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First grow PR's (PF tek) [AUS]


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#1 fingers

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 03:40 AM

Greetings all,
Here goes my first grow log, just a simple PF tek, but I hope it’s interesting to see how another person skins the cat.
This log will involve a lot of improvised, free or cheap methods. Financial hardship brings out the resourcefulness in a person I guess. Anyway, here goes, hope this turns out to be a success story…not a huge failure, o well, it’s all learning either way I guess
The first part I’m going to go into is my method for building an incubator. I used an old cabinet. The local government was running an ‘indestructible rubbish removal day’ so a LOT of otherwise dumped trash (and goods) can be found. From furniture, to electrical, all kinds of things. Its the only time of year you can dump furniture, fridges, etc. on the nature strip (side walk) outside your house.
Anyway, I got myself this cabinet free from a neighbour. I then went to a fruit store and collected as many clean and undamaged polystyrene foam boxes as i could get my hands on
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A bit of cutting, shaping, basically building a 3D box within the cabinet. The seams were taped with gaffer.
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I then lined bottom of the box with a single layer of cardboard, this was done to even out the slight inconsistencies in the surface of the cut foam. I then lined the entire box with thick black plastic. Cost was $4 AUD (about 3USD) for 2 meters of the plastic. A picture of the box fully lined will come a little further in the log.
My heat bombs were made with the use of two 1.25 liter canning jars. I figured they may well be a little too large to use for cakes, but they seem to be perfect for heat bombs. Note certain toilet rubber seals will fit perfectly around your heater. It can be stuck down to offer better water retention.
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I did initially look for a source of cheap brown rice, but fast found that organic BRF was not only expensive, but a pain in the but to order in quantity’s where I am. By grinding my own I was able to save a bit of money, and get the consistency ideal. Some slightly chunkier grind in the BRF is said to be good, so that’s exactly the method I used. The grinder cost around $10 USD (Tiffany brand, cheap yet very fast and effective).
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By buying 5 kilo’s at once the friendly health food shop owner reduced the price of this high quality bio-organic brown rice considerably.
I used my partners mothers old canning set. It is old and a little beaten up but did the job fairly well in the end I think. A coat of high heat resistant paint finished it up nicely, and I got to making them cakes.
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I mixed the cakes in standard fashion, filtered water, home ground BRF, and chunky vermic in the mix, finer ground as the contam barrier at the top of the jar. I used polypropylene tubs (Chinese take aways) with a rating 5. The seals became loose on the lids during sterilization, but did tighten again on cooling. A near vacuum sealed air tightness was the result. I thought it worked really well in the end.
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After sterilization the jars were allowed to stand overnight. I do not have images of the inoculation process. The kitchen was no longer being used, so I inoculated in a small bathroom. The wall to wall tiling makes it far easier to create a semi-sterile environment without damaging the surfaces. I poured boiling water down the walls along with bleach misting, and mopping. If these tubs contam I’ll be sorely surprised!
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After inoculation the jars were taped, and put back into the incubator. I’m fine tuning the temperatures needed to obtain the ideal conditions. This is the incubator loaded.
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The polypropylene tubs (Chinese take away) cost me $4 AUD for the 20 tubs needed for this batch. You will notice canning jars (700ml) obviously they will take a little longer, but I just wanted to try a few variations on the method to establish some personal ‘do’s and donts’. The number of inoculation points, tightness of the mixture’s in the tubs/jars, and several other small variations should offer a wealth of information as I see what variations produce the best results.
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Anyway guys, I’ll keep you posted with the progress. I had no idea 30 cakes would take THAT long. The water/steam was dripping from the ceiling! But in the end it was kind of fun regardless. (I never knew BRF and vermic would smell that good. Reminds me of fresh muesli!
Thanks again for all the advice guys, feel free to comment, criticize, or make suggestions.
Be well, fingers :greenboun

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#2 night_ryder

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 05:34 AM

30 cakes, that alot of cakes.

