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Mixing partially colonized substrate


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#1 FunnyFarmer

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 11:09 AM

When putting together my latest monotubs I used a rather low spawn to substrate ratio, 1:4, and it's taking longer to colonize, over 3 weeks. Would it help to mix the substrate like you mix rye berries to speed colonization or just let it progress at it's own pace? There is a haze of mycelia on the surface but not the near solid white I see in pictures.

 

DSC01566 (Medium).JPG

 

There is quite a bit of shroom piss in the sub.

DSC01565 (Medium).JPG

 

I couldn't get a decent picture of a mushroom like stem, pure white about 1/2" tall without cap, growing out of the cake. Any thoughts?



#2 jkdeth

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 02:50 PM

Mixing might spread inoculation points, but its just as likely to end this tub. Slow growth and metabolites indicates bacterial contamination. It might not recover at all from a mix, much the way a bacterial jar or grain sometimes doesn't recover from a shake.

Additional, mixing would also be another vector for introducing a new contaminant.
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#3 FunnyFarmer

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 05:02 PM

A new contaminate is what I'm concerned about, therefore the question. Sounds like I need to  start another tub and up the ratio. I've got three others with the same ratio so... The good news is I took a spore print and can start over, I played out that syringe starting this batch.



#4 jkdeth

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 07:41 PM

I wouldn't ditch those tubs though. The mushrooms can win against bacteria. 1 to 4 is not bad, higher spawn rates just colonize faster and let you use a less nutritious substrate.

I use 1:2 in 6 quarts because it works well and the amounts are easy to manage.

There was a big discussion here on spawn rates a year or two ago and many agreed 1:3 was the sweet spot.

#5 FunnyFarmer

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 09:52 PM

The other three are Ban Phang Ka, Pink Buffalo and Mazapatec, except for the PB all the tubs show the same state of colonization. The last time I checked the PB, about a week ago, it wasn't showing any signs of colonization so I ignored it. A couple hrs ago I checked everything and low and behold the PB is about 1/4 fully colonized, maybe a week away from fully colonized. I'm hoping the others will follow suite. Now I know what to look for in fully colonized. OK, 1:3 it is for the next group.


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#6 Severian

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:40 AM

Sort of on topic- but coming at it from the other end 

 

 

After initially colonizing the bulk monotub substrate, I have then added an equal amount of fresh sub to the tub, and had it recolonize- quickly 

 

So Mega-Monotub. 



#7 thafunkyone

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 01:50 PM

Just let it colonize. if it contams dump it before it fucks anything else up...

 

Here's the thing with mushrooms- its pretty easy. Once you run through a few life cycles and see what the mushroom needs and you understand the growth it's pretty easy to reproduce with a high level of consistency. Until then, you're gonna fuck things up, and as long as you take your fuck ups and figure out where you went wrong you're still winning, and you'll know next time to get your spawn ratio up to 3:1 or even more- I go heavy on the spawn when I have a bunch, doesn't hurt. See where the next run gets you with more spawn. If you're still colonizing slow, turn the heat up a little bit- things will stall out in the colder months with cooler temps if you're not thinking about that, even more of a reason to spawn heavy for a while. Since they're all slow moving I'd kick the heat up a bit, or place them in a warmer room. Make sure your tubs aren't by the outer walls or windows as they could be cooler than the rest of the room. Closets, if kept closed, are usually cooler too. If you have to keep them out of sight, buy a little ceramic heater to put in the area the mushrooms are at. a few degrees can make a world of difference.

 

If you're interested in getting good at this you might want to keep a grow log- write everything down- the problem could be a variable you hadn't noticed. But the more data you have the better, and no matter how much we think we'll remember we'll never remember everything.

 

Good luck!



#8 FunnyFarmer

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 08:55 PM

I've got a couple 2 x 2 x 3 grow tents with thermostat controlled seedling heat mats under everything and stuck the probes in the substrate of a couple so I can get good heat control. I just checked and they are running about 77-78 degrees so I bumped them to 81 and 82. The PB is really taking off since yesterday, close to 1/2 colonized. I'm happy that they're happy.  Another thing I'm trying is putting the Argentina back to colonizing conditions by taping off the holes and no light. It never really got colonized properly, I rushed the fruiting stage. I know it's a long shot but no real loss if it doesn't respond.

