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Tasmanian & Alacabenzi Grow Log - First Grow


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#1 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 11:30 AM

IF INTERESTED IN READING, I'M POSTING THIS THREAD AFTER MY FIRST FLUSH. I HOPED THE PROGRESS MIGHT HELP OTHERS AS MUCH AS I'VE FOUND HELP ON THIS FORUM ALREADY. SOME REVISION HAS TAKEN PLACE. ON TO THE SECOND FLUSH!! ... (PICTURES TO COME)

Dec 9, 2007:

Getting excited. It's taken more time getting started then I planned, but when you'd like to do something right, and you're learning as you go along, time has it's own plan for you! It's a mini adventure so far.

At this point I've inoculated six Rye Grain jars: four quart size jars and two half gallon. I used the Tasmanian strain for it's continuous growth patterns and spawning speed as well as the Alacabenzi strain for it's proven success and resistance to contaminants. I used all 20 cc's as I wanted to be sure to be up and running. It took an extra 3 weeks after I received them. I thought I had narrowed down the location of Rye Grain at a local nursery that I could only visit on the weekends due to my schedule. When I finally got around to traveling there, they said they had run out. It took another week for me to track some down. Through Google, I found a health food recipe that listed Rye grain as an ingredient sponsored by Wild Oats Market. I went to the store very near to me and there it was for only 79 cents a pound! Two weeks had gone by and they were right there all along. After I soaked and simmered the Rye grain I put the jars in my pressure cooker using a proven tek. I bought the 21 quart pressure cooker a month prior used on Craigslist, and I found out minutes after finally firing it up that I needed to replace the gasket ring! I ordered one immediately online and finished the inoculation process the following weekend after the gasket ring arrived.

It was like a ceremony, let me tell you. I have a coffee table up against the wall where I did everything kneeling in prayer (missionary) position. America invented it, you're welcome. The lights were dimmed, the mood was set. I felt scared and vulnerable. I thought, what if I didn't do it right? It was my first time.

Not being sure how to build the inoculation chamber (open or closed; alcohol burner outside or inside) I concluded that there was only one way to find out. I had to make a decision and follow through with it. I used a plastic bin and put two PVC rings in the sides, sealed with glue and caulking. I decided not to glue on the rubber gloves like some do because I did not want the alcohol I used to sterilize the chamber to ignite. With the arm holes open, I could access the wickless alcohol burner from outside the chamber. I made sure to be fast, efficient and clean. I used a HEPA filter air purifier near the openings, sprayed ton of Oust, and wiped everything inside and out with 70% alcohol. [Note: This was awkward, and later did not benefit from the use of this chamber. Will likely reinvent something or use another method.]

Now a week and two days later I have seen good Mycelial growth! I started the process two Friday's ago. I took the jars out, inspected them, broke up the grain using a roll of duct tape.

My next main dilemma will be what technique to decide on concerning the substrate and casing. I believe I will use Eatyoualive's Double Tub Tek (Dubtub) after some consideration. Originally I was going to use a regular straw bulk method, but I like how in Eatyoualive's Tek it seems to be pretty self sufficient once you've taken the necessary steps of setting it up. He mentions his draws from many proven methods, and I like that he encourages ingenuity, while stressing the key advantages of the method.

The straw bulk method is obviously solid, but I understand that wheat straw is a good substrate because all types of bacteria and fungus like it. Being a first timer, I truly wish to avoid contamination. Also, in Eatyoualive's tek he seems to have found an effective way to combine the substrate and casing into one mixture that can be put together from the onset. I have straw, but I like the idea of combining it with Coco Coir and manure compost. Manure is supposed to ensure a maximum potency, or so I've read. I've looked into it, and found that horse compost is difficult to come across unless you can hook up with a horse owner or get from mail order from a member on this forum. Cow manure isn't as rich, but Steer manure is close and can be found at local nurseries. I haven't found anywhere that confirms if steer manure compost is effective, but we all need to innovate with what we have at hand. I'm going to create a hybrid mixture and try to grow a good bin of each strain.

