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Shiitakes from wooden dowels

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#1 TastyBeverage


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Posted 15 November 2008 - 03:16 PM

Wanted to give some edibles a serious go so I ordered some wooden dowel plug spawn. This thread will be about shiitakes, but I might write up oysters, cinnamon caps and lion's mane as well depending on how well they do.

While waiting for the dowels to arrive, i spent my time researching growing parameters for each species. I found an article about different substrates for shiitakes that stated that sunflower seed hulls were an excellent choice for sawdust supplementation. They add nitrogen and are cheap since they're basically agricultural waste. I normally use WBS as spawn, but i scoop the sunflower seed floaters off when i'm soaking and throw them away. Waste not, want not, so i figured i'd save them instead and try them with shiitakes.

As an experiment, i made 2 bags to see which would do better. One of my normal WBS and one of sunflower seeds. I washed the WBS in several rinses of hot tap water with a squirt of jet dry, then let it soak for a few hours and then drain overnight. The sunflower seeds i separated got basically the same treatment except i did not soak them. They seemed to be plenty hydrated just from rinsing. Loaded both into mycobags and PC'd for 75 minutes. After they cooled, i carefully added 8 wooden dowels to each bag and mixed them in. Then they were placed into the incubator at 75 degrees.

After 3 days, the SF seeds are kicking some serious ass! While mycelium in the WBS bags are just starting to fuzz out a bit from the dowels, there is already strong, fluffy white myc and rhyzo's spreading out in the SF seed bags.

#2 cherrylimeade


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Posted 15 November 2008 - 03:20 PM

very interesting! and well thought out it appears, but what is the jet dri for? without an answer i'd guess to loosen and wash away endospores? considering I use it in my syringes so that spores dont clump/stick.

#3 TastyBeverage


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Posted 15 November 2008 - 03:24 PM

The jet dry just helps to get the dirt loose on the surface of the grain so i don't have to do as many rinses. I think it keeps the dirt from glomming back onto the seeds or something like that. Not really necessary but it saves me on time and wasting too much water.

#4 TastyBeverage


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Posted 16 November 2008 - 01:32 PM

Just checked the bags again this morning. The WBS bag is just starting to get going; i see a couple of mm of fuzz starting to migrate out.

The SF seeds however, continue to kick major ass in terms of colo speed. The spots of mycelium are almost twice as big as they were yesterday. However, i was pretty bummed to see several tiny spots that look like the beginnings of trich. It's hard to tell because the seeds are black and i was getting a lot of glare off of the bag, but i'll have to keep an eye on it. There seems to be a lot more water in the bag now than there was when i PC'd it, so i suspect water is getting trapped inside of the seed hulls. Therefore i was correct to not soak them as i did the WBS, but i will have to experiment a bit more to try to get the water levels correct.

I'm out of grain, so i'm going to head out to the pet store to get more seed. I think this time i will also pick up a bag of just SF seeds and try a few different things. If this bag makes it without going green, i'm going to spawn to aspen shavings and apple wood chips. If i find wood stove pellets before then, i will also hydrate them to supplement with sawdust.

#5 bugs


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Posted 16 November 2008 - 02:40 PM

I'll be watching this thread with interest, Bev. A friend just had a lot of trees cut off her property, so there are a lot of hardwood stumps to innoculate next spring.

So, you used whole sunflower seed and not just the hulls?

#6 TastyBeverage


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Posted 16 November 2008 - 04:52 PM

Yes, i used the whole seeds that i skimmed from my WBS when soaking. My pet store has big sacks of the whole SF seeds w/o millet mixed in, so i picked up one of those to play around with some more. They seem cleaner than the WBS, too.

If it's still above freezing where your friend is, she might as well get some dowels and 'nocc up those logs now. It's best to use as fresh a log as possible so that other fungi don't get a chance to settle in first. Also, shiitakes can take 9 - 12 months before fruiting on a log. Get a jump start if you can!

#7 Ras Asad

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 04:59 PM

very cool Bev!!

looks like your well on your way to some edibles!

very niice, well done, well researched. :bow:

#8 TastyBeverage


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Posted 16 November 2008 - 05:11 PM

Thanks! :headbang:

My oysters are really taking off though, i need to get a thread together about those.

#9 TastyBeverage


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Posted 17 November 2008 - 02:38 PM

OK, just checked the bags this morning and sad to say that the SF seed bag definitely has trich. :( I'm pretty sure that it contam'd because of one or a combination of 3 reasons: i didn't rinse them enough (i didn't use jet dry when washing the SF seeds because i didn't want any to get get stuck inside the shells), there was too much water trapped in the shells, or because my PC broke a seal while i was cooking that last batch. Cheap piece of crap, i've barely used the thing 10 times. :thumbdown:

I have another electric PC, but i lost a tiny rubber gasket and have to go to the hardware store to find another one before i can experiment more with the SF seeds. For now, i've isolated that bag and decided to let it grow out a bit more to see what happens. The mycelium is still growing like gangbusters!

#10 TastyBeverage


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Posted 26 November 2008 - 01:18 PM

Little update. I took some pics, but none of them turned out very well b/c it's dark and rainy here today. I'll try to take better ones later after i get turkey day prep out of the way.

Anyway, that bag turned all kinds of ugly green so i tossed it. The mycelium was still chugging away in there in spite of the trich, maybe some shiitakes will pop up at the dump next year. :)

Not one to give up, i decided to try a bunch of different approaches to maximize my chances of success. I prepped 2 more jars of SF seeds by rinsing for several minutes under very hot tap water. Then i lined a salad spinner with paper towels and spun the hell out of them. Got a decent amount of residual water off that way, hopefully it took care of most of the water that got trapped inside of the seeds. Before loading the jars, i added a couple of pulverized calcium pills. I added more than i wanted to, as it became a bit gummy and made all the seeds kind of powdery grey. Will add less next time but it did a good job of soaking up the rest of the moisture. I also put a thin layer of verm on the bottom of the jars before loading. I'll be damned if trich gets me this time!

