Buckaroo Bulk Nugget Tek (invitro, spawn bags and/or ½ gallon jars)
Posted 11 June 2006 - 12:53 PM
[EDIT] this was once an informational post, now it is just a place keeper...
Posted 11 June 2006 - 12:54 PM
Liner notes/thank yous: I would like to thank all the intrepid contributors to Mycotopia over the years – it is their published knowledge which I have absorbed, modified and regurgitated for this Tek. I would like to thank Hippie3 for maintaining this board and its overall demeanor. Mycotopia is a very special place, it is fertile ground for work like this. I would like to thank my wife and editor, without whom I would be very lonely and plagued with run on sentences. I would like to thank you, the grower, for seeking this information and bringing the Psillys into your life. Real, lasting change occurs one person at a time – the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. I would like to thank Sporeworks.com for their pre-sealable filter patch spawn bags and killer customer service. I would like to thank Professor Fanaticus. The importance of his early work cannot be overstated and I think it is very important to remember where we came from.
Preface: This Tek is not written with newbies in mind. Please reread that sentence. This Tek assumes that you have already mastered liquid culture and built/tested an incubator. This Tek assumes you have already built/tested a dehydrator. This Tek assumes that you have successfully fruited out at least a few cakes. This is absolutely NOT intended to be a complete Tek (the complete Tek is coming…slowly).
So, without further adieu, may I please introduce: Buckaroo Bulk Nuggets (BBNs for you chronic “acronymer” types)…
A bulk substrate contains a lot of food and a lot of water which mycelia can use for mushroom production. Also, a colonized bulk substrate is highly resistant to contamination. Fruiting bulk substrates (with or without casings) can be a highly productive endeavor but you can’t directly inoculate bulk substrates. You have to spawn bulk subs (in “open” air) with crumbled cakes or colonized grain. Also, because of the open air thing, you need to Pasteurize (instead of sterilize) bulk substrates. Although working with bulk subs can be more productive, working with bulk subs can be intimidating and frustrating (especially at first).
Cakes are great because the substrate remains in a sterilized/filtered environment until it is fully colonized. The fully colonized cake is highly resistant to contamination when it is finally birthed and fruited in “dirty” air.
BB nugs are an attempt to consolidate into one Tek some very desirable characteristics of cake growing and bulk substrate growing. BB nuggets colonize completely in a sterilized container (like a cake) but include poo and a water reservoir (like a bulk substrate). The attempt here is to create a “best of both worlds” Tek. A “natural progression” bridge between cakes and bulk subs, if you will.
BB nugs could very easily be thought of as “bulk cakes.” Larger and square(ish) cakes…but cakes none the less.
How are BB nugs like cakes? You can fruit them invitro…like cakes (invitro fruiting is the focus of this Tek). You can DE case them for better results…like cakes. After a flush, you can dunk them…like cakes. They are highly resistant to contamination…like cakes.
BB nugs are a “safer” way of exploring/exploiting bulk substrates than the commonly used “crumble and spawn” Teks. A BB nugget project is less likely to contaminate than a “crumble and spawn” project. Why?
BB nugs are less likely to contaminate for one simple reason: the bulk sub/ grain spawn is never exposed to unfiltered air until after 100% colonization is achieved. The whole process (grain inoculation, incubation and spawning) happens in the same pre sterilized container. The chances of evil invading microbes contaminating (and ruining) your project are severely curtailed as compared to “crumble and spawn in open air" projects.
By focusing on invitro, this Tek is in no way trying to imply that casing and fruiting a BB nug in a proper terrarium does not have good results. A cased BB nug does quite nicely in a terrarium…pics are in the Afterwards.
In an attempt at modularity, this Tek is broken down into the following sections (each is a different post):
- Hydrate popcorn
- Prepare bulk substrate
- Layer substrate/popcorn, seal and Pressure Cooker (PC)
- Inoculate bag/jar with Liquid Culture (LC)
- Incubate until popcorn layer is colonized
- Spawn and incubate until colonized
- Introduce light and fresh air
- Dunk and wait for the next flush
- Return to step 7 and repeat until contamination (or lack of space) becomes a problem
- Battlr likes this
Posted 11 June 2006 - 12:56 PM
The point of this step is to get as much water as possible into the popcorn without the kernels bursting.
