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Offlinesisyphus
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First time grower in the UK
    #11337626 - 10/28/09 01:05 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Quick note: I’ve now started out, but thought it only fair I start a thread chronicling my experience, in the hope it adds to the body of knowledge, which it might well do given the lack of info for UK people! Anyway this documents my experience with PF Tek, from buying to hopefully getting shrooms!

Hi all,

Well I’ve been here a few weeks (and more lurking) and now feel I have enough basic knowledge to give the growing a go. Being in the UK however this is much harder than for you guys in the states – basically a lot of the terminology is different, the stores you have don’t exist, and things you take for granted we haven’t heard of. Saying that at least we can spell correctly ;-)

Anyway I’ve decided to go for PF Tek – it seems to be the tek du jour with a lot of satisfied customers. Acquiring supplies however is not as easy as it first appears. Basically all the Shroomery sponsors are US based as far as I can tell, and things like canning jars are non-existent over here.

The best guide for UK guys I found was this one here:
http://www.shroomery.org/5127/Where-can-I-find-supplies-in-the-UK
Along with MushroomRRs videos on YouTube: (only thing I don’t like is the trippy intro!) If it works though I'll definitely buy the DVDs.
http://www.youtube.com/user/MushroomsRR#p/a/5E89E9D16348D911/0/ZHJQrsZFQdE
I won’t bother linking to the obvious things like PF Tek, but these two are a bit more exotic and people might not necessarily find them on their own!

Therefore I’ve had to do some improvisation / make do with other things. Anyway here are the problems I’ve hit

1) No Brown Rice Flour, I’ve had to make do with blending regular brown rice (I couldn’t even find organic). I didn’t know how much I would need so I got 2kg, turns out this is far too much! But on the other hand if it works it means I have plenty for next time! As it is blended though it is fairly coarse, we can see how it works out, but my main concern is any anti-fungal agent residue left on it.

2) Canning Jars. Don’t exist, simply put. Instead I’ve gone for Bonne Marie Jam Jars, £1.70 each from Tesco and you get 370g of really nice Jam/Conserve as well? Could be a lot worse! From these I’ve cooked up a few cakes of a traditional kind :-)

3) Spores. All the sponsors are US based, so I have used a UK supplier called Magic Plants (I’m not going to link as per rules, but it is important, and they aren’t competing with any sponsors, who I otherwise would have used!). Basically I’ve taken a shot in the dark, but they seemed to have the longest history, and decent prices. I went for the B+ strain as I’ve seen it mentioned a few times, but my next attempt will use something different – mix it up.

These spores however did have some misty type stuff floating around, I’m not sure if that is normal or not, or if it is some kind of mould, as it stands I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

4) Vermiculite. Got this from a home DIY place called B&Q (big in the UK). £5 for a load, the only worry is that it is quite coarse. I have attached pictures at the bottom for you to see for yourselves.

5) Sterilising my filled jars. They are currently boiling away, I had to improvise with what to do to keep the jars off the bottom. Anyway what I did in the end is use a lot of empty tealights – I scraped out the wax, and used a few layers of aluminium foil above and below.

That’s the story so far. Pictures below:

#1: My jars, and under the aluminium so you can see how I have kept them off the bottom. I’ve done 5 jars, and identified them so I can try slightly different things to see which works best – say hello to Annabel, Beverley, Christine, Delilah and Elena


#2: The vermiculite I’ve got, and its size.


#3: The wispy stuff going on in my syringe of B+


--------------------
“I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them."
- Ian L. Fleming (1908 - 1964)
“I believe that all government is evil and that trying to improve it is a waste of time."
- Henry Louis Mencken (1880 - 1956)


Edited by sisyphus (10/28/09 01:08 PM)


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OfflineShroomerRoss
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: sisyphus]
    #11337682 - 10/28/09 01:19 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

nice one. will be following this. im from uk so i know what you mean by supplies being harder to get hold of, for when i eventually start my grow.


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Offlinefig
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: ShroomerRoss]
    #11337864 - 10/28/09 01:47 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

hey man sometimes u have to improvise u can use wide mouth glass cups with tin foil for the lids there is a video on you tube somewhere.

any way just shake your syringe and all the clumps will break up.

the verm might be to coarse but i have used the coarse stuff b4 and did fine ....u could try to grind it up some how i dk.


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Invisiblebadman
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: ShroomerRoss]
    #11337871 - 10/28/09 01:49 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Ww-hay!

