Nan's Nook : Archives : Misc Tek & Questions : FAQ
"I've cased them and I have gotten some good flushes but lately my shrooms would get about an inch and a half tall and then the caps turn black and slimey what am I doing wrong?"
Sounds like a case of bacterial contamination. It can come from the air, but usually comes from to much moisture. A good tip is to add just a touch (1tbsp. per gal.) of hydrogen peroxide to the water you use for humidity or misting. Also, be sure the humidity isn't too high in your chamber. Casings need a lot less moisture than cakes. Only about 84% for fruiting.
"What's the trick when it comes to second and third flushes. Would one put a new light layer of mix over harvested spots(or put a light mix over the entire surface) and then put the casing into an incubation period or leave the casing at fruiting temps?"
After first flush, give the casing a light misting. Then just leave it in the fruiting chamber and continue fanning 3 times daily and second flush should come in 7-9 days after the first, etc for the 3rd and 4th? flushes.
"When do you know the right time to harvest your mushrooms? My shrooms are about 5 days old and about 2 to 3 inches tall. I know you want to harvest them before they drop their spores."
You should harvest them before the spores start to drop, when the cap is still bell shaped. You shouldn't let them open all the way up.
You can just twist and pull them off the substrate.
Either air dry them, or use a adjustable thermostat dehydrator on the lowest setting.
You can freeze them once they are totally dry. Do not freeze fresh ones, cuz they will turn to mush.
"You do provide plenty of info regarding the inoculation, incubation so forth but there is nothing clear that states WHEN and for How Long do I keep the inoculated cakes in the inucbator/styrofoam cooler? How do I know when its time to take the canning jars out and open them up and put the cakes in my casing? and how long does this whole process take?"
It usually takes 5 days to a week to see your spores start to germinate. Once they germinate it takes about 2 weeks for them to completely colonize the jar of brf/verm. After the cakes are completely white, you then take them out of the jar and put them in your incubation chamber or casing (if it's your first time, stick to the plain cakes). Once you put the cakes in the chamber, it will take about a week before you start to see pins. After the pins start, it's usually only a few days before they mature in mushrooms. So about 1 month from start to finish.
"I am having problems during the Casing process. The substrate will not colonize in the soil. I am using potting soil and vermiculite. I keep them in a cooler with a heater set at 82 degrees."
If I were you, I would just fruit the colonized brown rice flour/verm cakes a few times to get the hang of it before you try casing. Potting soil generally won't work for a casing substrate. You need something like horse or cow compost/manure, or peatmoss or coco fiber to use for casing. Potting soil is generally too "heavy" for the mycelium to colonize.
"I have another query regarding the amount of CC's that are to be injected.. first of all i must tell you that everything has been done properly coinciding w/ the brown rice flour/vermic. method, and the cakes are in the cooler at a steady 86 F. Now, i injected each canning jar w/ about 2-5 CC's of the spores, so after about 3 days of fiddling around w/ the aquarium heater to get the temp right (first day or so the temp was going from 80 to 100) ouch.. and i shot the stuff in the jars in more than one place, like i punched about 4 holes in each jar... is all this right so far?? one more thing since i used 1 cake per each different spore ( 8 total) , when it comes time for the casing tek, can i mix the cakes in the same case?"
Sounds like you used a lot of spore solution in each jar. You could get just as good of results with only using 1-2 cc or even less per jar. Most people only use 1 cc per jar, 1/4 cc per hole. Anyway, when you case, you can mix jars of the same strain, but not jars of different strains. They would just compete for the same nutrient source, and your yeild would be dramatically lower. Also, 100 is awful hot for the jars. Hopefully you didn't cook the spores too much. If it's 100 in the box, it was probably 105-110 inside the jar.
"What is a good compost/medium and/or recipe for a compost or medium to birth mycelial cakes on?"
Any dung based substrate will work well for most grain loving shrooms. A good mix is 50% dried dung (horse, cow, elephant, basically any herbivore animal) mixed with 50% vermiculite (to provide areation). So 1 gal. of dried dung to 1gal. of vermiculite for example would be a good mix. Then this mixture is wetted until just a few drops of water can be sqeezed out in a handful. The mixture then needs to be sterilized in a pressure cooker at 15psi for 1 1/2 hours. Once cooled it is ready to spawn with your cakes. If no dung can be had, another good mixtures is Scotts brand 3n1 organic compost or any other compost mix that is mostly dung based and contains composted plant matter. Beware of any compost mix that contains composted forest matter since this is usually pine fines which cannot support mycelium (too acidic).