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#2 Hippie3

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 11:33 AM

steer is just a male cow, should be fine once properly composted

#3 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 11:37 AM

Dec 13, 2007:

I found some Horse Manure on Craigslist. A horse owner is offering it for free.
I filled up two plastic trash bags and took it home. It's been raining a lot the past two weeks so I think it's already pretty leached. It doesn't smell like anything but dirt. I'm soaking it to be sure and will let it dry over the course of a week.

Dec 16, 2007:

Here are some updated pictures of my Mycelium, from a few days ago. The last one looks like a little owl. I don't know about you guys, but I take that as a promising sign.

http://mycotopia.net...-1197839194.jpg

http://mycotopia.net...-1197839466.jpg

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#4 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 11:58 AM

DEC 17, 2007; EATYU'S REPLY:

"QUESTION: Does putting the manure compost in the oven smell? Will it smell in my closet?" you can use single tubs and stack a few on top of each other. you can buy these plant stability sticks at walmart for 69cents each that are roughly 2' length. these would then sit on top of one bin if your using a saran wrap or press n seal lid. then just stack the other bin on top of that.

the double tubs are too big for you. use single tubs. it works fine.

steer manure should work and it won't stink up your kitchen or house. does it smell like dirt? if so, then its perfect. if not, its too wet and needs composting.

as for straw, you can use straw. you can cut it with scissors into 2" pieces and mix it into your substrate. that can be a pain but if your patient do it while your watching tv. powdered straw is preferable but difficult to get to that point. a mulcher would work. but if you don't' have room for that. use scissors. if you try using a blender or a food processor. you may be buying a few of them because it really does ware out the blades very quickly. and if you use timothy hay, its much thicker and will run right through those items.

as for lighting, if your going to close that closet you can just put a simple fluorescent under that first shelf.

or you can just leave that door open and it should be enough light from the window in the room to get a good pin set.

i would go as far as saying that you can take down that grey bin and shelf. then stack all of those clear plastic bins on top of each other using those rods for plant stability located in the plant section at walmart.

you can also buy something called micropore tape. this is something you can use in place of polyfil in your holes. if you do it all correctly your substrate should make enough moisture where you don't have to introduce anymore moisture. if you do add a humidifier you will most likely be adding too much moisture to your tubs. a timer can help out. a good setting is 20 minutes every two hours of time. but that may even be excessive for such a small chamber. if anything use an aquarium pump for air exchange for these tubs. introducing too much moisture can screw up your entire environment. if you simply using trays with substrates in them and placing them into the chambers. then you should be fine with the humidifier. but remember. when the fruiting stage starts you want to drop your relative humidity to about 90% if you have a casing layer. if you don't have a casing layer, treat it like a cake and keep your rh at 100%.

#5 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:02 PM

DEC 17, 2007:

Ha! Thanks for responding. Good news about the manure. It has no smell at this point. It rained here for about two weeks before I got it and I let it soak replacing the water once in between for 48 hours. It's currently drying spread out on a sheet in a thin layer. Tripaholic helped me out on this. Once it's dry I'll be screening the manure and I'll mix it with vermiculite until it's dry enough (until it's reached field consistency).

I think I will take the incubation chamber out of that closet and use all of that space for growing. I have a spot in another closet I can keep the incubation chamber separate. It's a little less conspicuous than a fruiting chamber. I'll likely build some cheap shelving with 2 x 2's and plywood and employ three chambers, allowing each to have their own light source above them. I'll keep a small fan blowing indirectly and a HEPA air filter running. Will plain Christmas lights work? I already own some. Posted Image

Concerning Straw: Looks like there's going to be a straw cutting party at my house. Movies, beer, scissors, straw.

I hope to avoid the need for using a humidifier. I paid for one, but I didn't realize how much of a hassle they could potentially be. I did purchase an air pump so I'll use it if necessary. And microspore tape over polyfill huh? Sounds good. Where do you find that product?

As far as the chambers themselves go, I have two Sterilite 92 qt / 87 lt bins: 24 w x 14 d x 19 h. I was curious if these could be used instead of a double tub? I could drill the 8 holes proportionately. I went to Office Max and compared what they would look like. Size wise they're about the same height as the Iris 60 qt. double tubs, but they would have more area on the bottom. Perhaps I could proportionately up your ratios. I know I want about a 4.5 in. substrate with or without casing. You mention using turkey tins, so this might not allow me to use your system as ideally.

