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Messages - psilly

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PF - Tek / Your thoughts on the best Shroom
« on: August 01, 2005, 05:16:48 AM »
Saying you want the "fastest growing" and "most potent" shroom is like looking for a car that gets 50mpg and can still compete on the drag strips.? Don't limit yourself to just growing characteristics, you might lose out on other attributes of the strain.?  Sure, contaminant resistance and fast growing are nice characteristics, but I'd rather take a few extra days and get the strain I want.

Have heard lots of good things about Golden Teachers, trying them next. Anyone else experimented with these yet?
Just  harvested my first flush of Teachers this weekend. I love em. No visiuals but I had a great time. I couldnt wipe the smile off my face and was just strong enough to get me off without me locking myself in a room.

You just gotta love Golden Teachers.  Yeah, so maybe they aren't as big or as potent as some of the other strains... but they're absolutely perfect if you're looking for a mellow time without stomach cramps or nausea!

Cultivation / Do you ever need to Water it?
« on: July 31, 2005, 09:18:48 AM »
No and actually from my understanding you dont want to water the cake directly when its flushing. There is the Dunk TeK though. After your first flush put your cake in a container filled with water and make sure you have some bent screen or some wire mesh to keep it submerged in the water. Put a lid on it and store in your refridgerator for 12 to 24 hours then place back in your fruiting chamber/terrarium. Its suppose to make more water absorb into your cake leading to bigger fruiting on your following flushes.

When I'm spooning my RBF/verm mix into the jars, I like to put in a plastic drinking straw so that there's a little tube running down into the center of the cake.  When my cakes start getting dried out, I use frosty distilled water and a sterilized eye-dropper to put a few drops of water into the tube, which acts like a little reservoir and rehydrates the rest of the cake.  After a couple of hours I don latex gloves and flip the cake over in my hand, allowing the reservoir to fully drain.  Most of my pinning seems to occur right around the drinking straw during the second and later flushes.

I also dunk between flushes, but only for 4-6 hours.  I've had humidity problems with cakes that were dunked overnight, and 4-6 hours seems to do the trick anyway.

Cultivation / can shroom grow w/o spore?
« on: July 31, 2005, 08:58:32 AM »
The only way you can grow shrooms without spores it to clone the shroom itself, which from the tek on this site i see that it is possible.

"Give a man a spore supplier, and he shrooms for one day-
Teach a man to clone, and he shrooms for life."

(I think that's from Shakespeare).

Not only is cloning possible, it's also EASY and it requires no additional equipment!!!!  Admittedly, I have a much higher contam rate when I'm inoculating from cloned tissue as opposed to inoculating from spore solution, so there's a lot more spoilage and waste... but man oh man is the price ever right!!!!   :P

PF - Tek / Incubation Question
« on: July 31, 2005, 07:56:43 AM »
If you kept jars in a sealed off shoe box with a grow light on the box to keep up temps, do you think this would work? - If not then does anyone know of a way to build something with $0?

I wouldn't use cardboard-- too dusty and fibrous.  I like plastics, because they can be cleaned and sterilized.  It's also easier to maintain humidity in a sealed environment (like a plastic sweater box), as long as you introduce fresh oxygen to the sealed container every now and then.

If you've got a good thermometer, you might want to place it in your proposed incubation site for a few days first to monitor its ambient temps.  In the pets section at Wal-Mart you should be able to find cheap thermometers-- check the fish and reptile supplies.  Garden thermometers are also ok, but the cheap ones aren't very accurate.

If your temps are too low, there are some pretty easy ways to bring them up to optimal grow conditions, and without spending a fortune.  With a couple of matching plastic containers and a little water, you ought be able to create a "dutch oven" effect to distribute warmth evenly.  Then almost any moderate heat source will work!  I use an aquarium heater with adjustable thermostat, which set me back about $35.00, but my ex had decent luck with an ordinary heating pad set on "low."  Pet stores also sell under-tank heaters for aquariums and terrariums-- don't know if these are also obtainable at Wal-Mart.

