Camel's 'advanced' method

 Nan's Nook : Archives : Misc Tek : Straw Tek : Camel's 'advanced' method
  Subtopic Posts Updated Creator

By Admin (Admin) on Thursday, August 23, 2001 - 11:48 am:

Camel's Advanced Growing Method
Let me start off by thanking my main source of knowledge for this grow guide, Workman of the Spore Works. Without his knowledge and willingness to share his knowledge, I would never have taken my growing to the next level, and thus write this guide.
And on to the guide...

You will need to prepare petri dishes with the standard MEA formula. You can purchase malt extract agar from Fungi Perfecti. I will not go into great detail in the preparation of the agar, because the knowledge is easily available elsewhere on the net or in The Mushroom Cultivator. Basically mix 50 grams of MEA with 1,000 mL of water, put in a glass bottle (similar in shape to a Mrs. Butterworth's bottle). Do not fill the bottle more than 3/4 of the way full. Pressure cook at 15 psi for 30 minutes. Do not quickly change the pressure inside by regulating it, doing so will cause splattering and bubbling of the agar solution inside the bottle, and you will lose most of your agar. Take out when pressure goes down to 0 psi and pour out petris using an oven as a flowhood.

After the agar in the petris solidify, take a clean spore print and inoculate spores onto the agar via an inoculation loop also available from Fungi Perfecti. The mycelium will almost fill the petri in 10-14 days. From this point you can either transfer wedges of mycelium to more petris of agar, or you can move onto the next step.

Prepare quart jars (doesn't matter if they have necks or not, because the spawn will pour out easy with this jar formula) by pouring 250 mL of finch seed (Pennington brand available from Wal-Mart for $5 for 10 lbs) and 130 mL of water into each jar. Pressure cook at 15 psi for 1 hour. Allow jars to cool. The jar after pressure cooking will expand the seed so that it takes up 2/3 to 3/4 of the jars volume. After the jars cool, place the jars and the mycelium covered petris into a glove box (made out of a cardboard box with 2 holes for hands, a flap on the side to slide in jars and petris, and a little window covered with syran wrap). You will also need an exacto knife and a lighter. Flame sterilze the exacto knife, and cut out wedges of mycelium on a petri. Open up a jar, but keep the lid covering the jar. Spear the wedge with your exacto knife, and pick it up. In one fluid motion move the wedge over the jar, and at the same time remove the lid from over the jar. Drop the wedge in the jar, and quickly replace the lid on top of the jar and screw it tight. Doing this, you should use 4 wedges per petri, inoculation 4 quart jars per petri. Shake the jars on day number 4 and day number 7, then let them fully colonize.

The jars should colonize in 10-14 days depending on the temp, wedge size, etc. After this, you can prepare more quart jars (or half gallons or gallon jars by doubling or quadrupling the formula above for the quarts). Now you can expand one quart jar into 10 half gallon or gallon jars by using the following method. Shake the jar to break the seeds into individual kernels with mycelium on each kernel. Each kernel now will act as an inoculation point in the new jars. Remove the lide to the spawn master (colonized jar), and loosen the lid to a new uncolonized jar. In one fluid motion, remove the lid to the new jar, and pour a bunch of seeds into the new jar. Replace and screw the lids to both jars, and shake the new jar to distribute the colonized spawn throughout the jar. Repeat these steps for every other jar. The most you should expand 1 quart to is 10 gallon jars (or half gallons or quarts). It will only take 5-8 days for the new jars to fully colonize.

At this point, you can repeat the last steps, and expand to more jars, or you can case the grain (shake the spawn, and pour into trays). Now a casing layer of 1"-2" is necessary. I use the following formula for a casing: 6:1 peat:lime/oyster shell. Mix the casing ingredients, add water until the casing is slightly clumpy, and sterilize in the microwave for 5 minutes. My casings never contam this way. Or you can expand to straw or compost. I personally would expand to straw or compost (depending on species). Either way, you have a LOT of spawn to use with minimal work and money.

For a straw tek I see ripper's straw tek as being an incredibly efficient tek that only requires your stove to be on for about 10 minutes. The idea is pack shredded wheat straw into a pillow case, tie the pillow case shut, and put this into a big cooler (like the kind for tail gate parties). Make sure it's big enough for your pillow case. Boil as many pots of as much water on your stove as you possibly can. When the water begins boiling, carefully pour it into the cooler so the pillow case is soaking in the hot (no longer boiling) water. When the water level is forcing the pillow case to float, put a weight on top of the pillow case so the pillow case goes underwater. Close the cooler, and let it sit for 1 - 2 hours. Take out the pillow case, and press it with a lot of pressure in a sink/bath tub to get all the excess water out. Now let the straw cool somewhat. You then can put the straw either in a big trash bag, or in a HUGE rubbermaid container (I use a 55-gallon container). In the rubbermaid container, layer the straw a minimum of 6 inches deep. Now mix the straw with a sufficient amount of spawn (no less than 1 cup of spawn per square foot). The straw will completely colonize in 2 weeks or so (it is necessary that the straw stay moist, using either perlite or misting for humidification). Now a casing layer of 1"-2" is necessary. I use the following formula: 6:1 peat:lime/oyster shell. Mix the casing ingredients, add water until the casing is slightly clumpy, and sterilize in the microwave for 5 minutes. I have never had a problem with contams when I have done this. After sterile, and cool, apply the casing layer on top of the 100% colonized spawn.

This is the best method I have found for growing mushrooms. It produces an EXTRAORDINARY amount of mushrooms, and requires very low amounts of money to go through the process. I hope you try this method, and have as much fun as I have had with this incredible hobbie I have grown to love. It is so rewarding to see such a large amount of mushrooms that have grown all under your hands.

Peace and love,