 

I'm ahead of you on keeping a grow log but it's a little primitive, I really don't know what variables to keep track of. My biggest problem is my lack of patience. So I put up a do not disturb sign with a check date to reinforce the patience.But I had to violate it to adjust the temps. No biggie...

 

I watched a lot of grow videos, and I mean a lot, but it seems like I'm missing something in the day to day technique. I've never gotten very big yields, more sporadic than anything and not very big either. The biggest being maybe 4" tall and very few clumps. I see these noobs with a forest of shrooms and what am I doing wrong... It's gotta be something in the day to day minutia that I'm missing that isn't covered in the videos.

 

Interesting idea Severin! How are they performing?



#9 jkdeth

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 09:12 PM

Seed mats under tubs lead to disaster more often than not. Heating the area is better than heating the tub.

That's much hotter than neccesary. 70 is fine, some grow lower than that. Over 75 helps any contaminant present more than it does the mushrooms.
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#10 coorsmikey

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 09:31 PM

I'm sure that if you can see the smiles coming from those high temps and heat mats that you will surely see some gigantic yields coming soon. Even if its after you ditch the shit you pick up from the videos. Those newb getting canopies of shrooms obviously have no clue to the guys making videos that inspire you to buy the stuff from the sites that say you can't grow without this fancy shit. I can't express how happy it makes me that you are keeping a log to show that the shit you're being fed is indeed bullshit. Ya know the variable that you think you don't se yet, between canopies, newbs, Etc might just be the heat mats so I'm so glad you're keeping tabs. Lets see some links to threads from folks that don't live in the arctic  using heat mat and showing canopies. If you can produce a handful I will dedicate a subforum to "canopies and heat mats". The stuff in the day to day that you're missing is the experience that you can't get from watching videos.

 

The above post from thefunkyone suggested kicking the heat to help dry out the overly wet sub that is causing the stall or slow growth. A better solution would be not to make the sub to wet to begin with.



#11 FunnyFarmer

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:51 PM

I was careful with the sub moisture level, squeeze relatively hard and get a few drops. I used to make wine decades ago and got a grape press, now it's finding a new use for squeezin the sub.

 

When I first got the mat I put a layer of cardboard between the tub and put the temp probe on the mat but quickly figured out that it was too much of an insulator. Once the mats get things up to temp you really can't feel any heat coming from them so I'm not too concerned with baking or drying the sub out. The only time you feel any heat is when it's bringing things up to a new temp then it settles down. I'll take another look at the PB tomorrow and see how it's reacting to the few degree increase.



#12 thafunkyone

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 02:43 AM

So, when I lived in another part of the world that was colder long ago I'd make these little ghetto heaters- heat bombs ?  it was a fish tank heater in a bottle I'm pretty sure, it radiates heat instead of heating a surface like your mat. You're probably good on temps, I should have asked where you live, we've got snow in some places, i wore shorts today though where I am... I'd check the room temp- you don't want to heat the bottom only, but shit if it's working let it ride. 

 

Things I write in a grow log- the obvious shit- strain, spawn, substrate, date innoculated, date of full colonization, date of substrate innoculation, quantities of all things used in sub and spawn etc. stuff like that. do you have a hygrometer/thermometer? get one of the little electric ones and put it IN the tub, if you can get one that marks the high/low temp over the day and the RH swings through the day that's what you want- its nice to know how stable (or unstable) the atmosphere is in your chamber, and just a regular ol' thermostat to put in whatever area you colonize your shit.

I also write down shit I notice that may or may not be helpful later, growth patterns, any weird things your mushies are doing as they mature (are the caps getting a split look?' is it throwing all big clusters? anything.) RH is a big one in the tub. dry sides generally mean there isn't a high enough RH, which can be more of a battle in the winter with generally dry air.

Write down the dates, wet and cold weights for all harvests. Its good to know if that strain throws monsters in later flushes or if it shits out after 1.  

It will also be a guide to growing a particular strain, some like different substrates, different spawns, some colonize slower, etc... you might think you'll remember all the little things, but you won't. The goal is always to get the environment completely dialed in and by looking back at successive grows and seeing what variables changed you can get a real good idea of what perfect is to these mushies.

