|~Sea of Shrooms~|
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oOo First of All oOo
You're probably wondering what the Sea of Shroom Tek involves. In its most basic sense, it's a casing method. If you have never cased before, don't worry - it's REALLY easy. It can be more open to contaminates than cakes are, but if you do it right there's nothing to worry about. The main reason casings get contaminated more than cakes is because the people making them are making them too moist and sometimes even WET... If you want to contaminate your casing, that is the best way to do it.
Something to note here though is that one of the main benefits of the Sea of Shroom method is the ability to yield as much as possible on the first flush (first set of mushrooms to appear) so as to beat out any would-be contaminates. Unless you really fuck it up, there's almost no way a casing can become contaminated before the first flush. It's never happened to me anyways. Some people have voiced concerns to me about the potency of later flushes being superior to the 1st one... There is some truth to it, but as far as actually being able to notice the difference when tripping, it's just not humanly possible. The main determinate of potency has to do with the conditions the mushrooms were grown in, not which flush the mushrooms came from.
Now, the Theory behind this method is that when using half-pint cakes, cutting a cake in half and fruiting each half-cake will produce roughly twice the yield in the end compared to if you had fruited a whole one. I, along with a few others, have tried this and repeatedly found it to be absolutely true!
Here are my personal results (B+ strain):
Made with two fully-colonized birdseed cakes crumbled over vermiculite and cased with Jiffy Mix (available at Wallmart, basically a 50/50 mix with lime added). The yield off the first flush was approximately 45g wet weight.
Made with two fully-colonized birdseed cakes and cased as previously described. On the first flush it yielded 65g wet weight.
Casings #3 & #4
These were casings made from a single cake, split in half. Each half was fruited in its own casing, and their combined total yield off their first flushes was 65g wet.
As you can see, there is roughly a 100% gain in a yield-per-cake basis, and these results are consistent with ALL of the half-cake casings I (and others) have done since.
oOo How to Do It oOo
The first thing you will need are 5 oz. 'Solo' brand plastic picnic cups (black, not clear). I think they're a pretty wide-spread item in North America, but if you can't find them, basically any cups/containers will work if they're the right size. But if you can get these cups, I suggest them - they're perfect for this use and are extremely cheap. If you can't find the ones that are black, just get the clear ones and wrap them in black electrical tape, or something that keeps the light out.
Once you get them (or some other suitable container), here is what to do:
~ First of all, make sure they're opaque. If light can enter though the sides, the sides are where the mushrooms will grow. They grow where the mycellium is exposed to light!
~ Take container and make a layer of moist (not WET) vermiculite in the bottom.
~ Get a fully-colonized cake, and cut it in half with a clean knife. I suggest cutting it vertically (relative to the orientation of the jar) so you actually get two complete halves. If you cut it horizontally, one of the halves will be smaller due to the inward slope of the jar. Of course while doing all this you should make sure your working area is at least SOMEWHAT clean (nothing extravagent, just common sense.)
~ Crumble one of the half-cakes into your container on top of the vermiculite and gently press it down with your fingers so all the peices are nice and snug. You don't want to pack them!
~ Take a suitable amount of moist Jiffy Mix (or 50/50 casing mix) and create a top layer. You want to put on just enough so none of the white mycellium shows though. Using vermiculite for the top layer is alright too, but it just doesn't hold as much water. Oh, and in case you didn't already know, 50/50 casing mix is composed of 50% peatmoss and 50% vermiculite. Jiffy Mix is the same thing, only you can get it from Wallmart and it has a certain amount of lime added to adjust the pH level. I believe it's only $2-3 for a whole bag, so it's a good deal.
(Note: Between each layer before I add another one, I usually lightly mist with a h2o2/water solution just to be cautious. You can do it too if you want, but it may not be completely necessary.)
~ Stick casing (that's what you just made) into your terrarium and wait. It will take a few days for the mycellium to grow through the top casing layer, so I would guess that you will see pins forming within a week of putting it in your terrarium. If not, just wait a while longer and make sure no contamination is forming...
-- Optional Stuff --
~ After mycellium grows through the top casing layer, you can do something known as 'deep scratching'. This involves taking a clean fork and scratching through the top casing layer all the way down to the mycellium. It spreads things around, and makes your casing fruit a lot better. Don't ask me why it works, I have no idea... It just works! :)
~ When pins begin to form, you can take the casings out of the cups and set them directly on your perlite, or whatever is on the bottom of your terrarium. You might want to use some sort of lid to set them on. Doing this enables pins to form on the sides as well as the top, and it supposedly increases the first-flush yield two-fold compared to just leaving them in their containers. I have not tried this myself, but someone else has (bush doctor) and they say it works wonders...
oOo Frequently Asked Questions oOo
Q: 'What exactly sized jars did you use, funkyballoon? Could you possibly give us the diameter and the depth of the plastic cups you used (and where you got them)?'
A: Top Diameter - 3 5/8", Bottom Diameter - 2 1/8", Height - 2 7/8". I got them from my local grocery store (Solo brand), and I'm just assuming that most places have them.
Q: 'Alright. I completed all of the steps mentioned by funkyballoon in his 'Sea of Shroom' method. However, I do have a few questions. Would it be a better idea to place the cased cups in a terrarium, or to just leave them in a drawer somewhere? Should I keep some sort of a hard top with poke holes on the cased cups? Should i directly spray the substrate, or just use the PF terrarium method?'
A: I would recommend sticking them right away in a perlite-humidified terrarium and directly misting once a day with a h2o2/water solution. Don't stick tops on them either, there's no point.
Q: 'If I leave the half cake casings in their little cups for the whole time until they are exhausted, will I get as good results as I would if I were to take them out? Of course I'm going to have the sides of the cups black, and I'm going to deep scratch. I just don't have a terrarium so I have to keep them inside, and no, I'm not going to make a terrarium cause I can't.
A: Well, I'd suggest that if you don't have a terrarium, just to keep them in their containers so they don't dry out... and I think that eventually you will get the same yield either way as long as you let them flush to completion.... but then again maybe not.
Q: 'I thought i read that if you leave them in the cups you'll just get Giant mushrooms. Is this true?'
A: Yes, you will get some very large ones! Some of the time you also get a lot of small ones, I guess it's just a chance thing. Also in some circumstances you will not get as much as you thought you would, but I think it's rare. If that happens, just count on more flushes and make sure not to mist them a great deal so contamination doesn't set in.
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