Mixing Substrate

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10 Grain Bread Mix  3 01/25 09:35pm Kenny Keller

By jared (Jared112) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 07:12 pm:

Ok After finding out that having the BRF mixed with the water before the verm. I re-did one jar that I soaked yesterday when I was steaming. I mixed the 1/4 cup of BRF in with 60cc of water and stirred it until it looked like sloppy wet oatmeal.
Then I added the 1/2 cup verm ontop of that and mixed it until it looked like... well... substrate I guess.
Then I put it into a jar loosely and am steaming it right now. In fact I put it in there so loosely that even after I did the tamping down TEK there were still about 2 tablespoons full of substrate that I had to throw away cause with the top verm layer and the bottom verm layer it would not all fit. I am sure that this one is going to work out just fine. I am boiling it right now with the lid on very tight. Do you think I finally nailed it this time?

By Nan (Nanook) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 07:25 pm:


By jared (Jared112) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 07:26 pm:

Excellent! I am going to stick with making my shit this way, it is much easier than mixing it all up inside that measuring cup anyway.

By drylander (Romelur) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 10:09 pm:

is it just me, or does anyone else find mixing to be soooooo much easier if ya do the water/verm first, then add the rice... the other way around I spend a long time getting rid of rice chunks and getting everything thoughly mixed...

By jared (Jared112) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 10:46 pm:

You are suppose to have most of the water mixed into the flower first. then the verm gets whatever is left over. Don't ask me why, I just know that thats the way it is.

By C K (Phrozendata) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 11:36 pm:

Sorry, that is not the way it is. You're going to want the vermiculite to suck up most of the water and you're going to want to have the BRF to cover the wet vermiculite. Key word: cover. I recently started to mix the vermiculite and water first followed by the BRF covering. I will never turn back. Much, much easier!

By drylander (Romelur) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 11:39 pm:

word. :)

I know what the pf tek says and all, but, I gotta be frank, this way saves soooo much labor and makes more sense when ya think about the theory.

By Patrick (Valence) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 12:06 am:

Please enlighten me as to what theory that would be

By drylander (Romelur) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 12:13 am:

the vermiculite is there to hold water, making it avalible later on for fruiting.

If the rice has most of the water, then you get more puffed up rice which might be harder to colonize, plus, the water isn't as "stored"

I don't know, seems to make sense to me, if I'm wrong, someone clue me in.

By Nan (Nanook) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 12:16 am:

Bel! To abandon PF Tek by premixing the verm & water???? Ha...

The goal is to get a homogenous mix of Rice Flour, Verm, and Water. It makes not one bit of difference what order you get it, as long as you get it.

My exact procedure? Just like cooking: I mix the dry ingrediants first, then trickle water in while mixing until everything is properly and completely mixed. I mix in batches, and I ad lib that last bit of water as I pull fists of substrate up and squeeze hard to determine water content.

I get perfect substrate every time. So will you if you mix, mix, and mix... And squeeze a handful of substrate just to check... You should just feel moisture beading in your fist, none should dribble. If you squeeze hard and don't feel moisture (and you have a decent grip), I would trickle some more water in and keep mixing. If water dribbles out, add more 1:2 dry mixed Rice/Verm to absorb the extra mositure.

I don't even need to measure anymore. I can mix dry substrate by eyed portions, and moisten by feel. Follow the directions, but get a feel for what you are doing. No two people grow exactly the same way.

By jared (Jared112) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 01:43 am:

Thank you nan. That's just about what I was going to say.

By quote: (Quote) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 03:17 pm:

the problem isn't about what is easy.
often the easy way is inferior.
the reason you want the rice wet is because that's what makes it digestable to the shroom.
the verm. will readily absorb moisture when steamed, anyway.
but if you dump the water into the verm., it will all be soaked up, leaving the rice dry.
pf had a reason for specifying getting the rice wet first.
dry spots won't colonize.

By Lichen (Lichen) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 03:46 pm:

for me, pf substrate is too easy to mix. I do it like Nanook, dumping 1 cup rice flour to every 2 cups vermiculite, mix it up until it's consistent, then add one cup water for every cup of rice. I mix it with my hands, and it comes out perfect every time...what's the big deal?

By quote: (Quote) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 05:54 pm:

with your hands ?
not that i would, but why ?