Don't be surprised if temps rise slightly after you've introduced live spores-- the jars themselves throw off a little warmth sometimes.  If you're short on funds, this is something that you can use to your advantage-- keep a clean blanket, or a couple of clean towels, around the jars for insulation!

Keep in mind we're just discussing technique here.  The spores will pretty much work things out for themselves if you give them the right conditions and cleanliness.    :)

PF - Tek / Petri Colonization?
« on: November 16, 2004, 06:07:42 PM »
OK, time to check back in regarding my experiment.  The petri dishes were a bad idea.  Period.  Most of them were smelly within a few days.

Back to the drawing board...

I've been playing around with cloning techniques, and I think I stumbled upon something kinda cool.  If somebody else here wants to try to duplicate my results, I'd be glad to know what you found out.

I cloned ten GT tissue samples in agar, then decided to transplant directly to fifteen sterilized PF-jars using a glove box.  Remembering a previous post to this site about using coffee filters as lids, I decided to use filters with half of the jars, and tin-foil with the other half-- just to see what would happen.

The mushroom tissue colonized aggressively in all fifteen jars, although I lost a few more jars to contamination than normal (black/brown mold).  I'd assumed that contam rates would be higher, since inoculating with agar spears just seemed like it would be a bit messier than using syringe injections.  The ones with coffee filter lids seemed to fare far worse, though, which made me question that my inoculation was solely to blame.

Here's the interesting thing.  After about two weeks in the incubator, I noticed that the jars with coffee filter lids were shriveling up... duh.  Dehydration was kicking in, and the mycelial growth all but stopped in these jars.

Still playing mad scientist, however, I kept the samples.  I thought it might prove useful to know if they would recuperate after rehydration.  So when my jars with tin foil were fully-colonized, I cased both batches in two separate plastic trays in a peat/potting soil/bone meal mix.

Guess which batch EXPLODED into full colonization of the casing material over the next week and a half?  (Keep in mind, we're talking Golden Teachers here.  Hardly the most prolific colonizer.)  The dessicated, pathertic-looking, shriveled up, barely-colonized cakes FAR OUTPACED my 'healthy' cakes when water was re-introduced.

Any thoughts?  I'm thinking I may be on to something here.

PF - Tek / Your thoughts on the best Shroom
« on: November 16, 2004, 05:48:39 PM »
For what it's worth, I think that the SUPPLIER and the cleanliness of the quality of their strains in general are much more important than which specific strain you're working with.  Spores harvested on a filthy kitchen counter are going to produce much higher contamination rates, and since they have to compete harder against other organisms, you're going to see fewer flushes and smaller individual shrooms.

The first batch of shrooms that I PF-Tek'd were Golden Teachers.  LOVED THEM!  Yes, they take a while to colonize... but they also seemed to keep on going, flush after flush after lovely flush!

Eager to work with another strain, I ordered a syringe of B+ from one supplier and a syringe of Blue Meanies from another.  Both were ok, but nothing like the volume and potency that I was getting with the Teachers.  The Blue Meanies were particularly hounded by contams, which confused me a bit because I didn't change anything.

Thinking that the Golden Teacher strain was obviously superior to the other two that I'd tried, I ordered some more GT from yet another supplier.  These spores were awful!  Only four cakes out of twenty colonized at all, and I lost three of them to contamination.  The sole surviving cake produced one hefty flush and two so-so flushes before running dry.  Again, I didn't change ANYTHING from my previous attempts.

I was starting to think that maybe my first batch were a serious case of beginner's luck, that all of the precautions I'd taken hadn't really been enough.  Then it dawned on me that maybe I was just working with better product the first time around.  I grudgingly ordered Golden Teacher and Ecuador strains from the original supplier (the one I got the original Teachers from), and VIOLA!  Huge flushes, incredible potency, not much of a problem with contams.  I've been using the same supplier for a while now, have experimented a few more of their strains, and had no significant problems to speak of.