I also prepped and cooked 4 jars of popcorn since i found some while cleaning out the kitchen. Surprise surprise, after 4 days in the incubator, the popcorn in kicking more ass than the SF seeds! The SF seeds show good, fuzzy mycelium growth. It's spreading out maybe 5-6 mms from the dowels after 4 days. The popcorn however, has crazy rhizos spreading across almost a third of the jar already. These are half quart sized jars and i used 6 dowels per jar.

Forgot to mention that when i noc'd the first bags i also made 2 LC's by just cracking open 2 bottles of sterile water and dropping in a couple of dowels each. Nothing else, no sugar solution or anything. After 2 weeks, there is a nice fuzzy nimbus of mycelium around each of the dowels in the water. I would say each blob is about the size of a big gumball. I made another LC the other day with a bottle of orange life water that i got at the dollar store, but nothing seems to be happening in that one yet.

Pics later.

#11 arcamedes333



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Posted 03 December 2008 - 02:06 AM

Good thread. Sorry to hear about the trich, i hope the next one goes better. Very interesting man, keep us posted.:thumbup:

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 04:34 AM

i like cold beverages!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

with the progess on the new jars
i think you can assume the green didnt come from the dowels themselves
it might have been that the shiitake myc wasnt as strong as it looked
and their were cracks in the system..
allowing the green to get
Like having some dung not colonize all the way
every pocket of poo that isnt colonized or attacked by something that keeps it from colonizing becomes a gap in the mycielum's system..

it might have been easier to crush the SF seeds and combine with sawdust or whatnot...
what are you spawning to?

.. ill have to look but dont shiis like it cold

#13 TastyBeverage


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Posted 03 December 2008 - 11:51 AM

Shiitakes do like it much colder than cubes, that's for sure. Colonization temps 70-80 but then they like an ice water dunk before fruiting.

I'm feeling quite frustrated with the SF seeds at this point, although i do have a big bag of them so i might as well keep trying. The 2 jars i have going right now are MUCH slower than the first bag of SF seeds that i did. I added a couple of crushed up calcium pills to help soak up some of the extra moisture and to slightly adjust the PH, but i think i added too much. The seeds appear too dry this time and the growth is stalling out. Plus i looked at them this morning and the smaller jar is getting some tiny trich spots. :horse:

However, all is not lost because i did some jars of popcorn at the same time and they are almost finished. I'll try to get some pics of those up today. I'm going to spawn to soaked aspen shavings mixed with apple wood chips.

#14 mycobri


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Posted 04 December 2008 - 12:13 PM

nice Tasty
i can't wait to try Shiitakes myself

damn trich :horse:

i hope all your other spawn runs go well :thumbup:

#15 TastyBeverage


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Posted 04 December 2008 - 12:42 PM

Thanks mycobri!

Shiitakes are my favorite edible, so i'm looking forward to spending less $$$$ at the farmer's market. :)

#16 TastyBeverage


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Posted 05 December 2008 - 02:03 PM

Finally took some better pictures for y'all. :)

I believe i am a popcorn convert. My popcorn jars are doing so much better than WBS or SF seeds, although as i said in my last post, i need to keep working with the SF seeds because i just haven't gotten it right yet. I still think that they have some good potential, they are just a bitch to nail the proper procedure down. My small jar of SF seeds definitely has little trich spots, but the larger one seems to be slowly chugging along.

The last pic is of a simple LC i made by dropping the wooden dowels into a freshly cracked bottle of sterile water. No other sugar or anything added. They were noc'd on 11-22-08.

Edit: Almost forgot to mention that all of my grain in the last run was steamed, not pressure cooked via this tek:

Except i lengthened steaming time to 90 minutes. One of my pressure cookers broke and the other one is missing a tiny rubber gasket that i haven't been able to find at any hardware stores, so i tried that steaming tek with great success with the corn and WBS. Although i'm still getting trich with the SF seeds so i'm not going to do any more testing with those until after i get my new PC for xmas. Caveat for the steaming tek: I am outrageously gung ho about my sterile procedures and other than my recent experiments with the SF seeds i lose VERY little to contamination. Your mileage may vary.

#17 TastyBeverage


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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:38 AM

Finally got around to spawning. The shiitakes really tore through that popcorn. Here are the jars before i spawned:

Check out the rhyzo's growing up the glass. :)

I bleach soaked some aspen wood shavings and a small amount of apple wood chips overnight. I used 1/2 cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water and about 2/5 of a 20 litre bag of wood shavings.

I didn't use all of the substrate for these shiitakes; some was used for my lion's mane grow in this thread:

This morning i drained the wood shavings well and then layered it into heavy duty ziplock bags with the spawn. I put down 3 layers of spawn in each bag with shavings in between and on top and bottom.

I cut 2 small X's on either side of the bags and loosely stuffed with polyfil for FAE. Forgot to get pics of those though.

#18 TastyBeverage


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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:46 AM

As for the sunflower seeds, one jar is still chugging along. I don't have any pics from today, but here's what it looked like on Saturday:

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#19 Jigalow



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Posted 09 December 2008 - 05:43 PM

It's nice to see some edible grows! :cool:
Once I get my skills up I want a whack at
portobellos (Agaricus bisporus)

#20 TastyBeverage


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Posted 10 December 2008 - 01:30 PM

Thanks Jig! I've got a bunch of edibles growing right now. It's challenging to grow different species at the same time-- they all like different conditions!

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