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Casing question for any kind members that dont mind sharing their experience


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#1 10PinHead10

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 08:05 PM

So I'm still relatively new at this, but things gave been going better than i couldve even dreamed of. One thing that im a little unsure about is if i should stick to the casing procedure that I've done on my first four "sample/experimental" cakes. I laid down just about an 1/8' layer of damp verm, 1/4" layer of casing (which is 50/50. Verm and a grow medium used for growing plants. Its called wormix, and is made up of coco coir, worm castings, peat and perlite,vwith a pinch of lime added in, along with some crushed oyster shells), then 3/4' thick of spawn, 1/2" layer of casing, 3/4' of spawn, then just about a 1/4" casing layer ontop wirlth a very thin coat of verm to top it off. It's worked so far, but i wanted to hear some experienced people's thoughts on that, and if mixing the casing with the spawn is better than doing layers. Any tips, pointers, suggestions, feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

#2 Deleena24

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 08:51 PM

If you're growing cubes, you can forgo a casing layer completely if your humidity is around 90% or higher.

I don't use a casing layer for cubes at all anymore, and I get great pinsets even with MS

#3 PJammer24

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 10:41 AM

So I'm still relatively new at this, but things gave been going better than i couldve even dreamed of. One thing that im a little unsure about is if i should stick to the casing procedure that I've done on my first four "sample/experimental" cakes. I laid down just about an 1/8' layer of damp verm, 1/4" layer of casing (which is 50/50. Verm and a grow medium used for growing plants. Its called wormix, and is made up of coco coir, worm castings, peat and perlite,vwith a pinch of lime added in, along with some crushed oyster shells), then 3/4' thick of spawn, 1/2" layer of casing, 3/4' of spawn, then just about a 1/4" casing layer ontop wirlth a very thin coat of verm to top it off. It's worked so far, but i wanted to hear some experienced people's thoughts on that, and if mixing the casing with the spawn is better than doing layers. Any tips, pointers, suggestions, feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

 

What your describing sounds more like a substrate than a casing layer. As Deleena said, many people don't use a casing layer with cubes when they are spawning to a bulk substrate. The substrate is a medium that allows the mycelium to expand and grow. 

 

A casing layer's intent is to create a micro climate that is favorable to fruiting. The casing layer provides no nutrition while a substrate is moderately nutritious. What you are describing is a substrate. When spawning to a bulk substrate, the way you describe, no casing layer is necessary.

 

To further answer your question, I mix my spawn and substrate. I am of the opinion that the more inoculation points the better. I feel that my substrates colonize faster and my risk of contamination is decreased when I mixed as opposed to layers. With layers all of the mycelium is growing from the same point instead of many and seems to take longer.

 

There are situation when growing cubes that a casing layer would be used. If you were growing with a cased grain method, directly from grains with no bulk substrate (this is not what you described nor is it super common these days) a casing layer would be needed.

 

My substrates vary but a typical mix would be 1:1:1 verm:manure:coir. I stopped working with worm castings because they have a tendency to get muddy when I am looking for a spongier texture. If I were you, I would mix your verm directly into the substrate mix you are working with as opposed to layering it on the bottom. I would then mix my grain spawn into the substrate and let her rip.... That being said, I also subscribe to "Keep It Simple Sucka" and "If it ain't broke, don't fix it..."


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#4 Deleena24

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 12:05 PM

I agree with PJ, you have too many nutes in your casing layer. When you do this, the mycelium will simply colonize it as if it is part of the substrate, and that eliminates the point of a casing layer. Stop using the wormmix, that's what's adding too much nutrients.

Instead use plain verm or a mix of verm and plain coir, if you decide you still need to use a casing layer.

I also agree with the statement that mixing the spawn is better than layering. It's always colonized and pinned faster for me.

However, I disagree in that putting a vermiculite layer on the bottom is a bad idea. I like doing this bc it allows you to mist without worrying you're overdoing it. Any excess water that can pool will contaminate eventually, but not if the verm is there to absorb it.

That step is not a necessity though.

#5 PJammer24

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 12:13 PM

I agree with PJ, you have too many nutes in your casing layer. When you do this, the mycelium will simply colonize it as if it is part of the substrate, and that eliminates the point of a casing layer. Stop using the wormmix, that's what's adding too much nutrients.

Instead use plain verm or a mix of verm and plain coir, if you decide you still need to use a casing layer.

I also agree with the statement that mixing the spawn is better than layering. It's always colonized and pinned faster for me.