I have just recently planted the mycelium into the compost. When I was breaking it up and spreading it though the compost I noticed that there seemed to be black on the berries. It kind of looked like mold. What should I do?
It sounds like it could be black pin mold, which can arise from a couple of different ways. If could've been introduced through the air somehow at innoculation or it could be that it wasn't quite sterilized enough. Anyway, wait a few days and see, but if it was mold, most likely your project is ruined.
I was wondering if you could tell me how may 1 qt jars of rye grain you would estimate it would take to grow at least 1 pound of mushrooms. Also how can i get the tempature up in the chamber without robbing to much moisture from it. It stays at about 70 with nothing i tried using a heating pad but i takes to much moisture out of the chamber.
How many jars of grain it would take depends on a lot of different things. Such as if you are using them to spawn a bulk substrate such as compost, or if you are just going to case colonized grain. It also depends on your experience, and how accurate your growth parameters are per whatever strain you are growing. You can usually get 1-2 dried ounces out of 1 sq. ft. of growth space if the substrate (rye) is at least 3 inches deep. That's off all the flushes you may get generally 3 from rye before it contams. So, to make one tray 3" deep and 1 sq. ft you would need about 6 qt. jars of colonized rye. Overall you would need around 50 qt. jars to reach your goal.
There are better ways to reach your goal by using way fewer jars of rye to innoculate a bulk substrate such as compost or cow dung, then fruiting that in a large transparent container such as a 60qt. rubbermaid.
As for the heat thing; a small fish tank heater in a large jar of water inside your chamber will raise the temp. enough and also provide extra humidity.
Refering to the bags sold empty that are used for sterilizing grain, i decided to use rye in my bags, so i added sum rye and sum water and sterilized the bags. when they were done i saw that i had clearly added the wrong amount of water to the rye berries because i could see the water in the bag that was not absorbed by the rye and thought this wuz unhealthy for the mycelium. how much water and rye should i use with these bags?
To get rye grain ready to sterilize with the right moisture content; it's best to soak your rye for 15-18 hrs in a bowl or pan with water covering all the rye. The rye will soak up all the moisture it can in that amount of time. After 18 hrs or so, you can strain the excess water from the rye, load the rye into the bags, then sterilize them for 2 hrs at 15psi.
i birthed some cakes in a terrarium. looks ok except the cakes look "cottony". not getting much growth?
When the cakes are first birthed into the terrarium they may start to get a cottony look or growth on them. This indicates that the humidity is good. If the cakes didn't start to pin in the jars, it may take a couple weeks for them to pin in the terrarium.
i purchased 4 of your shroom bags... i only used 2 to start, i keep the 2 innoculated bags in a 5 inch deep rubbermaid container, for moisture purposes, in a drawer under my water bed... temp is at about 83f, and humidity is at about 85% in the container, the only thing is, that they just fit snug in the rubbermaid container, and i was wondering if this was ok for colinization... and most of all i wanted to know if the bags are moved, and the subtrate shifted a little here and there, will they be ok?
The main thing you need to pay attention to is not obstructing the white filter patch on the bag material. If the container fits too snuggly, ie it restricts the airflow ability for the colonizing bag to breath through this patch, then you might have bad consequences such as slow or stalled growth. In addition, during colonization the bags will slowly inflate with metabolic waste gas, so you want to make sure that the extra portion of the bag isn't restricted and that gas is allowed to build up in the bag, because this will aid later in the fruiting cycle.
Agar is a substance that is mixed with a nutrient to create whats called a medium. A lot of people will say, "Oh, I'm using agar to grow mushrooms".
That statement is wrong. There MUST BE a nutrient mixed in with the agar in order to use it. For example Malt Extract Agar. This is Malt Extract and Agar mixed together. Potato Dextrose Agar is Dextrose, a powdered potato powder and agar mixed together. There are literally thousands of different combinations with different things. There's chocolate agar, Sheeps blood agar, many different kinds of recipies.
Bacteriological grade agar is a base agar. A base agar is highly pure, extremely clean agar. It has NO NUTRIENTS. Bacteriological grade agar is generally used by those who want top of the line agar and who make their own agar recipies. Bacteriological grade agar WILL NOT grow ANYTING by itself, it needs to have a nutirent added to it.
Beginners should use MEA (Malt Extract agar) or PDA (potato extract agar).