|Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 03:48 pm:||
i'm re-printing this excellent post from shroomery.org
check it out-
Baby's Grow Log - new pic 5/16 - They're Growing
#1537138 - 05/10/03 01:23 PM Quote
Screw Casings – Baby Goes Bulk
My baby started lurking here about 2 years ago. She started out on cakes like most newbies, but her poor little cakes never grew enough fungi to satisfy her hungry friends. So Baby tried casing. She cased and she cased and she cased. And every time she cased, she failed. They grew okay, but they were no more impressive than her cakes, and they were a lot more work.[ed.note: see ?? i say the same.] Nearly ready to admit defeat, she made one last attempt at raising production by taking several broken brown rice cakes and mixing them with a batch of craft straw, in a big old ugly green Rubbermaid box. To her delight and amazement, the first flush yielded more than all her previous attempts combined. Not only that, it fruited 4 meaty times before the green funk arrived. Many dollars, terrariums, teks, jars, substrates and sleepless nights later, she has finally found a method that fulfills her expectations with very little maintenance.
Baby’s Biggest Mycology Tip
What works for one Mycologist may NOT work for another. If you aren’t willing to read a lot, experiment, and fail (occasionally) you’ve chosen the wrong hobby. You might get lucky and have a great first flush, but you have to understand mushrooms to grow them consistently. And to understand mushrooms, you have to spend time with them……so read and experiment. If you (like Baby) are a casing failure, maybe it’s just not your niche. Screw casings – go bulk!
Baby is going to cover everything in her method EXCEPT grain prep. This isn’t Baby’s area of expertise, although her results have been good enough with all types of grains. She prefers Whole Grain Rye, simmered 30 minutes (until plump), drained one hour, pc’d 75 minutes, cooled, and knocked up with a needle. However, she uses the following method with all types of colonized spawn.
Some pics of a few jars Baby will be using in her experiment:
Step One – The Perfect Box
Baby has tried at least a dozen different shapes, sizes & colors for her mycology experiments, but her search is over. She has found the perfect box for her method, and if you have a Target in your area, you can have one too. Here’s a pic of the new one Baby just picked up at her local Target – currently available in blue, green & red. Because the boxes are completely clear, Baby always knows whether her boxes have the right amount of humidity. Baby keeps her boxes in a room that is visited by many smokers, including Baby herself. Baby has a slightly messy house, but she now owns stock in Lysol. She is not stupid enough to open one of her boxes without putting out her smoke, turning off her fan and spraying her Lysol.
Step Two – Preparing Your Box
Baby has determined that her box is the perfect self-contained terrarium for her environment. The only necessary modification is black electrical tape, which she applies ashown below. Do not stretch the tape as you apply – it will eventually shrink and cause slivers of light to penetrate your substrate. Apply the tape liberally, allowing each strip to overlap the one prior. (Tip – Don’t buy single rolls of electrical tape, sold for as much as $2.99 a roll, usually displayed on a hanging card at the store. Look on the top and bottom shelves - you can get a 3 pack for the same price in most discount or home improvement stores.) In between grows, Baby always sticks her head in the clean box, looks for peeps of light through the tape and patches the tape as needed.
she could use larger boxes. Actually, she's bought and used boxes as large 4'(l) x 2'(w) x 3'(h), but she is way more successful (quantity-wise) when using several smaller boxes in place of one big one. On top of that, she can grow many varieties in the space it used to take for just one.
She can put 5 or 6 of these together in the same time (and space) it takes to do 1 or 2 of the larger boxes, and she doesn't have to worry as much about the green monster. If she sees the smallest hint of a problem, she removes the suspect box from the room, eliminating mass destruction.
Most importantly for my baby, she can tuck them in a closet 6-7 high, making it easy to have a few in this corner, a few in that closet, etc... For those living in smaller apartments or houses (or if stealth is important), these boxes work well.
They're very sturdy, and the handles are nice when you want to tuck them out of sight quickly.