However, I disagree in that putting a vermiculite layer on the bottom is a bad idea. I like doing this bc it allows you to mist without worrying you're overdoing it. Any excess water that can pool will contaminate eventually, but not if the verm is there to absorb it.

That step is not a necessity though.

 

 

I mix my verm directly into the substrate...

 

I was not saying that they should stop using the mix they are currently using... I was saying that what they describe isn't a casing layer at all... They haven't been using a casing layer. The terminology used by OP is incorrect. 

 

Everything described in the opening post describes a bulk substrate with no casing layer used at all... Op is confusing substrate and casing layer...

 

As for the verm under the substrate... I don't see how it would hurt but if I was going to use a mix with worm castings, I would mix my verm directly into the substrate mix. Doing this helps me maintain proper texture and also contain moisture to be drawn from during fruiting. If you want to throw verm on the bottom, by all means, I was simply describing what I would do. IMO, the verm mixed directly in the substrate will absorb just as much additional water as verm placed under the substrate while allowing the mycelium to more easily draw from this moisture content to benefit fruiting.

 

When I am in a hurry and don't want to spend time waiting for a grain like popcorn to completely dry, I will throw a verm layer on the bottom of my jars to collect some of the excess moisture. I understand why placing it under the substrate seems to make sense but I think you get the same benefits along with the additional benefit of the moisture content being more available by mixing it directly into the substrate...



#6 Deleena24

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 12:36 PM

I was assuming he'd have verm already in his bulk substrate...and he does. He describes it as a 50/50 mix of verm and wormix.

Hes just using the wrong terminology. Everytime he says casing, he means substrate or spawn. Only the top layer, the sprinkling of verm on top, is a casing.

The mix described would work as a bulk substrate if mixed thoroughly together, after pastuerizing of course. Layering works, too, but for cubes its slower. Just mix it all up.

With my trays I mix it all in a bag before I pour it into the tray. Putting a layer of verm at the bottom keep excess water from pooling at the bottom.

Like PJ said, keep it simple. No need to layer. mix it all up and then leave it alone to colonize. You can always add a casing layer later.

So, to summarize...1/4inch of verm at the bottom, then 3 to 4 in of thoroughly mixed verm/wormmix and colonized spawn. Wait until fully colonized then case and fruit.

#7 10PinHead10

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 10:19 PM

Thanks, to all of u who replied. Sorry for the confusion between a casing and a substrate. I only actually cased one of my cakes out of the 4 then. I made a fifth today and decided to mix a cheese-grater-ground fresh PF cake as the spawn just to test somethin new out. I mixed that with the casing described above (50% verm and 50% of the wormix. Which is coir, worm castings, peat and perlite. Plus i added 3 small pinches of lime and a 1/4cup crushed oyster shells. Filled to field capacity by only getting about 3drops of water when i squeezed a handful pretty hard.) Anyway, the new part was kind of improvised. I put everything in a ziploc storage bag that is bigger and thicker than ur average freezer bag. Then i had a thought... Could i just cut a 2x2" square, cover with folded polyfil, tape down around the edges so that the only air exchange must go thru the polyfil? Well, i did just that ha. I carefully spread the bag and it's contents into a cylindrical tray so that all of it is about 2.5" thick. I figured that ut could at least colonize like this and then i could just cut the top off when i begin fruiting. I know i didnt reinvent the wheel and come up with anything profound, as ive seen videos and pictures of grow bags with a filter patch. Can anybody tell me any do's or donts about this kubd of method, or share theur experience with anything similar please?bmy first time mixing substrate and spawn instead of layering. Also my first time grating a cake instead of just roughly breaking one up. Should i open the bag and give it at least one initial mist, or just keep an eye on it to see if it gets noticeably dry? What are optimum temps to wait for a cake to colonize by the way also? Ive seen a wide variety of opinions on this. Thanks so much everyone!

#8 Deleena24

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 06:11 PM

I've seen this done before, as long as your procedure is relatively clean it should colonize fine.

Once it is colonized, after you cut the top off it shouldn't be any different to fruit than a regular tray.

As long as your temps are not below 66degrees you dont need to worry.

If the substrate had proper moisture before spawning, no need to worry about that either.

Don't open it at all, that's what the filter is for.

Just have patience, let it completely colonize, wait another few days after that, cut it open, then put in a fruiting chamber.

Keep us updated, we can give advice on possible chambers if you need.

Edited by Deleena24, 10 December 2018 - 06:12 PM.





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