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Hippie3 (Admin)
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 10:37 pm:Edit Post Quote Text Delete Post Print Post Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

re-printed from
By Suntzu
Posted: May 25 2002,5:23

Pictures are worth a thousand words, I hope someone gets something from this. There are many potential variables with any substrate preparation, but I've passed this off to a few friends who have subsequently solved their birdseed problems. It's extremely easy, as long as attention is paid to a couple of things;

1. Some kind of filtration system; FP, etc. filter disks and plastic lids are a fantastic combination. Polyfill and other filters work as well if done right.
2. Attention to the cooling phase of PC'ing. I believe this is where a lot of birdseed failures occur, along with significant departures from proper water content. At the very least, wrap an alcohol, 10% bleach, or other liquid-soaked wrag around the air intake of the pressure cooker. Let it cool in as clean of a place as possible, even a small hepa running in a dirty bedroom will suffice.

This is the quickest, no-mess method I've found for preparing birdseed jars. Not much to clean up, not a lot of grain down the disposal.
The type of birdseed really makes no difference, as long as you try for the lower sunflower seed brands. They are usually a mix of millet [the lighter colored, smaller grains] and milo [I think that's it, the larger brown, BB-sized grains]

First, about 3 liters of mixed wild birdseed is submerged under lukewarm tap water. It is stirred for half a minute or so.
A handstrainer is a very useful item for this work. It can be used to skim some of the surface floaters--which include almost all of the sunflower seeds. No need to remove them all, only when in large numbers do they seem to cause problems. Notice the murky brown water. This wash contains a high number of bacterial endospores, mold spores, and ammendments/dust that can make the spawn sticky, and seemingly more susceptible to contaminants.
While submerged, the grain slurry can be poured through the handstrainer.
Once filled, the faucet is run over the strainer, giving a second rinse. This is then deposited in a separate mixing bowl. This is repeated until all the grain is washed.
Water added to the original slurry makes pouring it into the strainer easy and mess-free:
Grain is added to the jars to between 1/3 and 1/2 jar volume. It isn't too important how much, though too much above 1/2 full can make the jars too full and difficult to shake. Vary this depending on inoculation methods.

Important: When adding water to the rinsed grain, it should be 'knocked' a few times as the water level rises. This causes any major air pockets to settle giving a more accurate indication of water height.
The grain and water amounts are never measured, which is partly laziness, partly never-needing-to after doing it this way. If too much water is added, you can tilt the jar slowly and drain a little. This process could be sped up with pre-fashioned measuring devices, however rinsed grain never really 'measures' that well. It sticks and makes a mess.
As the following pic shows, there can be differences in grain amounts used as long as the relative height of water-to-grain is similar. The black lines are the water levels post-knocking.
After adding water to the last jar, go back to the first one and give each a final knock, making sure the 'water line' is where it should be before loading the PC. I recommend 15 PSI for one hour, start timing when the needle hits 15.
The other big issue is inoculation technique, many good ones exist and the ones that work will vary between individuals. Personally, I make a slurry from agar growth and use it as liquid inoculum. Grain-to-grain is easy and shows quicker take-off growth, but requires a slight bit more technique, as the jar lids tend to be open for a longer time. Whatever you do, plan every hand motion in advance of opening any jar, so that the transfers/inoculations can be done quickly and with as little air movement as possible. This will allow predictable success in most lysol/glovebox systems, less attention to detail needed if using a well set up flowhood.
Some jars, left to right: Maitake [with a few dowels mixed in], Hericium, Cordyceps, and Morchella angusticeps. The jar in front was a jar prepared as in the above pics, with somewhat more sunflower seeds. . .3-4 hits after cooling and the grain comes apart with ease.
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Hippie3 (Admin)
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 10:40 pm:Edit Post Quote Text Delete Post Print Post Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

for dowels-