NR sends good vibes.

#3 MLBjammer

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 12:05 PM

Looks pretty good so far. You really do not need tape on those jars, as you have a dry vermiculite layer for a contamination barrier. The tape will simply slow down gas exchange, which is very important to achieve speedy colonization. I would attempt to keep the jars at about 80 degrees F--they'll be a few degrees warmer in the jars. But I have a feeling the mushroom fairies will be dancing in a ring near you very soon. Peace.

#4 fingers

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 02:11 AM

Thanks jammer,
I took the tape off today, ....and thats when i found this. My first major hitch. A syndrome known as...'heatbombfubard'itis.
One moment it was fine, couple of hours pass, and i find my incubator full of water.
I think the heat might have made the water expand as i filled it cold. Water starts leaking, and didnt stop. The heater ends up suspended in air.... POP! Thats all she wrote.
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You cant see much in this pic, but the black plastic clip you see grossly melted against the glass. Luckily it seemed to have held most of the glass together.
This is where I run into a problem. I do have a second one of these with silicone drying, but do i use the heat bomb method?
I need to go get a second one of these, and make a second bomb. Not only do they take up too much space standing on end, but they would require being counter sunk into the insulation. I just dont know if its worth doing.
Im tempted to use an oil heater to heat the entire room. Afterall Im going to need one of them for fruiting. I have 30 cakes on their way so some form of full room heating is probably wise.
I dont know.
Last night i noticed my first heatbomb looks almost ready. The silicone takes 72 hours to cure, and its been 48 about now. Tommorow i could counter sink it into my incubator. I just fear leakage again.
Also, I got myself a f'n great! little jar. Ive decided to use this one for the LC I'm making tommorow hopefully. Its Pyrex (pyrex=corningware i believe). Its thick, and one of the highest quality most durable glass's you could use. ($6USD in stores!).
I got some marbles, fresh honey (unopened new) and 3 syringes of cambodian where the spores have stuck to the side of the barrel. Before you say it guys, it wont shake off. Air in the syringe, shaking hard, nothing.
Hopefully it'll make a nice LC.
Anyway, for now I have to focus on this heating issue. Them syringes can sit in the fridge for a while yet. I'll post the first pics of colonisation soon hopefully.
Thanks guys :)
Fingers
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1.I'm very pleased with the self healing innoc point.(You can see it in the foreground right in under ma'ball bag, oops, my marble bag :P) The silicone has already cured nice and hard, yet soft and flexible. I read more closely and this looks like an ideal silicone. remains uneffected by higher heats, or Fungus. Seems to be a great product so far. Be well! :)
PPS. Thanks for them vibes Ryder! I'm vibrating some back at your little fungal offspring also :)

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#5 Hippie3

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:31 AM

please do not link offsite for photos
upload directly here instead so the pix will
be in our Image Browser and be preserved long term.

#6 Hippie3

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:36 AM

Im tempted to use an oil heater to heat the entire room


that's how i do it

#7 fingers

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:53 AM

Sorry Hip,

I thought it was helpful to upload from a hosting site, but its a perfectly logical reason why youd rather it not be done, I'll upload pic inhouse in future.

About the oil heater, I think that might well be the cheapest and safest solution, and least stressful.
Oh btw, that donation of syringes for the site will be on the way tommorow (payday :headbang: )
I hope they help someone out in the same way all the good advice you guys have given me has. (Hint hint newer members), Mycotopia is a constant FREE source of advice, information, and general sincere goodwill, soooo
DIG DEEP! :eusa_clap

Fingers :greenboun

#8 MLBjammer

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:22 AM

Cakes will colonize pretty well at room temps in most places. Usually a few lights in a closet will keep the temps in at least in the mid to high 70s. But I do live in the hot Southeastern US, and your weather may vary much more than mine. Ultimately, faster is better when it comes to colonization.
I have read a lot of horror stories about heat-bombs screwing up. As you make a little money, you could set up a tub-in tub (or TiT) incubator. A good many growers swear by them. Good luck.

