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Correct Water / Straw / Poo Ratio?


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#1 chill

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 02:45 AM

I have had some small successes with straw projects lately. I'm very encouraged and want to try something bigger.

However, the last time I tried, I combined straw, poo and worm castings. I pasteurized them together and left them to drain in the tub for a couple of hours.

Two weeks after spawning I realized that only the top 1/3rd had colonized and the rest of the substrate was way too wet. Fortunately I was able to rescue the top part and with the help of a bleach dip the cake is pinning nicely. I'll post pics in a day or two.

Normally, with straw-only I could just let the material drain. With straw and poo combined it seems to have held too much water.

Any ideas of the best way to ensure proper water content when using manure?

#2 I_am_me

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 03:10 AM

The two most commong methods I see are either baking in oven bags or using jars in a large pot, I prefer the latter.

You can mix your substrate and add water a little at a time making sure to mix it well. You want it at "field capacity" which would be when you squeeze a hand full just a few drops come out, not drippy or sloppy.

You may need to soak your straw first to hydrate it, then strain it. Then I would add the poo to it. Mix it together and check the moisture content. Add water as needed. Load into quart jars. Then you put a lid with holes in it on the jar, foil over the top. Place it a large pot with cold water half way up the jars. Slowly bring the water to a boil over medium heat, when the water starts boiling turn off the stove. Place a lid on the pot and wait until its cool. Viola', it should be ready to go as soon as the substrate is cool.

Otherwise, mix the same and check water ratio. Place in oven bags, bring the temp of the substrate to 170 for 2 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check the center temperature. Some think its easier to do more at a time this way. I'm not sure how many quarts are in an oven bag but on one stove top you can do 14 quarts easy and its nice and simple to evenly distribute into smaller bulk casings.

Heh, sorry its late and I can't sleep, I've rambled.

#3 petri

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 03:20 AM

I pasteurize in a pillow case and let drain in a collander, then twist it up as tight as I can get it to remove excess water. I let it sit then until cool enough to spawn, and the moisture seems good, the myc eats it rightup. I use poo/straw/coir/verm hydrated with 50% coffee water, sometimes + grinds. I have not used castings. good luck

#4 Guest_golly_*

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 10:09 AM

You could try making a pot of poo tea and soak your straw/coir for a day, then drain -that should prevent excess moisture in the poo clumps.....Thats the method i use now,except i use shredded mulch in place of straw....

#5 karlfinn

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 10:30 AM

In using sheep poo and straw I usually pre-soak for several days,lime and gypsum added.. and into wire baskets then into the hot bath. I let the basket drain a day or so covered with a garbage bag and sprayed with a little peroxide for good measure. sheep poo is smaller and does not hold as much water as does horsey...anyway..after this just innoc in layers or onto a table and into the tubing..for a nice straw/poo log...good luck.

#6 Hippie3

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 11:14 AM

In using sheep poo and straw I usually pre-soak for several days,lime and gypsum added.. and into wire baskets then into the hot bath. I let the basket drain a day or so covered with a garbage bag and sprayed with a little peroxide for good measure. sheep poo is smaller and does not hold as much water as does horsey


i'd love to see some pix of your tek in action

#7 Hippie3

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 11:15 AM

Any ideas of the best way to ensure proper water content when using manure?


if after mixing it looks too wet still
stir in some dry coir to soak it up

#8 Hippie3

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 11:18 AM

btw,
an old friend clued me to his trick
and i find it works well.
he said to get messy and use your hands to
mix the straw with the poo,
and use less poo than you might think,
you just want each blade of straw to have a coating,
bits and pieces of poo clinging to it,
you don't want big solid blobs of wet poo
as you know,
the better you spred it all out onto the straw
the faster it'll colonize.

#9 chill

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 08:34 PM

Thanks for the replies! Much appreciated.

hhmm, I think I'll dial down the poo content. Maybe go from 1:1 straw/poo to 3:1.

Also, I might have to get my hands dirty. Next time I'll actaully give it a good squeeze and see how much water comes out.

#10 sinthetic

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 08:42 PM

btw,
an old friend clued me to his trick
and i find it works well.
he said to get messy and use your hands to
mix the straw with the poo,
and use less poo than you might think,
you just want each blade of straw to have a coating,
bits and pieces of poo clinging to it,
you don't want big solid blobs of wet poo
as you know,
the better you spred it all out onto the straw
the faster it'll colonize.


i'm guessing, do this BEFORE pasturization?

