Karna's Casing Tips

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By Erinne (Erinne) on Thursday, September 06, 2001 - 05:06 pm:

Soooo, i once again find my local gardening stores woefully insufficient. i'd planned on doing the pf perlite casing (perlite on bottom, vermiculite/peat moss/lime on top) but all i was able to find was miracle-grow perlite, which evidently contains nutrients (bastards!) and miracle-grow peat moss, which also contains some fertilizers. the only calcium carbonate-ish thing they had was dolomite lime. what's the consensus on these? i could take them all back & start over, but i'd planned on doing my casings tomorrow. my basic concern is that the shit in the miracle-grow will screw it up somehow, and that the dolomite lime is not the right kind. if anyone knows about this, please fill me in! i can provide more details if necessary. thanks folks, couldn't do it without you.

By Karna (Karna) on Thursday, September 06, 2001 - 09:31 pm:

I think you'll be ok with the miracle grow peat moss.
Pure CaCO3 is available from health food stores as a nutritional supplement. Although a little more pricey than the builders square stuff (about $4.00 i think), it's still plenty for at least a dozen casings. I'd stay away from dolomitic lime though.
I'd also advice against the Perlite on the bottom since it is mess and contam prone - a PAIN. I think you should be fine mixing your miracle peat with Verm. As for moistening, i find that it helps to match it with the nature of your substrate - if your substr is really wet, use less water (when squeezed, a little water rolls out)if really dry, use more (when squeezed, a little more water is evident). However under no circumstance should the casing be wet (NO standing water visible. stop before this point is reached). I find that 6cups peat + 6cups verm can hold in the region of 4 cups of water depending on the peat and verm. I add 3.5 cups, mix well, then add the last half cup very slowly, mixing and checking as i go. More than 4 cups is rarely reqd.

Recently, the foll. casing has been working VERY well - the easy/hongus casing. MAKE SURE the verm is medium grade. Dump some in a pot, submerge in water, ladle out with a spoon/similar, drain against side of vessel, dump on substrate in casing tray. Drain a little better if your substrate is very wet. Sometimes after casing like this, you see standing water if you pull the side of the casing container. This is similar to dunking and will be absorbed giving a great fruiting - my last test showed a slightly better yield than peat-verm. Don't forget to mix in CaCO3 with the dry verm.
good luck

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