Monday, 26 January 2009

Mass substrate cultivation

I was just up at my local garden centre and I noticed that they sell big bags of straw as bedding, I'm gonna go up again later this week and pick some up. Then I'm gonna pasturize it and add some spawn then cultivate that, eventually making a huge casing out of it! Once I've done it I'll post up exactly how it's done.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Turning PF cakes into a casing

Heres a pic a friend sent me of an unknown species at the end of the casings life. Still looks bigger than most but as a casing ages its fruiting capabilities with decrease somewhat, he said this casing had already flushed 4 times. He had added a thin layer of potting compost to make adding water easier. Seems to have done the trick my old PF cakes would push out 4 flushes of pathetic little shrooms, nothing like this bad boy.

This method can produce much larger harvests for longer and can actually negate the use of a terrarium. Using Calcium Carbonate in the mix isn't essential if your having trouble getting it, seashells can be bought from some fish mongers, bake them then crush them with a mallet.

Another variation you can do is instead of cutting up the cakes, drop them into a heavy duty bag like a freezer bag and just break them up into pieces this works fine and can minimize the risk of infection.

If your going to put the crushed up cakes into several smaller containers and fruit them, you can either put the in a large clear plastic bag , or like me use a medium seed tray that has its own lid, you'll need to put air holes in this, I'll put up a couple of pics of the 2 different terraiums I use at some point.

Oh and sorry bout the formatting , I couldnt be arsed sorting it, if it bugs you c+p it into word and do it yourself ;)

C-Tek “Casing”

Step 1
· Produce required cakes using PF-tek
· Birth cakes directly into a plastic bag, shake the dry verm off to the bottom of the bag, then place the bag down , take a sharp clean knife don a glove and put your hand into the bag
· If applicable cut a thin disc of the top ( this is only needed if mycelium is not protruding from top of cakes where previously covered with verm ) and knock this to the bottom of the bag
· Now slice the cake into 2 fat discs
· Close the bag , repeat process twice to make 6 fat discs

Step 2
· Now prepare the mix for the casing
· Bake 4 cups of verm for 60 minutes
· Leave this to cool in the oven
· Mix 4 cups of verm with sufficient water to hydrate in a bowl
· To this add 4 cups of potting compost
· 1 cup of crushed seashells ( oyster is best )
· 2 tablespoons of calcium carbonate
· Mix together well and add enough water so as when your squeeze a handful only a few drops of water will run from the mix
· Now cover bowl with foil and steam for 60-90 minutes for a realgood sterilization

Step 3
· For this part use a makeshift Glove box
· Once the casing has cooled sufficiently pour the cool dry baked verm into the D-Tek terrarium
· Pour boiled water over the verm to hydrate it ( you may want to boil the water earlier cover with foil and allow to cool )
· Now carefully lay your fat discs onto the verm
· Spread the casing mix over the fat discs to a depth of approximately ¾ of an inch
· Run the back of a form over the casing to make sure its level this does not need any compaction
· Now cover with foil before removing it from the glove box
· Place this in your state of the art incubation device ( running at 26 – 28 degrees C )
· In around 5-7 days Mycelium should be starting to permeate the surface
· Remove the casing from the incubator, sterilize your propagator lid and place on

Step 4
· The casing should not be heated until fruition and then only when temp drops significantly in surroundings
· Harvest flush within 24 hours of each other to allow fastest recovery time for Mycelium
· Patch up holes left by harvesting with more sterile casing to fight infection
· Lightly mist the surface after patching
· Repeat step 4 actions 1~4 as many times as possible until culture is spent

Preparing your cakes to fruit

D-Tek “Dunk and Roll”
Step 1
· You will need to prepare your cakes using the PF-tek
· Fill a large pan with cold water
· After consolidation birth your cakes into a bowl scrape off the excess verm
· A healthy cake will have a nice fresh mushroom smell
· Wash the cake under running water and place it in the pan of water
· Repeat step 1 actions 3~5 until all cakes are in the pan
· Soak for 24 hours
Step 2
· Bake several cups of verm in the oven for 60 minutes and allow to cool in oven
· Remove a cake from the pan and once more wash it under running water
· Roll the cake in the baked verm so its covered entirely
· Next place a square of foil adequately sized to allow your cake to sit on it into your PFtek terrarium
· Place your rolled cake onto the foil
· Repeat step 2 actions 2~5 until all cakes are in your PF-tek terrarium
Step 3
· Put the lid on your terrarium and wait for 30 minutes
· Then mist the terrarium and the cakes 4 times or until the verm on the cakes in saturated
· Expect to see growth within 1 week

