Double end casing tek

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By Kooka C. Burra (Kookaburra) on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 01:14 am:

I just cased the 3 cakes I birthed 3 days ago, and I'm wondering if it looks like I've used enough Verm. Below are a couple pics:


Also see: Narrow Jars


By Nan (Nanook) on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 01:18 am:

They look fine. Good job! I sprinkle dry Verm on first, then gently wet it down with a syringe full of Clean Water. Makes getting it on there a little easier. You're in good shape :)

By Hatcher (Hatcher) on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 04:35 pm:

You're off to a nice start kooka, can see ya did your research! Verm in a lid will dry out fairly quick in a lid, watch it close, even in a nice unit like it looks that you have built there! But only three cakes? Go for the gusto man. fill that thing! Quickest way for you to learn...

By Kooka C. Burra (Kookaburra) on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 05:06 pm:

How often do you recommend wetting the top and bottom verm? And what do you use to wet the bottom verm, it's hard to get to without lifting up the cake. Is lifting up the cake bad for it?

Go for the gusto? Those three cakes were birthed prior to in vitro pinning, just birthed 4 more today that had pins in vitro for a few days. Here's a new pic:

4 more cakes (three more still in vitro)

The 3 in the far right column are the first three I birthed, 3 diff. brown rice flours.

I used fresh ground brown rice for the 3 in the top row, they seem to pin faster and more copiously than the ones for which I used organic brown rice flour, even though they were a few days behind in colonizing. Here's a pic of some pinning action :)


I've got 3 more jars from the first batch still in vitro, waiting for pins. Also, I inoculated another 12 jars yesterday. How's that for gusto? :)

By Nan (Nanook) on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 06:58 pm:

Gusto-matic! OK, you asked a question about water hydration and water delivery to the double-end casing. I have not posted this one for a long time so I am going to repeat all of this in detail . Here goes...

I wash my hands, birth the cake, and scrape the verm layer from the top and rinse under running tap water. Then I go for an Overnight Dunk in the fridge (some people do not). The fridge dunk also gives a deep cold shock, which for me seems to encourage White Fuzz and Pinning. I like cold dunks because they reduce incidents of contams.

After the 10-12 hour dunk (you can go 18-24 hours if your cakes are dry), I take a Clean Washed jar lid from the dishwasher and fill it level with the coarsest verm I can get. I wet the verm down with RO Purified Water until the lid fills and water is dripping from the holes. Then I place the cake in the wet verm and push down gently to ensure good contact. Don't mash the cake into the verm. Press just hard enough to settle it and ensure even contact with the soaked verm.

Set the half-cased lid w/cake on a sanitized counter (or on a fresh sheet of plastic wrap) and sprinkle dry coarse verm on the top of the cake. Wet the top casing down with a clean syringe full of purified water until the casing is fully saturated. It's OK if it drips, the cakes were just dunked, everything is supposed to be wet. Place the double-end cased cake (sitting in it's jar lid) on top of the Perlite in the grow chamber. Foil or plastic here instead of metal lids prevents Rust

Another tip: a screen or mesh that separates the cased cake from the Perlite will uncover a lot of surface area, which really helps the Perlite do it's job.

The casing will not need additional water for awhile... But, rhizomes in many cakes will grow into the verm casing over the next five days or so and then the action starts. As pins set, and shrooms grow, the cake will begin to draw water from the casing. During peak growth a cake can suck the verm casing dry, and it should be replenished with a wash bottle or clean syringe full of water (it does not need to be sterile, but it should be Sanitized). Don't drown the poor dears, but do make sure the casings remain nice and moist from Birth through the end of the Flush. Fan & Mist, Keep them warm Give them Light

This is not the only way to do it. Different methods work for different people. This is what works best for me.

By Black Star (Mr_Bug) on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 05:31 pm:


So you don't slice the ends off either side of the cake?

I read on PF's website that the top verm layer should be very thin so that you can see little heads poking up. It says to saturate the thin upper verm layer with water twice daily. When little mushie heads pop up, cease direct watering and revert back to just misting the terraruim.

What are your thoughts? Why deviate? Answers appreciated.

By Nan (Nanook) on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 06:47 pm:

Black Star,

I quote from PF's page on double-ended casing:

After the first flush is done, Clean the Cake of all Abhorted Primordia and fungi nubs (a sharp knife blade will work).

fill a jar cap with Vermiculite, soak it and drain it. Place the now cleaned post first flush cake upside down on top of the wet vermiculite (top left photo).

