Thanks for all the info ElPirana. The one thing I am not totally sure on is how to add the spores to the wild bird seed after you sterilize in pressure cooker, how do you inoculate the jar? Do you just use a syringe and shoot some in there and recap it? Or do you do a similar process as the jars with 4 holes in the BRF jars from Magic for the Masses? In those jars, the guide specified to make sure everything is super clean and have a dry layer on verm at the top of the jars as an additional contaminate filter. Not sure if you do something like that, or something different?
With the holes stuffed with Polyfil that you mentioned at the end, is that used as a filter against bacteria and mold contaminates for the air flow?
BTW, back to my original post, an update right now: my BRF cakes finally have some small fruit appearing at the bottom I can see. I think that would have happened no matter if I'd sprinkled them with verm or not, but I am hoping the top is helped out by having that in place, we will see.
For the grain jars, yes you can just squirt the spore solution into the jar and allow it grow right onto the grains. You don't want to do this exactly the same as with BRF jars. So with a grain jar, you will need to have some type of gas exchange, generally different than what you use on BRF jars. I use tyvek envelopes that I get from the post office as the filter on the lids. You can also use synthetic filter discs, which can be purchased from some online suppliers or from Amazon, I've used these in the past too, but the tyvek envelopes I get from the post office are free. You need to drill a 1/4" hole in the lid of the jar, then cut out a piece of filter and glue it over the hole with a high-temperature gasket sealant. There are a lot of write-ups out there about how to make lids. It doesn't have to be complicated, just need to allow a very small amount of gas exchange to allow the mycelium to continue growing. On BRF jars, the reason they tell you to add a layer of vermiculite to the top of the BRF is to keep the BRF sterile....if contaminants land on top of the vermiculite layer, they will not grow nor will they flow down to the BRF below, allowing your mycelium enough time to grow through the cake without the contaminants taking over.
If you want to go straight from the spore syringe directly to grains, you can do this. I have personally been using agar since the end of my very first BRF grow, I think back in 2016. I was having a hard time buying more spores, and I didn't want my grows to end, so cloning a mushroom was my best option. I made the jump to using agar right away to attempt some clones. What I found was that using agar was not nearly as difficult as I anticipated.
Again, I like to keep things simple, so for agar I followed a no-pour agar tek. This means that instead of preparing the agar and sterilizing it BEFORE pouring it, I pour it into my jars and THEN sterilize afterwards. If you don't use a flowhood (I don't, I use a still-air-box) then doing a no-pour agar tek is the way to go IMO. I squirt just a little spore solution directly onto the sterilized agar, then allow it to grow out on agar first, make a transfer just to be sure it's not contaminated (and to get more mycelium to inoculate more jars!) and then inoculate my grain jars with agar wedges. This isn't the only way to do it, but it's my preferred method. Liquid cultures can work well too, but I don't like to inoculate LC directly from a spore syringe, I generally noc it up from a small agar wedge to reduce chances of contamination.
"With the holes stuffed with Polyfil that you mentioned at the end, is that used as a filter against bacteria and mold contaminates for the air flow?" By the time you get to this point (grain spawn mixed with bulk substrate) your grow is no longer sterile. The grain spawn will be completely taken over by your healthy mushroom mycelium, and then it will quickly eat through the substrate that you mixed it into. The polyfil is really a method of reducing airflow. More polyfil = less airflow. So you can control the amount of air exchange, and at the same time stop it from just drying out completely, by using the polyfil.
"BTW, back to my original post, an update right now: my BRF cakes finally have some small fruit appearing at the bottom I can see." That's great!! I'm hoping you get some fruits out of this grow! It's so much fun to see those mushrooms grow, it never gets old. I hope you can share a picture at some point.
Edited by ElPirana, 14 March 2023 - 10:27 PM.