One variable that I like: bio efficiency- this shows you how efficient your myc was at turning food into fun. Take your DRY substrate weight, divide by the WET weight of all your flushes, and multiply by 100%. I know it sounds weird not using the weight of your whole substrate after hydration but using wet mushroom weight, but I didn't make it up. Ideally, you want 100% BE and since you're measuring wet vs. dry you can get OVER 100% bioefficiency and thats just how it is. It is a common # used in commercial applications with non trippy mushrooms and we don't really need it- what's a lb of mushrooms cost to grow ? 10 bucks? but if you're growing edibles it's a great overall indicator on how dialed in you REALLY are vs what you THINK you are. Missing 10-15% of the energy you put into oysters is a big deal to commercial growers, margins aren't huge in the edible business and they are very serious about their operations.

 

If anyone else has anything good to add in. post it up



#13 FunnyFarmer

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 07:59 PM

Thanks for all the great info thafunkyone. I'm keeping some of the variables you mentioned but not all. I live in NW Ohio and yea, it does get static shock dry during the winter so it's gonna be a challenge keeping the humidity up. The tents should help some.

 

I've got an aquarium bubbler in a cylinder filled with water in the fruiting tent that I set close to a gap in the zippered opening and a variable speed USB 120mm computer fan (set low speed) in the opposite corner blowing out one of the vent openings. I usually check on them 2 - 4x a day misting the sides and giving them a quick blow job with a small fan. How long will it take someone to take the bait?

 

Yesterday I put the GT into fruiting conditions, the substrate didn't seem to be fully colonized but it's sending up little shroom starts. I wouldn't call them primordia as they don't have a well developed cap like regular shrooms. But I could be wrong... The tallest is/was about 1" with very fuzzy feet, that little wilted one in the corner.

 

DSC01569 (Medium).JPG    DSC01570 (Medium).JPG

 

What's really confusing is that one of the all in one grow bags that I pitched in the yard (July [?], seemed to be seriously contamed) far out performed anything I've done inside so far.



#14 FunG

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 10:14 PM

The substrate is fucked funnyfarmer.

Even at a 1:4 ratio the growth should be much more developed then what it is.

You need to work on your spawn preparation more so then anything cause that's what's killing you. No point in spawning semi colonized jars of substrate to bulk.

If the spawn didn't fully run, dont expect the bulk to be fully run by partially colonized spawn.

Also, the heat mats are a bad idea, a tub of bulk generates more then enough heat to be self sufficient at room temperature applying a additional heat source will cause it to overheat and then you'll get bacteria outbreaks the metabolites are a sign of it.

And unless you've used worm casings or manure based bulk then it's not the good kind of bacteria causing the metabolites.

Focus on your spawn preparation man, get the jars fully run before you move onto to spawning, no sense in wasting materials.

#15 FunnyFarmer

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 03:01 AM

Of one thing I am certain the rye was fully colonized when I mixed it in the sub. I shook the jar a couple times during that phase of production and waited for total white out conditions. Shoulda taken a pic of it before mixing but I didn't.

 

As for the substrate I used composted Black Cow manure as a starting point. It doesn't say it on the bag but supposedly it's organic according to the website. Organic was one of my criteria for manure.

DSC01571 (Small).JPG

 

Before using the manure I watered it down to wash out any excess urine (not that I smelled any in the first place) and let it sit for almost a week in the sun. I did a 2:1:1 ratio of manure, coir and vermiculite then dumped several gallons of roiling boiling water over the mix (contained in a pillow case) then let it come down to room temp. Then I squeezed the mix in my grape press to field capacity before layering it with the spawn in a prepared 27qt tub.That made a 1:4 ratio of spawn to sub. I then put them to rest in the grow tents, total darkness except for twice a day checks. Yea, more than necessary but impatience isn't one of my better virtues. Working on that... On one of the tubs I used a slow cooker on the substrate keeping it up to pasturation temp overnight but it isn't doing any better than the others.

 

As for the heat mats they are controlled by the probe (I wiped it down with 70% first) which I inserted into the sub through one of the holes so when the temp comes up from the colonization process the mats don't come on. The probe not only relays the temp to a readout but it also tells the thermostat to come on only as needed, it's not always on. I have drilled the tubs with holes spaced 2" apart at the soil line and 4 larger ones closer to the top. All the holes were taped closed with either electrical or micropore tape.

 

DSC01572 (Small).JPG    DSC01574 (Small).JPG

 

With the in depth description of my process it might help with the diagnosis. If after my description of the heat mat functioning process you still think I should turn them off then so be it. I have a tendency to overthink things and that may be getting in my, or the shrooms, way. Thanks to all for their help!