#9 fingers

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:11 AM

Thanks for that Jammer,

The common misconception around the world is that Australia is much like the crocodile hunter (we hate that guy here! :P)
The vast majority of Australian people do live in a warmer climate (lucky mo's) Sadly this is not tru in my case.
Some Australian citys are actually damn cold, such as Tasmania, Melbourne, and Canberra.
Sadly I live in one of these c-c-c-cold sheet holes. Its said to be a fantastic city for mushroom hunting, but I found the number of toxic look alikes were enough to deter me from eating anything wild (at least until i aquire a LOT more knowledge of mycology).

I think the old oil column heater is going to be the heating method of choice. The decision to make is 'the small oil column's or the large one'.
I think the small one is going to be my best option considering Im going to go the incubator and heater in the closet tek.

Thanks Jamm, keep rockin :headbang:

#10 fingers

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 06:03 AM

Hi again guys,
heating problem almost fixed. This little sucker I got for $58 AUD (Approx$40-45 USD). I have it on the highest heat setting and its still not getting up to ideal temp inside the incubator. (11 fin, 2400watt, built in 24 hour timer, not too bad at all for under $60 I think)
I might drill two holes in the walls and feed an air hose into each. i have a fairly powerful pump from my hydro escapades. I just have to decide what method I prefer, the air pump, or the P.C fan. :eusa_thin
Any suggestions on what you guys have found to be better for the purpose would be much appreciated. I think I mentioned in another thread, I do have a power adaptor thats not being used. All i'd need to buy is a small P.C fan tommorow when I head out to town. I'm just not certain which i'd be better served using.
Also, would it be wise to put some form of air filtering gauze, or something like that over the end of the hose thats pumping the air into the incubator?
Either method of circulating heat would be easy enough for me to do. (having the hose, air pump, power adaptor here and now I mean) A cheap P.C fan and I have either method on hand.
Thanks guys,
P.S I think the cakes are starting to colonise :teeth:
A foggy white'ish gel looking 'presence' has appeared within the lower half of the cakes. I tried taking pics, but as you can tell my camera SUCKS ASS! :gah: .. :p Pics will be comming as soon as the cam can show the growth.
See ya fellaz

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#11 fingers

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 12:10 PM

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:D lol sorry, Im just excited now, it seems the fairys are in the wings soon to come front and centre, man i love this hobby a LOT already! :D

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#12 reverend trips

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 12:24 PM

:lol:
Great feeling, the first signs of mycolife on your first grow:)
Congrats fingers, looking forward to the pics.

#13 fingers

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 01:05 PM

Thanks Rev :teeth:

Its like day ....4 , 4th day since innoculation, and i was getting a little worried. Ive seen ppl report visible serious growth earlier and i got worried something had gone bad.
To my great jubilation i just found some visible growth that left me with little doubt. For a split second i was almost upset, thinking "hey that looks fungal in there!!" lol
You know? all your life you see that fuzz of some fungal growth and its a BAD thing, i guess 'residual old habbit' explains that. :P

Anyway, i will be posting pics the very day that the camera will pick it up. I sometimes need to take a half dozen pics of every shot to find one thats even half clear. The camera sucks, bigtime.Thats distance shots im refering too as well, close ups are just an impossibility. So I guess its going to have to wait until colonisation is a considerable amount more substantial.
If i could find the damn power source for my damn scanner i could hold the scanner base vertically making a great little close up camera especially if you keep the items close to the scanner, and with some form of white curtain (i just use a large piece of bright white thick paper). The effect is great for scanning any small items "shrooms, buds, etc).
Alas, with no power source my scanner lays in wait. Thanks for your support rev. much appreciated

