|Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 04:36 pm:||
Wheat Straw Prep Tek
Much is made of the importance of sterility in cultivating cubensis mushrooms, and perhaps you will find this method refreshing, because it takes a departure from strictly sterilized teks.
Get some straw, of the type that's available in 60-lb bales for five dollars. It's not nessesary to soak it before processing, but if you wish you can soak it for a few hours in a large container. When ready, pasteurize the straw at 170 degreesF for one hour. This is not sterilizing, remember, it's pasteurizing. Sterilizing requires boiling at or as near to 212F as possible. This is not what we want here. Drain pasteurized straw, allow to cool to 85F.
Now, using a large container, dump in pasteurized, drained, cooled straw, and innoculate with ground pfcakes. You can put them in a blender, and buzz them up until you have mush*, or if your cakes are dry, powder. This does not hurt the mycelium, contrary to what you might think. * Straw Tek Tips
Mix, by hand, one cake per tray. This means putting about enough pasteruized cooled drained straw for 4-6" of it in the bottom of your tub or tray. You'll mix the innoculum into the straw until every surface of every blade and stem is coated with the ground pfcake material. Now layer the straw into your tray until it's 4-6" deep. Cover, and let nature take it's action for about three days. In this time the spawn should run through the strawbed. Now case with your favorite casing. Pinning should occur within a week from spawning. Air once a day and mist as little as possible, just make sure the humidity in the tray remains high. Normal room temperature is sufficient for this.
Fruiting takes place within two weeks.
Sometimes trichoderma can gain a start in the casing or in the straw itself, and there may be a remedy for this. Trichoderma (green mold) loves the acidic end of the PH scale, and it's presence indicates you need to raise the alkali, which is easy to do with horticultural lime. This is readily available in the garden center of your local hardware store. Try mixing a teaspoon or so of lime into a spraybottle and mist the bed with this.
You should harvest at least 1/2 oz dry weight in shrooms from each bed; most report an even oz per tray.
Usually after the first flush, you need to dump the tray and start over, because straw tends to contaminate. Some have reported success with rinsing the strawbed, but it's just as easy to start over. Straw runs incredibly fast, and fruit can be realized in as little as ten days.
Trust me on this one, it works very well. Get some straw, pasteurize it, and mix with ground pf cakes. Case after three days, airing and misting as usual (experience shows you how much misting) and viola! Plenty of shrooms are right around the corner!
Black Star (Mr_Bug)
|Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 06:12 pm:||
Lemme get this straight: You mix powdered cakes with the hay? Do you then put the stuff in a jar? What do you mean when you say "case them."
Why not just boil the hay? It's easier to know when water is boiling than when it is 170*F. What do you mean by, "Mix, by hand, one cake per tray." What's a tray? I have a richman's terrarium (actually, I have three), should I just fill the base with this hay/cake mixture? Only one cake per base? Wouldn't more cakes make for faster mycelial growth? Is hay better than fresh-cut grass? It sounds like many of you live in the frozen tundra where grass is scarce , but not me.
Wouldn't the yield be dependant on the size of the tray? Thanks for all your advice, Lichen and Nanook. I just started my first jars since January. I am so excited!
|Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 06:31 pm:||
You shouldn't boil the straw, because there is a balance in naturally occuring fauna (good bacteria) and if you boil the straw you'll kill these, inviting contamination. Pasteurizing the straw preserves this balance while interrupting any fungal spores etc that are undesirable. It's very important not to boil the straw. Get a candy thermometer to monitor the temp. Pasteurization occurs in the range 160-180F.
"Hay" is not what we're talking about here. You can use Timothy grass, and you can use long-stemmed grass from the field, but it cannot be green, it must be dried. We did have someone running an experiment with lawn clippings, but we never heard whether this is successful. ABSOLUTELY do not try to use alfalfa hay. It will not work. We are talking about straw here, which is usually the dried cured stems of barley plants.
Do not put the straw in jars, put innoculated straw directly into your bed. I use tupperware 20-quart tubs for this, and layer the spawned straw about six inches deep. You can use more than one cake per tray or bed, but it's not nessesary. Use one cake and your cakes will go further.
After two or three days, the straw will be mostly colonized. I then cook up some vermiculite, drain and cool it, and spread it on top of the straw-colony about 1/4-1/2 inch deep. The deeper your straw bed, the more shrooms you'll get.
|Posted on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 10:36 pm:||
Sure I can elaborate a little on how to use straw as a substrate. I will do a quick run-down on how to prepare small amounts a pastuerized straw in your kitchen. I like to use small amounts because it is easier, but this method can be used for any size project. Anyway,....
....First, you need to locate some suitable (dry & mold-free) straw. Wheat and oat straw are ideal, but other straws will work. Hay will also work, but try to find a source that doesn't have large quatities of seeds. A few seeds can boost yields but too many can cause contamination out-breaks. Straw straight from the bail will work, but pre-shredding it prior to use will help. The easiest way to do this is with a shredder. Or, if using small amounts just place some straw in a cardboard box use a sharp pair of grass shears(chop,chop,chop...). You want the pieces to be
1-3 inches in length.
....Now we need a large stock pot (20qt+) to pastuerize the straw in. Fill the pot about half way full of hot tap-water and heat it till near boiling on a stove burner. Next, take your shredded straw and place it into a nylon mesh lingerie bag (from Wal-mart in the laundry section) and submerge it into the hot water. Place a heavy bowl (or something similar) on the bag to keep it competely under water. Put the lid on the pot and let the straw steep at about ~150deg.F~ for one full hour making sure that water doesn't boil dry. After 1 hour, take out the bag (wear rubber gloves) and place it into a large pasta strainer to cool and drain. If you want to be extra cautious you can take your pot and invert it over the strainer to prevent air-bourne contamination....But, this isn't really necessary because pastuerized straw is fairly resistant to contaminants....
....Once cool ('bout 45min-1hour), give the bag a good squeeze to get rid of the excess water. Now you are ready for inoculation. I like to dump the straw in a large clean rubbermaid container and then mix in some grain spawn by hand (wash with antibacterial soap or wear gloves). Now pack your straw+spawn into a suitable container. I like to use small rubbermaid containers. Cover the top with tinfoil and puncture with a clean needle several times. Proceed with the spawn-run.
You should have about two weeks (plenty of time!) to establish the mycelium of choice. Well, thats about it....a little bit longer than I expected but o'well. Oh yea, straw is also good for cultivating Pan cyan, Ps. tampanensis, and Pleurotus ("oyster mushrooms") species. For using larger amounts, use a 55 gallon drum heated with a propane burner.....Good Luck!
Skanky Sanchez (Sanchez)
|Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 10:45 pm:||
I've got a straw bed that I started about 2 weeks ago. It's about 2 inches deep in about 1.5 square feet and I used one PF cake to spawn it. The straw is totally grown through with mycelium. I opted not to use a casing. There are starting to be tons of itty bitty white specks all over the bed, are these the beginnings of pinheads or something else? Wish I had a digital camera. Anyway is this about the right time for it to start pinning if it's going to?
|Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 11:43 pm:||
sounds like you've got primordia...these will continue to grow until they are clearly identifiable. Some will abort, depending on the race of cubensis it is, but others will go on to maturity. Looks good...keep us posted
|Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 12:27 am:||
these are tiny primordia...