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Invisibleblindingleaf
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Peat moss casing tutorial * 9
    #22091522 - 08/14/15 11:38 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Please note that this is not a comparison thread, or a thread that is arguing for one casing over another.  They can all work well.  There are other threads u can argue ur point in. 
This is a HOT TO USE PEAT MOSS thread. 
also note that cubes do not require a casing layer.  yes, we all know that.

I have been getting a lot of PMs lately about substrate or casings.  its annoying to answer each one (no offense) so i figured i'd write this up.  I don't really write TEKs cause i don't do anything special.  old school ain't bad school if you ask me.  i got no weird gimmicks, or tricks to make things better or go faster or anything like that.  those things are all interesting to me, and i try a lot of them, but i always fall back to the basics it seems like.  Since there isn't really a casing thread i could find that went into too much detail about home made casings, i decided this might be a good opportunity to write one.  There is Franks jiffy mix TEK, and the standard Ryche Hawk's 50/50 (+) casing TEK in the FAQ section, and probably the best visual one is the RR video in the casing chapter here.  I wanna point out that when i make casings or substrate, i really don't measure much.  its all by feel so this isn't exactly how i do it every time.  recently i've been trying NO verm casings with success, and continue to play around with NO hydrated lime.  traditionally, button growers, who we learned HOW to case from, use only peat and limestone, NO HEAT, nada.  just mix dry and add water and apply.  the original 50/50 TEK did not have hydrated lime, nor did the original RR casing TEK.  again, old school ain't bad school.  I'm not one to push for one way or another, i think u should do what works for you.

I've been casing with peat for a while now, and i really have no problems with it.  I see a lot of people might, but then again, u never know when dude posts he tried it and got green, did dude really try it though?  the regulars I'm sure are keen to their word, and know the kinds of posters I'm referring to.  they're always one step ahead of all the other noobs :rolleyes:

so maybe IRL, peat doesn't really have that much of a bad wrap, but its just something that generally got accepted and repeated.  could be for a reason though, and I'm an exception, but i've had many a contaminant in bulk growing, FEW of them green, and none of them from the casing layer (that i could tell anyways), so i tend to think peat should be given a second chance (if u haven't already honestly tried it)

Explanation of ingredients.
I know there are many people who use jiffy mix, or other pre mixes.  Thats all well and good, and obviously they are easy, fast, and work wonders.  Maybe its just the way i am, but i like to get down to the nitty gritty, and usually end up making things harder on myself by doing things from scratch.  This is one of those things. 
Bales of peat are REALLY cheap.  they are 3 cubic feet, and compacted well, its really a lot of peat.  i know many of u grow weed or other ethnobotanicals, or do gardening stuff.  i think thats all the more reason to go this route.  it stores well outside/garage/basement.  keep it as dry as u can, if its outside, a tarp is fine.  Here is a recent price comparison at Home Depot


So i buy the bale.  the one pictured above is a brand called "Lamberts".  i haven't used that one, but the one i use wasn't there when i took the picture.  Its organic (this is of no consequence, just the brand i think has best quality, and its same price) and called "Majestic Earth".  if u get small bags, loose bags, etc, its all good.  whatever is cheap.  you might get some brands u don't like, and in time u'll figure out what and why.  I look for texture and relatively few sticks.

Next is vermiculite.  I'm sure many of u buy this in bulk cause the coir bucket TEK.  or at least, i hope u buy it in bulk :lol:  This is the course stuff.  I think its better for casing, but the fine or medium is perfectly good too.  i actually like fine verm for bucket TEK more.  this is just what i have.


Next is limestone.  this is just regular powder limestone for your yard.  i know the bag says "granular" and "chunks" but, i swear its powdery.  if ur looking for it, its usually outside in garden section in 40 lb bags (its heavy even though bag is small).  less than $10/bag.  You can also use it in grains or in bucket TEK.  its kinda similar to gypsum, but has no sulphur.  FEEL the bag before u buy it, it should feel like powder.  crushed oyster shell is another option and will do a similar thing if crushed fine enough.


