For all you drug dealers out there this is a patchwork of other peoples' ideas i use, thx especially to Ryche Hawk and Shroom God! 30 balls produce approximately 1 pound of dry magic in 3 flushes/30 days, so dose yer luved ones, friends, n luv yer dosed ones! I have had nothing but great success using barley straw. My first few bags got trashed by green mold, so I decided to start sterilizing my straw. --i know everyone says its not necessary but i think i have a exceptionally high count of green mold spores in my apartment or something; for me its necessary!-- Heres my tek:
I bought 3 rolls of 10 "autoclavable spawn bags with nifty filter patch" from stamets' Fungi Perfecti.
I bought a 65lb bail of barley straw from a local feed shop (i wanted wheat straw, i hear its the best but barley straw is second; per Ryche)
In my pressure cooker (22qt) i put a steamer (you know one of those folding vegetable steamers that look like a cool flying saucer) in the bottom and pack that sucker full of as much straw as it will fit. Don't worry about cutting it up, you'll just get cramps in your hand
I fill the pressure cooker with enough water to completely cover the straw and I bring to a boil. You could use any big pot for this; I leave the jiggler off the cooker because the goal in this step is not really to sterilize or even pasteurize the straw, but instead to HYDRATE it. After letting it boil for 15 minutes or so I pour out all the water, leaving the straw in the cooker on top of the steamer. (try using this green byproduct water in your PF/MMGG substrate or better yet in the unmatched Hawk Magic)
I let it sit and cool for at least an hour. Note that while its cooling like this all the excess water is dripping down through the steamer into the empty space at the bottom of the pot.
When cool divide the straw into 4 of the autoclavable bags and pack as tightly as possible without puncturing the bag. These now look like big wet straw footballs in bags. you want the straw wet, but not so wet that any water accumulates in the bottom of the bag.
Rinse pressure cooker
Place bags back into the pressure cooker loosely, on top of the steamer again (you don't want the bags to touch the HOT bottom of the cooker- they will melt, so at least put a cloth on the bottom) and loosely twist or fold the openings. you want steam to be able to escape the bags, or else they will burst. Add 1-2" fresh water to the cooker, seal and STERILIZE THE SHIT OUT OF THAT STRAW!
After an hour in the cooker, remove from heat and allow to cool in the cooker, over night or long enough that the straw will be ready for spawn immediately after removing from the cooker.
Remove the bags, one at a time and drop 1 freshly birthed cake into each, then immediately seal the bag by twisting shut and clamping closed as tightly as possible with a cable tie (you know those little strips of plastic that click when you close them and you cant open them once they are on and have to be cut off when you dare the drunk guy to put one on his wrist as tight as possible)
Once the bag is quickly and tightly sealed with the straw and cake in it, simply crumble the cake as finely as possible with your hands through the bag and mix THOROUGHLY with the straw. I've found that birdseed works the best because it crumbles to individual kernels easily and mixes very thoroughly throughout the straw.
Wait 5-10 days. Stamets says if straw does not colonize within this time period, it will contaminate. I've found he's right on the mark (of course he is, hes the Godfather). Watch for green mold- if it gets hold your probably phucked, and smell the bags daily- when they get a bacterial infection they will begin to smell sweet and almost like rotten fruit or apples. You'll know if you smell it.
When completely colonized just remove from the bag and fruit one of 2 ways:
Case: thin layer of wet 50/50 on the bottom of a tupperware or sterilite container, then just smash your "straw and mycelium football" into it and cover with another layer of 50/50 (if you do this, you will be able to see the layer of straw through the clear side of the container, you'll want to cover that with opaque tape or spray paint you containers or something, because I've seen trays try to fruit from there and i just doesn't work)
A-la-carte: Just take the whole football, as undisturbed as possible, and put it in the terrarium like a great big pf cake. This works nearly as well as the casing method in terms of initial yield, but it will flush less times.
tip: try injecting sterilized water out of a sterilized syringe into the center of a straw ball to rehydrate between flushes!
BTW: shroom god was right on when he said that straw produces huge shrooms; i had one MONSTER a while ago: 14 inches long; a stem as thick as my index and middle finger combined and a full on 5" diameter umbrella. I wish i had a digital cam, it was a beauty! (Hawks hi quality B+)
Also: Ecuadorians love straw as much or more than the B+
Love you all!
Thanks Singularity. Your technique seems sound, but it's kind of for smaller amounts of straw. If you plan to use more straw, I'd recommend buying a 12-gallon washtub ($15 at Home Depot) and pasteurizing the straw with hot water.
Simply heat the water to 160-170°F. A roast thermometer reads this exact range of temperatures and will cost you about $3 at K-mart or Walmart. The washtub will likely need to be placed over all four stove burners. I cover two of the burners with inverted glass pie pans and rest the washtub on that while the other two burners heat the tub. If you try to place the tub directly on all four burners and turn them all on full, you're likely to burn down the house.
While the water is heating, stuff an industrial laundry bag (huge nylon bag you can get at Walmart for about $4) with 1"-6" cut straw. Use as much as you like, but for beginners I'd use about the amount of a beach ball. Once the water is at 160-170°F dunk the laundry bag in the washtub and put a weight on it. Let it cook at 160-170 for between 30-45 minutes.
Once this has been done, lift the laundry bag, let it drain over the tub, then hang it up on something for an hour or several. You do this to evaporate the excess water. Once it's totally cool and drained as well as possible, spawn in the manner above.
PS - As for the bacterial smell, this doesn't necessarily mean you are doomed. I've had a block make it that smelled really sweet and rotten. It just drastically reduces your chances of making it. You can reduce your chances of this smell coming up by making sure that (a) you don't sterilize your straw and (b) you drain all the excess water out. Sterilization opens the playfield for bacterial blooms and overwets the straw.