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

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