I've listed a few growing tips from my good friends neighbors dog "Scooby". Scooby has been growing mushrooms for almost 2 years and is eager to share some of his latest techniques with you. Scooby's favorite substrate recipe that mushrooms seem to love is Hawk Magic. I’ve seen my friend colonize over two dozen different strains of mushrooms on this substrate, they all seem to love it except semilanceata’s.
Hawk Magic Formula : In a large bowl, scoop out heaping spoonfuls of the following:
- 20 tbls finch seed (steep for 45 minutes in mineral water first)
- 7 tbls brown rice flour
- 4 tbls flax seed meal
- 10 tbls vermiculite
- Mineral water
First, steep your whole finch seed, (Penningtons brand from Wal Mart is the best) in mineral water for 45-60 minutes, do not ground up the seed. While scooping the finch seed mix into the mixing bowl, be sure and scoop in the extra water at the bottom, this is pure nutrient juice. Then add in your other dry ingredients, mix real well. At this point depending on how much moisture was in your steamed finch seed, you will need to add in a little mineral or mountain spring water. The most you should need to add is a cup. Just slowly add in water until the mix starts getting slightly clumpy, but not to sticky. The problem with using the flax seed meal is if you add to much water, it gets real sticky, turns into a syrup type texture, and this will slow the mycelium growth down. You defiantly don’t want to see excess water in the bottom of your mixing bowl or jars, to little water is better then too much, because you will be adding more water when injecting spores. Just play with the formula till you find what you like. You will then want to autoclave this in your pressure canner for 45 minutes at 15 p.s.i, I would not recommend using this formula if you don’t have a pressure canner. Like I said, the only mushroom my friend has seen not like this substrate is semilanceata’s. Enjoy !!!
Another tip for faster colonization. When injecting spores, use at least 3cc’s per jar. 2cc’ to the 4 holes, and 1cc to the center of the jar.. reaching the syringe as far in each direction of each hole, swipe spore solution in a wide array, instead of straight down. Also using about 1/2cc into 2 holes into the middle of the substrate. After the jars start colonizing, at about 40%-50% , remove the tape from holes (if your using dry verm layer) and they will colonize extremely fast. Keep them stored in a tupper-ware container or something, off the floor. They should colonized on average 15-20 days using this method.
Scooby also uses Ball one piece plastic canning lids instead of metal lids, these lids are reusable and work great, and they don't rust. To put holes in plastic lids, he heats up a nail over hot burning alcohol lamp, then melts holes into lid very quickly. After injecting jars, he puts them in a Tupperware box with lid on, stores them in a dark closet with HEPA filter running 24/7. He does not use tape on the jars, and has noticed incredibly faster colonization like this. With the HEPA filter running, he rarely looses jars to contams. With this method, 1/2 pint jars are %100 colonized in 15-20 days average at 80-85F room temp, and pint jars about 30-40 days. Scooby always cases his substrate and is currently experimenting with several new casing formulas using a combination of: equal parts peat moss and vermiculite 10% limestone and 15% crushed oyster shell to the over all mix. See the 50/50 casing tek plus for more.