Fingers

Oh btw, got one contam in fully fury i think! the jar had a small black patch that appeared to be spreading. I have it in quarantine, sealed in a plastic bubble (bag blown up) and double bagged in the same fashion. It was then put in a semi airtight closet. Im fairly certain it poses no risk. the air tightness of the bags is undisputable. its a taught bubble.
Im keeping it simply for its educational value. Im going to watch the jar for several days at least. Although its 'bad growth' its all education. I was reminded by my gurl tonight that i have a jar that was not innoculated. The jar cracked post sterilisation (qucik temp change caused it). But i realised thats a good thing. I can now keep that jar as a control sample. To compare the visible changes in the substrate from comparing a grow jar, and a control jar.
For example, tonight i was thinking the brown rice looks like its lost its color. Like the large grainer pieces of rice look almost pale white.
All i need do is compare the grow jars from the cracked (control) jar, and any pale appearance could support the idea that the rice that looks white is not in fact all mycelum, but simply the result of the hydration of the rice.
Is my thinking correct?
Anyway, Im stoned as hell but i should check this out. Regardless of this thought there is definate mycelium growth. Im just wondering to what extent is it natural characteristics of the rice for example. Oh well, i could talk under water sometimes. Enough fingers enough!

Fingers :)

#14 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 01:23 PM

Everything looks good, man!

My only suggestion would be test, test and then test again. DIY stuff can do some awfully unexpected things.

And a control is ALWAYS a good idea, especially when trying something new.

Congrats on your first germed spores, brother!!!

#15 fingers

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 11:42 AM

Hi again guys,

Tonight I was looking at my set up and decided to try the new layout you see in the pics. Ive had this in mind the last 2-3 days, but only changed it over tonight.
Rather then have the heater sitting beside the incubator and air pump, i now have it below. When I got my hands on my incubator from the neighbourhood indestructible rubbish day. Another neighbour on the next blockk had this perfectly stable frame outside to be collected, so i grabbed this too. (i did have it in mind as a table, but then thought up this little idea.
The incubator as you see is sitting on the frame with the heater neatly tucked underneath against the wall.
I have hung the air pump from the frame as the noise level is reduced when the vibration of the pump is not in direct contact with the incubator or frame (The frame especially amplifies the sound level).
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This alteration to the set up has made it possible to maintain a 76-80f temp with the heat set at 30% of the Number 1 (low) heat, rather then the previous 100% on the highest possible setting. I was a little concerned with the heat and dryness of the air being pumped into the incubator. Those concerns have now been eliminated.

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This is the first image where I think the colonisation can be detected by the camera. (remembering my camera is very cheap and low quality). A lot of the white is glare from the glass, but i think you can still decifer some of the lightly colonised areas.

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I must admit, the colonisation has dissapointed me a little in terms of the time taken to reach this level. I think the substrate is packed in a little tighter then it perhaps should have been. They arent highly compressed, but tapped several times when being loaded into the jars. O well, the colonisation might well take a little longer, but more substrate Ive read is always a good thing (without compressing/packing the susbrate in of course).

Anyway, now seems to be the time of the grow that will feel the longest (i would think anyway). Its given me the opportunity to study some more advanced teks for future grows. I've also started a written grow log in a notebook. Ive started to record date, time, temp, notes/ observations.

Take care guys, and thanks for taking the time to read/view my log.

Fingers

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#16 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 12:46 PM

What a shame that steam sterilization and the canning jars failed so miserably. I bet all those take aways were crap too, right??? Just try not to laugh TOO loud in dude's face!

Seriously, though, things look good. Colonization in that jar looks decent. How long since inoculation?

If you hang the pump from a bungie/thick rubber band, you'll kill almost all the noise.

Have you started to design your terrarium yet?