1. Check out a holland and barrats for BRF, £1.10 per kilo.

2. Those jars are fine, Ive used to have a couple of those.

3. Spores... PM me if you wish.

4. That verm is fine, trust.

5. Did you put foil on top of the jar lids to stop water going in?

Good Luck mate.


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InvisibleWilliamsii
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: ShroomerRoss]
    #11337904 - 10/28/09 01:54 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

1) No Brown Rice Flour, I’ve had to make do with blending regular brown rice (I couldn’t even find organic). I didn’t know how much I would need so I got 2kg, turns out this is far too much! But on the other hand if it works it means I have plenty for next time! As it is blended though it is fairly coarse, we can see how it works out, but my main concern is any anti-fungal agent residue left on it.




Sainsbury's sells organic brown rice.  It important that you use organic brown rice to ensure no fungicides and/or preservatives have been added.

Quote:

2) Canning Jars. Don’t exist, simply put. Instead I’ve gone for Bonne Marie Jam Jars, £1.70 each from Tesco and you get 370g of really nice Jam/Conserve as well? Could be a lot worse! From these I’ve cooked up a few cakes of a traditional kind :-)




Just use drinking glasses for PF-tek, they are far cheaper and don't require any modification lids.  The 'lids' can be made using two layers of tinfoil as demonstrated on Fungifun's PF-Tek for simple minds.

Unfortunately all new pressure cookers in the UK are tiny.  Older ones are sometimes a more decent size but are harder to find.  You can get an All American in the UK from micro-science but only at a ridiculous price, more expensive than shipping one in from the states.


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Invisiblebadman
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: Williamsii]
    #11338034 - 10/28/09 02:10 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Drinking glasses and foil TOP idea.


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OfflineCandleJack
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: badman]
    #11338111 - 10/28/09 02:23 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

1) Got my brown rice flour from an organic & health food store, don't remember the name exactly, cost me £1.15 for 500g of it.
4) The way I understand it, the coarse verm makes it easier for the colonization.

Everything else, including the spores, I got from the same vendors as you. Judging by the packaging the spores came in, it seems these guys get their supplies from MRCA (magicmushrooms.org, one of the sponsors), so I would recommend cutting out the middle-man and going straight to the sponsor site mentioned, which is Austria based btw.


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OfflineZed
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: CandleJack]
    #11338354 - 10/28/09 02:58 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Good advise all round :smile:. Asda do x4 half pint drinking glass's for 79p, bargain.

I get my organic brown rice from the co-op.

Ive also had syringes from the  store you mention, always look like they have been stored a fair while but still 100%  good.


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Offlinesisyphus
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: Zed]
    #11340452 - 10/28/09 07:33 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Thanks for the encouragement guys - I was a little concerned I'd be getting a response of 'bore-off', 'PF Tek is teh suck' or similar! Afte all one buy with a few Tesco jars is hardly revolutionary!

Anyway I chose the Tesco ones, and the setup I've gone for, because I wanted to get something I can do again and again. I don't want to be doign disposable things, these jars seemed like a good investment, and with the jam were a bargain.

I did have foil on top, but didn't have it on then for pics (otherwise you wouldn't be able to see the names of my jars!).

For next time I will look harder for the organic BRF, but at least I've got a blender now - I grabbed it on the way home from work today (before I used my mum' when I was visiting last week). SO worst case if I can't find the flour at least I can grind my own a bit finer from the rice.

Badman I may just send you that PM :-)

Anyway two more things

1) I'm going travelling in about 3 weeks, for a fortnight. Do I leave my jars for a few days (gives me the advantage of checking they aren't contaminated)? Or just go gung ho and whack in the spores tonight? (bearing in mind I share my house with friends, so can't leave the syringe in the fridge..)

From reading it seems the jars would likely be ready (assuming no problems) in 3.5-5 weeks, right when I'm away! Advice is welcome! Much as I want to get the spores in, I'm tempted to give it until Friday, and then inoculate them, so when I get back (assuming they have worked) it is birthday straight away.

2) How many others are in London? Some largers might be a good laugh!


--------------------
“I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them."
- Ian L. Fleming (1908 - 1964)
“I believe that all government is evil and that trying to improve it is a waste of time."
- Henry Louis Mencken (1880 - 1956)


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Invisiblebadman
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: sisyphus]
    #11340589 - 10/28/09 07:56 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

You got enough time so you may as well wait a few days before shootin up just to be extra safe, a basic way of sterility testing. You only need a fridge for long term storing of stuff a month or two at room temp wont fuck your spores up.