That's my take, anyway. :ph34r:

PF - Tek / Petri Colonization?
« on: October 02, 2004, 12:53:28 PM »
I sterilized 22 glass petri dishes, along with a jarful of standard RBF/verm mix and a jarful of pure vermiculite.  All contents were placed in a glove box and allowed to cool.  Then I placed chunks of the RBF/verm mix into each jar, inoculated with 3 drops spore solution, sprinkled with dry vermiculite, and covered with glass petri lids.

I removed the petri dishes from my glovebox, placed them on a sterilized plastic tray, and put the tray in a black plastic trash bag, which I then set on top of a heating pad with adjustable temp settings.  After four days at least five of the dishes have signs of nice, fluffy, mycelial growth.

Once the dishes are fully colonized, which I'm guessing will take between 1 week to 10 days from inoculation, the idea is to see if I can use 1/2 the contents of each dish to inoculate a standard PF jar setup.  I'm expecting contam rates to be higher due to the transfer process, but if I can inoculate 44 jars using 5cc spore solution, I can afford to lose a few. ;)

I'll keep you informed from time to time, worst case scenario I've wasted half a syringe and a little bit of effort.

General topics / cooked shrooms
« on: October 02, 2004, 12:33:27 PM »
Short cooking/extraction(for instance making mushroom tea) does not affect the potency. I wouldn't cook them for a prolonged time though.

Anno, what's your opinion about drying temps?  I've used a dehydrator on low setting (80F) for 10-12 hours and haven't noticed significant loss of potency.  In their book Oss and Oeric also recommend oven drying at temps "not to exceed 140 degrees."  Yet the consensus online seems to be that any heat at all during the drying process will destroy your shrooms.  I understand that excessive temps are a bad thing, but is there any reason to be concerned about using moderate temps to dry?  Thanks!

PF - Tek / fuzz balls
« on: October 02, 2004, 12:25:35 PM »
P.S.- I set my cakes on glass coasters inside the fruiting chamber, makes it easy to lift the cakes and see their undersides without making direct contact with the cakes themselves.  During my first attempt at PF, it's also interesting to note that EVERY SINGLE ONE of the mushrooms in my first flush pinned from the underside of the cake (where condensation was collecting-- presumably due to humidity being too low).  I flipped the cakes over so that the pins were "right side up" and within two weeks I was having a really enjoyable weekend.

PF - Tek / fuzz balls
« on: October 02, 2004, 12:20:38 PM »
You might try cold shocking if you're not seeing any pins yet.

Be patient though, I was about ready to give up on my first 5 cakes which were doing the same thing you're describing, then... BAM!  My first flush, big and meaty.

PF - Tek / incubation... light, no light, tight lids or not?
« on: September 20, 2004, 04:31:57 AM »
Im wondering if the jars need light while incubating (i read that they were to be in a dark area, but also that indirect light is good). I know sunlight is not good, i dont know why exactly tho, but i guess it doesnt matter.

Less light is better for incubation.  Light can be a "trigger" for fruiting-- once your mushrooms enter fruiting mode, colonization can slow or stop altogether.  I lay a thin black towel over the top of my incubator, if you hold the towel up to a light you casn see a minute amount of light coming through but that's it.

And the next question is about jar lids. Tight or loose? Supposed to be relative to the water content of the jars? Or is it personal preference?

Tight is better for keeping out contaminants.  The whole idea with PF-Tek is to give your mushroom spores an advantage over contaminants by allowing them to fully-colonize a sterile environment before being introduced to the not-so-sterile fruiting chamber.  If your lid is too loose, contaminants can enter the jars and cause your spores to lose their edge.

PF - Tek / the realm of light
« on: September 15, 2004, 05:25:13 AM »
How long (how many days) do jars need to be placed in indirect light in order for pinheads to start forming? I have some fully colonized Equador strain cakes(still in the jars) that were recently transfered from complete darkness, and now have been sitting in a well lit room for a week, and still no pin heads.

It can take two weeks for your cakes to pin.  Be patient.  I'd double-check your grow conditions if you're really concerned.  A few degrees in temperature can really make all the difference.