2. Double boiler
4. EarthJuice tea
5. Tap water
A lot of burst popcorn kernels is bad. Too many burst kernels make for sticky popcorn. Sticky popcorn is difficult to work with (it needs to be rinsed thoroughly) and is more likely to cause problems later. The goal is to have less than 1% burst kernels after full hydration.
Begin by soaking your popcorn in plain tap water for 24 hours. It will not absorb much water, but all the contaminants on the kernels will germinate. The PC run can kill germinated contaminants much easier than un-germinated contaminants. The 24 hour pre-soak isn’t a requirement, but it is a good idea.
Popcorn will need to be slowly simmered over low heat in order to hydrate without bursting. Simmering over high heat will cause excessive bursting. A double boiler works extremely well for cooking popcorn, though simply using the lowest heat setting on your stove will work.
Double boiler (stainless pot, mixing bowl and lid):
You can simmer popcorn in plain tap water, but EarthJuice tea works better.
Submerge the popcorn under about 1.5 inches of water/tea (the popcorn will swell, cover it deep) and cook it in the double boiler for 2.5 hours. Stir it every 20 minutes or so while cooking.
If you simmer directly on the stove top, it will only take about an hour and a half.
Check the popcorn every time you stir it. Once the popcorn is swollen and soft enough to cut in half with a fingernail, it is ready.
If you end up with a lot of burst kernels, rinse the popcorn quite thoroughly with hot water.
Using a colander, drain the popcorn. If you use EarthJuice, don’t pour it down the drain. Reserve it for re-use in the next step to hydrate the bulk substrate.
Using a big spoon, stir the hot popcorn in the colander until it stops steaming (about 8-10 minutes). All the excess water will drain and/or evaporate, leaving the popcorn perfect for the next step.
Popcorn hydration is not critical with this Tek. Because the popcorn will be layered on top of bulk substrate, any excess moisture won’t pool up and become a problem. Don’t worry about getting the popcorn super dry.
Edited by BuckarooBanzai, 09 September 2009 - 11:35 AM.
Posted 11 June 2006 - 01:06 PM
The point of this step is to optimally hydrate the bulk substrate, in preparation for mycelia growth.
1. Coconut coir
2. Worm castings
3. EarthJuice Tea
4. Polyacrylamide or vermiculite
5. Large bowls
6. Large spoon
7. Glass measuring cup
8. Syringe for precision water measurement
9. Large knife
10. Digital scale
Polyacrylamide is optional. There are some potential health risks with using it. You can ignore the poly entirely and replace it with an equal volume of vermiculite, if you have problems with poly. Caveat emptor!
This recipe shouldn’t be considered exact. You may not be able to get the same brand of castings and coir mentioned. Even if you do get the same brands, water levels in different products can vary a lot. The instructions to determine appropriate hydration can be applied to any brands.
The substrate recipe is roughly 40/40/20 coir/castings/poly (if not using poly, use 40/40/20 of coir/castings/vermiculite).
You can hydrate everything with water or EarthJuice tea. EarthJuice works better.
You should test your coir and castings carefully to determine how to hydrate them properly before wasting any EarthJuice tea. Coir/castings that are too wet will wreck your project so determining the ratio of dry ingredients to tea is pretty important.
To test the coir, take 2mg dry and very finely shredded coir and slowly add very hot water (use a 10mL syringe and add by drop) until hydration is appropriate. Hydration is “right” when tightly squeezing the 2mg of coir in your fist produces 1-2 drops of water. Drier is better than too moist. General Hydroponics coir usually wants around 3.5mL water per 1gm of dry coir. When you determine how much water to add to the coir, write it down immediately. FOAF likes to keep the unused coir brick in a gallon Ziploc and write the hydration formula on it with a Sharpie.
Using the same process, test 10mg of worm castings. Use very hot water and add by drops. Stir the castings continuously while adding water. Let castings rest for 30 seconds after you finish stirring before judging hydration. When the 10mg of castings squeezed hard drips 2-3 drops of water, hydration is just right. Wiggle Worm castings usually want around .3mL water per 1gm of dry castings. Again, drier is far better than too moist. When you determine how much water to add to the castings, write it down immediately.