#16 FunG

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 04:28 AM

Funnyfarmer you're over killing it for p.cubensis.

Nothing wrong with having a controlled environment. I'm actually in the wrong for thinking you didnt have the heat mats on timers/controlled. A constant source of heat being applied to a bulk container would cause the problems I mentioned but you should be alright as long as everything is being regulated accurately.

The setup you're using would be more suitable for more exotic species of mushrooms like pan cyans more so then a simple cubensis.

P.cubensis dont require very much care at all, your bulk prep is spot on so that leaves it to the rye spawn. Pictures would have been very helpful cause sometimes a fully colonized jar can be harbouring mold or bacteria...and peeking wont slow down the growth only to you since you're constantly monitoring it you wont notice major developments when they happen but hmmm..

I'm stumped. I'm going to go with your spawn being the culprit on this one.

Also, I remember a argument I had awhile back with some other members about using that black kow manure.

I was taught that it was not very good for use since its been sitting around for a long time composting and that most of the nutritional value is depleted since cows have four chambers to their stomachs they process their food much more then a horse which only has one chamber...therefore that makes fresh cow patties (properly leeched) the desired stuff for use rather then composted cow manure.

With horses their food isnt as digested as a cows so their feces is best left to sit and age, completely opposite of what we know about cow manure.

It makes sense to me, mind you I use coir but there will never be a replacement for good old field aged horse manure.

#17 jrh

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 07:02 AM

When putting together my latest monotubs....

 

This implies you've done monotubs before. Assuming you have, did they turn out well?

 

This part is all speculation. I'm a noob working on my first BRF and grain jars. However, your ratios with the black cow seem rich to me. I'm seeing ratios with black cow more in the 20% - 25% range when doing some searching, and that it may need pH buffering. Maybe something like 1:2:2 cmc:coir:verm would work out better? (Someone else who actually knows what they are doing please comment, thanks.)

 

What sub did you use in your previous tubs? Was it coir:verm? Or the same as you described above (2:1:1 cmc:coir:verm)?

 

What ratio of sub:spawn did you use?

 

I guess I'm trying to figure out what the biggest difference is between these tubs and your previous ones, and potentially what the driver was for the change.


Edited by jrh, 25 November 2020 - 07:05 AM.


#18 FunnyFarmer

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 11:03 AM

jrh-- I didn't mean to imply I had done monotubs before, I meant that I had moved on to monotubs. Sorry, poor choice of wording... I learned the ratios from Home Mycology, ArvinFortySeven, Willy's World and others on Youtube. I watched a lot of videos on the history, use and growing before diving into growing. All of your questions were answered in post 15 above. I wasn't impressed with the crops from the BRF, and stalled cakes, so moved on to the monotubs.

 

My total experience consists of 4 all in one grow bags that didn't go well, lots of metabolite buildup in all. I gave two of them to my nephew to experiment with, another one I pitched in the yard cause it seemed to be compromised and another never went anywhere. The one I pitched eventually produced an alright batch of shrooms, nice sized but not a lot. Then I gave the BRF tek a whirl making 6 1/2 jars. Two I shredded (Argentina) into a tub with substrate but it never produced a sizable crop. This morning I went to check the moisture level by inserting my finger along side the cake and it disintegrated like uncolonized sub, I pitched it in the yard. It smelled like substrate, not shrooms. The other cakes produced a limited crop of B+, Ecuador and the 1/2 cake was Orissa India. I eventually pitched the Ecuador and orissa India and shredded the B+ to substrate after it stalled. So far it's colonizing but slowly.

 

After the weak showing of the BRF cakes I went to the drilled monotubs which is where I'm at now. I inoculated 4 qts with Golden Teacher, Ban Phang Ka, Pink Buffalo and Mazatatec October 2 and I put them to sub between the 27th and 31st. Of the two tubs in the picture the Argentina is on the left (the one I pitched today) and the other is the GT. The rest are in the dark tent. They all seem to be struggling to colonize the sub with the Mazatapec putting up spindly shroom stalks (the surface is barely coated with mycelium), a light coat of mycelium on the BPK and the PB showing the most promise with 3/4 of the surface coated with mycelium and no shroom stalks. I'd take pictures but the images aren't very informative and I really don't want to remove the covers for obvious reasons.