Also, you mention that the ratios are rearrangeable. I've looked hard to find MushroomMark's ratios and additives, and the link you've included on your Shroomery thread I believe might be gone. I'm getting blocked when I try to link and I am signed in so I'm not sure what's up. I'm hoping to get the most bang for my buck, meaning the ratio that allows maximum safety against contamination with the best likelihood of 2 prolific flushes. [NOTE: It was because I had not posted enough to access the thread.]

I was thinking about using 1:1:1 coir, horse poo, wheat straw. Suggestions? I know MushroomMark has had success with your method so I'm hoping to have success with your combined methods. I'll keep looking. You said if you add a casing layer, the yields are typically better right; it just takes more work.

I did have a question. Why did you switch to the single tub with saran wrap? Was it Space? Would the saran wrap work better for humidity purposes than a normal cover?

And I knew exactly what you meant about the green plant prop. I have one myself. I've read quite a bit of your threads! Posted Image

Thanks very much again Eatyualive!

#6 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:04 PM

DEC 18, 2007; EATYU'S REPLY:

1) you can use micropore tape in place of polyfil over the holes. its your choice. available at grocery stores and pharmacies. it is in the medical section. 3m micro pore tape. its clear, breathable and like tape.
2) i don't know about the xmas lights but the light from your window in the pic, should work fine. but try it. and lets see.
3) you don't need a humidifier. the substrate should produce enough moisture. but this is if you line the entire bottom of a bin with substrate. look at mockeylocks rez effect thread.
4) if your using trays, then you will need to either add damp perlite to your bin and hand spray with a spraybottle.
5) drill 1"-3" holes in your bins. place polyfil in them, or micropore tape over the hole. you can then place a hairdryer right up to the micropore tape for air exchange without ever opening the chamber.
6) if you use polyfil just open up the top and blow it for 2 seconds with the hairdryer.
7) much of what is being said here is using my bulk method. read up on it and it should give you an idea of how the whole closed system works.
8) the chambers you have in that pic should do great!
9) go to shroomery and look in the fungi archives under growlogs and clean chambers. you will find my thread and mushroom marks somewhere in there. search his username. not to link off site but the thread is worth seeing.
10) strawnet is what i use. Welcome to SummitSeed.Com!. Come Hell or High Water, We've Got You Covered. Straw Net. ive read that the chlorophyl in dehydrated wheat grass helps prevent contamination. it may be worth looking into for you.
11) your ratio looks great!
12) casing layer yield will be better but heres the argument. you wait longer for it to colonize. with the laziness factor and timing this isn't always ideal. personally, foaf thinks that its just another thing that leaves room for contamination.
13) yes the dubs to singles for space.
14) use two rods per bin. set the other bin on top. like stacking.

wheat grass info for your help

The Wheat Grass People

#7 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:07 PM

DEC 18, 2007:

Thanks Eat Yu. I'm at the point where I need answers. I checked on my mycelium last night and gave everything a good shake. I suspect in five more days my rye grain jars are going to be full.

I will check out Mockeylocks Rez Effect Thread, yours and Mushroommark's grow logs, and the information about Wheat Grass. The last one looks really interesting, and healthy!

Regarding the casing, I found these patent articles online today:
Synthetic casings for mushroom beds - Patent 4079543
Synthetic casing for mushroom beds - Patent 4170842

The first one is interesting because it shows different ratios of a unique casing layer using activated carbon, granulated gypsum, and shredded newspaper. The second one is similar, but replaces shredded newspaper with other products like cotton seed hulls. They seem to show really positive results and give good explanations for everything. I wonder if replacing the variable ingredient with Coco Coir would be a good idea, since the newspaper/cotton seed hull component is included for retaining moisture.

I agree that keeping things simple is best. Since I'm doing three trays, I may employ two of the three with two different kinds of casings to see which which works the most.

