It took me a year to successfully learn how to grow fruits of P. Mexicana. I've never grown mushrooms before (except using purchased mushroom kits) but felt a very deep calling towards this particular specie of mushrooms. Once I've read DonShadow's post "The Shadowbox - A Low Maintenance Universal Fruiting Chamber Tek + Easy Ps. Mexicana Grow Tutorial" I was finally convinced I can do it too.
So first I need to thank DonShadow again, and then Elfstone, for his contagious enthusiasm when describing Chicon Nindo here and on Shroomery, and for helping me out in acquiring the genetic material. And of course to Deleena24 and others here for your invaluable advice and support.
Here's what I was able to grow during my first attempts in 3 months (1 poor fruit of P. Mexicana Jalisco)
Here's what's growing now 1 year later (3 boxes of P. Mexicana Chicon Nindo, 3rd flush)
*** Some of the things I've learned: ***
1. Genetics matters. I've started with Jalisco and ended with Chicon Nindo, which has far superior genetics. Some fruits of CN had stems so big and thick they were almost the size of P. Cubensis, which totally surprised me.
2. RTFM (read the fucking manual). I've experimented with various deviations from the original tek, especially with recipes and it cost me time and effort lost, so in the end what DonShadow wrote worked best.
3. Still air box is sufficient to do all sorts of work and much cheaper than flow hood. It can be a pain in the ass though, so the bigger the box the better. I do everything in the still air box.
4. You can break plastic quite easily and I did on a number of plastic boxes I worked with to construct still air box and the fruiting chamber. What I found was easier to do is to use large glowing-hot nail to make air holes or large holes (multiplying small holes one by one). I also used special duct tape to tape the CPU fan onto the fruiting chamber, instead of using screws and it works great.
5. Agar work and isolation is really fun, even for someone just starting out. I've experienced serious problems with condensation in the still air box when working with hot agar, yet when I waited it for it to cool, it became too solid to work with. My solution was to use less agar powder and more water when preparing agar and to wait 2 hours after it was sterilized to cool down sufficiently.
6. Pressure cooker is my friend. I pressure cooked everything.
7. Casing can be sterilized and it was easier for me to do it that way than to pasteurize it, which I found can be a pain in the ass.
8. Trash bags suck. I've had a number of grows thrown away due to bacterial infection (rotten apples smell), which were caused by trash bags I've used as a liner for grow trays. I don't use them anymore.
9. Misting. You should mist at leas twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.
10. First round of fruits even when developed can be really small. Like miniature small. Second and third flushes grow more normal in size. I believe too much white light in the room was also the problem that might have caused this issue to arise.
11. Light matters. Fruits became much more developed when I covered the window in my grow room and installed two blue led lights above the grow chamber as per instructions in the tek. The leds are turned on 10-12 hours per day.
12. Patience is a virtue. It took me almost a year to get first fruits. I think I kind of gave up somewhere down the line and just went with the motions. Sometimes motions will get you there.
13. You need friends. I could never have done this without the help from the members of this forum, who provided invaluable manuals, advice, support and genetics. Thank you guys!!
The adventure continues.
Edited by deepblueseawhale, 14 January 2020 - 11:47 AM.