Step Three – Preparing The Straw
Baby likes straw a lot - she has found it go be more forgiving and easy to obtain than horse poop and other quality substrates. Baby loves high quality straw - she has seen a significant decrease in time spent maintaining her boxes, while steadily increasing production since she switched to the good stuff. The straw on the left is craft straw, also called maxi straw, and sometimes represented as (at least partially) wheat straw. The straw on the right is real honest-to-goodness wheat straw with little to no tops and rarely a sliver of green or brown. See the difference?
Baby’s first straw experiment was in a huge box with 2 bails of pasteurized craft straw and some cut up fully colonized brown rice cakes, mixed well and flattened with black mesh (tucked in around the edges) and numerous bricks, moved about the cropping surface daily.
After full colonization, she cased in Jiffy Mix + oyster shell and returned the box to warm darkness for further incubation. Appx 3 days later, she introduced light, fanning and misting (2 to 5 times daily). The first flush amazed her, only to be outdone by the second, which produced numerous specimen over 12” tall.
Baby became an immediate straw addict. The bulk substrate added strength, size and weight to her B+ beauties, making all her friends tingly with anticipation.
Many boxes, cool mist humidifers, tubes, timers, dollars and months later, Baby knows that straw doesn't require a fancy system. Again, ime straw is a very forgiving substrate. Typical everyday craft store store mix does just fine, if that's all you can find.
Baby takes a small batch of wheat straw, cuts it to max 3-4” pieces, and loads it in a $1.00 laundry bag from the dollar store. She throws the bag in her $5.00 stock pot from the flea market, puts a couple of bricks on top to keep the straw completely submerged, and covers it with water. She attaches her candy thermometer to the side and makes sure it extends into the water at least 1 ½ inches to get a good reading.
Setting the burner on medium, she brings it up to 160 degrees and sets her timer for 75 minutes. As the temperature of the water rises, she lowers her burner setting to keep the straw between 160 and 180 for the entire 75 minutes.
Once pasteurized, she removes one of her oven racks, places it over her sink, drains the stock pot and tosses the laundry bag on the rack.
Her straw is usually cool throughout in less than an hour –faster if she jostles the contents of the bag occasionally. If she’s not ready to use the straw right away, she puts the whole bag in a clean self-contained terrarium until she’s ready to use it. If she has a delay of more than 36 hours, she re-pasteurizes the straw, for 45 minutes rather than 75. She has done this many times over and experienced no problems to date. Once cool, your straw is ready to use.
Step Four – Preparing the Pre Casing
This is where Baby’s method differs from most. Baby uses a 2nd (but separate) substrate as a “pre-casing” layer. Because straw needs to be compressed in order to colonize quickly, the straw substrate incubation period used to be quite a pain in the *ss. Baby has found that adding a layer of manure-type substrate (whatever your favorite is) mixed 50/50 with vermiculite provides enough weight for adequate compression without introducing foil, plastic, chicken wire or bricks. Her incubation-period failure rate is now zero.
She is currently working with some leftover Scott’s 3-in-1 for her pre-casing ingredient, but has worked with several sources of organic compost and/or dried manure, with little to no difference in results. Just mix whatever you use 50/50 with fine vermiculite. Baby wets her substrate to a little beyond field capacity, and loads it into her biggest corning ware glass covered dish. Once her oven heats to 170, she puts the dish in and warms it at 170 for 2 hours. She usually turns the oven off and lets the dish sit in the oven undisturbed overnight. However, she has shoved it in the fridge to speed cooling on occasion. Once cool, she uses her your misting bottle (1:10 - h202:h20) to bring the substrate mix back to field capacity.
Step Five – Layering Your Ingredients
Baby uses 3 layers of straw followed by spawn, and then a final layer of pre-casing. She uses the pre-casing to cover any protruding straw tips and levels the pre-casing surface, being sure to “seal” the edges by applying a tiny bit of pressure and additional pre-casing mix where the substrate meets the inner box sides.
Once the straw is covered with appx 3/4" of pre-casing, she gives the substrate surface and box sides a good misting, along with a light misting to the boxes inner lid. Then she wraps a blanket around her stack of boxes, tucks them into a closet, and checks them after 3 days. Once she has appx 50% mycellium coverage on the pre-casing surface, she's ready to case. Here's one about 24 hours shy of casing time.
