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I’m back, and could use some advice.


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#1 Pakil

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 04:37 PM

Hello friends,

Life did it’s thing, and I find myself back after about 2 years’ absence and I’ve forgotten a disturbing amount. I have supplies, many that were never used two years ago. I need to replenish my medicinal mushrooms, and I’m looking forward to also having freshly grown culinary mushrooms again. The problem is that I’m not remembering how on earth I did everything. I’m hoping for some friendly advice on getting back to this, as the past few weeks of research has got me quite anxious.

I have spore and LC syringes that have been stored in the fridge for all this time. I even have homemade LC jars in there. I realize they may not be viable anymore. I’m thinking I should first either prep some rye jars or learn how to use agar to check/invigorate the syringes that I have. The only thing that appears to need immediate replacing is my tube of RTV silicone :) I have sealed containers stored of rye, wheat, soy hulls,coir, gypsum, and wood pellets that appear good yet. I had planned to grow culinary mushrooms for the farmers market.

In the big bin of stuff, I found a sleeve of plastic Petri dishes, 500mL jar, and a roll of plastic tape-like stuff that I’m assuming was purchased for agar. And two bags of agar. I never tried using any of this.

I also bought a couple sleeves of wide mouth plastic lids and a case of wide pint jars, as I had been using random jars, which are still with my pressure cooker- quart jars and salsa jars with metal lids, punched and outfitted with red silicone and tyvek patches.

My memory of doing all this is not good, but I’m hopeful it’ll come back. My notes aren’t adequate enough to just jump back in. I’ve got two sizes of filter bags that I used to make oyster, lions mane, and shiitake blocks. I used shoeboxes and coir (maybe with vermiculite?) for the B+ and GT. I have a tent and usb fans, switches, and timers. There a bag of old beermaking malt that I must’ve used for the liquid culture. Big container of 70% isopropyl alcohol, and a little alcohol burner with a wick that hasn’t been used either, and a big clear tote that I never got brave enough to cut arm holes in for a still air box… my bathroom was extremely clean back then, but got quite crowded and uncomfortable sitting on the floor doing grain transfers.

I have only eerily vague memories of all of it, but I was quite active with this hobby for about a year. I’d love to just have a conversation to feel a bit more comfortable getting going again, and you guys were always a kinder than the other communities. I never expected that my own supplies would feel so intimidating two years later!

Thank you for any advice, and I look forward to being around again.
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#2 MushLuvR

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 01:49 PM

Hello friends,

Life did it’s thing, and I find myself back after about 2 years’ absence and I’ve forgotten a disturbing amount. I have supplies, many that were never used two years ago. I need to replenish my medicinal mushrooms, and I’m looking forward to also having freshly grown culinary mushrooms again. The problem is that I’m not remembering how on earth I did everything. I’m hoping for some friendly advice on getting back to this, as the past few weeks of research has got me quite anxious. 

 

 

I used to blast off a few cycles and be good for a long time, I've been there.  

 

 

I have spore and LC syringes that have been stored in the fridge for all this time. I even have homemade LC jars in there. I realize they may not be viable anymore. I’m thinking I should first either prep some rye jars or learn how to use agar to check/invigorate the syringes that I have. The only thing that appears to need immediate replacing is my tube of RTV silicone :) I have sealed containers stored of rye, wheat, soy hulls,coir, gypsum, and wood pellets that appear good yet. I had planned to grow culinary mushrooms for the farmers market.

 

 

I have syringes around 2 years old and they are still fine, my Turkey Tail is coming up on 3 years and I just shot up two HWFP blocks in July, and they were just as fast

to colonize when I first purchased it in Late 19 or early 2020.  You clearly have supplies to get rocking, but the easiest 

jar lids to make are straight polyfil or lately since I'm out of Poly, I use two layers Micropore tape works all the same and if you make that Still Air Box, you won't need a self-healing port (shoot under lid, so easy once you do it a few times).  I used an old metal coffee can for arm holes, you may have one laying around, tougher to find these days, but heated can makes a clean hole, just be sure to have ventilation or do it outside.  I used to make RTV ports and Tyvek envelope filters, old school way back when, but the envelopes were not good for a second run, slow AF colonization.  I've ran MANY cycles with poly, it just works and lasts for a long time, I'd still be using it if I didn't finally run out.  I have plenty of med tape so why not use what you have on hand.  
 

