This photo was sent to PF a few years ago and it was posted at the PF web site. It has also appeared at other web sites on the web. The sender was anonymous but I did know that the person used an ultrasonic humidifier with the straight PF TEK. This is an outstanding fruiting and I have never seen it bested. I have only seen this kind of fruiting at PF in large growing chambers with electric powered humidifiers in use.
Just recently I was notified about drinking straws being in the cakes. I looked harder, and there they were - drinking straws inserted into the cakes. (You can see one near the upper left coming out of a cake in the back) This is a TEK that has been going around the web for years, and even a good friend of mine said he did it and got great fruitings. I thought, great, but basically ignored it. What is done here, is that after the cake is birthed, an electric power drill is used and a clean hole is drilled into the cake in which the straw is inserted. And then during growth, water is injected into the straws which feeds into the cake, rehydrating it. That is why that fruiting is as good as it gets - casing or not, and only because of the pf substrates fruiting power and the growers water replenishment teks (humidifier and straws).
The number one element of any shroom fruiting is water availability. When the pf cake is birthed, the first thing that really starts to happen is moisture loss. That is because of the nature of vermiculite. Also, the fungi transpires plenty of water. So with two sources of water loss, evaporation and transpiration, cakes dry out. This reduces fruiting possibilites as it progresses.
So the answer is a way to input moisture to keep the cake fully LOADED with water as it gives off the water. it is clearly a kind of cycle - water in - water out - as the cake lives. It is apparant that many people are doing this various ways. Like--- burying the cakes in potting type soil mixtures. What this does is rehydrate the cake. Any type of moist soil like substance that can give off water can be used like this. It is a water feeding system. And that is exactly what the PF double ended cake casing tek is all about.
A variety of types of casing soils have been found to effectively promote fruiting. We have found the following mixture to be one of the best:
7.5 liters peat moss
3.5 liters fine vermiculite
4 liters washed fine sand
2 liters calcium carbonate (finely crushed oyster shell)
Powdered oyster shell is sold as a feed supplement by many feed companies. We have also found that a mixture of one part Mica-peat (50/50 vermiculite-peatmoss mixture) to one part potting soil will work, and even unadulterated rich garden loam has been found suitable, though its unsterile condition makes contamination a possibility.
There is room for further experimentation with other types of casing mixtures: one might try casing with finely granulated horse-dung or cow-dung, or a mixture of horse or cow dung and finely chopped wheat-straw. Casing with leaf-mold mulch might also effectively promote fruiting, and in fact might encourage the fruiting of smaller and more delicate species of psilocybe that do not seem able to fruit when the mixture given above is used. The object is to find a casing soil that is porous enough to allow air to reach the mycelium, and that at the same time is light enough to allow the young mushrooms to penetrate easily through the surface. Sterilization of casing soil is usually recommended but we found it unnecessary when relatively sterile commercially bagged materials were used.
What does "effectively promote fruiting" mean or why does it happen? What is it about the casing procedures that "effectively promote fruiting"? What PF has found is it is not the casing the promotes fruiting, but the substrate. That is where the fruiting power is. The casing is a water input system. It allows the cake to take in water as it is outputed and replace the moisture that was lost, providing the cakes with plenty of water that encourages the fruiting.
The SECOND important factor to be reckoned with is the shroom races gestation period. The TC has a real slow poke of a gestation period. The reason the pf double ended cake casing tek with plain vermiculite works for that one, is just that the cake is kept fully "LOADED" with water while old slow poke decides to come out.
casing soils (peat verm ect)
Drinking straw teks
All these teks accomplish the same end - reloading the cake with moisture as it waits for the spore race to complete its gestation. And then when the shrooms begin to fruit, the fully water loaded cake can deliver the shrooms number one need - water. Water recharging is the purpose of all of these teks, and they accomplish more or less the same thing.
January 16 2000