I've seen that people use all sorts of weak types of lights. I don't plan on opening the closet very often, so the natural light option won't work. The room is ventilated because it was originally meant for stackable washer and dryers. It comes with an electrical outlet too! I'll use a fan in there and a strand of Christmas lights for each fruiting chamber on a timer. I don't think Christmas lights get too hot or Christmas trees would combust for the holidays. I'll let everyone know how they work. [I ended up having to open the closet often and keep a fan on it, but due to this temp and RH was regulated to near ideal levels.]

Eat yu, do you find that you run into less contamination with Strawnet because of Chlorophyll then? I may consider it, but I'd have to order and ship it, and for now, I have straw in my possession. I'll PC it well and make sure it is cut into small pieces and covered in manure. You indicate that you run into less problems with Strawnet. Do you still PC it?

Thanks for the good news about the bins and the ratios. Good news about the micropore tape as well. It's readily accessible, and it comes with the added feature of being able to blow dry!

I'm going to get back to studying.

-Sha

#8 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:08 PM

DEC 20, 2007; EATYU'S REPLY:

Yes its difficult to contam this stuff. You boil the strawnet for 30 mins. Then strain it. Then mix it into your sub. Then pasteurize in the oven for 4 hours at 200 degrees in turkey tins.

#9 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:25 PM

DEC 29, 2007:

Thanks. I spent almost an entire day shredding about 10-12 quarts of straw. I can see why you use Strawnet. I eventually hammered down a method that wasn't too bad. I basically sorted out all of the longer pieces until I was left with dust and smaller pieces. Then I placed them in a plastic Tupperware bowl and chopped at them with my scissors for a while.

I set up my closet yesterday and have been spending the day looking for more material, etc. I would like to mix my Hpoo and Coco Coir tonight and bake, as well as steam my straw.

While I was at a Hydroponics store and found this product: Fox Farm Soil & Fertilizer Co. Curious if this might be good as a substrate or casing additive? As a casing, I believe it comes with nutrients, so, not sure. But as a substrate component, this may be great!!

It contains the following ingredients:

Composted Forest Humus
Sphagnum Peat Moss
Earthworm Castings
Vermicultural Compost (bedding material and livestock manure)
Sandy Loam
Fossilized Bat Guano
Granite Dust
Norwegian Kelp Meal
Dolomite Lime
& Oyster Shell (for pH adjustment)

1) The guy said that everything is organic and that it is supposed to be neutral. Suggestions?!

2) From the patented casing layer I mentioned in my last post it says to add activated carbon (can be found at a pet store in the fish section) and gypsum, but the only gypsum I could find came in a mixture of 80% gypsum, 18.6 calcium, and 14.9 sulfur. Would this hurt a mushroom?

3) Is the Hpoo acceptable with grass bits in it. It's what I have to work with. Totally shredded, but grassy! [SINCE this post, I ended up filtering the Hpoo with a homemade sifting box using a grill mesh that I cut for larger holes, then proceeded to use the separate mesh as the fine sifter to fill my roasting tins]

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#10 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:27 PM

DEC 29, 2007:

Half of my jars were stunted. Any suggestions on whether or not I can G2G the mycelium that has grown thus far from those jars?

Here are some pictures of my setup. Christmas lights with timer, Space Heater, Hepa Filter with Ionizer, Fan, and Humidifier.

http://mycotopia.net...-1198983402.jpg

http://mycotopia.net...-1198983514.jpg

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#11 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:30 PM

JAN 4, 2008:

Here's where I'm at. I've been scrambling to look for proper casing layer materials. I stumbled upon FoxFarm's planting mix. It has so many ingredients that are desirable, but both for a substrate and a casing, not either or. Also, it has one or two ingredients that maybe aren't so good, so I decided to scratch that, but was turned on to Miracle Grow's Moisture Control Potting Mix (MGMC).

I plan on adding a buffer to the MGMC. I could not locate crushed oyster shells at a pet store I was out at tonight and this has to happen tomorrow at the latest I believe. I called everywhere to find Limestone Flour which I understand to be better. The feed stores around here didn't have it. Instead I have three tubs, and I plan on doing a little experiment.