Next is hydrated lime.  The two best/most used and recognized brands are "hi-yield" and "hoffman".  i got some on amazon once, and it didn't even work, not sure what the deal was with that.  there are probably others, but hoffman is easiest to get for me.  its very strong, very powdery, you should be careful with it.  Again, this is cheap, $10 or less a bag.


note back of bag label.  magnesium content is low, you will want it under ~5% or so


Perlite (not pictured) and Gypsum . you can substitute gypsum for limestone if you want.  Perlite, I'm sure u know what it looks like.  its optional but helpful.  I'll be using Miracle grow perlite for this, but i would strongly encourage you to go with another brand.



Lets get started, shall we?

First, lets note than we are about to pasteurize properly.  this could take a while :frown:  so lets get lifted!  its summer time, enjoy it while it lasts.  open the doors, turn on some tunes.
roll up a spliff


and smoke it


alright, lets sit down and take a breath.  we're about to mix up some peat, right?  ummm, yea i think so…lemme just think for a second….oh yea..yea, thats what we were up to :stoned2:

The recipe I'm making today will be for two standard tubs.  I use about 2.5 qts of casing per tub.
5-6 qts peat (it shrinks when it gets wet)
1qt coarse vermiculite (fine, medium ok too)
3/4 cup limestone (finely ground best bet)
3/4 cup perlite

If i was adding hydrated lime to this, i would add about 1 heaping teaspoon (or about 1 level teaspoon per tub).  Today, i will not be adding it.  If ur just starting to experiment with peat, it would be wise to include that in your recipe.  Im using this as an example to show that peat can be used safely w/o ph strips or hydrated lime.

If limestone is unavailable, gypsum can be substituted. IME, it doesn't provide the small upswing limestone does, but it does the job just fine.  I have a lot of limestone from when i couldn't find gypsum, so i still am using that.

1. Get a large pot.  I use this one a lot for myco stuff.  maybe 2.5 gallons big?  whatever works, small buckets are good.
2. A course strainer and/or pasta strainer (the larger the holes the better)


3. Grab a small container and start scooping in ur peat moss, sticks, clumps, and all.


4. Sift it back and forth.  the peat you want is fine particles, you will be surprised at how soft it feels in a second.


5. Once it seems all sifted, take a look  See if there are any large clumps of peat that stuck together from making the bale you got it in (if u did).  There will be a lot of bark and sticks too, but you should be able to tell the difference (below picture).  I just break up the big clumps and sift a bit longer.  When I'm done, i put the bark/sticks, etc aside (below picture).  You can use them for edible grows, outdoor stuff, orchid mixes, etc.  no need to waste it.


When you buy jiffy mix, part of the premium price you pay is that it is sifted for the most part.  I used to get the small bags of miracle grow peat, and there were only ever a few sticks.  if your peat doesn't have many sticks u can skip this.  And technically, u can skip it even if u have a lot of sticks.  its just a safer bet to sift IME.  The large $10 bales will always have sticks, its just the downside of buying in bulk in this case.
Sift until u see about 5-6 qts worth.  it will be nice and soft.  you will want to lay in it naked, but wait, you didn't sift that much did you?!?


6. Adding the rest of the mix. 
A traditional casing mix for cubensis would be 50% peat, and 50% verm with a buffer.  After trying that for a while, i ended up liking a high ratio of peat.
Verm may hold more water than peat up front, but IME, peat is able to RETAIN it for longer.  When I think about casing ingredients, i think that water retention is a top priority.  It doesn't matter to me if verm can hold 3x more water than peat if it loses it 3x faster.  Maybe others have had different experiences with it, but that is my 2 cents on it. 
Limestone is added to increase the Ph of the casing.  It is more of a long term buffer than a quick acting one, but it is still capable of a couple points up front.  That is good enough for me.  A traditional recipe calls for about a 10% addition to the casing.
Perlite is added to increase aeration and create a sort of bumpy-ness i think helps growth.
Hydrated Lime is added to immediately boost the Ph of the casing.  It is VERY strong.  Please wear gloves when handling, and mixing casings with this stuff.  I have never felt more acute stomach pain in my life.  PLEASE, wash your hands after using hydrated lime. (not pictured below)