 

In the big bin of stuff, I found a sleeve of plastic Petri dishes, 500mL jar, and a roll of plastic tape-like stuff that I’m assuming was purchased for agar. And two bags of agar. I never tried using any of this.

 

 

Agar is a different beast, I would start by visually checking your LC's, do they look clear and white clouds, or is it foggy with tiny specs everywhere (look closely).  If you have some smaller jars in the 4oz to 8oz(pint) range, you could do some small testers, but

get everything out of the fridge to get to room temp, and if the LC's don't look fairly clear with a white cloud of mycelium, it's risky, and the spore syringes with be the riskier of the two.  There are easier NO Prep style Agar pouring techniques, but I do flask to plates (takes getting used to in a SAB)

so, I couldn't speak too much on different methods.  
 

 

I also bought a couple sleeves of wide mouth plastic lids and a case of wide pint jars, as I had been using random jars, which are still with my pressure cooker- quart jars and salsa jars with metal lids, punched and outfitted with red silicone and tyvek patches.

 

 

I still have plenty of metal lid jars I use, won't make a difference, if the tyvek is from a paint suit, you are probably ready to go, or as mentioned above, easy ways to make QUICK lids and not sacrifice  
 

 

My memory of doing all this is not good, but I’m hopeful it’ll come back. My notes aren’t adequate enough to just jump back in. I’ve got two sizes of filter bags that I used to make oyster, lions mane, and shiitake blocks. I used shoeboxes and coir (maybe with vermiculite?) for the B+ and GT. I have a tent and usb fans, switches, and timers. There a bag of old beermaking malt that I must’ve used for the liquid culture. Big container of 70% isopropyl alcohol, and a little alcohol burner with a wick that hasn’t been used either, and a big clear tote that I never got brave enough to cut arm holes in for a still air box… my bathroom was extremely clean back then, but got quite crowded and uncomfortable sitting on the floor doing grain transfers.

 

 

You have all the tools already to go to the finish line, there are simple no prep ways these days of PC'n your grains, or Boil then strain, it's all up to you and how you want to approach the project.  Rye or Wheat is easy to prep or straight to jar with water.  @YoshiTrainer just posted a very simple and straight forward process breakdown of MANY different grains.  Give it a look through when you have a chance.  
 

 

I have only eerily vague memories of all of it, but I was quite active with this hobby for about a year. I’d love to just have a conversation to feel a bit more comfortable getting going again, and you guys were always a kinder than the other communities. I never expected that my own supplies would feel so intimidating two years later!

Thank you for any advice, and I look forward to being around again.

 

Welcome Back and I also rock out Shoebox style grows most of the time, but I grow all kinds of ways, part of the thrill for me.  All the Best... of Luck.   :meditate:


Edited by MushLuvR, 05 December 2022 - 01:55 PM.

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#3 FunnyFarmer

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 01:53 PM

I'm in the opening rounds of starting a new/old grow of Pink Buffalo from LC. I've already soaked 4 cups of rye berries for about 24 hrs with 2 tbsp of gypsum then sterilized it at 15psi in a PC yesterday. I could have thrown in a couple tbsp of used coffee grounds during the soak but didn't bother, I'll add that to the sub when I mix that up. Later after it cooled off I gave each jar about 3cc of LC, gave them a shake and end over end tumble to distribute the LC. Now they're on a shelf to let the LC do it's magic. When I see about 25% colonization I'll give it another shake/tumble.