In one tub, I'm going to use the MGMC as is. In another, I'm going to mix into it All Natural CALCIUM SAND by All Living Things. It's supposed to be natural, untreated, and uncolored, unlike some products you may find. You can find this in the reptile section at a pet store. As a buffer, I'm not sure how it will work. I've been having a hell of a time trying to learn about Calcium Carbonate, and all I can gather is that there are many forms of it that occur naturally, though the forms differ by structure, not by it's molecular makeup. For example you can find it from Shells, Calcite growing in caves, Aragonite (similar to Calcite), and in Limestone, etc. I also am going to use Activated Carbon (fish tank filter material) that I've crushed up a bit. I'm sort of adapting something I've read from online to the MGMC method: Synthetic casings for mushroom beds - Patent 4079543.

From what I understand, Calcium Carbonate Sand is simply that, Calcium Carbonate that has "been ground into a fine sand to simulate the feel of desert terrain." My concern is the sand may absorb the moisture and not release it, but clump instead. I hope that it serves it's purpose as a buffer. We shall soon find out.

I haven't decided what I'll do with the last tub. I may not case it at all.

Please review these pictures anyone, and let me know what you think! My mycelium growth is all around the edges. I'm afraid this might be due to a rushed mistake of me packing down the substrate. On top of that, it is not even at all Posted Image I was about to miss a plane!! Any other thoughts?

Posted Image ??? When I case, would it be OK to sort of break up the areas that don't have mycelial growth???

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#12 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:37 PM

JAN 5, 2008:

[RESPONDING TO COMMENT] Thanks man. I'm modeling my methods after Eatyu's because I like that if you put enough thought into it, you can "set it and forget it." I don't want to fuck up my first grow, so until I get some experience in I don't want to experiment with too many variables. I believe I will leave the third tub as is, as a control. It remains outside of my closet with no heat added (in a regular closet with no environmental control). It even probably gets a share of sunlight. I'll let it do what it wants, though I will fan if necessary and spray the tub itself.

Check back here. I would like to slightly experiment with the other two because I believe if I've done my research correctly--I wasn't a science major; far from it--that it will pay off a few go's down the road. Plus it will be nice to see what the variables do. I can get a system lined up afterwards that will not be difficult. I don't mind putting the work in now.

-Sha Posted Image

http://mycotopia.net...-1199555426.jpg

#13 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:41 PM

JAN 5, 2007; EATYU'S REPLY:

man sha,

i think you might have discovered something really nice here. try it out and lets see what happens. to test it, a foaf would probably mix it 50/50 with coir. then spawn that as a bulk substrate and fruit it directly off of that substrate without a casing layer. i've seen posts of fruits off of hemp roots. so this should work. don't know how well kelp or any of the other ingredients will respond to contaminates. hopefully it will work out. you could just do a small test run first to see how it goes, then from there. go bulk with it.

if you have access to coir, you may want to try mixing it into your substrate. since you have a hydro store near you, pick up a few bricks. the smaller bricks not the giant ones. then you can expand them in smaller batches. if you can't get coir there, try going to your local petco or petsmart. they have lizard pet bedding that is coir. buy the bricks. 3 for 10$. that can last a while. a bit pricier but convenient.

i take it back sha. this has dolomitic lime in it. you never want to use dolomitic hydrated lime, always use high calcium horticultural hydrated lime with Mg. levels below 5% above that and you inhibit fruiting.
___

ah it has dolomitic lime in the ingredients. listen find out what percentage it is and post it. cubes can only tolerate so much of that and it definitely inhibits growth. so be wary of the dolomitic lime. you want to use non-dolomitic lime. if you using this compost as a casing layer you shouldn't. use a non nutritious source like coir/verm 50/50 mix. that works excellently. simple yet effective. if you have coarse verm this is preferred. if you have fine verm you may want a 70/30 verm to coir mix with this type of verm. hopefully this will point you in the right direction.

if i remember correctly, dolomitic lime contains high concentrations of magnesium which inhibit pin development. try not to use it.

