When I first joined this fantastic forum I said that I would start a grow log of sorts and I finally have the time to get going on this. I've been rather crazy busy the last couple months and my growing has been somewhat scattered. I have, during this busy time, been reading kind of obsessively and researching as much as my free time has allowed for. I have managed to accomplish quite a bit in terms of collecting everything I want/need to set a few different things up (and grow some mushies in the process)...which I will slowly go through in this (likely very long) post.
First, I'll start with a summary of things and get up to speed to where I am now.
In my initial haste to get things going and try set up a low maintenance grow I decided to start with Chronic's invitro tek and built an insulated fish tank with heating pads to get a fruiting chamber set up with the tek's stipulated temperatures. This tek uses PF cakes so that's where I started and managed to get some cakes to 100% and fruited them in quart jars. The strain I started with is a supposed South African cubensis called 'Natal Super Strength'. As I've learned more and grown a little more, I've realised that this strain is an odd one. Very tomentose and has a tendency to produce long spindly fruits (as can be seen in the pic below).
Guess this growth confused me quite a bit because I expected something more along the lines of typical cubensis shaped mushrooms. i read an read some more, and asked some questions and thought that the growth traits were due to too high moisture content in the FC and not enough FAE. I think I was sort of correct to an extent but at the same time I feel that the genetics I've been working with aren't great.
After not being happy with yield, growth form and potency I decided that the next step in my mycadventures should be to learn how to pasteurize and use my cakes as spawn. So, the next batch of cakes I had made I did just that using a coir verm bucket pasteurizing tek. This worked kind of OK and I got some better fruits .
While this was all happening I decided to get working on a bit of a better bulk method as I still wasn't particularly pleased with the yield when compared to the effort. Here's where I made my first mistake and decided to try and make my own idea work instead of following a tek to the T. Needless to say, this didn't work, I wasted some spawn, got no fruits, ended up with contaminated mini tubs and learned a bunch. Damned Trichoderma! Also lost some stuff to bacteria but that's how one learns.
During this time of learning and frustrations I decided that it would be best if I followed a monotub tek to the T and give bulk a shot. I bought two tubs, got some new strains, collected a bunch of shit (literally....hpoo), researched pasteurizing and got some great advice. I nocced up a bunch of jars with the remaining natal super strength I had left in a syringe i had made from the initial print I bought and then also a Golden Teacher LC syringe I was given as a freebie when I bought a Pan cambo spore swab (more on this later...). I used the old no prep rye berry tek detailed out by the great Hippie3. The jars worked for the most part but I some got contaminated with bacteria and they stalled out on me. They're in the garden and the spawn colonized a bunch of spare hpoo/verm/coir sub. No fruits yet (any advice here would be useful..I know I can't force them but perhaps there's something I can do to help..).
So, while all this has been going on, I've been working on getting an automated FC chamber going and initially wanted to get a Martha or similar but they're not available here in SA. A friend advertised a canna grow tent at a decent price and I took that and a light off his hands (light has been sold and recouped half of what I paid). This set up is for getting an FC set up so that I can dial it in and get Pan cyans going and a bunch of edibles I'm keen on. I also want to use it to grow smaller tubs of the different varieties I've got my hands on so that I can make a bit of a print bank for trading and to keep my own library. As of yet I have the tent, a shit humidifier and I've just ordered the shelves. I have some PC fans that I want to see if I can use but this project will likely warrant a thread on it's own...
Anyway, back to where I'm at... the two monotubs. Well, they were successful and are into the 2nd flush now. Here are a bunch of photos. The NSS is multi spore and I'm not certain on the GT as it was a LC and not specified but I think it was MS. Here are some pics of the two tubs..
If you look closely on the last pic you can see vertical lines on the GT stems. Is this verticillium (dry bubble..)?
Natal Super Strength
Managed a first flush harvest of 51g dry GT and 35g dry of the NSS. Will see how the next week goes. Not entirely sure on how much I should expect but I'm quite happy with this as a first monotub grow!
I'm in the process of trying and testing different sources of grain and finding something cheap and effective to work with. About a week back I prepped 8 quarts of popcorn and 8 quarts of wheat berries. These were inoculated with psilocybe cubensis Ecuador (anyone had good experience with these?) and are busy incubating at the bottom of the closet made up for the monotubs. Here's a pic...I'm quite happy with this set up!
I plan on spawning to 3 mono's and then using the left over grain to make some small tubs for fruiting to print as well as some G2G transfers.
And, that brings me to yesterday where I used two GT shrooms to attempt my first agar cloning. I used a standard MEA agar recipe (10g agar, 15g Malt extract, 500ml dH20, microwaved until dissolved then autoclaved for 15min at 121C and 15PSI). I am lucky enough to use the labs laminar flow and after pouring the plates I switched on the UV for a few mins with all my equipment and the agar plates exposed before I turned on the white light and fan. I sliced a little into the base of each mushroom before tearing it in half and using a fresh scalpel blade to cut out some of the mushroom in the center. I did this after leaving the freshly picked mushrooms in the fridge for 24 hours and it made the center really easy to differentiate from the stem. I know there is a correct term for 'the center' but I can't quite remember it now... I'll update this thread with how those go in the next couple days. Any idea when I should start seeing a little growth on those dishes?
Thanks to everyone that has helped me along the way and to get this far in the few months I've been growing and enjoying this fantastic hobby