MM's straw sock-log tek
Posted 01 March 2008 - 10:19 PM
I'll try to make this easy for ya, so i'm including this list of supplies you will need to get before doing this tek.
Straw (Can be found at most feed stores for $4 a bale.)
Something to chop the straw.(Scissors, weed eater, lawn mower, chipper/shredder)
Colonized grain (You can use WBS, rye, or any other suitable grain)
Drainsleeve Filter Fabric Sock for Perforated Drain Pipes(Home Depot $20 for 100ft)
Insulated Cooler(For holding your pasteurizing straw)
Form to pack straw in(4in PVC pipe, or wood frame.)
Zipties(You can skip this one if you are good at tying knots)
Vermiculite(Found at hydroponic stores and nurseries)
Pillowcase(To hold straw while pasteurizing)
Thermometer(So you don't overheat the straw)
Craft Hoop(Used for stretching fabric in to stitch through. Can be found at craft stores)
The first step is to chop up your straw. You need to get the pieces of straw somewhere between 1 and 3 inches long. What I do is i use a weed eater to chop it in the bottom of a trashcan. It really shreds it, almost to the point of being straw flakes. Another way to chop it is by hand. Chopping by hand can become a real pain after a few logs. Another good way to chop it is with a lawnmower, or leaf shredder. Its not too important to get the straw the perfect size, just around the right size, you can have some long pieces here and there, doesn't matter. In the picture you see the unchopped straw on the left, the straw being chopped in the middle, and the chopped on the right.
The second step is to get the straw in a pillowcase and get it soaking in lukewarm water. You need to do a one hour soak before pasteurizing the straw. One pillowcase full of straw will be enough for 3 foot long logs. After the hour long soak, you take the straw out of the water and let it drain while you do the next few steps. First get a large insulated cooler with a lid, and pour a few large pots of boiling water in(enough to cover the straw thats draining). Then, use your thermometer to check the temperature of the water, when the temperature drops to 180, put the pillowcase of straw into the cooler, and close the lid. You might need something to hold down the straw while it pasteurizes. Once you put the straw in the cooler, you start a timer for 1 hour. After one hour, you open up the cooler and check the temperature with a thermometer. If the temperature is down to 155 or lower, add a pot of 180 degree water to bring the temp back up. If the temp is high enough, then just close the cooler and leave it for another hour to finish its full 2 hours of pasteurizing. Once the straw is done pasteurizing for 2 hours, take it out and let it drain until it cools. You can let it drain overnight if you want. Here is a picture of the straw during pasteurizing.
The next step is to toss the straw into a tub to do your mixing in, i recommend doing half a pillowcase at a time. After the straw is in the tub, you can throw in some vermiculite to add moisture, you can use anywhere up to 50% vermiculite for your logs without negatively effecting yield(it can actually yield more with verm). To get the vermiculite ready, bake it in an oven at 400F for about 30mins, then rehydrate with water.
Then, toss in some colonized grain. For every full pillowcase, you need 2 quarts of grain, and half a pillowcase is 1 quart. Make sure the grain is good and crumbled up so it mixes in good.
Then, mix it all up. The grain usually falls to the bottom of the tub while mixing so make sure to grab the straw seed mix and roll it over and mix that around to get it evenly everywhere(you'll understand when you do it).
Okay, now that its mixed real good, you can start on getting the fabric tube ready. First, cut off a section about 1 1/2 feet long.
Then tie one end, and put the hoop on the other.
The next step is to drop the fabric tube into some sort of form to hold it while packing. You can use 4in PVC pipe, or a wood form like i made. If you use a round form made of pvc pipe you can get a hoseclamp and clamp the fabric right onto the pipe instead of use the fabric hoop, it will work alot better. I used a layer of plastic with my form because i didn't want the fabric tube to touch the wood or catch on any splinters. Make sure to get the tube all the way down in the form.
Next, grab a handfull of straw and ball it up as tight as you can.
Then place the ball of straw in the opening of the tube.
And shove it down as far as you can with your knuckles Make sure to push hard and get it packed really tight, then pack the straw to the sides with your fingertips to make sure its tight everywhere.
Keep packing straw until your are a few inches from the top, then take off the hoop, and pull the log out a little bit, twist up the end of the fabric and put a ziptie on the log.
Pull it out, and you have just made your very first sock log. Congratulations!!! Now you can put the log into any terrarium for colonization.
When its done, it should look something like this.
Posted 02 March 2008 - 09:33 AM
Natural fibers like cotton/burlap will be consumed but it's not a problem..
Synthetic hoes ect, will remain intact...
If you use a material that has minimal stretch ,then the form to hold it's shape when packing, wouldn't be needed..
Posted 02 March 2008 - 12:51 PM
hes definitely a king of sock logs. also, thats not even the tip of the iceburg. ive seen some of his private photos. Wow!:bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::headbang::headbang::headbang: you tha man mushroom man!