 

This morning I turned off the fan and will rely on misting the tub sides and a quick fan of the tent to keep fresh air in there but won't fan the inside of the tub itself. I'll rely on the strategically drilled holes to keep air moving in it.

 

Sorry for the long winded (sometimes confusing) explanation but more info is better than bare bones. Again thanks to all for your informative help.



#19 jrh

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 12:40 PM

Thanks for summarizing all your info in one post. I think that'll help get you some responses. I think the only thing missing is maybe photos of your grain spawn jars, but that's the one part you have the most confidence in, so that's good.

 

My experience level is probably somewhere around yours. I had good experience with an all-in-one grow bag (although it felt like a failure at first until my next 3 bags), and 3 bad experiences. I'm working on my first BRF jars now. It took a few failures before I started to learn from my mistakes.

 

My first problem I was was humidity in the grow bags. It seemed like there was not enough moisture in the grow bags to get the grain spawn to colonize. It would start, and then stall out. I started putting them in the bathroom when I showered and that helped some. I got a cool mist humidifier and turned it on low near the bags and that helped a lot, although I currently have one bag that's showing some metabolites in the bottom which may be due to too much humidity. If things are too dry, then mycelium can't grow. If things are too wet and you actually get a layer of water, then mycelium can drown and bacteria can grow.

 

I decided all in one grow bags just have moisture problems unless you already know what you're doing, although there is one bag I can recommend to you if you want to message me.

 

By this time I'd gone through several spore syringes, so I started playing around with LC (liquid culture). This was AWESOME because all of a sudden instead of being miserly with spore syringes, I could suddenly be generous with liquid cultures of living, growing mycelia. By the time I got around to learning BRF cakes, I used 10 ml of LC per jar instead of the 1-2 ml you might use with a spore syringe and my BRF cakes colonized pretty well.

 

I guess my advice would be to take a step back and figure out why your BRF didn't colonize well, or do a small tub with a higher ratio of spawn to sub. I'm doing 2 pint tubs this weekend, and I plan to use 1:1 spawn:sub because I'm using BRF cake as my spawn. Until you get 1:2 working, don't skip to 1:3 or 1:4.


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#20 PJammer24

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 01:42 PM

Funnyfarmer you're over killing it for p.cubensis.

Nothing wrong with having a controlled environment. I'm actually in the wrong for thinking you didnt have the heat mats on timers/controlled. A constant source of heat being applied to a bulk container would cause the problems I mentioned but you should be alright as long as everything is being regulated accurately.

The setup you're using would be more suitable for more exotic species of mushrooms like pan cyans more so then a simple cubensis.

P.cubensis dont require very much care at all, your bulk prep is spot on so that leaves it to the rye spawn. Pictures would have been very helpful cause sometimes a fully colonized jar can be harbouring mold or bacteria...and peeking wont slow down the growth only to you since you're constantly monitoring it you wont notice major developments when they happen but hmmm..

I'm stumped. I'm going to go with your spawn being the culprit on this one.

Also, I remember a argument I had awhile back with some other members about using that black kow manure.

I was taught that it was not very good for use since its been sitting around for a long time composting and that most of the nutritional value is depleted since cows have four chambers to their stomachs they process their food much more then a horse which only has one chamber...therefore that makes fresh cow patties (properly leeched) the desired stuff for use rather then composted cow manure.

With horses their food isnt as digested as a cows so their feces is best left to sit and age, completely opposite of what we know about cow manure.

It makes sense to me, mind you I use coir but there will never be a replacement for good old field aged horse manure.

 

 

I have used well composted manure with great success and Blak Cow has been used with success by many people, including myself. In my opinion, it is one of the better commercially available manure sources. Older, well composted manure works very well. Growers use composted materials all the time so I don't really know where you are getting your information. Horse manure is considered a better source of nutrients due to its having not been broken down as far as cow manure but that doesn't mean that cow manure or cow manure based compost will not work well. I have had great success with compost that is several years old. In fact, I think it pasteurizes more easily and an be mixed and colonized more quickly which will help mitigate contamination risks... There are often more beneficial microbes in it as well...

 

Many people have success using soil mixes that are made using well composted material so why would composted cow manure be insufficient for successful results?

 

Blak Cow is a great alternative when leeched and/or composted horse manure is not available. 

 

As already mentioned, it appears to me that OP's slow colonization rates are due to bacterial contamination that likely came from the spawn. The contamination could also be a product of inadequate pasteurization, it is hard to say.






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