#17 fingers

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 10:11 AM

The mycologist worst enemy (or so i believe)

CONTAMS!! :evil:

I dont think I posted last time, but i did lose one jar a week ago to some black contam. Initially i thought it was trich, but then noticed its completelty black.
I chalked it up to '1 in 30' eh, what can you expect, at least one in 30 is going to go bad, no problem.
Well it seems that wasn't the end of it. Tonight I found 2 more polypropylene tubs with noticable Trich (green, not black).

The thing that worrys me the most is the fact that the two tubs were at opposite ends of the incubator. Does that mean that one might have had the trich, and it traveled somehow to the opposite end of the incubator? I reeeeeeeally hope not! :eusa_doh:

I'm now down to 24 jars of the original 28. One was lost to breakage from sudden temp change (glass canning jar). One canning jar lost to black contam, and now these 2 tubs to the trich.
My biggest concern is the possible spread of the trich of course. If the problem is contained now to those 3, thats not the biggest worry in the world to me. 24 cakes is still a decent sized grow.
I'm just really worried that the contam may have infected the whole batch.
I didnt know if this would help, but I knew it wouldn't hurt.
I took all the tubs out gently, and bleach water wiped down the entire incubator. I even gently wiped down the walls, bottoms, and lids of the jars.
If there were any external traces of the trich (external to the tubs i mean) I trust I have eliminated it, but i dont know very much about black and green contams (Im fairly sure green=trich, the black im unsure about). I'm going to run a search on trich and see what i can learn after this post.

Any thoughts on this situation would be much appreciated. Im reeeeeeeeally hoping one of you more experienced growers tell me i have little or nothing to worry about (pleeeeeeese tell me that! lie to me even!!!! :eusa_wall :P)

nah seriously, Im very concerned about this problem, any thoughts would be very very appreciated guys.

take care, and see you guys on the threads!

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This jar has been in isolation/quarantine for several days now. The growth was fairly minor when i got to it (thank christ) but Ive kept it for its educational purposes.
I tried photographing the green contam (trich yes?) but its still too small an area for my camera to catch it. The simplest way to describe is, 'the mould you get on an old piece of bread'. Im fairly sure thats trich, but what is this blackness! Whatever it is, it aint good.

Fingers :eusa_thin

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#18 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 11:45 AM

Dude, even professional labs with well trained technicians and state of the art equipment suffer through contamination. My FOAF has tossed a LOT of projects to contaminants. A LOT of projects. He lost an entire run to cobweb mold because his air exchange died. Weeks and weeks of work…all with lovely snow white beards.

If you get a 50% success rate, especially your first time at bat, you are doing pretty damned well, IMHO.

If the containers were sealed, it is extremely doubtful that the trich left one and migrated to the other. Not impossible, but extremely doubtful.

There are lots of reasons why those tubs could have gone green:
1> The didn’t get completely sterilized (trich was there from the get go).
2> They “inhaled” some trich spores during the cooling/shrinking process.
3> Some trich spores got on your syringe needle.

Cleanliness NEVER hurts, but as long as you are in the environment, the environment can never be 100% clean.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think you have anything to worry about. I never get worried until I start to pass the 30%-40% contaminated mark. That is when I start thinking, “Hmmmm…we’ve got a big hole in sterile procedure…”

One suggestion: GET RID OF THAT CONTAMINATED JAR. Once contaminants (especially trich) get a foothold in your environment, they can be an absolute beast to get rid of!

#19 fingers

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 06:56 PM

phew, thanks buck :)

I've done a bit of thinking on this, and initially i suspected reasons 1 or 2 as most likely. I used new out of the packet needles and changed tips pretty damn often (the 19ga kept blocking with BRF particles).
The fact that i steamed rather then pc'd, made me suspect reason one the most, but now thinking about it again...Im not so sure.