Use basic math to determine how much coir, castings, poly/verm and EJ tea you need to make the desired mixture (40/40/20). Realize that volume is irrelevant and water (tea) is very heavy. Add the weight of the dry ingredients AND the tea that hydrates them. Check your math and add it up one more time. These percentages are very important.
Coir will come in a virtually impenetrable block. Use a large knife and peel off thin flakes by stabbing into the block’s edge and then slowly bending the knife blade away from the block. Be CAREFUL when working with a large knife and a coir block. It is very easy to slip and stab/cut yourself quite badly.
Coir block stabbed in the side with a knife.
Put the flakes of coir in a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Shredding the coir into corn flake size pieces will make hydrating it easier. Measure the amount of EJ you need, heat it up in the microwave (steaming hot) and then pour it slowly over the coir. Pour SLOWLY and distribute the EJ over the top of the coir evenly. The coir will swell and darken. After about 1 minute, scrape the coir out into a bigger container with a fork and cover it to prevent evaporation. Let the coir sit and expand/hydrate for 15 minutes before continuing.
Dry coir in a measuring cup.
The same volume of coir after hydration.
After a few minutes, when the coir is cool enough to touch, run your hands through it. Break up any chunks and bits you find into fine powder. This will take a few minutes. Run your hands through the coir and carefully powder it all (meditate and say a little prayer, if the mood strikes you). You may want to add a little more tea at this point. Hydration is perfect when a big fistful squeezed tightly results in 4-5 drops of water. The coir should NOT drip when you pick up a fistful until after you squeeze (tightly). If you get the coir too moist, add a little dry. Mix very thoroughly after adding anything. Too dry is better than too moist.
Fistful before squeezing.
Fistfull after squeezing.
Taking a picture of dripping water is beyond my abilities. Note how dry the first fistful of coir looks. Note that in the second picture (after squeezing), some moisture has pooled around my FOAF’s pinky finger and evidence of a drip is visible on the bottom edge of my FOAF’s hand. This is properly hydrated coir.
That is “field capacity hydration.” A fistful squeezed very tightly will produce about 4-5 drops of water. You have to squeeze it TIGHT to produce any water. The fistful doesn’t drip freely without squeezing. If your fistful produces more than 7 drops, add some dry. Again, a little too dry is much better than too moist. You can always dunk to add moisture before fruiting.
A wet substrate will colonize very slowly and will most likely contaminate.
As always, a little dry is better than too moist.
The worm castings must be hydrated slowly with a lot of stirring or they will tend to turn to mud. Earthworm mud is bad and will ruin your project. Properly hydrated worm castings are quite fluffy. Moistened castings have a lovely smell of fresh loam.
To hydrate worm castings, heat the requisite amount of EJ tea in a microwave and then add it SLOWLY in 80-100mL increments to the castings. Using a large syringe to drip the EJ all over the surface of the castings is a great idea. Stir for at least a minute between each addition of EJ. Stir from the bottom and really mix things up. Break up any chunks you encounter. If you don’t stir the castings very thoroughly and add the EJ slowly (in small amounts), you will have disappointing results. If you over hydrate the castings, you can add dry (with lots of stirring) until you get it right. Too dry is better than too moist.
Dry worm castings.
Properly hydrated worm castings.
Take 500mL of EJ and heat it up to steaming in the microwave. Add 1/8 cup of polyacrylamide crystals and stir carefully until the crystals are fully hydrated and no more free water is present. This will take 5-9 minutes. If you don’t stir continuously, the crystals will not absorb the “dirty” EarthJuice completely. Make up smaller (or larger) poly/EJ recipes as needed. This recipe produces about two cups of hydrated poly.
Polyacrylamide crystals hydrated with EJ.
Put the castings, coir and hydrated poly in a big bowl and stir very thoroughly until things are uniformly mixed. There should be no dry pockets or lumps. Use a large enough bowl that you can stir well without slopping material over the sides. Once properly hydrated and mixed, this stuff is called bulk substrate.
Bulk substrate (coir/castings/poly)
- Frequency likes this
Posted 11 June 2006 - 01:08 PM
This point of this step is to add the popcorn and bulk substrate to the container, seal it up and sterilize it in the Pressure Cooker (PC).