 

Here's something I've been developing for agar to LC. I'll start an agar culture with whatever spores I have handy and do enough transfers to get the characteristics I'm looking for, in my case rhizome mycelia. When I'm satisfied with the results I'll do a final transfer into a 4 oz wide mouth agar jar outfitted with an injection port and micropore tape for GE. After I'm satisfied it's a clean sample I'll take 10 cc of fresh LC solution from a prepared jar with a syringe, squirt it into the 4 oz jar, swirl it around then transfer it back to the LC jar. I no longer have to worry about another contam vector for this last part of the process. Everyone thinks I'm a genius. OK, I know how to take a compliment without getting an inflated ego.

 

Another installment tomorrow. I've got a woodworking project that's my main hobby and is demanding my attention or should I say I'm obsessing about.


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#4 Pakil

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 10:30 AM

Thanks for the encouragement. I can’t believe how nervous I am to get back to this! Agar always scared me a bit, probably because things need to be done out in the air so it seems risky. I believe when I used spore syringes I just dropped a mL right to my grain jars. The LC I made, I think, was just me playing around by putting a few drops into a prepped LC jar with a marble. I never actually used the LC, just grew it in my closet until I had a nice cloud and put it in the refrigerator.

I’ll inspect everything carefully to see if there are any signs of weirdness. I didn’t know if I could assume they were all dead at this point. You give me hope that they’re all viable. I’d still like to, at some point, mess around with agar, maybe try growing some grocery store or wild picked mushrooms for fun. It’s always seemed very cool yet intimidating, for some reason.

I’ve never used polyfill in lids before, but I have some in my craft stuff. Just drill the lid and put a tuft in the hole? How tightly do you stuff it? I’m definitely not hung up on siliconing and doing tyvek circles, it’s just what I did before. I did like the worry-free flame-needle, inject through the port inoculating right on the kitchen counter… just because it felt like I couldn’t screw it up :) I always ran my needles (in foil) through the PC with the jars.

Thanks again for responding. I think I just need a little hand holding to get going again, I’m surprised how intimidating it all feels.
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#5 Severian

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 11:09 AM

After taking a longish pause between grows- 6+months, I was having a hell of a time getting started again- and at first attributing the majority of my failures to environmental issues- mold load, temps etc-

Definitely part of the issue for me- but I had also stored my cultures at amient temps for afew months out of that time due to not having a fridge- they were still viable as I could see on agar- but I started actively succeeding again once I got ordered some fresh cultures.

Something to keep in mind!

#6 Severian

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 11:09 AM

After taking a longish pause between grows- 6+months, I was having a hell of a time getting started again- and at first attributing the majority of my failures to environmental issues- mold load, temps etc-

Definitely part of the issue for me- but I had also stored my cultures at amient temps for afew months out of that time due to not having a fridge- they were still viable as I could see on agar- but I started actively succeeding again once I got ordered some fresh cultures.

Something to keep in mind!

#7 MushLuvR

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 01:38 PM

Thanks for the encouragement. I can’t believe how nervous I am to get back to this! Agar always scared me a bit, probably because things need to be done out in the air so it seems risky. I believe when I used spore syringes I just dropped a mL right to my grain jars. The LC I made, I think, was just me playing around by putting a few drops into a prepped LC jar with a marble. I never actually used the LC, just grew it in my closet until I had a nice cloud and put it in the refrigerator.

I’ll inspect everything carefully to see if there are any signs of weirdness. I didn’t know if I could assume they were all dead at this point. You give me hope that they’re all viable. I’d still like to, at some point, mess around with agar, maybe try growing some grocery store or wild picked mushrooms for fun. It’s always seemed very cool yet intimidating, for some reason.

I’ve never used polyfill in lids before, but I have some in my craft stuff. Just drill the lid and put a tuft in the hole? How tightly do you stuff it? I’m definitely not hung up on siliconing and doing tyvek circles, it’s just what I did before. I did like the worry-free flame-needle, inject through the port inoculating right on the kitchen counter… just because it felt like I couldn’t screw it up :) I always ran my needles (in foil) through the PC with the jars.

Thanks again for responding. I think I just need a little hand holding to get going again, I’m surprised how intimidating it all feels.