The trich started at about the same depth as the needle would have penetrated. Is it possible that air sucked into the cooling tubs could get THAT deep into the substrate before developing into a visible level of maturity?
I'm geting the feeling they some how were carried in by the needle tip in that case, otherwise i would suspect imperfect steaming as more likely.
Regardless, its done now. Lets just hope the problem is contained. I took your advice buck and got them contamed tubs out of here. Im going to tip them into an old plastic bucket laying in the yard. Maybe read up a little, (maybe not) and see if they take to growing outdoors. I figure even if its 1 in 1000 that they survived , whats lost by trying?

Anyway, it might well be far to early in my myco education, but Im going to head to the local horse stables and arrange a sack of horse shit (oh, excuse me...'poo' (sorry, i feel like a 5 yr old saying 'poo' :P)
I'm heading into a hobby shop to get some polyfil, and perhaps grabbing a p.c fan for a magnetic stirrer (when i get to it).

I figure while Im waiting for these damn slow jars to colonise i can set up a second grow. Maybe break up a few colonised jars into some straw/horse poo. In some polypropylene bags (a la sandman style) and see how they kick off.
Then again...im tempted to make an LC (oh yeah, note to self:get some corn syrup also!) oh oh! and Tyvek! )
I could just spend and spend if it wasnt for silly things like 'bills' and rent. :P

With my insomnia kicking into full swing the nights are spent reading teks after tek and i get so keen to try some of these little projects I see everyone doing. (great work from u more experienced guys btw!)

I might just grab a pile of supplies, rummage through my HUGE list of favorite teks, and get the ball rolling on the spawn level.

I dont know if its a blessing or a curse...but just when you feel like you have finally got a decent understanding of one level of growing, you move onto the next and feeel just as noob and useless as ever! :P
(i know, i know, in time i'll get there. :P patience isnt one of my strong suits).

Anyway, time to check on the babys. Ive started keeping a written record of air temp, time, notes, things like that. Ive also numbered each jar so as to be able to refer to them in the log.
I wonder if anyone else does this? Ive seen no mention of it, but id think keeping record of your progress would be semi-common. wouldnt it?
enough talk, daddys comming babys! (excuse me, im reeeeeeeally tired atm) :P

Fingers

#20 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 07:23 PM

Well, unfortunately, there is no way to be 100% certain. Next time around, you might consider keeping one or two jars that you don’t inoculate, as controls. That way, you’ll have a better idea when/where the contaminants got into the equation.

My FOAF always flame sterilizes his needles, with a mini butane blowtorch, between jars. The needle is heated red hot and then cooled quickly by dripping a few drops of inoculant out (until the sizzling stops).

VERY frequently, badly contaminated projects can/will still fruit quite nicely out doors. Just bury those suckers (not deep) and keep ‘em moist. You’ll probably be quite pleasantly surprised.

It’s never too early to start playing with poo! Seriously, it’s actually kind of fun. If you’ve never dealt first hand with poo, it is actually WAY less grotesque than you might imagine. I like saying poo. Reminds me of Winnie!

And you think you feel like an uninformed noob now? Wait until you start wanting to know more about fungi life cycle and the mechanics of reproduction/growth. That shit is flat out WEIRD, especially if you have any knowledge of green plants at all. Wanna really blow your mind off the hinges? Go do a little research on slime molds. They are so freakin’ odd nobody has been able to decide for certain if they are plants or animals or some third classification not yet named!

A log of times/temp/etc. is a great idea. Get yourself a notebook and start taking some detailed notes on process, what you are doing and what you expect to happen as well. Firstly, you’ll remember stuff WAY better after you write it down. Secondly, you sometimes think of totally new and interesting things taking notes. Thirdly, who knows how long this information will be easily/readily available? Lots of folks thought Overgrow would be around forever. Nothing is forever.

Some folks are wildly anal about note taking (me, for one). Others absolutely couldn’t care less, they are far less interested in the process than the end result. And that’s cool, by the way. Different strokes for different folks. At this point, my FOAF is having at least as much fun growing them as eating them. And he can play with growing stuff every day, whereas he can only really eat them once (maybe twice) a week.




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