1. Hydrated popcorn
2. Hydrated bulk substrate
3. Pre-sealable filter patch spawn bags or ½ gallon jars
4. Impulse sealer (if using spawn bags)
5. Large glass/measuring cup
6. Filtered lids with silicone injection ports (if using jars)
7. A pressure cooker capable of maintaining 15psi
By volume, you want 1 part popcorn to 3 parts bulk substrate. You can use less popcorn, but the nugget will colonize more slowly.
Using a measuring cup or big glass, add the requisite amount bulk substrate to the bag/jar. After putting the bulk substrate in the container, gently tamp it down. Don’t pack it tightly; just get the surface uniform and remove any air pockets.
Using a measuring cup or big glass, pour the hydrated popcorn over the top of the bulk substrate.
The popcorn MUST be below the level of the filter patch. Popcorn touching the filter patch is very bad and can lead to contamination.
DO NOT MIX THE POPCORN AND BULK SUBSTRATE. You want two very distinct levels of strata: popcorn on top and bulk sub on the bottom.
Substrate containers (bags and a ½ gallon jar)
Triple seal the pre-sealable spawn bags with the impulse sealer. Leave some air in the bags. If using jars, screw on a filtered lid with at least one silicone injection port. Either Tyvek or polyfill will work for the filters. A bag/jar needs some air exchange to be successful.
After the containers are prepared and sealed up, PC them for at least 60 minutes @ 15 psi. Ninety minutes is safer, especially if you are cooking 3 or 4 big bags.
Let the containers cool overnight in the PC.
Posted 11 June 2006 - 01:09 PM
The point of this step is to get the liquid culture onto the popcorn without introducing contaminants.
- Rubber gloves
- Face mask
- Glove box or flow hood (optional)
- Electrical tape
- Duct tape
- Sterilized bags/jars
- Isopropyl alcohol
- A Sharpie
- Mini blowtorch lighter (for flaming syringe)
- Liquid culture
- 10mL or 60mL syringe and needle
If using spawn bags, you need to choose an injection site at least four inches above the popcorn layer. Pick a spot on the bag which is opposite the side with the filter patch.
Before gloving up, tear off a strip of duct tape and a strip of electrical tape for each bag to seal the injection sites. These strips should be 3-5 inches long.
Before injecting, wipe the inoculation site down with alcohol and then let it dry. If you leave the area wet with alcohol, the tape won’t stick to the bag properly.
Uncap the LC syringe and flame the needle. Dribble a little LC out of the syringe until the needle sizzles and cools down. Don’t inject using a red hot needle, it will melt the bag and make a very large/ungainly hole.
Insert the needle into the bag and squirt in the liquid culture. Try to dribble it down the sides of the bag and also spray it across the top of the popcorn. Be gentle – you do not want to tear the bag.
Do not get any liquid culture on the filter patch. A wet filter patch can let contaminants through.
Add a lot of liquid culture. The more you add, the faster your project will grow. A medium spawn bag should get at least 35mL-60mL. A half gallon jar should get at least 25mL-50mL. This is where 60mL syringes come in very handy.
As soon as you finish inoculating, remove the needle from the bag, cap the syringe and lay it down. Immediately put a piece of electrical tape over the inoculation hole. Press/smooth the tape down firmly. Put a piece of duct tape over the electrical tape and again press/smooth firmly. If you are paranoid, a second piece of duct tape (perpendicular to the first) won’t hurt a bit.
If using jars, the process is basically the same, only without the tape. Flame/cool the needle and dribble/squirt LC down the sides of the jar and across the top of the popcorn. Again, use plenty of LC.
Write the inoculation date and strain on the bag/jar. The duct tape on the bag is excellent for writing on with a Sharpie.
DO NOT SHAKE THE CONTAINERS. The corn and substrate should remain as two discrete layers.
Posted 11 June 2006 - 01:13 PM
The purpose of this step is to incubate the bag/jar at an optimum temperature until the popcorn layer is fully run (colonized).
1. Inoculated nuggets
A bag and a ½ gallon jar, 80% colonized.
Two bags, 90% colonized.
Close-up of a very nearly colonized bag (aggressive mycelia has already started invading the bulk substrate).