and a pointer, don't get so complicated with your first few runs. simplify everything and then make it complicated. like get down your ratios, moisture content, and volumes first, then bang it.

from the pics above, it appears that you have uneven distribution of moisture in your casing layer or tub. this is why you see some spotty growth here and there. you can patch or give it a light mist with a fine mist sprayer. if this doesn't work and it doesn't colonize, scrape off the casing layer.(this is assuming the pictures are of a casing layer, if its a bulk substrate don't spray it.

foaf has tried the lizard bedding that has calcium sand in it. it is a bit chunky and poses problems for colonization with those big chunks. the finer you can find it the better. but go for bed a beast or coir. you DO NOT NEED BUFFER ADDITIVES FOR COIR IT IS NEUTRAL. so hopefully you don't have to add too many things. foaf gets away with just doing coir 50/50 to verm. simple as that.

#14 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:45 PM

JAN 5, 2007:

Considering that it has Dolomitic Lime, that's the part where I knew it was close but no cigar. But if it was a cigar, it would have been a Cuban Cigar that Castro might have smoked himself. After these first three tubs, I may go back and give it a trial run as you suggested after researching what amount of Dolomitic Lime it has; I understand that TRACE amounts of Magnesium may be acceptable. I'll let you know how this goes.

I've returned the FoxFarm mix and went for Miracle Grow Moisture Control (MGMC). [Many suggestions for FOAF to fear Miracle Grow Products: FOAF read there are many who stand by it and who have experienced success, even without sterilizing.] I will add Calcium Carbonate in the form of Calcium Sand (Reptile bedding and calcium source), plus Activated Carbon (Aquarium filter refills, crushed with a hammer) to one of the tubs.

The Calcium Sand I found was the most naturally basic and finely granular they had. I plan on mixing it into the MGMC mix because that product consists of both Coco Coir AND Peat Moss. My hope is the consistency of the mix will blend the sand in nicely. I'll put a smaller amount in to buffer the Peat Moss and bring the completed mixture to field constancy. JUST HAD AN IDEA!!! Posted Image I can mix some into the MGMC and test it's PH against a control (without Calcium Sand) before adding it to the substrate. I'm getting most of my information from Google search, and the search engines on the forums. Not much is mentioned about it for these purposes so I will try it out for the greater good.

I also am tentatively planning on leaving one tub bare with no casing, and the other with just the MGMC casing pasteurized and as is. Simple is definitely the goal, but simple and smart is my aim. I'm lucky because you and others who have been successful with this hobby have posted proven methods, ratios, etc.

BTW, the pictures from my last post are NOT of the casing. I will not mist them then per your advice. The moisture may be uneven for the following reasons: 1) because the straw might not have been evenly distributed (I was in a hurry to catch a plane); and 2) because the substrate itself is uneven. [UPDATE: It's now the 8th and the mycelium in the test chamber, with no casing, and no temperature regulation (heater in house adjusted for 71 degrees), is spreading nicely. There is only a small five inch diameter patch that has not colonized, and all is rizomorphic. I will be subjecting this tub to light within a day or two.]

Posted Image ??? Do you think if I case it thinly, but more evenly, this may help? That's really a pretty rhetorical question, because you did mention to patch. I'll get it taken care of today and keep posting on here to show what progress I've made.

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#15 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:50 PM

JAN 5, 2008:

Here are the results:
  • The first test (the control - MGMC as is) registered as acidic (6.0).
  • The second test with added Calcium Sand (roughly 10-20%; see below) registered as neutral (7.0).
  • The third test with Calcium Sand and Activated Carbon registered as Alkaline (7.5); I added equal parts activated carbon and calcium sand (10% each).
It does augment the PH. I believe it will do well as a buffer. Posted Image

I am no expert on the subject of chemistry, but here is from a post on a different forum. Scatmanrav said [or perhaps quoted]:

"Calcium carbonate is the name of a chemical substance , CaCO3.
Ground oyster shells are a natural product mainly containing CaCO3, along with other minor ingredients.
Limestone is a sediment mineral composed mainly of calcium carbonate, very similar to oyster shells.
Chalk (Blackboard chalk is NOT made of chalk!) is a form of calcium carbonate, having the same chemical composition as ground calcium carbonate, limestone, marble, and precipitated calcium carbonate.

