|Posted on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 05:50 pm:||
The Quart Jar Way-Revisited [Then re-revisted by Nan]
There certainly is not a shortage of cultivation techniques on the internet. There are many marvelous methods, a few of which I've tried with great success. The PF method is an excellent way to go, provided you have the equipment, the extra space, and the time. Not to mention the personal intrusion growing your own may force upon your home's co-occupants (spouse! roommate! etc!)
My little procedure is something I found on the www, but have modified to my domestic situation. You won't need the humidifier, or the growing chamber set-up.
Here's what you will need:
Pressure Cooker (17 qt. works great-will fit 7 jars)
Kerr wide mouth 1 qt. jars. (buy a case, you'll see why later)
Brown Rice (get 1 lb. box)
Distilled Water (buy two gallons..it's cheap)
Karo Tek syringes (one per 2 jars)
Extra-long tweezers, a scapel (for reaping the wild wind)
Lysol spray (buy a few cans of this...very important)
Here's what to do:
1) Prepare your pressure cooker. This means to read the owner's manual and be safe. Then prepare the jars. I run the jars through the dishwasher the night before with the heated dry cycle (this is NOT a sterilization step, just my paranoia).
2) Here is where we prepare the Growth Medium. I do 7 jars at once, since the pressure cooker holds 7, this works nice. If your doing this for you and your loved ones spiritual purposes, this should be plenty to start with. In each of 7 jars, put 1/4 cup of uncooked brown rice to 1/3 to 1/2 cup of distilled water. Place the jar lids in the 'classic' upside down configuration (seals up), and place bands on loosely. Loose is very important here, as steam must be able to escape during the sterilization process.
3) Place jars in the pressure cooker with water about 2" from the bottom (note-water rises as mass is added, so start with 1" and it should work out). Be sure that your jars aren't tipping and getting water sloshed into them. This isn't good. Sterilize for one hour at 15 p.s.i., and be careful! After the hour, turn off heat. I just let the whole works sit and cool to room temp. Then you can open the cooker, and remove the jars. Be sure you've cleaned up around the area real well. This means to nuke the place with lysol, and clean all surfaces with anti-bacterial cleaner. Make sure the jars are cool to the touch before continuing. If they need further cooling, be sure and tighten the bands to discourage contaminates. When you're ready to Innoculate, be sure you're Clean. Wash your hands with rubbing alcohol. A dust mask would be nice, but I usually use my shirt (pull over my mouth and nose). Get your syringe out. If this is a PF syringe, it's supposed to be sterile, provided you haven't opened the needle cover, so no 'flaming' is required. Being very careful, cover your mouth, and one by one inject 1 1/4 or so cc's of spore solution per jar by gently lifting lids and inserting needle so that it barely fits under the rim. After you've done this, tighten the lids, and shake the jars until the rice breaks apart from the bottom. I know this is sometimes hard, but it's important because you're distributing the spores all throughout the rice. This helps give you rapid colonization. After shaking, loosen the lids so that they are barely on the jars, but be careful not to knock them off. Just keep the bands loose to where they jiggle around a bit.
4) This is where the fun begins. After you've got this far, you need to put your jars somewhere dark for 3 or 4 days. If you bought a case a jars for this, use your box and the neat little divider they came in. Just soak the box in Lysol, then line with tin foil (you'll see why). If you don't have the box, head for Wal-Mart. There you'll find Rubbermaid containers close to the same size. Mine fits 7 jars perfectly. This is your grow box for the remainder of the project. The only thing I've found that needs improving is the bottom of the container. It needs something to simulate 'earth' so mushrooms don't grow downward (can be a mess...). I've began using a black t-shirt (soaked with Lysol), and this works well. The Temperature needs to be between 68 fahr. and 89 fahr. I've found that cooler temps usually are good all around, but this is really pretty flexible due to the strain of mushroom we're dealing with here. Find a spot in your closet that fits your box snuggly and inconspicuously. Be sure your closet is clean. This means to clean it up real good. As a matter of fact, keep your house clean while your doing this. All of it. Growing mushrooms is a very deep mind-enriching experience and it would be a shame to ruin it because of poor cleanliness! After 3 or so days of darkness, you should notice little White Fuzzy spots all throughout the jars. After a week, they need 6 or 8 hours of Light per day. I've used indirect sunlight, and incadescant and both are fine. P. cubensis are not photosynthetic, but the light gives the mycelium the clue to fruit (and to go UP!). Also, you need to tip the jars twice a day to dissipate co2 from the jars. My closet I use is in my master bathroom, so I do this when I'm getting ready for work, and at shower time after work. It doesn't take long (for 7, that is) and it is easy to keep things under the hat this way. After 2 weeks of mycelial growth, pinning should be close. After 3 weeks, you should have fruit growing. It's hard to see 'Pinning' because the mycelium will have completely covered the jar sides (from shaking, a rice gunk will smear all over the sides--no big deal). You'll notice the dark brown heads, though, as the games begin!
5) This is the growing cycle. Now is when you need to get a spray bottle full of distilled water for humidification purposes. Once fruiting has begun, I would lightly spray tops of jars (lids on, but loose, of course) twice a day. The moisture will make it inside the jars, and work great. Really, this may be overkill. Just pay attention, and adjust accordingly. You'll be suprized how fast things begin to happen. I usually get 4 or 5 in a jar at once. At first, the jars will flush every 4 or 5 days. If all your jars are healthy, you'll get piled with fresh mushrooms real quickly! To pick one, I use long tweezers. Try to grasp the mushroom at the base and twist free. If this isn't an option, flame your scapel (alcohol flame best, use caution!) and cut stalk near base. This will look nasty in the jar, but has never been a problem for me. Along with the big fruit, comes Aborts (you'll learn to recognize this). Try to keep your jars picked clean, and don't let a big mushroom go too long and sporulate all over the place (basically, the end of the show if this happens). Fruiting can last for as long as 2 months. Be sure to watch for contamination. This means little odd-colored spots (red, green, brown, etc). Your jars will become a multi-blue-green-grey color, this is normal. Watch for the funky stuff, and use your head. I've never had a contaminated jar with this method. Luck? No, I think it's the rapid colonization and the sterile techniques that make this so. Anything's possible, though, so be awake, aware, and have fun.
I hope this helps the person with limited resources, time, and space. I've used the PF method with success, but I've found that my little 'jar' method yeilds more fruit, and bigger, more potent fruit (largest to date is 32 grs. wet!). I've had mushrooms grow all the way to the top and push against the lid!!
Please, please be of a mature, informed nature before using any cultivation technique. There's a lot of reading on the internet regarding this. Also, you can get a lot of ideas on preservation. This method is intended to provide the grower with enough fruit for endless exploration of the Other place. With the instructions for making a spore syringe in the PF Tek, you can easily maintain your operation ...forever.
Finally, the sale of our sacred 'friends' should not even be a thought. Once a price is put on the Mushroom, it loses it's spirituality. Don't sell, but encourage micro-cultivation thoughout the world. Happy growing!
Polyfill for this Tek anyone?.. Nan
Oh yeah, at 100% colonized dump the jars, break them up, and Case these puppies. Another tip... Fill the jars with pre-cooked grain.