|Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2001 - 07:30 am:||
I incubate my jars by using a plastic storage tub filled to about 2 inches of h2o2 water (1/8-1/4 cup peroxide per 1 gallon of water). I put one of those submersible fish tank heaters in and set it at 80 degrees. I use one of those small stick on thermometers sold for fish tanks and stick it on the outside of the large tub right where the water is to regulate temperature. I then get a smaller tub with a lid, punch air holes around the container right under where the lid overhangs so water cannot drip in. Put the jars in the smaller tub, close the lid and sit this in the warm water. I cover the main tub with its lid and have some air holes in this also.
Water will condensate on the lid in the large tub and drip down on the smaller one but no water should get inside the smaller tub. This will regulate itself and provide the perfect environment for the mycelium to colonize in the jars.
Tip: If your jars seem to stall near the bottom; the upper 80% percent or so is colonized but the last half inch or so at the bottom isn't, don't worry, this is very common. C02 can tend to accumulate like this in the bottom since its heavy and sinks. The remedy to this is to turn the jars upside-down for 2 or 3 days, this will allow the gas to escape and you will see them really take off and finish colonization. Don't worry if a few particles of the vermiculite falls out of the needle holes, most of it will stay in. The vermiculite seal is not as important at this point anyway since the upper section is colonized and protects itself well.
Colonizing the substrate at 80 degrees F. is the ideal temperature for several reasons. First, the mycelium will grow faster and the substrate will be colonized in the shortest amount of time. Secondly, when the cakes are removed from the jars, shocking the cakes with a temperature drop, lower CO2 levels, and light enhances initiation of fruiting.
If you plan to have your terrarium at normal room temperature, then colonizing at 80 degrees will help you initiate a massive flush of mushrooms when you place your cakes in the terrarium.
The first signs of mycelial growth should appear within 5-7 days. If none appear within two weeks, something went wrong. (Perhaps the cake was not cooled completely before inoculation, and the heat killed the spores, or the spores simply did not make it into the cake.) This type of mushroom mycelium will always be a brilliant White Fuzz, often growing in ropy strands. This ropy type of growth is called rhizomorphic growth, and is a sign that the mycelium will probably fruit very well. Any other color of mold, including some less brilliantly white molds (cobweb mold, for example, is white but not so thick, and it does look a lot like cobwebs.), is a sign of contamination. A contaminated cake will not recover and, except in very rare instances, will never produce mushrooms
[Note from Nan: I have seen this Tek run with a saturated salt solution in the incubator (Altered States Tek); and using Tincture of Iodine to keep the liquid sanitary.]