Where bouts are you MOI ??


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Offlinesisyphus
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: badman]
    #11340695 - 10/28/09 08:15 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

West Side! As the kids say...

Chiswick/Kew way. Yourself?

Also I'll do as suggested, and wait a few days for my jars. The other alternative I guess is to inject a small amount, and rely on the fact it'll take a bit longer to fully colonise? Or even go for a very large cake in a separate container to use of some of this huge amount of flour (nothing ventured, nothing gained, right)? I have a wok that I was amount to throw out, that might make an interesting prospect?


--------------------
“I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them."
- Ian L. Fleming (1908 - 1964)
“I believe that all government is evil and that trying to improve it is a waste of time."
- Henry Louis Mencken (1880 - 1956)


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Invisiblebadman
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: sisyphus]
    #11340968 - 10/28/09 09:00 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Near the Oval.

Its all good to experiment but the larger the cake is the slower it tends to colonise also with multispore inoc every thing becomes way to random.

Play it safe for your first few grows, the last thing you want is to get mass contamination, not only is it a waste of materials but a PAIN in the arse and hassle with all the cleaning, disinfecting and sterilising. Take Zed's advice; smart price glasses :thumbup:


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OfflineZed
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: badman]
    #11343255 - 10/29/09 03:34 AM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Could you possibly post a closeup pic of  those jars you are going to inoculate....from the pics the substrate  looks very stodgy/packed as though its  taken  on water, just want to cover  your bases before you *might* waste spores.


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OfflineDarjeeling
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: sisyphus]
    #11343378 - 10/29/09 04:29 AM (7 years, 11 months ago)

UK growers can get jars here. Grab the 230g jam jars for PF Tek.

FSRE will send you spores for (just about) free.


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OfflineWaxaddict
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: Darjeeling]
    #11343614 - 10/29/09 07:45 AM (7 years, 11 months ago)

I got 12 x quart Mason Ball jars for just under £30 here - http://www.cookability.biz/home-discovery-preserving-jars/b_697.htm

Having trouble finding Lysol in the UK though, do we have a different named equivalent?


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OfflineZed
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: Waxaddict]
    #11343788 - 10/29/09 09:16 AM (7 years, 11 months ago)

I use Dettol disinfectant spray....although im not sure if its worth it. Its obviously good against bacteria but not sure about mould spores.


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InvisibleWilliamsii
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: Zed]
    #11343945 - 10/29/09 10:13 AM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Chloroxylenol is the main active ingredient in Dettol and it does kill fungi.  I do not know about spores specifically but I presume that it would kill them also.

Litre jars are cheaper here: http://www.justpreserving.co.uk/deluxe-preserving-1000ml-pack-p-20003456.html
They are even cheaper on the site that Darjeeling linked to: http://www.barnitts.co.uk/products/details/8983.html

The latter gives a measurement of grams rather than ml though.  They are both the Deluxe make so I suppose they are the same size.  The total actually works out cheaper with justpreserving as the shipping is only 2.95 whereas barnitts charges 6.99. However, that may be temporarily high due to them using a courier instead of the post office which is being disrupted by the current strikes.  Grr.


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OfflineTHE CULTIVATOR
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: ShroomerRoss]
    #11344077 - 10/29/09 10:54 AM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

ShroomerRoss said:
nice one. will be following this. im from uk so i know what you mean by supplies being harder to get hold of, for when i eventually start my grow.



jars- tesco finest jams, jamjars.co.uk(cheaper)
brown riceflour- holland and barett
magicplants spores are fine and so are redeyefrog
vermiculite- £20 for 100 litre much cheaper than b&q


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OfflineZed
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: THE CULTIVATOR]
    #11344211 - 10/29/09 11:42 AM (7 years, 11 months ago)

just noticed Coir blocks are cheap on ebay!, just ordered 2 blocks.


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Offlinesophanox
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Re: First time grower in the UK [Re: Zed]
    #11344547 - 10/29/09 12:58 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

you guys get used coffee grounds from starbucks? seems fine to do it in the states, wonder if it's cool to do here too.

safe!


--------------------
<Pan> what are the fluff balls? just normal myc growth?
<@gretchen> id have to see your balls to tell

Thinking about starting bulk? I'd recommend these teks:
wbs tek - http://www.shroomery.org/9030/Docs-Wild-Bird-Seed-Tek
coir tek - http://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/9289857/an/0/page/0
monotub setup tek - http://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/8231041#8231041


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