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What's Your Substrate Thickness?


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#1 MysticalMyco

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 11:00 PM

I wanted to see how thick (inches) you folks make your substrate and why. I've seen anywhere from 2 to 6 inches.

I've been using about 3.75 - 4.5 inches but I think my next few tubs are going to experiment with the lower end of the spectrum. Maybe 2.5 inches in a mono-tub cased with the wax paper Tek all WITHOUT reducing the amount of colonized grain.

I'm trying to decrease my start to first flush timeframe without screwing out my fruit size too much.

Just curious on how "thick" everyone is LOL.

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#2 Billcoz

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 12:39 AM

I have one tub spawned from grated cakes that was 2 1/2" at first, now it's shrunk down to about 2". The others have all been about 3-3 1/2". There were a lot of pins it seems on the thinner ones I've done, but a lot of them seemed to abort, IDK if the sub thickness was the factor, but that was the first thought I had.

 

Are you thinking that thinner sub would decrease the time-frame between start and flush?


Edited by Billcoz, 11 February 2019 - 12:40 AM.


#3 MysticalMyco

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:18 AM

I either need to increase my grain spawn or decrease my sub thickness or a little bit of both.

I don't case so what ends up happening is the 45 day grow cycles really dry out my mycellium. I need to try to get them down to 30ish days.

So far "knock on wood" contamination has never been a problem for me once my grain hits the substrate. I just assume if I use 40% less substrate with the same amount of spawn it will colonize the sub faster.

Colonizing the substrate for me is all over the place it can take 7-15 days. When it takes longer like the 15 day edge of the spectrum it starts to dry out. Then that in itself slows down progress.

I figure if go with 2.5-2.75 inches instead of 4-4.5 with the same amount of grain then it will be easier to maintain optimum conditions. This in turn should cause fast colonzation periods.

I have a 11 lb bag of fully colonized B+ wheat berries that are going to be my first test. I'm going to keep a documented record either starting tomorrow or the next night. I like giving my spawn a day or too extra to finish colonizing.
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#4 sandman

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 10:29 AM

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Hey MysticalMyco how do you have 11lb of wheat in a bag? I use large size spawn bags and they only want to hold about 7lbs of grain before being overstuffed. 

 

I've found 1:1 spawn:sub works the best for me. 



#5 PJammer24

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 10:44 AM

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Hey MysticalMyco how do you have 11lb of wheat in a bag? I use large size spawn bags and they only want to hold about 7lbs of grain before being overstuffed. 

 

I've found 1:1 spawn:sub works the best for me. 

 

Mine are typically 2.5-3" until I start to get down to the end where I have more substrate mix available than I do jars... Then I make them a little thicker because I don't want to waste anything from the batch...

 

I like a 1:1 spawn:substrate ratio also...

 

There are several benefits that come with a high spawn ratio. I think the most beneficial one is contam resistance. The healthier your mycelium, the lower your risk of contamination. Having more grain in mix provides more nutrients and mycelium that remains healthy longer...

 

I don't typically like to keep them going for more than 3 flushes but when your spawn ratio is that high you can usually get a 4th or 5th flush... keep in mind though that with every flush, available nutrients decreases as your risk of contamination increases.

 

I think that I get stronger 3rd flushes when I use a 1:1 spawn ratio... I have gone 1:2 and 1:3 in the past and the later flushes didn't seem to be as strong.

 

More available nutrients typically results in higher yield... Especially if you are trying to maximize your subs and attempt later flushes. There is a point where that space the substrate occupied on the shelf is better served by replacing it with a new substrate. If you are trying to be thorough and maximize the potential of available space, you should work on establishing your point of diminishing returns.



#6 Deleena24

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 12:29 PM

I like a 1 to 2 or 1 to 1 spawn ratio.

When I make the sub thin, like 2 inches, the first 2 flushes are great, then the rest barely produce anything. I think it's because the thinner sub holds less water, and loses it more easily.

I've gone as deep as 4.5 on large trays and they will give you more good flushes, but I dont like to keep cubensis trays for longer than 3 flushes. I want to get rid of them before any green shows up.

So I shoot for the middle, at 3 to 3.5 inches. I get 3 awesome flushes ( can prob get more but like I said I dont like risking it) and it holds moisture great. Anything more I consider a waste because it's getting tossed after 3 flushes anyway.

