straw alder sawdust some peat moss and a little vermiculite you'll have a decent compost. if you do that, mix em all up including the worm casings and then sterilize the same as above.
Works pretty well.
`ve cased with it 1 part worm castings 1 part verm 1 part peat moss and it kicks ass, lots of pins!!!!!!!!!
Preparing the Worm Castings
The first step, after the successful production of the six jars of grain spawn, is to prepare the worm castings to receive the spawn. I have found slowly wetting the castings and then microwaving them best do this.
Five pounds of worm castings are dumped into a big mixing bowl with lid. Slowly wet the castings with a hand mister, mist just a bit and stir. This step will take a bit of time don't hurry. You want to add enough water so that when you squeeze a handful of castings as hard as you can, a few drops of water will be yielded. It is very important that the castings not be too wet. This is a common mistake that is made by most cultivators on their initial attempts at this method. Castings that are too wet will generally contam quite easily.
After the suitable moisture level has been reached it is time to pasteurize. Put the lid on the mixing bowl, leaving it loose so as to allow the steam that is produced during pasteurization to escape slowly. Microwave the castings on high for 5 minutes. Let them stand in the microwave 1 hour, and again, cook on high for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes are up, clean your hands with a sanitizer, and open the microwave and close the bowl lid tight. Allow the castings to cool in the microwave.
Next you will need to select a container for your castings to colonize in. I have found that 16 qt Rubbermaid containers work well. I prefer to use one of these rather than say a gallon ice cream bucket, because the castings will be layered more thinly and seem to colonize faster. I have no idea why the castings run faster when they are spread thinner, but it seems to be the case.
When you have found a suitable container in which to colonize your castings, it needs to be cleaned. I recommend soaking a paper towel with isopropyl alcohol and wiping out the container well. This will effectively kill any contamination causing organisms or their spores that might have found their way onto the inside surface of the container.
In a clean environment open the large bowl of castings and dump them into your casting container. Use a sterilized fork to break up any clumps of castings that you might see.
Next shake your 6 jars of spawn and dump them onto the castings, then mix them in, paying attention to get an even distribution of spawn in the castings. Level the surface of the castings/spawn mix and cover.
In 7-14 days you will observe that the castings turn completely white, a sign that the castings have become completely colonized. When this happens, it is time to pasteurize your straw.
I use worm castings a lot. You have to play with moisture content to get the right feel. Too little and they dry out, too much and they can sort of melt together or clump. I usually use this recipe:
2:1:1 worm castings:dark rye flour:vermiculite
or 2:1:1:1 same as above but with one part sand.
Go ahead with coir as a casing, but you should sterilize it to be on the safe side. Sometimes coir harbors molds and other competitors. Better safe than sorry.
Worm poo can turn mud-like if you get it a hair to wet.
Pre-dampen your worm poo and microwave on high for 10 minutes in a casserole dish with a lid. Just don`t get it TO wet squeeze till just a few drops come out. Let it cool completely and then crumble your cakes in with it. I use the microwave all the time and it works fine for me.
Sterilizing your castings would probably give you a better chance of no contams but that's just a certain person's prference nuking is probably good .. do 10 minutes let it sit for an hour in the nuker and then do another 10. 2 Quarts should be ok but mix it really good and make sure you mix the bottom and corners real good to make sure some grains get down there. Make sure you wear gloves when you're doing this and if you have a flow hood that'd be good but if not just use the oven tek .. spray the air good with lysol first. Dont mix any of that other crap with it .. I suppose it wouldn't matter if you used verm. but just the castings are probably fine by themselfs .. dont compact your castings just make them level without compacting and it'll colonize faster .. if there's no lid on the container it's colonizing in foil it up. keep it nice and warm. Oh and also give the colonizing container and foil you cover it while colonizing a good wiping with alcohol too .. people probably think spraying the air, wearing gloves and using an oven is overkill but whatever, better safe than sorry especially if you dont have a sterile room/mycology lab to work in. as for the colonization it should be all good in 10 days if kept at optimum temps.