*Insert beforecasing pic here.*
Step Six – Apply The Casing
Baby makes her casing from 50:50 peat moss and vermiculite, with a handful of oyster shell (the pet store kind) thrown in. Again, what works for Baby may not work for you. If you have a favorite casing mixture, that’s the one you should use. After applying the casing, Baby gives it a good spraying, and back under the blanket it goes for a couple more days of incubation.
Pre-casing being applied over several layers of straw & spawn:
So far, Baby's contams have been almost NIL with the pre-casing layer. Her straw colonizes at about the same rate she experienced with compression and no pre-casing.
The biggest difference she's noticed with the extra layer is that her boxes produce for a LONG time, and the flushes are sometimes continuous....one set of pins is followed by a 2nd set (while the first set matures), and sometimes followed by a 3rd set of pins while the 2nd set matures. Her abhorts dropped drastically, and her last set of boxes lasted longer than any previous grows. She set 6 or 7 boxes(so long ago she can't be sure) to fruit on New Year's Day, and just tossed the (uncontaminated) remains of the last 5 a couple weeks ago. They were never re-cased or dunked - Baby just patched her casing and misted with sterile water between flushes (when they took a break). She also used a syringe to direct minute amounts of water near the base of new pins when she was unable to mist (due to continuous fruiting).
She hopes to recreate some of the things she experienced with this experiment.
For those interested, she currently has the following strains set out to fruit:
Orissa India, Equador
She has the following strains in various stages of incubation:
Arcadian Coast, Pes Hawaiian, Plantasia Mystery, Creeper, Z Strain, Texas & South American
Baby would like me to thank the many experienced growers who post at the Shroomery. She hopes her experiment will turn out well, so she can give something BACK to the community that has given her so much advice and taken the time to share their mycology knowledge and wisdom.
She would also like to toss a special thank you to Ralphster, whose customer service and quality of product have been extremely helpful to Baby during her amateur mycology journey.
Baby checked one of her boxes earlier today, and it was ready for casing.
She cased it, and tucked it back in the closet for a few more days incubation.
One of her other boxes surprised her yesterday with a few pins.
Baby's not really impressed with the pinset of this box, but she reminded me that her last batch of boxes had poor first flushes, followed by fabulous 2nd flushes.
|Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 03:57 pm:||
more later, gotta run.
|Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 02:01 am:||
Orissa India pinning
More Orissa pinning
|Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 02:03 am:||
Baby has more pics coming later, but she's noticing that her orissa's seemed to like the cooler temps. She did very well with this strain during the cooler months, but she's not thrilled with their current performance.
While it looks like there is potential for many abhorts, Baby hopes to replicate her past success by plucking early and supplementing regularly with well directed amounts of sterile water. If all goes as planned, the teeny babies seen in the pic below will develop into a nice batch of goodies once their larger siblings are removed.
|Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 02:04 am:||
Maintenance - Baby's Daily Routine:
My Baby loves her hobby, but has a very busy life. She doesn't have time to deisgn & maintain an automated system, which is why she loves her current setup.
Baby gives her boxes plenty of moisture by directing streams of sterile water down the sides and into the corners of her box as they pull away from the sides a bit. She immediately follows the water with bits of casing tucked around the sides. She rarely has problems with her boxes fruiting from the crevices along the sides of her box (unless she gets lazy). She has gone as long as 36 hours without doing anything for pinning/fruiting boxes, but attempts to give them a good airing 3 times a day. Her handy dandy Hello Kitty hand fan has served her well for many months, and she owns stock in Lysol.
Baby sprays Lysol liberally throughout her room, opens her box, manually fans it for a good 45 seconds or more, and then applies additional moisture and casing as needed.
Baby is very happy to see that her first flush looks like it will surpass her previous first flush. The goodies look nice and healthy, and she is happy with her results so far.
|Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 02:07 am:||
Baby has a lot of harvesting to do this morning, but she asked me to post a couple quick pics of her 1st box of orissa from yesterday morning.
She plucked 83 wet grams, and is busy pulling another small batch now.
Baby is excited to see the first veil tears in her eq box (some of her friends really enjoy the eq body buzz) and said she'd send some more first flush pics later today.
|Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 02:09 am:||