7.  Mix the ingredients dry.


8. Bring to field capacity.  I have no pictures of this, and I don't have a measurement.  i do this all by eyeballing.  Add water slowly, its probably about 2 qts for the above recipe, maybe a little more if u used fine vermiculite, or a higher ratio of vermiculite.  in time, u will learn it well, and exact measurements will elude you too

9. Load into bags/jars for Proper pasteurization. 
I use bags, and as u can see, i use them quite a bit.  Jar I think heat up faster, i just don't have any extra on hand, and bags make it easy to do 1 bag>1 tub.  I split this btw the bags, each one getting 2.5-3 qts, or whatever u end up with.


10. Load into PC before the water.


11. Add the water.  I add it up to basically as high as i can w/o the bags floating.  maybe 3/4 the way up??  i dunno man, u'll figure it out


12. Tie the bags.  I use a kinda tight rubber band (zip ties work too).  i bring it to the top-ish of substrate, but i don't try to get the air out or anything.  if there was more in the bag, that would be a good idea though.  Then i insert thermometer into center of one bag thru the top, and look at temp.  I used room tempish water when i saturated the casing, but u could use hotter water.


13. Put PC/pot lid on.  turn stove on high.  keep an eye till it boils


14. When the water starts boiling rapidly, i turn down the flame. (no picture, my bad)  i know its the center of the substrate that matters, but in this particular TEK, I'm shooting for a shorter pasteurization time at a lower "exterior temp" because i want to preserve as much of peats microbial community as I can.  The goal here is to kill off any common competitor mold spores that got in at harvest, packaging, in my basement, etc. 
here is a short abstract about kill times for common molds.  shout out to kizzle for finding this.
My goal is to get to 140, and turn timer on for a half an hour.


15.  If you have your pasteurization game down, then u will know ur stove and all that.  This time, my temp started at 81.  I turned it down once it was rapidly boiling to low, then I turned it off at 99.  If i had more casing/substrate in the bag, the times would be different, and you will figure ur own scheme out after a few tries.


16. If the temps are climbing to fast, ill either hitch the lid a little, or completely take it off to slow down the thermal momentum.


17. CLEAN UP.  I'm adding this in here because I'm coming to realize how important this really is.  we are all growing mushrooms indoors for God's sakes, keep your place CLEAN.  i can't even really explain how disgusting my last place was.  a combination of sheer laziness, pets, smokers, party's, bulk ingredients, etc made it pretty bad.  i know there is no way to link a dirty environment with high risk of contamination, but i personally think there is a correlation.  its not necessarily that ur fruiting tubs are exposed to more mold spores, its that ur whole house eventually becomes more mold ridden than it should be.  this can get in ur SAB, ur tools, ur jar rims, in the eddies of ur flow hood.  the chances of getting into ur spawn are then greater.  this isn't about fruiting in a sterile or super clean place, thats obviously not necessary.  its about keeping ur shit straight, knowing how to stay organized, and making sure ur not a dirt ball in general. live simply and know what mold vectors are and address them.  I think it will help both you and your grows, my :2cents:


18.  When the 30 minute timer is up, sometimes I'm looking at 150f, sometimes 160f, sometimes 145f.  Its all good:thumbup:
You can choose to do 60 minutes if u like, i know i did for a while.  whatever gives u peace of mind, go for it.  just stay on the lower end of the temps if possible.

19.  I let it cool.  When 30 minute timer is up, i take the lid off (if its not already) and move the rubber band up, ABOVE the filter, and fold over the top of the bag, securing it with the rubber band. 

I've let peat sit for a while, 10 days or so, and still used it with GREAT success.  It's not like substrates, where the nutrients can get eaten up.  Today, ill be letting it cool overnight to use tomorrow.  any additional time spent btw pasteurizing and using is time that the microbial population can build up, and thats ok.  Don't get too carried away, I'm just saying, its all good.  pasteurize a few tubs worth if u got the day off.  keep it on the shelf.  it will be ok.