1.("black gold" Worm casings)
2.Wheat straw( You chop the wheat straw up and put in a ziplock freezer back and fill with water distilled water and let it sit for an hour or two)
You mix em all together in a large bowl And bake em in a aliminium turkey roaster pan you buy at the store the larger the better. Bake for 1hour at 250-275F then after an hour stir it up and bake for an additional 30minutes.
No youv've sterilized your compost.
As for the exact ingrediant ratio its up to you.
Use about50-60% worm casings as much or little straw as you like use about half a bag per pan more or less
use about a cup or two of vermiculite, Use a decent amount of peat moss two to three times as much verm. Maybe less And use a good amount of alder shavings I believe they contribute alot to mush size. Dont us to much though you add the alder chips dry. Add water to your mixture distilled water till damp or moist not soaking.
You'll have to add more water to your compost after you sterilize distilled of coarse.
Don't get your compost too wet or it may not work appropiatly
I decided to try out growing with 50/50 BRF/Worm Castings on April 3rd. I just checked them last night (April 13th) and this is what I found:
I used worm castings along with BRF in 10 PF jars and innoculates 5 with Eq and 5 with B+ and did 10 normal BRF jars (5 Eq, 5B+) to use as a control on the colonization speed
I lost 1 B+ BRF jar to cobweb mold and lost 1 B+ wormcasting/Brf jar to green mold so far.
3 0f the Eq wormcasting/BRF jars are fully colonized with the other 2 not far behind
The most fully colonized Eq BRF jar is at about 60% with the least colonized at about 10-15%
2 of the B+ wormcasting/Brf jars are fully colonized with another close behind and the last remaining one at about 75%
The most fully colonized B+ BRF jar is at about 50% with the least colonized at about 5-15%
All the jars have been kept in the same incubator at between 80 and 84 degrees. The addition of wormcastings to the PF jars seems to have sped up the colonization to almost twice as fast
Mix coir with worm castings, pasteurize, and you have a pretty nice bulk substrate to spawn
Quality does vary somewhat. If it looks like it's got a lot of wood in it, it's probably low quality.
you might want to mix in some perlite and vermiculite to air it up a bit and help even out the water content thing..... i know it gets heavy when soaked
mix it with vermiculite, and perhaps some straw, or manure or something else. I have heard good things about them, but yes, they may be a bit too dense.
The first time I made worm casting/coco coir/straw + little bit of coir on top after casing colonized (ration about 4:1:4), I had awesome results. I had 2 casing of (PESAs, TC), and even though both contaminated after 2nd flush, I still had 5.3 oz completely dry from 2 flushes. I do believe that adding straw/coir adds the "structure" for mycelium that makes the difference. if you can't use straw i would imagine you could substitue it with more coir in your mix. 50/50 - worm/co, less or more. when you deal with castings you need something to make worm shit less dense, that is, more poriferous -- sort of. That's where coir comes in
Get a bag of worm castings. Pile some of it in a roasting pan, pop it in the oven at 350*F for two hours. It does not smell hardly at all, and even then only for the first 15-20 minutes. Easiest pounds of sterilized substrate I have ever made...
Birth your cakes, break them into small pieces and place them in your grinder. Add 1/2 cup dry sterilized worm castings to about 1/3 of a crumbled PF cake and blend well.
This makes a nice dry, sterile, spawn extender. You end up with 2 to 2-1/2 cups of spawn powder per cake. The cakes don't gum up, you end up with a slightly damp powder... You can increase or decrease the amount of dry worm castings, and compensate for cakes with varying moisture levels... It is sweet..
You don't need additives to the straw if you are using worm castings. If you do use additives, cut the amount in half. I add one tablespoon of blood meal to 7 gallons of soak water when processing straw, then I exchange the soak water for fresh, pasteurize, drain, and spawn.
I hate to leave the straw sit and drain for a day or two to obtain the perfect moisture content for spawning. To compensate I cut down on my soak times to 12 hours... And I add dry worm castings...
Spawn with the worm casting powder while turning your straw. Because of the dark color you can easily see clumps of straw that have not been properly spawned. Once everything is coated, you next adjust the mositure.
Straw beds should be very damp wet, but not soaking. No surface water should remain on the straw or the sides, especially the bottom, of the container. Adding water is easy... getting rid of the extra is not...
