I haven’t done a good old bulk cube grow in a few years, but decided to do one for the fun of it. And I went back to my favorite substrate for this grow for nostalgic reasons, cased plain pasteurized wheat straw.
It seems that I do not see many newer members using straw alone for bulk these days for actives. I used to use it exclusively for cubes back when and loved it. If prepared and treated properly, it makes for a very awesome substrate for many higher fungi. It of course takes a bit more work and attention to detail verses coir, but still one of my favorite subs to work with.
Let’s get started. I decided to do a MS grow of P. cubensis PES Amazonian. I am working on other projects at this time, and I wanted to grow this fast as possible, so no isolation past clean growth was done here.
Master grain jar fully colonized:
G2G spawn jars fully colonized:
Wheat straw cut up and ready for pasteurization using the good old pillow case tek:
If using the pillow case tek, there is one trick that I highly recommend to anyone. Place the pillow case/or other porous vessel in the pot and add water to it until the water level is 2-3 inches or so above the pillow case. You will have to physically hold it down with your hands as it will tend to float. Then once the water level is where you want it, remove the case from the water and let drain for a few minutes back into the pot:
Pasteurizing temps are generally 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit. So now, bring the pot of water up to 140 degrees. Carefully place the vessel into the water and weigh it down (I use 5-pound dumbbells) and monitor the temperature of the water. If the temps drop below 140, just stop your time and bring it back up to the desired temps before starting the time again. If the temps go above 160, don’t worry too much, just get the temp down quickly as possible. Hold these temperatures for a minimum of 1 hour (2-3 is better IME):
After the time is up, remove very carefully, let it drain as much as possible in the pot, and place it somewhere clean to cool and drain the remainder of the water out. I use a large clean tote to do this. I place the pillow case on top of a colander and allow to drain and cool fully:
Spawned and tightly compacted straw:
3 days later and the mycelium is starting to run:
Fully colonized straw 9 days later (12 days after spawning):
Casing added (per my standard pasteurized 50/50+). Since straw tends to dry out very quickly, I always used to case it thick with cubes. I have placed a 1-1.5” layer of casing material on top to help keep my sub from drying out too quickly and to aid in keeping my microclimate at the maximum. It takes longer for the casing to colonize with this thicker casing layer, but will aid in keeping the straw from drying out over multiple flushes:
Casing run complete and now set into fruiting mode (i.e. introduction of FAE):
I am old school in this practice of letting the casing run occur with GE only and introducing FAE once the casing run is complete. There are many growers that introduce FAE after spawning and/or after casing. There are plenty of examples on the OMC where that practice performs well. I am just stuck in my ways on certain things. What’s the saying, “if it isn’t broken don’t fix it” lol. I only say this cause if you have done this hobby for a while, you know there are many ways to successfully cultivate mushrooms. The only “best way” is the one that works for you. This is just my personal preference with cubes.
2nd flush and the boomers came (very nice large specimens):
I threw the fruits and the substrate out after the 2nd flush. I am just not a cube guy anymore and am not going to keep them, but I had fun working with them and utilizing my old favorite substrate, straw. For 6-10 bucks you can purchase a bail that will last a LONG time! As stated above, it just takes more time and more attention to detail verses coir. But is one of the best and versatile subs I have ever used for cubes, if treated and spawned correctly.
A side note, check the gnarly huge invitro specimens at the bottom after harvesting the 2nd flush:
And as always, happy growing and good vibes!
Acronym guide https://mycotopia.ne...ms/?hl=acronyms
Edited by wharfrat, 12 May 2018 - 02:06 PM.