ffj's early retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Thanks Edith, and I do have it pretty good.

I thought about your comments as I was coming home today and looked out the front of my house:

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It was kind of tranquil even though many times it is not, and worth a picture.



The kittens were cute but I have always stuck to the one pet rule. One dog and one cat as anything more than that just starts to get chaotic and expensive. Unfortunately even with removing the momma and her kittens, I still have to deal with feral cats. I caught this guy last night and he was truly a wild animal. As I had just dropped off 4 cats to the shelter a day ago I just let him go and hope he stays away. I couldn't help feel bad for him though as he clearly is living a very rough life.

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Jason
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Jason »

Those are cute kittens. But soon they will be cats and I refuse to have pets that think they are superior to me. It's just not the proper dynamic when I contemplate pet ownership.

I can imagine how hot those guys are in that gear. Geez.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Jason

Yeah, we had a live burn a couple of days ago which was just miserable. It was 90 degrees F outside and 800 degrees inside, haha. I wanted to get some pictures but I just didn't have it in me in addition to helping teach the class. Imagine putting on a down jumpsuit that weighs 30 pounds and doing a bunch of very physical work in high heat and humidity. The fire suit that protects you from external thermal burns also traps your body heat and blocks any form of cooling off such as evaporation. Oh, and you also get to wear a 25 pound air pack too. The older I get the more I realize I am not 22 years old anymore when this stuff didn't bother me.





Making progress on the mushroom endeavor. Yesterday I made agar plates, which are simply petri dishes filled with nutritional food for mushrooms. It allows one to store mushroom strains for future propagation. It consists of agar agar, malt extract, and nutritional yeast. The recipe I followed consisted of 20 grams of malt extract, 20 grams of agar powder, and 2 grams of nutritional yeast per 1,000ml of water.

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The bottle is used to sterilize the mixture with 750 ml being just right for 25 dishes. You need to drill a hole in the cap and stuff it with cotton to prevent over pressuring during sterilization in the pressure cooker.

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After 45 minutes in the pressure cooker.

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Then you just pour the mixture into the dishes and seal them up with tape to prevent contamination after cooling off and solidifying.

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Once the phoenix oyster strain colonizes the dish, I'll store it into the refrigerator to make it go into dormancy. And when I need it in the future, I will just take a slice of it and place it in a grain spawn bag.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

And on to the last phase.

In order to fruit, I need to control several variables: temperature, air quality, humidity, and light. All of these features have been relatively easy to calculate with the exception of light, in regards to quantity and intensity mainly. The experts are all over the map as to handle this question, and I think I am going to have to simply experiment to come to an answer.

The best way to control these conditions is to simply create your own micro-climate which I am attempting with a simple mini greenhouse. I bought a cheap Chinese made one off of Amazon for $22. Next, I had to create humidity, which accomplished with a mist-maker built by House-of-Hydro. These things are pretty neat and create water mist through vibration as best I can tell.

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In order to get the mist into the grow chamber I needed to use a fan which I also purchased at House -of-Hydro, although possibly a computer fan would work also.

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Since I collect parts and pieces of stuff if I think I can use them in the future, I was able to build this contraption without spending any more money as I had all this stuff lying around. Here's a test run after putting it together.

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Happy with that, I connected to the greenhouse.

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For you minimalists out there having a seizure at the state of my basement, keep in mind this is where I keep my sanity and a lot of work gets done. I promise the rest of my house is neat and orderly. Haha

Where I want to be in regards to humidity.

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Now as far as temperature, this one is pretty easy as my basement maintains a constant temperature well within a grow range for most mushrooms. So easy and done.

My last challenge is lighting. Although mushrooms can grow in the dark, they do require light for orientation and a host of other reasons. After hours of research with a ton of differing opinions, I decided to throw a LED light in there for 8 hours a day. Is it right? I don't know to be honest. But I've put my first 4 bags in there and we will see what happens. The fan and humidifier needs to be run a few times a day for about ten minutes to maintain humidity levels and there is enough gaps in the greenhouse cover for proper oxygen/co2 exchanges when the fan is run, did you know mushrooms take in oxygen and expel co2?, and again the temp is spot on perfect, so if I fail it going to have to have been the lighting. If anybody out there has an answer to my lighting issue please chime in.

My end result.

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ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

It took a few days but I finally have true pins. In the next week they should mature into beautiful mushrooms.

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I decided to stick with the LED lighting for 18 hours per day, but I moved the lights behind in back for more of an indirect lighting situation. I'm having a little bit of an issue maintaining the correct humidity level simply because it requires me to start the humidifier manually. So I purchased a humidistat that will automatically turn it on when needed, hands free.