Add dry sterile worm castings (and "dry" spawn too if you can spare the jars) and toss the straw until the moisture level is perfect, and all surface water is absorbed. You should be able to squeeze a wad in your fist and feel water, but none should drip out.
Try spawning with this tek and I think you will become a believer like I did. Them worm castings are like black gold to shroomers.
I recently prepared some casting/straw mix in this manner....
Shredded my straw in a blender [warning: use a push stick, not ywer fingers]](optional)
soaked the straw in water overnight
mixed in the straw with the castings ( let the straw drain a bit first)
put it all in an oven bag, put it in a pan, and baked it at 160 for an hour.
(if no oven bag... just throw it in a pan with tinfoil over it)
let cool.... hand squeezed the straw/castings till very few drips came out
innoculated with grain spawn.
It colonized very quickly. no contams.
Worm casings produce potent shrooms. The key is to case it and patch it for an even pinset. But that goes for all casings. Sometimes worm casings will pack down and if so add course verm like you suggested. But make sure that it is course. If it is not and you do not have access to any course verm, go get some perlite. Yes it works great to airate the substrate as long as it is steralized with substrate. Just use about 20%. And it wont weaken the substrate at all just take up more space and help with airation. You will still have the same amount of substrate just added perlite. Doe's no harm, good if any.
Probablly the best way to pasteurize castings is to put it in a foil tray, add water until it only slightly drips while squeezing, and then put it in the oven at 175degrees for about 2 hours.
Jimmy uses roughly a 1:2 castings:straw ratio. The great thing about straw is that you can really compress it in the container.
Jim also found that the castings retain too much moisture and are prone to contamination. He uses a 1:3-4 vermiculite:castings pre-pasteurization as he finds the moisture content is more consistant and easier to control. the vermiculite makes the mixture feasible in Jim's experience.
Straight castings just retain too much water -- it is very difficult to prevent the mix from turning to sludge. Jim had awful trouble with cobweb with just straight castings.
I have spawned some EQ grain on worm castings before and cased with coco fibers...the mycelium loved the castings and ripped thru it...and they loved the coco fiber casing as well...all in all the shrooms did very well and were very potent compared to the shrooms that were grown on straw/poo...this could have been any circumstance, but I did find it interesting that the castings might have effected potency.
AFOAF uses worm castings as a bulk substrate, too. He uses castings and straw together(50/50) though. Both castings and straw colonize extremely fast. He found that castings by itself packed down too much, but did work fairly well. He uses a coco/verm casing mix. I wouldn't recommend using castings as the casing material unless mixed with something else
Worm castings with verm , mix at a ratio of 2 parts worm casting to one part verm . Cousin IT uses this and loves it .
PS then when ready case with coir verm 60/40
My lawn gnome uses worm castings mixed 50/50 w/ vermiculite( the verm helps retain moisture obviously..). He has had no problems with this setup, it has worked great from when he started and he see's no reason to change his procedure. He would definitly recomend castings as a casing mixture.
53% moisture or about 100ml water per 1L of castings is the max moisture I use.
I've tried Castings/Vermiculine and Castings/Corncob with great results. I use corncobs in place of straw. The corncobs can hold up to 75% water! Pound for pound I can prepare over twice the weight of corncobs as straw with the same amount of cooking space.
I think castings are great, but are a lot more diffcult to perfect than other dungs. I think it has to do with texture and moisture. Other dungs have a much more fibrous texture than castings, and they are easy to achieve proper moisture levels. With castings it's far too easy to get them too wet or too dry, either leading to drastically reduced yields if not total failure.
Therefore I think that for most people castings will be best used as an ammendment to say straw as Josh suggests.
Also, castings do vary in their texture, and many sources may benefit from lightening with some verm or coir or something. Their fine particle size makes for a very dense substrate which will colonize slowly as Joshua reports.
Perfect the moisture and the texture, and they are a great substrate however.
Boil water (2-4 pots works for me). Toss it into a cooler. Throw castings in a pillow case and tie a knot in it. Toss it in the cooler (you can throw straw directly into the cooler too, you can get both the straw and the castings done at the same time). Put the top on the cooler. Let it sit for 2 hours. The temps of the water will be below boiling, but still well over 150.. and if you have a good cooler, after 2 hours it'll still nearly as scortching hot as it was when you first poured it in..