Why are your cakes still in the jar?  If you're not planning on growing in-vitro, I'd birth those puppies!

In fact the mycelial growth appears to have slowed. Is there a reason for this?.

When you pulled your cakes from the incubator, you put them under the impression that the seasons were changing.  Like a lot of other living creatures, they take their queues from the surrounding environment.  In anticipation of this impending change, they've gone from *COLONIZATION* mode to *FRUITING* mode.  You would expect mycelial growth to slow if the jars have been moved into indirect light and are being kept at room temp.

Should I try cold shocking to get pinheads to form? What is the best way to do this?  24 hrs in the fridge?, in a cooler with an ice pack..Etc?

I wouldn't cold shock now, if they've been in sunlight for a week now and mycelial growth has slowed.  I'd give serious consideration to birthing or casing the cakes.

When I cold shock, I place the jars on a plastic tray, seal the whole tray in a trash bag, and put them in the fridge for 4-6 hours.  I know a lot of people say to shock them overnight, but I had a problem with condensation when I did this.  4-6 hours seems to be enough to completely stop colonization.

Any suggestions are welcome.

I'm a relative newbie myself, message boards like this have been a lifesaver.

PF - Tek / Pressure cooker / pfjar
« on: September 11, 2004, 02:06:31 PM »
After I cooked them for 45 minutes, I forgot to remember to wipe the vermiculite particles off the inside of the jar before putting the dry verm ontop. How crucial is this step?

It's important, since having RBF/vermiculite particles on the top of the jar can serve as a point of entry for contamination.  If you haven't inoculated yet, I'd go back and do it.  Even if you have inoculated, though, the presence of these particles doesn't necessarily spell doom for your mushies-- it just means that they may be slightly more prone to contamination from outside sources.

Once I dropped a jar on the floor after pressure cooking.  I went ahead and sterilized the jar again, but there were PLENTY of particles around the rim of the jar (and even stuck to the inside of the foil lid!).  That cake fruited just fine, no contamination.

Also after pressure cooking, I'm assuming condensation on the inside of the jar is normal?

Absolutely.  The mycelia won't colonize unless they have moisture.  Later, especially if you use an incubator, the heat generated by the mycelia will cause even more moisture droplets to appear.

PF - Tek / fruiting: some late bloomers?
« on: September 09, 2004, 04:38:17 AM »
neem = been
pr = or

Think my fingers need typing lessons!

PF - Tek / fruiting: some late bloomers?
« on: September 09, 2004, 04:36:34 AM »
Hey Anno,

When do you recommend birthing cakes?  I've got a couple that are slow starters, not really approaching full colonization, but on Saturday they'll be entering week four in the incubator...   Seems like there hasn't neem much new growth in a week or two, the insides of both jars are about 25% white.  Do you usually wait it out, no matter how long it takes, or do you ever reach a point where 'enough is enough?'  Also, is there a concern that the cakes' food pr water supplies (I used standard PF, RBF/verm mix) might be depleted if I wait too long? :unsure:

I think the problem with this batch is that I used a finer grade vermiculite, which has since compacted in the jars and isn't allowing sufficient aeration.  I've heard of people putting coffee beans in the jars to keep air pockets in the vermiculite mix.  Any thoughts on this also? :huh:

Thanks!  Great forum.

PF - Tek / Temperature
« on: September 02, 2004, 05:32:31 AM »
I use an incubating chamber with a thermostatically-controlled aquarium heater.  Through trial and error I've learned to set the thermostat at 80' during daylight hours (more on this below) and 84' overnight.

My incubator is kept near a large window, with a thin cotton towel draped over the top.  The towel is thin enough that you can see light through it if you hold it up in front of a window, allowing for indirect sunlight during the day, and is dark black so that it readily absorbs heat.  Even though I keep my house at an air-conditioned 70-something degrees during the day-- the black towel and sunlight generally keep my jars much warmer than this during daylight hours.  The aquarium heater is mainly there to keep temps from falling below 80' on overcast or cool days, and it hardly runs at all during daylight hours in the summer months.