I'm excited, I think this is going to work. My wife however, is unimpressed. Haha. She said the whole thing kind of grosses her out. She said it all looks like little phallic sea creatures. :lol: I'm going to rock on though, it's just mushrooms.

George the original one
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by George the original one »

This sure reminds me of that short story by Ray Bradbury about the kid growing mail-order mushrooms in the family basement...

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@George

Haha, the first 30 seconds is the story of my life...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCnIADUaC4A


Look at them now though:

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They're growing fast.

Seppia
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Seppia »

Super interesting, your activities make me want to move my ass and ERE ASAP :lol:

I'm excited to see how the mushroom project proceeds. Question: can one do Porcini as well?

theanimal
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by theanimal »

Nice pictures as always. Have you read or listened to anything from Paul Stamets? You might like checking him out. He's obsessed with mushrooms and has a ton of interesting/educational info on all types, from psychoactive to mushrooms for nutrition.

daylen
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by daylen »

Impressive! I think that lighting for most species is not usually an issue, so typically there is a good deal of flexibility there. The build up of CO2 and humidity levels seem to be more critical.

In addition to breathing, fungi are more like animals than plants in other ways. They hunt for potential substrates in their environment using the equivalent of our reach, taste, and smell in some sense.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Seppia

Thanks, I just go where my interests take me, and it's refreshing to find people that understand what makes me tick.

It looks like Porcini is relegated to wild status with poor attempts at cultivation. Unless I've missed something somewhere when I researched it.


@theanimal

I'm reading his book right now. I've also watched some of his videos from 10-15 years ago where he talks of really neat things such as oil spill clean ups and the like using mushrooms. I'm curious now that some time has passed whether some of his predictions have come true?


@daylen

These mushrooms are clearly following the light source, to the point that they are straining to orient themselves towards it. As I only have the light on one side, that is causing a bit of disarray with the clusters and I fear they might become leggy. I wonder if each shelf should have an overhead light? The next few days will tell the tale.


Impressive growth from a day ago:

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jacob
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jacob »

This is beginning to look like something out of a PBS doc about life on alien planets :geek:

Question ... can all this be done w/o the plastic/contamination precautions and if so, what would happen? When I first started making country wines, I was super-paranoid about getting my brew infected. Eventually it became clear that it was way more robust than I thought. I suppose, the question/research project is ... what degree of perfection is really necessary to preserve a useful outcome? How robust is the process?

daylen
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by daylen »

@ffj The deformation should not effect yield much, but it wouldn't hurt to add more light. More symmetric mushroom bundles probably sell better.

@Jacob I have grown a few bunches with only glass. Using glass is more work (cleaning) and does not scale as well. Oyster mushroom spawn (especially pink) grows fast enough to out-compete most bacteria, so for these varieties sterilization is not absolutely necessary and pasteurization is sufficient. For something like shiitake, sterilization is a must. On the more extreme end, creating the conditions to grow morels is possible but requires state of the art technique and equipment.
Last edited by daylen on Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

daylen
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by daylen »

Some mushrooms can be grown outside under certain conditions, but the volatility is too high for commercial production. To answer your question more directly, the process is reasonably robust when taking a few basic precautions that would be taught in a microbiology lab (I assume).

daylen
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by daylen »

There is also the potential for recycling. Fungi will consume just about anything organic (cardboard, sawdust, straw, grain, coffee grounds ..).

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@daylen

Appreciate the advice. I think what I will do for this flush is to leave the lights the way they are since I am so far into it and record the results. With my next fruiting, I will use two lights and compare.


@Jacob

A lot of people don't like the waste and the eco-footprint of the plastic bags, so they switch to re-usable pots which unfortunately are also plastic but have the advantage of lasting a long time. The "cost" though is the cleaning between uses, which for a large operation or even a small one, would really be cost prohibitive. Also, something some growers also have an issue with is discarding the spent blocks, which although completely organic, do pile up quickly.

https://freshcapmushrooms.com/learn/gro ... n-bottles/

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Today's growth:

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I think I am getting close to a harvest. From what I understand, when the caps start to flatten out that is the time to pick or just before.

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jennypenny
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jennypenny »

After all these pics, I don't think I'll ever eat a mushroom again. :?

daylen
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by daylen »

@JP High disgust sensitivity? ;)

@ffj Careful on waiting too long. Looks like it may be too late to avoid spore release. All the spores in the air could cause congestion for weeks.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Jenny

Haha, my wife has the same reaction. I think they are neat, she thinks it's gross. Maybe once she eats them her attitude will change.

@Daylen

I think I will pick the big ones tonight then. I'm flying a bit blind here. Thanks for the help.

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