Drain water out. Squueeze the pillow case, step on it, kneel on it, ring it, whatever it takes to get the excess water out of that pillow case. (I use all 3 techniques )
Let it cool to room temp. Throw WBS into it, mix it up, and your good to go. The boiling water to cooler tek is out there.... as a straw tek mainly, but it works for castings/dung too.
The castings I have colonizing now, were done this way. A fistfull when squeezed hard should drip 2-3 drops of water..
(edited to add, I use castings/sraw/WBS 1;1;1, staw and castings really compliment each other, the castings provide good nutes and the straw provides the castings airation. If you notice, the castings can get real compact like a clay almost.. the straw really helps keep it lose and helps the myc run through it easier.. )
Now take one brick of coir, and put it in a trash bag. Place about 3 gallons of water in the trash bag, wait until the coir soaks up all the water it wants, then punch a hole in the trashbag to let the excess drain. Dont squeeze out the extra water.
Also take one small bag of worm poo (15lbs) and add water to that until its good and moist, but not muddy.
Take a nice large trashbag (I buy big heavy duty contractor bags at Home Depot) and put all your wet coir and worm poo in it and mix it till its nice and even.
Load your worm poo/Coir mix into large oven bags "Turkey Size" and place in a 175-180 deg oven for 2.5 hours.
Let cool overnight.
Dump the contents of the oven bags, and your spwan into a nice clean contractor size trash bag and mix it all very well. (I use 2 medium Myco Bags about 2/3 full of rye in this mix and it colonizes quite quickly)
Dump is all into a 40 gal sterilite/rubbermaid container and make sure its nice and level. Compact lightly.
Wait about a week until the whole tub is nice and white. Case with 2" of wet coir, no pasturising required.
When the Myc is poking up through the coir, add a couple hours of light a day and start fanning at least twice a day. Pins will form in 5-10 days.
Here is exactally what I do.
Clean my kitchen very well.
Bring my new unopened trashbag into the kitchen, with my bulk bags and spawn bags. Spray the air well with Lysol, and put on a new pair of rubber gloves. Let teh lysol in teh air settle.
Now as smoothly as you can dump your bulk and spawn into the large trashbag and mix it well through the bag. This is why heavy duty is critical it is easy to punch a hole though cheapo ones.
I use black sterilite 40 gal tubs, and yes it is covered durring colonization, and zero air exchange is done. Once the tup is all brilliant white, case and get ready to fruit, or fruit sans casing if you like.
In a 40 gal with 4-6" of substrate and a healthy strain, 1/4LB dry flushes were average. Several flushes as long as you keep everything clean, moist and aired out.
After you clear a flush, mist once an hour untill the coir seems juicy again. Dont do it all at once or it will pan, then you need to scratch.
Better too dry than too wet for re-watering.
After 3 flushes, you can flood the casing and "fork it" to get a prolific 4th flush. You can flood and scratch sooner if the 2nd or 3rd flush seem weak.
wouldn't use a water steeping method for preparing castings. The castings are so fine, and so much of their goodies are very water soluble that I think you would be washing away alot of stuff that you don't really want to.
Not saying that it doesn't work, it obviously does. Just saying that it's easy enough to prepare castings in the oven (or pc even) that I would go the oven route [or steam with wallpaper steamer]
I want to dry out some worm castings so I can mix them with my straw to help absorb excess moisture. I think dry the castings in the oven at 350 f would be the fastest way. But this would sterilize the castings. Will sterilizing the castings before I mix with my pasteurized straw make the castings more suseptible to contams? Or are castings pretty resistant anyways? Thank you.
That is exactly what you want to do. Castings out of the bag, dried even, will contam a straw bed unless they are sterilized first.
Ahhh, worm castings are wonderful..It can be used two fold with straw, and to suit your moisture concerns..Sterilize as you mentioned, and mix with your colonized substrate..When mixed, it will spread mycel. throughout the worm castings, so your straw will colonize that much faster, and it will help your moisture concerns..
Straight castings will shrink with PC'ing and will nulify the verm layer if it is the same thickness as PF cake, the verm will fall down the sides.