Carefully wet the now top vermiculite layer (a thin layer that adheres to the cake) that used to be on the bottom. When the cake is first Birthed, most of this top layer is scraped away, but there will be a thin layer that adheres to the fungi. This becomes the top casing layer.

Another thing you can try is to soak and drain some vermiculite and with a spoon, smear it on the top over the thinner top vermiculite layer to get a thicker top layer which can add even more water to the cake. That is what this is, a rehydration of the cake. It is the new water that stimulates more fruiting.

Also, from the bottom they will reappear growing from the wet vermiculite (as in the top right photo - 3rd flush).

It is sort of a double casing technique
(cased on top and bottom).

You can get decent bumper crops this way.


I honestly don't see any deviation if you read PF Tek a little closer.

By Black Star (Mr_Bug) on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 06:59 pm:

I suppose you're right. I haven't read that for over a year and have since altered the tek to suit my own needs. So perhaps there is no point is slicing the cake at all, eh? How much moist verm should be smeared on the top of the cake?

By Brettiejams (Brettiejams) on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 07:10 pm:

I never slice the ends off

Also...I put a nice pile of verm on top .... pretty much as much as I can fit up there without falling off..... several tablespoons probably... but I never measured so I'm not exactly sure.

Let's just put it this way... in my book, there really is no such thing as too much in this instance.

By Nan (Nanook) on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 07:31 pm:

Follow the Tek as I have posted above. It is a detailed rendition of PF double-end casing with some minor tips added:

1) I dunk.

2) I pour dry verm on the cake and wet with a syringe instead of spooning wet verm on top of the cake. Try it, it's much faster and easier to case em my way with dry verm, then soak em right to the point the beaded water wants to drip off.

3) I suggest coarse verm as preferable because it breaths better, especially when you pile it on high. I pile on as much dry verm (several tablespoons by the look of it) as the cake will hold and gently soak it down with a clean squirt bottle (lab wash bottle is perfect) or syringe.

By Marx2k (Marx2k) on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 06:40 pm:

Kooka, any pictures of the results of those cakes? I sure would like to see them!

By Kooka C. Burra (Kookaburra) on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 12:02 am:

Sure, here's some. I'm nearing the end of the first flush, I believe. Tonite I just harvested a whole bunch of aborts and a few mature shrooms. These cakes are minus about 8 largish shrooms, I harvested 4 a few days ago, they're dry now, and I ate 4 fresh ones last night, had a very nice time :)

These two pics are from today, prior to harvesting (10/28)
In the first pic, the bottom row cakes contain fresh ground brown rice, the middle contains organic bulk brf from a food co-op, and the top row contains Arrowhead Mills brf from Fresh Fields. The second pic is the two left cakes in the top row.



By Pierno Fuller (Pierno) on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 06:19 pm:

Mazatek cake in terrerium with Perlite Humidity

Should I put vermiculite on the top of the cake?

By Brettiejams (Brettiejams) on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 06:32 pm:

Yes... the bottom too.

Check out this

link..PF TEK Double-End Casing

By Liberty_Caps (Liberty_Caps) on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 08:03 pm:

yo bretti I have always wondered, how thick should the top caseing layer be?? does it really matter?

By Brettiejams (Brettiejams) on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 08:11 pm:

Well... I always glob as much on there as I can manage pretty much.

More verm just means greater water retaining capacity... which means more water available to the mycelium if it needs it.

A thinner layer would be fine so long as you kept it nice and damp.... you'd just have to wet it a little more often is all.

By Nan (Nanook) on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 09:44 pm:

I agree with Brettie. I use 2-3 tablespoons on top of the cakes. I have also found coarse verm works slightly better for casing cakes than the fine or medium verm: better air exchange in the casing I think.

By greenthumb (Greenthumb) on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 10:30 pm:

If a cake has been double end cased invitro, should the cake be recased at birth, or will the invitro casing just colonize at the time, or before, the cake pins? Thanks for any help.

By Hatcher (Hatcher) on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 09:22 am:

Personally, I'm not sure why double casing works, but I lean in the direction of tricking rather than providing waer. A piece of rope will wick water upward, and a cake of vermiculite and mycelium isn't going to? The white stuff in my cakes grow into the saturated perlite they sit on worse than a thistle.. Is it looking for water or nutrients that aren't there? Probably the food, but the wicking action is still in effect. A lot more water avaiable than from a little vermiculite sitting on top. I still straw 'em after the first flush.
I tried lids of vermiculte to set the cakes on early on for about two dried out alot quicker than the perlite underneath it.