Horticultural lime, also called hydrated lime or Ca(OH)2 is produced by adding water to CaO.

Quick lime is CaO, a very aggressive substance. It is produced from CaCO3 containing limestone or shellsand by heating it to 1200?C, hereby CO2 is driven off the CaCO3 molecule, leaving CaO.

The material that is used in the mushroom industry as a casing ingredient is always some form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3: either ground chalk, ground limestone or ground shellsand."

-Sha

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#16 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:52 PM

JAN 6, 2008:

I finished the casing procedure just a moment ago. I tested the PH level of the casing mixture after I mixed it, and it tested about Neutral. By the time I could see the color through the unsettled sediment in the tester I had already begun Pasteurizing. I used Monster Mitch's method from the Shroomery. I used my PC, brought the jars to a boil with the cover on, let them boil for 5 minutes, turned off the power, waited a half hour, repeated, waited 2 hours, then took them out to cool down for roughly 13 hours.

It was stressful making the decision to case. It's all in open air. I turned off the heater and sprayed the room I did it in, used gloves, etc. I left one of the three tubs with no casing. This is the tub that is not in my closet at room temperature. For the other two (maintained at 87 degrees F), I cased about a half inch (3 quarts). The casing was pretty fluffy. I'll check in a day or two and mist if that's recommended.

I did add more Calcium Carbonate into one of the casing layers. The casing layers consist of Miracle Grow Moisture Control, Activated Carbon (10% ratio to MGMC volume), Calcium Carbonate (10/20% ratio to MGMC volume), and small grade Organic Vermiculite (8% ratio to MGMC volume).

I'll keep you posted with my fingers crossed. I didn't take pictures, but I can say that the mycelium growth had spread a bit more (still mostly around the edges, but closing in) and was looking extremely rizomorphic. Posted Image That's what made me cringe when I decided to move forward with this experiment, but if it pays off I will be happy. Otherwise, I'll know not to do it again!! The casing is nice and fluffy and even, so hopefully it will take off. Posted Image

-Sha

#17 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:53 PM

JAN 9, 2008:

FROM EMAIL TO FOXFARM ABOUT THE PLANTING MIX. I'm wasn't able to get the exact ratios. I was hoping she could give me a hint if she wasn't aloud to give away their secrets. On one hand she may have been selling me, and told me whatever it was I wanted to hear, or on the other she could have checked into it and gave me the clue I was looking for. I think it's worth a trial run. If and when I decide to give this a go, I'll put a link to that thread on this one:

Hi SHA

The amount of Dolomite Lime is very minimal in our product it us just enough to balance the pH. With that being said I do not think you will have a problem growing your mushrooms.

Thank you,

Misty Redner
Customer Service Representative
Fox Farm Soil Fertilizer Company
P.O. Box 787
Arcata, CA. 95518
(707)826-1991
1-800-436-9327
[email protected]
_ _ _ _ _

From: SHA
Sent: Monday, January 07, 2008 7:26 PM
To: Misty Redner
Subject: Re: Fox Farm Planting Mix

Hi Misty,

Thank you for your quick response. I did some more research and I think your product might be perfect for my Portobellos. Everywhere I read though I am encouraged not to use Dolomitic Lime because it adds magnesium to soil and magnesium inhibits mycelium growth/fruiting.

I understand if you need to keep your mixture secret. Any more information that you can provide would be helpful. I'm willing to give it a shot and see, but I'd hate for it to work against my progress! Thanks again.

SHA
_ _ _ _ _

Misty Redner <[email protected]> wrote:

Good Morning SHA,

Our planting mix is pH balanced between 6.6.8 this will support a wide variety of plants. There is just enough lime and oyster to balance the mix. You will not have a magnesium problem.

Thank you for your question. If you have anymore questions feel free to e-mail me or call.

Misty Redner
Customer Service Representative
Fox Farm Soil Fertilizer Company
P.O. Box 787
Arcata, CA. 95518
(707)826-1991
1-800-436-9327
[email protected]
_ _ _ _ _

I've heard many many good things about your products. I was hoping someone would be able to illuminate me more about the ratios in your product. From the package I understand the following ingredients are added:

. . .