A ½ gallon jar with a fully colonized popcorn layer
Posted 11 June 2006 - 01:17 PM
The purpose of this step is to mix the popcorn and bulk sub and incubate them until colonized. The process of mixing the popcorn and bulk sub is called spawning the bulk substrate. The process of colonizing the bulk sub is referred to as the mycelia running the bulk substrate.
1. Bags/jars with fully a colonized popcorn layer
If using spawn bags, knead the bag thoroughly until the popcorn and bulk sub are well-mixed. After mixing, gently tamp the bag down to remove air pockets. Do not pack the substrate tightly.
If using jars, bang them against the heel of your hand until the popcorn layer breaks up and then shake the crap out of them until the popcorn/sub mix nicely. After mixing, gently tamp down the jar to remove air pockets. Do not pack the substrate tightly.
After mixing the bag/jar, return it to the incubator.
Please be aware that kneading/shaking will make all the pretty mycelia disappear. This is not a problem and is totally to be expected. The bag/jar WILL recover!
Bulk jar before shaking
Bulk jar after shaking.
The same jar, 48 hours later.
Before opening the bag/jar, it is an extremely good idea to wait an additional 3 days (after 100% colonization) to let the mycelia penetrate the substrate fully and become even stronger and more resistant to contamination.
Posted 11 June 2006 - 01:18 PM
The point of this step is to induce the fully colonized bulk nugget to produce fruit.
- Light source (indirect sunlight works)
- Timer if light source is artificial
- Box to hold container and light source if stealth is an issue
- Hair dryer
- Duct tape (if using bags)
- Atomizer for misting
If you need stealth, put the bag/jar in a box in your closet and give it light with a small fluorescent fixture on a timer. If stealth isn’t a major concern, indirect sunlight is perfect. You can leave a bag/jar out in any room the sun touches and get good results.
Don’t sit the bag/jar on the window sill in direct sunlight, though. The bag/jar will get overheated in direct sunlight. A few hours of indirect sunlight per day is damn near perfect.
Fresh air exchange is easiest to accomplish with a hair dryer set on cool. Just open the bag/jar and blow in some fresh air once a day. Twice or three times per day is better, but be careful to avoid drying the nugget. Cut fresh air to once per day after pins show.
High humidity will be maintained by the bag/jar itself. Bags should remain duct taped shut except while you are doing air exchange. Jars should have their lids in place unless you are doing air exchange. Good humidity levels will be indicated by condensation inside the bag/jar. Do not worry about the air getting stale if you miss a day. The filter in the bag/jar will keep things from getting nasty.
If the walls of the bag/jar are dry, you can mist them (very lightly) when doing air exchanges. Misting excessively is a good way to get contaminants and cause pins to abort. Don’t mist at all after pins show.
Misting probably won’t be required and a bunch of pooled water on the bottom of the bag/jar is VERY bad.
As always, a little too dry is much better than a little too moist.
Posted 11 June 2006 - 01:26 PM
The point of this section is explained by its name!!!
1. Rubber gloves
2. Face mask
3. Glove box or flow hood (optional)
4. Tweezers (to harvest tiny aborts)
5. Long knife (if afflicted with Yeti hands)
6. A dehydrating apparatus
When you harvest your mushrooms, wear gloves and a mask. Do it in front of the flow hood or in a glove box, if possible. Always work as cleanly as possible when the nugget is exposed. A contaminated nugget will not produce another nice flush.
You need to remove all mushroom material when harvesting. Don’t be afraid to take a little divot of substrate if one is holding on tenaciously. Better to remove some mycelia/substrate than leave mature tissue.
After harvesting all the large mushrooms, check the nugget carefully and remove all the babies and aborts. Aborts and baby pins are the most potent mushrooms – collect them all, even the tiny ones. REPEAT: aborts and babies are the most potent mushrooms (and they are best eaten fresh).
When harvesting a spawn bag, just pull the bulk nugget out and go to work. Wear gloves/mask and work in a glove box or in front of a hood, if possible. When harvesting a bulk jar, reach in and do the same thing with hands (or a long knife if your Yeti sized hand won’t fit through a wide mouth jar’s opening).
You do not want any mature mushroom tissue to remain on the nugget. Mature tissue will tend to blacken/rot and invite contamination after the upcoming dunk.