#7 MysticalMyco

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 05:43 PM

@Sandman - I only use bags for Grain to grain transfers. I use the XL bags from shroomsupply.com - It's probably overstuffed but what I do if fill it a few inches below the filter you can fit 6-12lbs of hydrated red wheat berries in them. I use one fully colonized jar of whatever I plan on using and dump it into the bag. I would NEVER stuff that much in the bag off of a normal syringe innoculation. I mix it up the best I can and 6-10 days later she is fully colonized. It literally turns into one rubber brick. You could knock someone out with that thing lol.

@ PJ & D - Yea see in my current situation fast turn overs are key so I usually don't go past the 2nd flush. The space is too valuable to me Can you really get by with 2 inches because shit I could really increase volume of that's the case. I could litterally do 2x 90 quart tubs instead of one with the same amount of work.

Now that I see what you folks are doing that's been one of my biggest mistakes and the reason for slow turnovers of tubs. It's because I'm using too thick of a substrate layer. I'm gonna do a 2.5 inch sub 90 quart monotub tonight of B+ or Creepers and see what happens.

Edited by MysticalMyco, 11 February 2019 - 05:46 PM.

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#8 Deleena24

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 07:17 PM

@Sandman - I only use bags for Grain to grain transfers. I use the XL bags from shroomsupply.com - It's probably overstuffed but what I do if fill it a few inches below the filter you can fit 6-12lbs of hydrated red wheat berries in them. I use one fully colonized jar of whatever I plan on using and dump it into the bag. I would NEVER stuff that much in the bag off of a normal syringe innoculation. I mix it up the best I can and 6-10 days later she is fully colonized. It literally turns into one rubber brick. You could knock someone out with that thing lol.

@ PJ & D - Yea see in my current situation fast turn overs are key so I usually don't go past the 2nd flush. The space is too valuable to me Can you really get by with 2 inches because shit I could really increase volume of that's the case. I could litterally do 2x 90 quart tubs instead of one with the same amount of work.

Now that I see what you folks are doing that's been one of my biggest mistakes and the reason for slow turnovers of tubs. It's because I'm using too thick of a substrate layer. I'm gonna do a 2.5 inch sub 90 quart monotub tonight of B+ or Creepers and see what happens.


With that big of a tub and that thin of a sub I'd suggest a thin casing layer, to avoid drying out and help maintain RH. Just a thin layer of vermiculite should suffice. That's just IMO, though. Others may disagree.
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#9 sandman

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 07:46 PM

Ah yea I forgot they have XL bags, never really seen anyone using them though.

 

also, as a matter of course, I disagree with deleena ;)


Edited by sandman, 11 February 2019 - 07:46 PM.

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#10 RutgerHauer

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 08:04 PM

Do you count casing as substrate in terms of thickness? Though not nutritious it probably does support the mycelium in giving some extra 'foundation' and provides moisture.

In the case - it counts I have a tray now set up at about 2 inches. The surface area is quite big though, about 14x10 inches and at about 2:1 / grain:vermiculite.

 

Keeping it simple for the first one. Next one will be filling the green tray up.

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Edited by RutgerHauer, 11 February 2019 - 08:15 PM.


#11 PJammer24

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 08:34 PM

Do you count casing as substrate in terms of thickness? Though not nutritious it probably does support the mycelium in giving some extra 'foundation' and provides moisture.

In the case - it counts I have a tray now set up at about 2 inches. The surface area is quite big though, about 14x10 inches and at about 2:1 / grain:vermiculite.

Keeping it simple for the first one. Next one will be filling the green tray up.


I would not include casing layer when describing my substrate thickness. I view the substrate and casing layer as two entirely different components/steps in a grow...

A lot of times, when using bulk substrates, one chooses to forgo the casing layer all together... I typically don’t see the need when using bulk subs for cubes...

The methods you are currently using is a different story. Cased grain is an accepted method but isn’t as common as it used to be. Contamination becomes more of a concern when not benefiting from the pasteurized sub and providing moisture is needed since grain doesn’t hold water like substrates do...

The one thing I don’t know for certain is whether a casing layer is a needed component when you use Vern mixed with the grain as a substrate... The sub will have not beneficial microbes to fend off contamination but would retain the needed moisture and I would think also provides the necessary microclimate for pinning and fruit production.