Please note, there are a lot of ways to pasteurize.  I've done peat in the oven, and i've limed it, no heat, with success.  For me, this is the way i prefer to treat peat based casings, but there are many other ways.  I think the combination of me sifting the sticks out, ensuring proper airflow in the tub, and the reduced heat treatment, is a big reason why i have not had problems with peat casings.  The reason why it still works w/o the hydrated lime is because the microbial population is present enough to ward off any bad guys.  When peat is sterilized, this population is virtually eliminated, and leaves the peat open for competitors.  When peat is pasteurized with boiling water for a long duration, this population is also theoretically decreased.  This is why i lower my heat, and reduce the length of the run.  I do not do this for substrates like poo/straw/etc. 
If you choose to use a dash of hydrated lime, ur chances for success, IME, are even higher.
again, i want to add that i do use hydrated lime regularly.  about 1 teaspoon per tub mix.  this specific recipe and example (and the ones pictured soon) are just examples of peat being used successfully without hydrated lime, in an effort to (hopefully) help people feel more safe in using this casing.  also the addition of an extra 30 minutes of pasteurization time should help keep u sane until u get used to peat.

Again, i want to say, this is not a comparison thread.  i also use coir as a "casing" but i apply it at a different time, and only in specific situations (mainly when i use a lot of straw in a tub).  peat is something i use on poo/straw mixes (where poo is main ingredient), CVG tubs, and coir/straw tubs, because IME, it give me more reliable results in those situations.

next step will be applying the casing layer, and determining when to fruit it (coming soon)

APPLYING THE PEAT

(sorry these pics are sideways :frown:  I'm not used to uploading this many at once, forgot to check orientation)

Now that your peat has had time to cool overnight, or even a few hours, its time to apply.  Lets take a good look at our tubs.  we don't wanna case them if they aren't healthy.
AA+ on CVG with amendments (I'm using CVG for this example because i know thats the substrate of choice these days.  in general, i would use straw/poo)



notice there is no variation in the texture of the mycelium.  this is very important, especially when using CVG.  with other substrates, variances can occur, but only slightly.  Hopefuly, ill address that in another write up on how i prep substrates.  point is, with experience, you will just know by looking at a colonized tub if your spawn was top notch or not.

!. DUMP the whole bag onto the top of substrate.


2. SPREAD it out evenly.  this amount of peat looks to be about a 1/2".  u can choose to do less, this is just what i ended up with.  like i said before, all my tubs are slightly different…..sorry :shrug:


3. Now, I take some of the excess thats in the middle of the tubs, and push it to two opposite corners of the tub.  This is so later, when i introduce to fruiting conditions, i can use that to patch, and i don't have to keep any back in the bag.  u can either keep some back in the bag/jars, or u can do this, OR u can just not patch.  up to you, but IME, patching is worth it usually, ESPECIALLY with thinner casings (and yes, i know, this is not a thin casing :P )


4. I use four top holes on my tubs, and 4 bottom holes, all of them are 1 3/8".  its basically standard set up, as per Frank, but i add two top holes on the long sides at the top.  I don't necessarily use them all the time (for uncased tubs, i keep them taped thru harvest), but they are there if i need them.  After applying, i put the lid on, and plug up the two top holes on long sides with poly.  let her breath easy folks.  do you want to be trapped in a taped up tub??


5. Mark the date u cased, and the recipe u cased with (if it varies and u care about that variation), and put them back in ur stack.  NOW WE WAIT.

Examples of peat based casings w/o Verm or hydrated lime.

Penis Envy (straw poo substrates)



two of them have an uneven pin set, thats cause they are closest to the part of the wall my window AC hits.  make sure you know how to identify variations in pin sets and address them quickly and appropriately.  we all have different conditions.  READ your mycelium.  LEARN from it.  its telling you a story everyday.
PE usually takes over the casing for me before fruiting.  thats an anomaly IME.  here is a tub of a wild cubensis "TMF".  u can see the casing is not colonized completely.  To me, this is important.  i don't like when that happens (hence why i tend to like peat over coir in most circumstances).  Yes, the fruits are spindly.  this variety gave me some trouble.


Here is another PE.  this one has almost an identical recipe as posted for the casing.  substrate is short composted straw/poo.