Friday, 23 January 2009

Bearded men know best - Video Instructions

If you want to see the method for making PF tek cakes and the D tek dunk & roll method you should check the video bar down the side for instructional videos. Remember with great power comes great resposiblity.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Growing Mushrooms - making substrate jars and spore syringes

One thing you should know 'verm' is a technical term for vermiculite, lol. This substrate can be used to grow all kinds of mycaelium. If you want to grow Shitakes just substitute the verm with sawdust, you know the kind of stuff you put in rabbit hutches. I've been told that this technique or 'tek' can be used to grow Psilocybe Cubensis, widely known as magic mushrooms. I wouldnt advise this though as thats illegal in ... well pretty much everywhere but if you want to grow some tastey organic mushrooms to go with your fry up , just follow these instructions.

Oh and one more thing, to do the inoculations you will need a spore syringe, just google spore syringe and you'll prolly get what your looking for. Alternatively, buy the mushroom you want to buy from the supermarket , make sure its not a closed cup. Take your shrooms home and sterilize a glass with boiling water and sodium metabisulphate (available from all brewers shops) then drop the shroom gills down into the glass cover with foil and leave it for 3 days or so. Then you will need to boil some water fill up a cup and cover with foil, then chill this in the fridge. Find a 10ml syringe (available from some printer shops to refill ink cartridges) sterilize this in the same way as the glass, you may want to add a little cool water to the sterilizing solution so as not to damage the plastic syringe. Fill the syringe with the chilled sterile water , then remove the shroom from the covered cup and squirt in the sterile water, you may need to scratch the spores from the base of the cup, when all the spores are floating around draw the solution up into the syringe.

Ta-Da home made spore syringe, it sounds complicate dbut when you do it once you'll be able to do it again no probs. Now on the the cake making method.

PF-Tek “Cakes”

Step 1

· Mix together 2 cups of verm to one cup of water in a bowl until all the verm is hydrated and you get a little water collecting tin the bottom of the bowl

· Now add the rice flour bit by bit to get a nice even covering on the verm

· You want this mix to be as fluffy as possible, this is your substrate

Step 2

· Fill 6 large tumblers loosely with the substrate mixture

· Then you need to wipe round the lip of the tumbler to remove any traces of substrate that could be a springboard for any bacteria attempting to infiltrate your colony

· Once the lip is clean add a layer of dry verm and level off

· Now you need to make the lids, tear off an adequately sized strip of foil ( Bacofoil is strongly recommended due its toughness ) the fold this in two to double its strength and tightly fold it over the top of you tumbler

· The double layer will remain on until birthing, to inoculate the tumbler safely you will need to add another singe ply of foil to each glass

Step 3

· To sterilize the tumblers you will need a large pan with a fairly tight fitting lid and a means of getting the glasses out of the water and away from the direct heat on the bottom of the pan ( use whatever you have to hand, I use round steel vegetable steaming platform )

· Some people fold a towel up and cover it in water and put their glasses on top of it, and its just not a real good method

· Give the tumblers 60-90 minutes on full boil for a real good sterilization

Step 4

· Once the glasses have cooled place them in a makeshift glove box

· Shake up your spore syringe vigorously ( drawing a little air in aids this ), then flame sterilize the tip of the needle

· Inside the glove box remove the single ply layer of foil the tumbler and inoculate the substrate at 4 equidistant points, your aim to squirt a uniform amount of solution down the side of the glass with each inoculation

· After inoculating one tumbler replace the foil lid and flame sterilize your needle to avoid cross contamination

· Repeat step 4 actions 3 ~ 4 until all your glasses have been inoculated

Step 5

· Place your inoculated tumblers into your state of the art incubator · Check on the development every few days

· Upon 100% colonization leave the glasses to consolidate for 1 week, the consolidation period is where the Mycelium digests its food and prepares to flush

Once you have a consolidated cake you will need to construct some sort of fruiting chamber known as a terrarium, I'll get onto that in another post. Have fun