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Does a casing require a fruiting chamber?

The casing layer is what provides the moisture for the mycelium, but the humidity around the casing needs to be high, otherwise it will simply dry out.



The casing layer is what provides the moisture for the mycelium, but the humidity around the casing needs to be high, otherwise it will simply dry out. Usually the ambient humidity of a room is not high enough to provide this. It's also a good idea to keep the casing covered in order to decrease the chances of airborne spores landing on it, as many mushroom pathogens like Trichoderma can ruin your crop. There are two ways to do this -- you can either create a separate fruiting chamber that is humidified to house the casings, or you can case your mycelium in a tall container and cover it, so the casing container itself acts as the fruiting chamber.

Creating a separate fruiting chamber:

This has the advantage of housing several separate small casings which increases the chances of success. There are a lot of ways to create a separate fruiting chamber -- it's just a large bin that is humidified. You can use a thick layer of wet perlite at the bottom of a covered plastic bin, or you can use an external humidification device, such as a cool mist humidifier or a fish tank bubbler to humidify your bin. (see ShroomGod's Humidifier Tek ) As long as your casings are in this humidified container, the casing should not dry out with proper misting.

Using the casing container itself as a fruiting chamber:

This has the advantage of a much larger casing area, since any large bin, itself, can be cased. There is also no need for any external means of humidification -- no perlite is needed because the humidity simply comes from the casing, itself. The casings are much larger, and are isolated from one another in separate bins. The casing container should be large enough so the fully-grown mushrooms won't hit the top (not a big deal, but it can't be a good thing) -- usually a 12" deep bin is fine. This bin is cased end-to-end, and then it's covered with saran wrap, and the casing is allowed to colonize at fruiting temperatures.

NOTE: At this point you can take advantage of the elevated CO2 levels by only fanning every other day -- this will make the casing colonize quicker.

Once the mycelium is poking through in different spots, fruit the casing as normal, and keep it covered, fanning and misting it every day. Just mist it enough so the casing never looks dry -- it doesn't take much! You may want to put drainage holes at the bottom of the container, so pools of water don't collect. After a week or two you should have lots and lots of mushrooms!

by micro

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