Filter Patch Bag Method
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Filter Patch Bag Method
What you need:
Filter Patch Bags
At least 1 qt. jar of colonized rye spawn
1 bag of compost/compost/manure
Vermiculite (2/8 qt. bags)
Impulse Heat Sealer
22 qt. pressure cooker
Clear Rubbermaid 18-gallon storage box
To start, you need to mix up your two main ingredients, the compost/manure and vermiculite. It seems the best ratio is 50/50. That means the same amounts of vermiculite and compost/manure. You should use a small tub, or large bowl to mix up the ingredients dry first. Once they are mixed together, you need to wet the substrate to the proper moisture content. So start slowly adding water and mixing it in. This substrate will soak up a lot of water. It seems to work best just using your hands to mix it up. Remember, ea. bag will hold about 5-8 qts. of substrate. Wet it down so that you can squeeze a little water out when you grab a handful and squeeze it. Not soaking like mud, but good and wet.
Once the substrate has been mixed up and wetted, you should start to fill the bag(s) you are going to use. Fill the bags about 1/3 full; about 5 inches or so up the side of the bag.
When the bags are loaded with substrate, itís time to sterilize. Fold the tops of the bags down a few times, and secure with a couple clothespins. And load the bag(s) into your pressure cooker. Pressure cook at 15 psi for 1 Ĺ hrs. Let the bags cool in the pressure cooker for about 24 hrs. If you only have 1 bag in the cooker, it will cool in about 14 hrs. usually.
Next comes the inoculation. This is about the only place in the tek to mess things up. You need to be clean!! And your work area should be clean!! Meaning take a shower, put on fresh clothes get all your stuff together in one spot, like the kitchen counter or where ever. Next, right before you open the cooker, clean the air in youíre working area. Using a 10% rubbing alcohol/water mixture in a spray bottle (alcohol wonít hurt any carpet or furniture, and dries very rapidly) you should spritz the whole area of your workspace. Holding your hand up as high as you can, and covering the whole area so that it all settles from the ceiling down (or as high as you can reach). As soon as it settles, open the cooker, take out the bags and proceed to inoculate.
You shouldíve shaken your jar of grain spawn so that itís all broken up into separate kernels (a few chunks is fine). And also cleaned the jar with a paper towel and your alcohol/water mixture.
With your bag sealer handy, your jar of spawn clean and your hands wiped with the same alcohol mix, quickly open the bags by grabbing the sides on the outside and pulling them apart. You donít want to get your fingers inside the bag at all. Quickly dump Ĺ jar of spawn into each bag, and seal them about an inch from the top with the bag sealer.
Next you need to shake or roll the bag around a little to thoroughly mix the rye spawn throughout the bag of compost.
Thatís it for a week or so, just put your inoculated bag(s) somewhere dark and warm, about 80į F is best, but not less than about 72į F. In a few days, you will see the mycelium start to spread throughout the compost. If youíve mixed the spawn in good, you can probably just leave it go. If it seems the mycelium is only growing in one area of the bag, you can shake it up, break up the chunks of mycelium by squeezing them through the bag being careful not to pop the seal of the bag or squeeze all the air out of the bag.
Once the bag is totally colonized, or pretty close (90% or so) itís time to put it in the grow chamber (clear Rubbermaid). You should first wipe out the Rubbermaid with your alcohol/water mix and let dry thoroughly. Next, mix up your bag(s) so that itís all broken apart in the bag. Cut off a corner of the bag with a scissors, and dump at least 2 bags of spawn into your 18 qt. tub. Shake it side to side to kind of level off the substrate in the tub. You donít want to touch it, or really pack it down at all.
Next, you just put the lid on, and wait. Allowing your tub to get at least a few hrs of diffuse sunlight, or unnatural light per day. (12 hrs. is best) Usually it takes about 3 weeks to see the first flush come in. After the first flush, just spritz down the entire substrate in the tub with plain water from a spray bottle and wait a week or two, and the second flush should appear and so on and so on, til youíve gotten 4-7 flushes each smaller than the one previous.
If your house or wherever maintains a humidity level of 50% or so, you can drill about 2 or 4 ľ" holes around the perimeter of the upper sides of your tub. This will help to keep the humidity at a better level and allow a little air exchange. After your substrate has been in the tub a few days, it doesnít hurt to air it out by flapping the lid up and down a few times to push out the old air and bring in some new every other day or so.