 

 

Tyvek works too don't get me wrong, sounds like you have the good tyvek and if the lids are already prepped and have been successful, I'd rock with it.  If you decide poly, yup just punch a hole with a hammer and screwdriver, or if you have a drill even better.  Kind of a PITA to stuff poly if the hole is too small, you will get the feel for it (you will feel the poly snug up, snip for a clean look... OR don't).  If I were restarting like you, I'd def go no prep grains in PC as well, but there are many paths to the destination, you just have to choose one and follow the yellow brick road.  I PC for 60 minutes, but I'm just above sea level too, many cycles with 90min runs at a high success rate.  That nervousness you are feeling is normal when you dive back in the deep end.  No safety net when you can't touch the bottom, so kick those feet and move those arms fungus friend, and control your breathing, you got this.   :meditate:


Edited by MushLuvR, 06 December 2022 - 01:39 PM.

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#8 FunnyFarmer

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 08:00 PM

Agar used to intimidate me too but once I got a method it was a no brainer. I do the so called no pour tek, I gave up on the pour in a SAB after sterilizing cause of the high contam rate, on top of which it's a royal pain in the ass to do. I prepare mine in the kitchen, probably one of the worse places other than the bathroom to do it. After I've poured the dishes I let them cool with the lid off then put the lid on and into the PC for 15 minutes. If any contams settle on the surface they're gonna get cooked... My contam rate is virtually zilch. I've switched over to these jars (https://www.amazon.c...ideo,102&sr=1-1) for ease of working with them, the only drawback is it makes it a little more challenging to get a mycelia/agar sample. I also replaced the two part metal lids with the one part PP5 plastic lids, no more rust to deal with.

 

This is what works for me so take what you want and play with it.



#9 Pakil

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 09:17 PM

@Severian, I’ll definitely keep that in mind. My LCs are from MycTyson, so I trust they were at least made well, I’ll definitely try some oysters in the first batch I run just to test. My spores were from a random place, so I’m not as confident. I guess this is why i should’ve taken spore prints. :) I think I’ll prep a batch of jars and see what happens.

@MushLuvR, thank you immensely for your encouragement. This is why I came back here and not the other place! My tyvek was just from envelopes, so nothing special. I was thinking if I drill my plastic lids the right size, I could use polyfill now and just switch to injection ports and filters later if feel the need. I don’t want to overthink it. Would drilling one 1/4” hole now serve me with polyfill and I could repurpose the hole later? How tightly do you pack it?
I’ll definitely try the no-prep grains, I didn’t mind the overnight soaking with coffee water, but the boiling and drying was always a big pain in the ass. Thank you for pointing me to this. I have a glass top stove, so the PCing is a pain too, but it’s just the one day. I wish electric pressure canners were more affordable. I know I cheated and PCed my 3 LC jars in my Instant Pot. I need to get brave and tackle my SAB, it took me a long time to find the *perfect* one, then I didn’t use it! Thanks again, I’m getting close to jumping :)

@FunnyFarmer, thank you for the agar tips. This seems very do-able. I find agar intriguing, especially being able to play around with wild specimens, but the hot pouring always seemed to slow me down. Those are nice little jars, how deep do you fill them so you can get samples out?

Thanks again, everyone.
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#10 FunnyFarmer

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Posted 08 December 2022 - 09:19 AM

I usually pour about a 1/4 to 3/8" deep cause of the dome in the bottom of the jar, 1/8" deep with Petri dishes. And I like to initially do three jars for each variety of shroom but of course that's up to you.

#11 Pakil

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Posted 14 December 2022 - 12:11 PM

Quick question: using the no-prep guidelines, do I need to add coffee or gypsum to rye? I have this in my old notes, but I don’t know what they did. I’m planning to try to get some pint jars going to see if I can start something while I learn more about agar and get my SAB made.

#12 Severian

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Posted 14 December 2022 - 05:00 PM

It's not necessary.

 

I normally do rye without gypsum or coffee- Sometimes I add but it hasn't seemed to make much of a difference to me.


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