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#12 PJammer24

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 08:47 PM

@Sandman - I only use bags for Grain to grain transfers. I use the XL bags from shroomsupply.com - It's probably overstuffed but what I do if fill it a few inches below the filter you can fit 6-12lbs of hydrated red wheat berries in them. I use one fully colonized jar of whatever I plan on using and dump it into the bag. I would NEVER stuff that much in the bag off of a normal syringe innoculation. I mix it up the best I can and 6-10 days later she is fully colonized. It literally turns into one rubber brick. You could knock someone out with that thing lol.

@ PJ & D - Yea see in my current situation fast turn overs are key so I usually don't go past the 2nd flush. The space is too valuable to me Can you really get by with 2 inches because shit I could really increase volume of that's the case. I could litterally do 2x 90 quart tubs instead of one with the same amount of work.

Now that I see what you folks are doing that's been one of my biggest mistakes and the reason for slow turnovers of tubs. It's because I'm using too thick of a substrate layer. I'm gonna do a 2.5 inch sub 90 quart monotub tonight of B+ or Creepers and see what happens.


I have found that with a 1:1 ratio, my 3rd flush is just as big as the 2nd... I am all about maximizing yield per square foot and I have found that 3 flushes with 1:1 sub to spawn seems to be ideal especially when considering the time necessary to reload everything and the raw materials required.

@sandman - A BIG reason that you only go 2 flushes is the sandbag method you currently employ... Your bag design does not lend itself to easy dunking/rehydration... At a 1:1 ratio, I think risk of contam increases very little until after 3rd flush but 3rd flush would be a pain since you can’t easily rehydrate.

This time around, I let a shelf continue flushing. I speculated that my hard water helps ward of contamination due to high PH and wanted to see if they would keep flushing. I threw them out today but I had no contamination in any of the bags. They went 6 or 7 flushes, I lost count... The last ones were smaller with giant fruits but they were still spitting them out...


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#13 MysticalMyco

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 10:25 PM

Yea, I'm not counting the casing. However I might use one.l, If she starts to look dry.

I've settled on somewhere between 2.5 & 2.75 not including casing. I'm gonna play around tonight with it.

I've been having a blast with this hobby so far. LoL the only time I run into contamination issues is when I get to around the 3rd grain to grain generation. LoL I can't seem to ever get to the 4th generation. The Green meanie always steals my grain to grain xfers after I get to the 4th. I get to the 3rd generation just fine but I do notice that by the 3rd generation on grain to grain that the mycelium starts to act a tad less vigorous and a little more sloppy. So as a personal rule I've been ending the line at the end of the 3rd generation.
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#14 Billcoz

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 12:14 AM

What I do to make my tubs is scoop 3 full pint jars into a 2 gall ziplock bag and dump in a colonized pint popcorn jar, ~80% full, so it's  a little more than 3 parts sub(50/50 coir/verm) to 1 part spawn, and mix it up gently and dump it in the tubs. I make em about 3" depth in the 6 qt tubs, and I have only had to soak em after the third or forth flushes so far, and not on all, and I've never seemed to have any extra, or was too thin, and I could just measure it out/figure out the math to make em even.

 

 

I've been putting a delayed casing on at 4-6 days into colonizing(Fahtster's tek), I feel like that protects the myc enough so it's okay to mist it, I just do it indirectly, spraying up in the air and letting it fall, and it's a fine mist, I only spray 2-3 times over each tub, then fan GENTLY for like 30-60 seconds. I have some nice looking burma & B+ pins and no aborts. Delaying the casing also lets some pins start to form on the original surface, and also up throughout the casing kinda in 3 dimentions, even tho, on jkdeth's advice, I broke up the colonized parts of the casing and patched any white spots once, it just re colonized.


Edited by Billcoz, 12 February 2019 - 12:21 AM.

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#15 jkdeth

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 01:10 AM

I just try to keep it under 4 inches and at least two inches most of time.
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#16 MysticalMyco

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 11:41 AM

@Billcoz I actually just did the whole postponed casing layer. I'm glad I didn't just make that shit up because I was at least 4-6 days into it. That's actually the whole reason I'm trying to shrink my timeframe down.

I just started boiling water for my substrate so we shall see what happens. =)
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