Spawn bag bulk nugget, fruited invitro (bag removed).
Same nugget, top view
Same nugget, “regular cap” harvest
Same nugget, abort harvest
Mature 1.5 gallon bulk nug jar (lid removed to allow better fruiting).
1.5 gallon bulk jar harvest (nice caps removed for printing)
Please note: the jar above was finished in a terrarium, not invitro. That is why the caps are protruding so far above the top of the jar.
Below you can see how huge the pins were in the jar. When you see that, you might understand why the lid was removed and it was finished (open) in a terrarium!
1.5 gallon bulk nug jar, 12 hours after lid removal
Same 1.5 gallon bulk nug jar, 12 hours after lid removal (top view)
Immediately after harvest, you should begin drying the mushrooms via your preferred method.
Posted 11 June 2006 - 01:27 PM
The point of this section is to add water back to the nugget so the mycelia can hydrate and be physically ready to maximize production of another flush.
- Rubber gloves
- Face mask
- Gallon Ziploc bags (freezer grade is preferable)
- Just harvested bulk nugget
Still wearing gloves and mask, the just harvested nugget is placed in new/clean gallon Ziploc bag. Enough cold water is added to the bag to completely submerge the nugget. All the air is squeezed out of the bag and it is sealed and placed in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
This is easier said than done as the nugget will float. Work in the sink (water spillage is likely) and hold the nugget under water with one hand while removing air and sealing the bag with the other. Don’t stress it; this is a learned skill.
Once the Ziploc is tightly sealed, leave the nugget to “dunk” for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Do not freeze the nugget. Do not dunk for more than 48 hours. Do not dunk with bleach/peroxide water unless you are fighting contaminants.
After the dunk is over, pour all the water out of the bag. Wearing gloves and using clean paper towels, dab the majority of the water off the nugget. Transfer the semi dry nugget back to the spawn bag. Remember, pooling water in the bag is bad. Seal the bag with duct tape and begin the light/air exchange process of step 7 again.
Don’t try to remove a bulk nugget from a ½ gallon jar – it won’t work. Dunk jar nuggets by filling the jar with water. Drain them by sitting them on an angle for 15 minutes or so. It is important to drain jar nuggets well after the dunk. Don’t leave water pooling around the bottom or you will invite contamination.
Any nugget that doesn’t produce pins for more than 10 days should be disposed of. Any nugget that becomes discolored or produces an odd smell should be disposed of. Check nuggets for contamination daily when doing fresh air exchange.
Dispose of contaminated nuggets immediately.
Posted 11 June 2006 - 01:33 PM
You do not have to fruit Buckaroo Bulk Nuggets invitro. Casing BB nuggets and putting them in a tub/terrarium works quite nicely!
Bulk nugget, coir casing.
Same nugget, different angle (lighter for scale).
Bulk nugget (casing is verm on one side and coir on the other).
Same nugget, second flush.
1. Poly works better than verm.
2. EarthJuice works better than water.
3. Twenty four hour popcorn presoak is a good idea.
4. Pre-sealable spawn bags are a worthwhile investment.
5. 60mL syringes make inoculating bigger bags much easier.
6. Plain coir is a better casing material than plan verm.
7. Invitro spawn bags/canning jars can work really well.
Posted 11 June 2006 - 02:02 PM
Posted 11 June 2006 - 02:13 PM
Writing to the broadest audience possible is very much an intent with this Tek. Something very new for me, writing to broad audiences. I appreciate any/all input on my technique.
Posted 11 June 2006 - 02:27 PM
Posted 11 June 2006 - 02:33 PM
I hope this Tek will be read by people with much worse English skills than you. My only intent was to ask you to help me make it easier for them (English as a second language folks) to read.
No slight to you, man, your English is excellent!
Thanks for the props, by the way. I AM passionate about mycology.
Posted 11 June 2006 - 02:46 PM
Posted 11 June 2006 - 02:58 PM
i think some may have problems with the statement "shake the crap out of them" i'ld like to see their faces when they are trying to figure this one out. lol
Posted 11 June 2006 - 03:01 PM
My editor didn't like that, either. She reminded me that although the phrase was cute, there was actually crap (worm crap) in the jar.
Thanks for the suggestion!