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Grow Bag Troubleshooting


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#1 Knucklebrucks

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Posted 02 March 2020 - 09:46 PM

Hey all,

 

I have colonized WBS and Rye Grain for years using quart Jars. Recently I have twice attempted to use grow bags and each time all of the bags contaminated.

 

I always PC the Jars for 60 mins, so the first bag grow I did the same. For the second, I thought, "maybe since the bags hold more substrate it needs to PC for longer to ensure full sterilization"...So I PC'd for 120 mins. Still the bags grew a green mold....In both cases I inoculated (G2G) in front of my positive pressure hepa filter. The first attempt I used clamps to secure the bags and in the second attempt I sealed the bags.

 

Wondering if there is something I am missing. Please offer any and all advise.....

 

Thanks.



#2 Jrotten

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Posted 03 March 2020 - 12:01 AM

I screwed up so many bags when I started I haven’t even considered using one in years! LOL. When I started I read BlueHelix’s grows and thought it looked fool proof, and maybe it is, but I am not! LOL
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#3 TVCasualty

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Posted 03 March 2020 - 10:11 AM

PC'ing for 120 minutes is good for bags (90 is plenty for jars).

 

The grain needs to be prepped to be considerably drier when using bags vs. jars. I usually use popcorn for spawn bags, and when I put the hydrated corn into the bags it looks and feels dry to the touch, and I prep it so that the core of the grains are still uncooked (when I split one in half, the center is still dry).

 

It's also critical that the top of an open bag never gets exposed to any unfiltered air, which means that any laminar flow hoods that are shorter than ~18" are going to be extremely difficult to inoculate bags in front of (as in, don't bother). If the top of an open bag pokes up above (or otherwise outside of) the filtered air from the flow hood for even a fraction of a second then it will probably fail.

 

 

Technique is much more important with bags than with jars, so practice all your motions ahead of time so that they're smooth, efficient, and fast. When I inoculate bags, they are usually open and exposed to air from my flow hood for about 6-7 seconds or so (which includes inoculating and inflating the bags with filtered air before sealing them).

 

 

I shaved a few seconds off my time by mounting my impulse bag sealer on a lazy susan so all I have to do is bump it with my elbow to spin it around to seal a bag and then spin it back out of the way for setting up the next one.


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#4 PJammer24

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Posted 03 March 2020 - 01:01 PM

What kind of bags did you buy? You can get away with using 0.05 micron filter bags but you are probably better using 0.02 if you wanna minimize contams... If you are using 5 micron bags, they will contam every time... Mold spores can be as small as 0.03 micron....

 

You also need to tape your injection point if you are not using the self-healing bags.

 

It could also be dirty inoculate.


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#5 morthos

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 11:31 AM

First, I'll admit I've never inoculated a bag. However, talk about opening any sterilized vessel has me say:

 

I would advise building yourself a glovebox from the largest Styrofoam cooler you can find, long-sleeve gloves and a piece of glass/plexi-glass. Once you have this, you can have the bag open within without such sensitivity to time and other risks.

 

The only inoculations I do in the open air is into jars. Specifically, I pierce the tyvek top of a 500ml wide-mouth jar to inoculate, seal the hole, shake it like hell, and let it colonize. I mix my Obire bag once everything is colonized.

 

Sterile technique has no mercy to offer..!


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#6 PJammer24

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 02:35 PM

What is your process? Are they sealed? How are you inoculating?

 

I think there is a good chance you ended up buying 5 micron bags rather than .5 or .2 micron... The mold spores can go straight through the 5 micron filter...

 

You will defiantly want to run the PC longer with the bags... 120 min should be adequate in most cases... I am surprised you didnt end up having issues when sterilizing jars for only 60 minutes... I have always run for 90 min and I have never had someone suggest that I could do it for a shorter period.

 

You may want to get an impulse sealer to properly seal the bags if you don't already... Over hydration of grains can lead to contamination.


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#7 Knucklebrucks

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 01:23 PM

Jammer, TV,

 

Many thanks for your wise words.

 

I have been hydrating the same as the jars, which is often too wet as it is. Dryer grain is certainly a place to control for.

 

For Process, After PCing bags with the open end folded in I open PC and move the bags directly infront of the hepa filter. Add the grain into the open top (it is possible that the top of the bag is above the fan...) then I seal the bags....

 

I am honestly not sure of the exact filter on the bags. I will have to dig through my files.

 

Jammer, sounds like you seal the bags before inoculation....that true? After PCing before Inoc? Love to hear more about your process.



#8 Knucklebrucks

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 06:53 PM

Hey all,

 

New question on the same topic....I am curious how others do the impulse sealing....another challenge I am coming up against is that when the bag is pleated some of the bag (where it is sealed) is 4 layers of plastic because it is folded on the pleat. In the middle, it is only 2 layers of plastic. This makes sealing it tough since the different thicknesses need a different setting on the sealer for it to seal properly which isn't possible. 

 

My sealer is 8". I imagine if I had a larger sealer I could unfold the pleats and seal it across just two folds. Is that how others do it?

 

Advice?


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#9 jrh

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 07:20 PM

I inoculate with LC so I don't open my bags at all after PC. I have the heat turned up enough to seal through the layers and I keep pressure on the sealer for 10 seconds or so after sealing to allow the heat to dissipate a little so the bag doesn't stick to the sealer. If your bag is sticking, then you either need less heat or you need to keep pressure on the handle longer after the heating element clicks off. Or at least that is my understanding.


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#10 sandman

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 08:15 PM

Hey all,

 

New question on the same topic....I am curious how others do the impulse sealing....another challenge I am coming up against is that when the bag is pleated some of the bag (where it is sealed) is 4 layers of plastic because it is folded on the pleat. In the middle, it is only 2 layers of plastic. This makes sealing it tough since the different thicknesses need a different setting on the sealer for it to seal properly which isn't possible. 

 

My sealer is 8". I imagine if I had a larger sealer I could unfold the pleats and seal it across just two folds. Is that how others do it?

 

Advice?

 

The best way would be folded out to 2 layers for sure, but that takes a big ass 16" sealer. AIE-405HIM.

 

I use the 12" version of this sealer and wish I had bought the 16" so I could do 2 layer seals.

 

I have found some unsealed area between the gussets where its 4 layers before, especially with shitty sealers.

 

If I didn't have my magnetic hold down sealer, bags would be a lot more pain in the ass. Best thing ever, for sure.


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#11 Knucklebrucks

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Posted 27 May 2021 - 02:31 PM

Hey all,

 

I splurged and purchased the magnetic 16" sealer and so far great results. All bags are sealed with 100% confidence and my contam rate has dropped significantly. I upped the bag size I use and now move quart jars of colonized rye grain to 4 quarts of grain substrate in the bags with great success.

 

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#12 MushLuvR

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Posted Yesterday, 03:18 PM

You can always use BIG zip ties as well in a pinch for sealing the Bags.  I use .2 Micron 3T Unicorn Bags and have been highly successful in a SAB.  I basically wrap the bag around the quart jar(in the SAB), add half(WBS or Oats I saw no difference) and close the bag as I pull out the jar with a zip tie ready on top of the SAB.  Twist the top of the bag(as you remove the jar and set aside in the SAB) and grab your tie.  ALL Good!  

 

I also sterilize for 2.5 hours 4 at a time


Edited by MushLuvR, Yesterday, 03:24 PM.





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