Hopefully this helps.  ill update the TEK with the AA+ grows.  hopefully u learned a little something even if u don't case, or don't want to use peat.  I always like to try things out for myself.  trust issues, ya dig :shrug:

Edit: Because of peats ability to be stored for longer than pasteurized, nutritional substrate, if you end up going for an hour, or to 160 for a while its ok.  Since u will be storing this on a shelf/tote before use, as long as a small % of the microbial population was preserved, it will spread as time goes on.  Since this situation called for me using the casing same/next day, i wanted to keep the temp low, since there would be no "shelf time" for that population to increase.
There have been many times when my peat hit 180.  oh shit, WTF did i DOOOOO!! but, being me and working a lot, i used it anyway with success.  i can only assume it was the hydrated lime that helped in these instances.  so again, peat is more flexible than u might think with proper conditions in your tub and a strong buffering agent.  but to be safe, and what I do these days, is to follow what is outlined above, so your peat casing becomes more of a control than a variable

Also, keep in mind, i am not a scientist, a biologist, a micro biologist, i don't even have a college degree man.  This TEK is primarily informed by my experiences with peat as a casing over the past 1.5 years, and a lot of reading and talking to other growers, gardeners, farmers, etc.  So take the microbe thing with a grain of salt, but i hope you see the logic behind it.


Edited by blindingleaf (02/12/16 12:08 AM)


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OfflinecronicrMFacebook
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Re: Peat [Re: blindingleaf]
    #22093260 - 08/14/15 11:38 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Another top notch post...hats off my friend


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Offlinespacechildo
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Re: Peat [Re: cronicr]
    #22093556 - 08/15/15 02:06 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Awesome stuff leaf, you're a rock star! :rockon:


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InvisibleGrey
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Re: Peat [Re: spacechildo]
    #22093632 - 08/15/15 02:49 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Where's your tag?


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InvisiblebodhisattaMDiscordReddit
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Re: Peat [Re: Grey]
    #22093689 - 08/15/15 03:20 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Grey said:
Where's your tag?




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InvisiblePastywhyteMDiscord
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Re: Peat [Re: bodhisatta]
    #22093903 - 08/15/15 05:02 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Yep that's a fine write up right there. A fine write up. Might do me some peat casing now, been a while.

:raisemyglass:


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Re: Peat [Re: bodhisatta]
    #22093921 - 08/15/15 05:07 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

bodhisatta said:
Quote:

Grey said:
Where's your tag?







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Invisibled0urd3n
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Re: Peat [Re: taGyo]
    #22093975 - 08/15/15 05:27 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

BL is back at it. Right on brother. :cheers:


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Re: Peat [Re: d0urd3n]
    #22094063 - 08/15/15 05:57 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Thanks guys.
Definitely give it a try.  Just figured a good write up for peat was overdue.  Coir also works well, but like I said, for me, it's specific situations that warrant it's use.
I'll try to write up something short about it and add it at bottom


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Re: Peat moss casing [Re: blindingleaf]
    #22094177 - 08/15/15 06:36 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Awesome TEK!

I'll be trying this this year or early next year when I get another monotub built and started.

Would this work for casing Pan Cyan's, Anyone know?


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Re: Peat moss casing [Re: Jsneeb]
    #22094204 - 08/15/15 06:42 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

:rockon:


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Re: Peat moss casing [Re: TheMustardTiger]
    #22094264 - 08/15/15 06:58 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Well written and thorough.:thumbup:


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Re: Peat moss casing [Re: eatyualive]
    #22094283 - 08/15/15 07:07 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Very well done blindingleaf!

Thanks so much for your contribution, it will help a lot of people out.
I may even try peat again... I'd kind of given up on it because it was the one reliable source of contamination for me. I just use verm now and that works but I think peat holds water better and your point about the microbes is well taken.

:kaneclap:


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Invisibleblindingleaf
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Re: Peat moss casing [Re: Jsneeb]
    #22094346 - 08/15/15 07:25 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

thanks guys!

Quote:

Jsneeb said:
Awesome TEK!

I'll be trying this this year or early next year when I get another monotub built and started.

