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Registered: 03/28/03
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casing ph
    #1485775 - 04/23/03 12:52 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

what is the importance of the ph level in casings if one was to use peat moss?
what is a good level to maintain?

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Re: casing ph [Re: ihavefingers]
    #1485897 - 04/23/03 01:39 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

In my opinion, a good starting point is around 9-10. I know that's sweet, but the myc doesn't seem to mind much, and most contams like a slightly acid ph. It keeps the little bastards at bay while the myc colonizes your casing.

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Re: casing ph [Re: ihavefingers]
    #1486023 - 04/23/03 02:25 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

pH is short for "Pondus Hydrogenii", Latin for Power of Hydrogen.  The pH of a substance, which can range from 0 to 14, indicates the hydrogen ion concentration in that substance.  In simple terms, a substance with a pH of 7 is neutral, below 7 is acidic, and above 7 is alkaline.  For example, the pH of vinegar, an acid, is about 4 and the pH of ammonia, which is alkaline, is about 12.

The pH scale is logarithmic which means that a difference of one unit indicates a ten-fold change in the substance.  Something at a pH of 4 is 10 times more acidic than something at a pH of 5, and something at a pH of 3 is 100 times more acidic than something at a pH of 5.

Many of nature's processes are highly dependent on pH.  This is also true for the biochemistry of mushrooms and it's why many mushroom growers manipulate the pH of their casing material to optimize the fruiting environment.  There are two parts to this: initial adjustment, and long-term buffering.

Initial adjustment means to set a starting pH for the casing on the high (alkaline) side of the optimal range for the particular species being cultivated.  Buffering means to set up a condition in the casing such that it will resist a change in pH over time.

Adding limestone powder, lime, or other alkaline substance to a casing changes the pH immediately but it's quickly 'used up' and after the initial pH change, doesn't do much to maintain the pH once the mycelium starts to secrete acids as part of it's normal metabolism.

Adding crushed oyster shells, which are also alkaline but break down over time, has little immediate effect on the pH, but over time it counters the mycelium's long-term effort to drive the pH down.

Peat, a component of many casing formulations, is acidic.  Although a peat-based casing will work without adjusting the pH, optimal results can only be obtained when the pH is maintained within a narrow range.  Most mushroom mycelium is happiest at a pH of around 7.5.

When adjusting the pH of a casing, it's important to have some way to measure it.  The least expensive way is to use litmus paper which changes color to indicate pH.  You stick it in the casing material, then compare the color with a chart to find the pH.  This is similar to how swimming pool test kits work.  A more expensive and more accurate way to measure the pH is with an electronic pH meter.  Either method will work well and sources for both litmus paper and pH meters can be found easily with an online search.

So, to summarize, you can get good results without adjusting your pH, but you will optimize your yields if you use both lime to quickly adjust the starting pH of your casing and crushed oyster shells, which break down over time to maintain the pH against the mycelium's acid secretions.

Hope this helps...  :grin:


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Re: casing ph [Re: ihavefingers]
    #1486036 - 04/23/03 02:29 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

PH 6-7, peat is acidic by nature, usually not overly - but it can vary. Sometimes it's best to buffer it to appropriate PH in order to give the mycellium what they like best.

in a PH 12 casing, it completely burned my mycellium.


-- The information I provide is only information from readings, growing of gourmet mushrooms, and second hand stories--

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