#11 Hippie3

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 08:54 PM

lol
yes, either that or
wear gloves
:)

#12 highflyer

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 01:45 AM

My input is as follows.....

Manure will never drain to the required levels, after a hot water bath, by letting it sit. You will always need to ring it out slightly with your hands....assuming this is not storebought prebagged manure. Any storebough shit should be done another way which I will get to. If you are using field manure and straw together it is fine to pasteurize them together. You will still be able to ring out the manure/straw combo before you make your trays.

If you are using some kind of storebought manure, like castings or bagged shit, then it is best to not use the hot water bath to pasteurize. I would prefer the oven pasteurization method. The best way I find to do this is to use the kitchen sink sprayer to manually get the water concentration right. If the manure is covered properly in the oven, then it will not lose too much moisture. The reason I would say to oven pasteurize the prebagged manures is because when using the hot water bath, the manure will become too saturated. When you go to squeeze out the water, it becomes more of a mud than the light, airy substrate that you are going for. Its also best to add a little verm or perlite with the prebagged substrates to lighten iit up a bit.

#13 highflyer

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 01:56 AM

Oven bags were mentioned above as a pasteurization method. The method I have experience with simply involes a large foil turkey pan and foil. Moisturize the substrate to the desired levels, fill the turkey pan, cover with foil, bring to 170 F for an hour. Use a meat thermometer through the foil to check the temperatures. As always...this is just one of many available methods...

#14 highflyer

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 02:05 AM

btw,
an old friend clued me to his trick
and i find it works well.
he said to get messy and use your hands to
mix the straw with the poo,
and use less poo than you might think,
you just want each blade of straw to have a coating,
bits and pieces of poo clinging to it,
you don't want big solid blobs of wet poo
as you know,
the better you spred it all out onto the straw
the faster it'll colonize.


You wont get big globs of wet poo if you pasteurize bagged poo separate from the straw using the method i described above. I would recommend more manure rather than less since it has more nutrients. This is not as much of a problem with field manure because it doesnt tend to mud up as the bagged manure does.

#15 Hippie3

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 09:00 AM

would recommend more manure rather than less since it has more nutrients.


oddly enough
i've never found nutes lacking
to be a problem is just about any substrate,
even just plain straw sans poo
has adequate nutes.
i use the poo
because the cubies love the taste,
they gobble up the straw quicker
and cover the blades with more mycellia
if they are coated in poo.
i know it may sound funny
but my experiments with my substrate mixes
for mycrotopia's jars
has convinced me that
'flavor' matters to cubies
far more than nutritional content.
i find that i get fewer contams when i use less poo
as i can get a lighter, fluffier mixture
so more air, crucial in battling molds and bacteria,
can get inside the mix.
but hey
different strokes for different folks,
what works at my house
might not work at yours.

#16 Guest_Peter Cottontail_*

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 09:20 AM

I've discovered the same thing with the concentration of nutes in agar. Less is more.
This hobby is constantly giving us new impetus for research.

#17 chill

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 02:06 AM

Thanks for the input HF, hip and Rodger.

I think I'll try the oven method as I only have store bought steer manure. I'm with hip on the manure content as I've had quite good results with straw only. Maybe I'll up the content each time.

Regarding 'flavour' of substrate. There could be something to this as I have added worm poo to pf jars before (cutting the verm in half) and the jars did quite poorly. They colonized ok but didn't fruit well at all.

#18 chill

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 02:08 AM

BTW, the cake is doing quite well. I'll post pics in a couple of days when the caps start to spread.

This is really amazing since I discovered trich in several places when I was removing the soaked substrate. Score one for the bleach dip tek

#19 Hippie3

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 07:12 AM

Regarding 'flavour' of substrate. There could be something to this as I have added worm poo to pf jars before (cutting the verm in half) and the jars did quite poorly. They colonized ok but didn't fruit well at all.


too much castings then.
i use casting in our mycrotek jars
but only about 1/12 of 1/4 cups' worth per jar.
that's like 1/3rd of a tablespoon per jar
and they gobble it up.

#20 Hippie3

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 07:13 AM

BTW, the cake is doing quite well. I'll post pics in a couple of days when the caps start to spread.

This is really amazing since I discovered trich in several places when I was removing the soaked substrate. Score one for the bleach dip tek


far-out
luv to hear success stories about my babies [teks i've developed]




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