By Lichen (Lichen) on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 03:08 pm:

The double-ended casing is a proven tek. It allows the cake to draw moisture from the top and from the bottom. Theoretically, if you could case the cake on all surfaces with vermiculite, you'd be that much better off. But that's impractical, so the top and bottom verm is the standard. Remember that one of the most innovative minds in the field developed the double-ended casing tek. It works well.
If you do not put a little verm on top of the cake, the cake will dry out more quickly. The verm under the cake in the lid or tray needs to be kept wet, too, using a syringe to drip water directly into the verm. Use the same method to keep the top layer wet. It takes maintennance, of course.

By Bobby (Bobby) on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 04:26 pm:

With this TEK do you still Dunk and Spray? I'm using Perlite for the Humidifier.

By Nan (Nanook) on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 04:34 pm:

Yes I Dunk, Case, and Mist.

By Pierno Fuller (Pierno) on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 05:17 pm:

When one uses a syringe to wet the vermiculite, is it neccessary to sterilize that Water?

By Lichen (Lichen) on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 06:03 pm:


By Brad (Raze) on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 08:41 pm:

Might wanna use distilled or natural water though...

By Hatcher (Hatcher) on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 06:24 am:

The quesion I'm trying to raise (lichen!) is wouldn't the water available from the bit of verm that sits on top be almost negligitable(sp?) compared to the water available from the saturated perlite they sit on through the wicking phenom, and the air as well? I propose the upper casing layer works more to simulate a more natural enviornment.(sp agian..)
'Course, don't know, just a theory...

By Brettiejams (Brettiejams) on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 06:26 am:

They should'nt sit directly on the Perlite itself....too wet.

By Nan (Nanook) on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 06:46 am:

Yup... And many people soak the chambers too wet. Standing water in the chamber defeats the purpose of Perl Humidification.

I soak my verm casings down with clean water from a clean syringe, after dunking... And I keep them moist. There are extensive posts on White Fuzz... And I believe that fuzz is responsible for providing gas exchanges to the cake during periods of high activity or stress. But cakes also put down roots. Rhizoidal threads into the verm casings. During periods of heavy metabolism a cake will suck a verm casing dry. Fruit size will be limited to the amount of water available.

If they go dry you gotta top em up. Best not to let them go dry.

By Hatcher (Hatcher) on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 10:07 am:

Wish you guys would comment on my theory:)...But more importantly: I can't see why a verm bottom casing is superior to just sitting them on the perlite-both are inert mediums, both convey water. And how is the perlite gonna be that much more wet than the verm that you squirt w/the syringe? Verm absorbs water, perlite really doesn't. And in either case, how is this deprimental? You can dunk them for 24hrs, but being too damp at the south end is gonna hold 'em I'm the first to admit I'm a semi-experienced novice, just trying dunking post 2nd flush cakes tonite, matter of fact! So curious to see, but wondering if I shouldn't be birthing fresh cakes....

By Nan (Nanook) on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 10:25 am:

Verm works better than perl for casing cakes. And coarse verm works better than fine verm. Just an opinion mind you. Perl has it's place, but verm works better for casings.

By Brettiejams (Brettiejams) on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 04:49 pm:

Hatcher... It has been done.

And setting cakes directly on the perlite provides too much water.

If you must try it yourself then please go right ahead.... but me and Nan are both saying that setting cakes right on the perlite is a no-no.

I've never done it but Quote said it will make your cakes soggy after a couple of days, and Quote ALWAYS gave me the straight shit.

I trust his word... and Nanooks for that matter

By Regular Expression (Xeger) on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 10:44 pm:

I recently brithed 5 cakes, 3 of them with PF's double ended casing (cased with verm.) They are all 5 pinning. The cased cakes are developing strands of fibrous-looking material which runs throughout the verm, and fuzz is appearing on the granules of verm--the kind of fuzz that would normally appear before pins form. The uncased cakes are already actively pinning. Did I screw something up? Do I need to add moisture to the casing? I don't want to hurt any pins that may be forming underneath the verm.

By Nan (Nanook) on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 10:49 pm:

I soak the verm casings down to dripping when I place them in the fruiting chamber and don't let them dry out. The white fuzz you see is normal. Touch the verm casing and if it is not very damp use a clean syringe to squirt some water onto the casing to moisten.

(click pic)

Shroom Glossary

By Scotsman (Barrowland) on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 05:30 pm:


Shroom Glossary