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Straw as a Substrate

A technique detailing how to use straw as a substrate for your shroomies.



Sure I can elaborate a little on how to use straw as a substrate. I will do a quick run-down on how to prepare small amounts a pasteurized straw in your kitchen. I like to use small amounts because it is easier, but this method can be used for any size project. Anyway,....

....First, you need to locate some suitable (dry & mold-free) straw. Wheat and oat straw are ideal, but other straws will work. Hay will also work, but try to find a source that doesn't have large quantities of seeds. A few seeds can boost yields but too many can cause contamination out-breaks. Straw straight from the bail will work, but pre-shredding it prior to use will help. The easiest way to do this is with a shredder. Or, if using small amounts just place some straw in a cardboard box use a sharp pair of grass shears(chop,chop,chop...). You want the pieces to be 1-3 inches in length.

....Now we need a large stock pot (20qt ) to pasteurize the straw in. Fill the pot about half way full of hot tap-water and heat it till near boiling on a stove burner. Next, take your shredded straw and place it into a nylon mesh lingerie bag (from Wal-mart in the laundry section) and submerge it into the hot water. Place a heavy bowl (or something similar) on the bag to keep it completely under water. Put the lid on the pot and let the straw steep at about ~150deg.F~ for one full hour making sure that water doesn't boil dry. After 1 hour, take out the bag (wear rubber gloves) and place it into a large pasta strainer to cool and drain. If you want to be extra cautious you can take your pot and invert it over the strainer to prevent air-bourne contamination....But, this isn't really necessary because pasteurized straw is fairly resistant to contaminants....

....Once cool ('bout 45min-1hour), give the bag a good squeeze to get rid of the excess water. Now you are ready for inoculation. I like to dump the straw in a large clean rubbermaid container and then mix in some grain spawn by hand (wash with antibacterial soap or wear gloves). Now pack your straw spawn into a suitable container. I like to use small rubbermaid containers. Cover the top with tinfoil and puncture with a clean needle several times. Proceed with the spawn-run. You should have about two weeks (plenty of time!) to establish the mycelium of choice. Well, thats about it....a little bit longer than I expected but o'well. Oh yea, straw is also good for cultivating Pan cyan, Ps. tampanensis, and Pleurotus ("oyster mushrooms") species. For using larger amounts, use a 55 gallon drum heated with a propane burner.....Good Luck!

If you don't want to go through with the shredding process described below, you can get pre-shredded straw from a Shroomery sponsor. Be sure to report back on your results

Myco Supply
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