By Nan (Nanook) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 06:20 pm:

I get a better mix with my hands, and I get a good feel for the moisture content when mixing. I also can get into the bottom edges of the mixing container more effectively, turning out the unmixed substrate with my finger tips.

I also like to knead dough by hand, I mix a lot of kitchen stuff like that. As long as the hands are clean and the jars are properly sterilized... No problem.

In fact getting my hands into substrate is one of the things I look forward to enjoying when I make up jars

But I am probably just weird.

By Sillycybin (Sillycybin) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 06:24 pm:

Wow, i think a big deal is being made over nothing here. As long as you have everything and it gets mixed, what does it matter?

PF says to place brf on top of verm and pour the water onto the flour first, then mix. But the way he words it, to me, doesn't make it sound like this is going to make or break your jars.

Personally, i do as nan does, dry ingredients first then wet. This makes for much less brf clumping, which is what I get when I wet the brf first, and makes it easier to get the water content right the first time. And if you mix it thoroughly enough, there should be no dry spots.

But heck, if it makes you feel better to wet your brf first, have at it. Doesn't matter if the water is 'stored' in the verm or in the brf. The same amount of water is there for the mushrooms' use. As long as you break up all the clumps of wet brf and everything is mixed evenly, what does it matter? It's all going to be sitting together for six weeks anyways. The water will eventually go where it has an affinity to go.

This seems to be such a nit pick to me--when you add water, what you mix first? Heh, but what do i know?

Hey Lichen--I like to mix with my hands, too. It's just funner that way...getting your hands dirty...you'll be sterilizing the substrate anyways, why not have fun mixing it up? :) But I have recently been clued in to the virtues of an egg beater to make things less labor intensive for large batches of jars...of course, i'll miss getting my hands dirty.


By quote: (Quote) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 06:25 pm:

just seems so messy, that's all.
no big deal.

By Roc (Rochester) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 06:30 pm:

Interesting comments
I put my measured amt of verm in a big bowel and dish the middle, then I put the brf in the dish of verm and add the water. Then I mix by hand with a big spoon. The flour gets the water first this way too.
I can understand about doing it by hand - you have so much more control over the mix???

By Nan (Nanook) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 06:42 pm:

I feel I do, and I have it nailed down... Grind the rice to the perfect consistancy with the grinder, medium grade verm... It gets a certain "feel" to it when it's right. Add water while tossing. Then carefully evaluate the moisture content by squeezing random handfuls. If it's not mixed well enough I can tell, if it is too dry, too wet, or just right... I can tell.

I do a lot of scratch cooking by eye too

By Lichen (Lichen) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 08:43 pm:

it's like mixing cement in a wheelbarrow. You have to mix the dry ingredients thoroughly before you add water to it; otherwise you end up with clumps of sand and clumps of portland, and have to smash and blend them. It's much easier to mix the dry ingredients first. You learn to cut corners

By Organism (Organism) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 06:50 am:

Can some experienced people out there throw out some methods for mixing the vermiculite, brown rice, and 50ml of water together. I always make each jar seperate using 1/2 cup verm.- 1/4 cup brn rice pwdr- 50ml distilled water. I put the water on the rice first then mix in a bowl and I hate it!!!
Does a blender work for this shit? Also, for some reason, to me, it never feels like 45-50ml is enough moisture, I guess it is though, huh.. thanx for input.

By Cragith Kilbonith (Kilborn) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 07:01 am:

brf or br (just dbl checking)

By mr. mista (Mistabud) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 07:02 am:

Mix the verm. and the brown rice flower together first. Then add the water.

I would think a blender is a bad idea.

By Cragith Kilbonith (Kilborn) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 07:08 am:

You can mix the ingredients in whatever order you like. You should just make all your substrate at once, I mix it in my pc (holds 24 1/2 pints) then I clean it out after I put my substrate in the jars. You should add whatever amount of water the substrate needs. Diffrent sizes of verm needs diffrent amounts of water. You should add just enough water to where you can see it beed up but not drip. Hope this helps.

By Brettiejams (Brettiejams) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 07:28 am:

Mix the dry ingredients well before adding the water.... this will help distribute the food better.

The brf can clump up if you just throw everything together at once.

2 cups water, 4 cups vercompensate for any potential water descrepencies proir to first flush.

Works good for me.