Also, when you start going over the 40% threshold with worm poo to straw contamination is hard to keep out of later flushes. Very high contam rate. The best results I had with worm castings were as follows.
Recipe for two cakes:
1 pint jiffy mix with a pinch of lime(quick or hydrated),wet 1" water in jar.
1 quart straw, chopped 2" size, CRAMMED into wide mouth quart jar, add water 2" in jar.
1 pint worm castings, fill with poop and add water till it is 2"
PC 1 hour, 15 PSI
Mix straw and poo when cool with 1 fully colonized PF cake. Wet to feild capacity with sterile mister(little practice) and push in foil pan(pound cake pans 3ish by 7ish), it should be level with the top of the pan, cover with foil.
Don't peak for a week.
Peal off foil, bend up the flat sides of the pans top and add previously sterilized jiffy-mix casing, the new rim acts as a good guide for a nice level casing. Mist. Alot.
I placed directly in perlite/sterlite tub. misted and fanned, three times dayly.
Fruiting in two weeks give or take after pealing off foil. 5 to 6 flushes progressively smaller in total weight. Till they run out of food.
Worm castings are an excellent additive, but do not make it more than 50% of your final substrate because it lacks energy nutrition.
I sterilize Worm Castings in a metal wash tub. I remove the upper oven rack, place the lower rack in the next to the lowest position, and the metal wash tub fits right perfect inside. It is a multi-functional tub... Anyway
I spread the Worm Castings out so they heat evenly and throughly and bake them at 350*F for a couple of hours. Turn the heat off. Let cool. Do not open the oven. This Oven Tek really works
Everything must be clean, clean, clean. My grinder has washable parts. Those are scrubbed by hand and then washed in the dishwasher with one cup of bleach added to the detergent cycle. The outside of the grinder needs to be clean too because you will be touching the housing, buttons, grinder bin, and the outside of the lid... So I wipe with 10% clorox & soap, then 10% clorox, then rubbing alcohol on a fresh clean rag... See: Sanitizing
Wear gloves. I wipe down the counter, wipe down the jars and place them on the clean counter. Get a clean plate, a plastic cup (scoop), and a knife and spoon out of the dishwasher. I use a large bowl covered with Saran wrap to hold the spawn powder.
Birth the cake, use a spoon to scrape the verm barrier off and break the cake in two. I have worked with cakes that were hard as a rock, and moist as a sponge.
If the cake is dry, you will need less Worm Castings to make a nice powder. If the cake is moist and spongy (as it should be) it will take more worm castings to get a nice powder.
The problem with something like a fresh Max Fruit PF cake in a grinder is that it gums up. You do not want any gumming. You want to add sufficient worm castings into the grinder bin (I use a small two cup food processor $8.00 Wally's) that the cakes fragment cleanly and mix with the castings to form a uniform powder as opposed to collecting together, compacting, and gumming up.
There is no exact porportion because mositure level varies some from cake to cake, batch to batch. Start by breaking up say, 1/3 of a PF cake into marble sized chunks, then scooping in 1/3 of a cup of worm castings. Close the lid on the food processor and grind for about 45 seconds. Dump the powder into a clean bowl, cover with wrap, reload some more cake marbles into the bin, another scoop of castings (adjusting your castings based on your first grind)... Until you grind all the cakes up!
BJ Pan cyan tek
5 cups vermiculite
3 cups castings
10 tblspns BRF
1.5 - 1.75 cups water
(makes 10-12 half pints)
Fill your canning jars, sterilize, and innoculate via the PF tek method. Once your substrate is fully colonized, case with 50/50 and a little lime. Since the castings are already added to your substrate, their is no need to spawn and risk contamination. Just place your cased substrate into your humidity chamber and watch them grow!
2:1 is good ratio 2 worm poop to 1 verm .
But yes worm castings work very good , easy to obtain , and does not stink to high heaven when you AC or PC it , unlike cow and horse crap .
Now as far as which is best , that all matters on the quality of the castings being used . If you have access to a worm farm where you can buy from them direct , ask and look at what they feed the worms to determin how nutrient rich the final product is . Worm poop can be much more nutrisious for the mushies IMHO . But horse and cow dung is known to produce bigger mushies .
(Message edited by admin on April 18, 2004)