I have two questions. First, about what is the PH for this product. I assume with Dolomite Lime and Oyster Shell you are at least 7.0 or more. I'm hoping for 7.0 - 8.5. Also, second, What portion of Dolomite Lime exists in the mix. I am hoping to avoid any concentration of Magnesium, and I am hoping there is very little Dolomite Lime. I grow a small garden that is getting bigger and bigger!! It's a fun hobby. I'm starting to get interested in growing Shitake, Portobello, and Oyster mushrooms. It is my understanding that Magnesium inhibits growth of these products! There are a couple of different ways I can go about it and I was already turned on to your product for my herbs, tomatoes, and chiles.

Thanks very much!!!

#18 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:55 PM

JAN 10, 2008; EATYU'S REPLY:

i think you can use pickling lime available places where you find canning jars. read the ingredients and see if it has magnesium in high concentrations. sounds like it has very little so you might be fine!

#19 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:56 PM

JAN 18, 2008:

So for a quick update on my progress, I have two tubs remaining out of three. That's the bad news. The good news is I have two tubs that are beginning to knot or pin, and I can owe that to the third tub that is now officially toast.

I had a control tub outside of my main closet that did not benefit from a casing layer or a proximate heat source. It was doing great, but I didn't pay attention to the Condensation and it contaminated with Cobweb. I tried spraying it with H202 but the cobweb came back stronger.

Because of the tub doing this, I was able to catch my other tubs that did have a casing! I'm having to baby my tubs much more than a double tub situation is supposed to call for, but whatever! It's working great and all looks healthy.

-Sha

#20 ShaTipote37

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:57 PM

JAN 26, 2008:

Thanks for your well wishes guys! I have completed my first flush! Amazingly enough the control tub which I thought had contaminated too thoroughly with cobweb still produced! I went in this past weekend to clean it out and lo and behold there were mushrooms! Method: lots of H202 and vermiculite loosely spread over the substrate to absorb the excess moisture. I'm not sure if it is due to this, or due to the combination of this and the lack of the PH balanced casing layer, but this tub produced a little less than half of what the other two tubs did. Also, I'm not so sure that it was cobweb! I am very convinced after some reading that I was experiencing overlay due to too much moisture on the substrate. I may have had a great flush if I tended to it properly.

I am happy to report however, that over the course of this week I've watched the little white knobs in my tubs turn into giant mushrooms. The control tub and the bottom tub in the closet were both Alacabenzi. I harvested the bottom tub first because the veils started tearing in it before the other two. The next day I harvested the control tub and the top tub in the closet (Tasmanian). The top tub seemed to not be doing as well as the bottom tub, but the Tazmanian strain seems to have a way of creeping up. It was much more clumped together and created, at the tallest, nearly 10" fruits, compared to the 8" fruits of the Alacabenzi, and a slightly heavier yield. As an afterthought, I really should have let the Tasmanian fruits that hadn't fully matured grow to their potential before picking them. I've read that you can do this with Tasmanian, unlike with other strains.

Without getting into the details, I thought I'd post some pictures. They really turned out beautifully. The first is of the better yielding Alacabenzi tub. The second is of the tub with overlay, that I mistook for cobweb. The third is the Tasmanian tub with the darker caps!

New dilemmas: Drying and 2nd Flush. I'm studying what to do about re-hydrating, etc, but am still unclear about the best procedure in my situation. I patched a bit where the larger clumps pulled out some casing, but otherwise have left the tubs alone. I have not attempted to rehydrate either because there are pins and I've read not to mist in those conditions. WHAT TO DO?! Also, I believe I am experiencing some overlay in my other two tubs as well, though not as much as in the control tub.

As far as drying goes, I'm running fans on the mushrooms for 48 hours, and now have attempted to do a desiccant setup with DampRid. I'm not sure if this is a proper setup. Most seem to offer drainage and mine does not. I can drill holes and line with tin foil if anybody recommends this!

-Sha

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