With this technique I average visible colonization within 2-4 days and full colonization at around 14-20 days tops.

Keep in mind that these results are with edible and medicinal mushrooms only.  I don't grow illegal mushrooms of any kind.

PF - Tek / Drying methods
« on: September 01, 2004, 04:21:47 AM »
Just wanted to follow up, the cheap 'SnackMaster' food dehydrator mentioned above did a superb job!  All of my edible and medicinal mushrooms were fully dried in 2.75 hours at 80 degrees F.

Cultivation / Cheap glove box
« on: August 26, 2004, 05:24:30 AM »
Materials (less than $40 bucks at your local Mega-Mart):

2 plastic lettuce crispers with airtight lids
1 clear plastic storage bin
Plastic Weld
Window caulk

1.  Cut the bottoms out of the lettuce crispers leaving maybe 2" from the rim.
2.  Place the rims on the bottom of the storage bin, right where you want the arm-holes, and trace.
3.  Cut along the lines just traced to create 2 holes (same size as the rims).
4.  Using the plastic weld, join the cut surfaces of the rims to the cut surfaces of the storage bin.  Try to get as tight a seal with the epoxy as possible.
5.  Allow plastic weld to completely dry, following the instructions on the tube.
6.  If you're unsure about a tight seal, you can caulk the OUTSIDE of the glove box.  Dried caulk is somewhat porous, and might make an excellent medium for unwanted microbial critters, so caulking on the inside of the glovebox is not recommended.


--The nice thing about plastic is that it's easy to clean.  Before using my glove-box, I sterilize with 10% bleach solution, allow it to dry, and then use Lysol.

--Before working in my glove-box, I wash my arms and forearms with antibacterial soap, apply a topical disinfectant, remove the crisper lids to allow access, and don surgical gloves before inserting my hands.  An "air sheild" can also be temporarily installed by taping a sheet of clean plastic above the arm-holes, allowing the sheeting to hang freely over the arm-holes while you work (you reach under the sheet to gain access to the arm-holes); this further protects your workspace from airborn particles.  When finished, you can replace the crisper lids to get an airtight seal.

--Arm-hole placement is on the bottom of the storage bin because most bins are taller than they are wide.  This means that the box will sit on its side when in use, giving you a larger work area than you would get if the box was sitting upright.

--The storage bin's lid is (most likely) NOT airtight.  However, permanently sealing this lid would make the glovebox extremely difficult to clean between uses.  A simple work-around is to stuff cotton balls or paper towels into the "groove" where the lid fits on, and then temporarily seal with duck tape after sterilizing the inside workspace.  When you're through with the glovebox, this tape can be cut away to allow for thorough cleaning before the next use.

--You should be able to get an airtight seal around the arm-holes with the lids that go on the lettuce crispers.  This allows you to completely seal off the glovebox when you're not actively working inside.  If in doubt, you might want to water-test the crisper lids before applying any epoxy.

--The glovebox is exposed when you're working.  It's only actually airtight before and after you gain access, when the arm-holes are sealed off.  However, the goal here is to eliminate as many contams from the work environment as possible without a huge monetary investment.  In my opinion, the trade-off between less airtight and easier to thoroughly sterilize before use is a fair one.  However, it wouldn't be too difficult to seal gloves over the armholes if you're concerned about this.

PF - Tek / So it begins
« on: August 26, 2004, 04:33:07 AM »
Since I'm in the happy position of having more mushrooms than I really need, I'm not sure if the extra effort would even be worth my while.

On the other hand, casing doesn't seem like THAT MUCH extra effort.

Do you think casing makes a difference in contam rates?

PF - Tek / So it begins
« on: August 25, 2004, 09:28:03 AM »

I've been reading some of the Teks on this site, and it's got me wondering...  How much does casing-- as opposed to just putting the cake into a fruiting chamber-- increase your yield?  10%?  25%?  Just trying to figure out if this is something I should be doing.

Thanks all!

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