Would this work for casing Pan Cyan's, Anyone know?




thanks! Yes, it will be perfect for pans.  check here in "my favorite grows" and the Pans were all done with peat casing.  many others on that page are too, i usually mention it before the picture.

Updating the OP with this:


^^thats the gypsum i get.  $7.00/50 lbs.  already ground.  yes, i have used the pelletized stuff, and it works fine.  but u can't beat that deal, and when it comes powdered, its one less step IMO.


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Edited by blindingleaf (08/15/15 08:45 PM)


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Invisibled0urd3n
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Re: Peat moss casing [Re: blindingleaf]
    #22094362 - 08/15/15 07:30 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Can I get that at like Home Depot?


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Re: Peat moss casing [Re: d0urd3n]
    #22094384 - 08/15/15 07:36 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

not sure, might be based on region.
i know i always say this, but seriously, everyone, go talk to a local farmer.  he will have good advice on bulk ingredients.  he can either (at least IME) add what u want to his order, or just sell u any extra he has.  thats who i get my Rye, poo, straw, and gypsum from.  For me, sourcing locally is important.  Also, the local farming community is usually awesome.  some great dudes who are very wise.  I have helped at many a farm for extra cash or just produce trade.  you will have fun, get ur hands dirty, enjoy the outdoors, and make some connections.  Local is where its at.

if all else fails, i would recommend getting the limestone powder i pictured above.  its a 40lb bag ($10 or LESS), its ALWAYS at home depot or lowes, and serves almost exactly the same purpose.  you want the one that is powdered, so feel the bag before u buy it.  it should not feel like pellets.  u can add that to ur grains, ur bucket TEK, ur casings, ur poo, etc.  its a great thing to have on hand if gypsum is hard to come by


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Invisibleblindingleaf
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Re: Peat moss casing [Re: blindingleaf]
    #22094401 - 08/15/15 07:43 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

if you live in a city, see if there are community gardens, or guerrilla gardens in abandoned lots.  those people are great to know as well, and sometimes have hook ups u might be interested in.  even if not, its a great thing to get involved with, especially if u are in a bad part of the city.  community is an important thing in the ghetto.  marshall law ain't no joke w/ little to no police presence, so its up to you and ur neighbors to stay tight:thumbup:

its no fun to have a one person block party.  and who are u gonna run thru the fire hydrant sprinklers with?!?!


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Re: Peat moss casing [Re: blindingleaf]
    #22094407 - 08/15/15 07:46 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Very nice write up.... thanks!

I have noticed that when using the Jiffy mix that has the added hydrated lime buffer it seems to work ok without adding extra Hydrated-Pickling Lime .... but there have been a few times I added a tablespoon in with it to help with ph.

I have also added a little gypsum and sometimes a fairly small amount of crushed garden lime to help keep it stabilize....

At any rate... One Hell of a GREAT Write-Up man!!!! Thank you for taking the time!!.....:rockon:


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Edited by FreeWorldOrder (08/15/15 07:47 PM)


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Invisibleblindingleaf
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Re: Peat moss casing [Re: FreeWorldOrder]
    #22094415 - 08/15/15 07:49 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

thanks man!  yea the premixes are great for sure!  this is just an alternative for hard headed people like me :facepalm:

but also, a good idea if one plans to stay in this hobby long term.  its a good skill to have.

i have Ph strips, but i don't use them that often.  sometimes when i prep straw i will though.

make sure ur careful with hydrated lime, its not only caustic, but will do a number on ur stomach if accidentally ingested.


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OfflineFreeWorldOrder
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Re: Peat moss casing [Re: blindingleaf]
    #22094433 - 08/15/15 07:56 PM (7 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

blindingleaf said:
thanks man!  yea the premixes are great for sure!  this is just an alternative for hard headed people like me :facepalm:

but also, a good idea if one plans to stay in this hobby long term.  its a good skill to have.

i have Ph strips, but i don't use them that often.  sometimes when i prep straw i will though.

make sure ur careful with hydrated lime, its not only caustic, but will do a number on ur stomach if accidentally ingested.




Oh I hear about the HL brother...lol. And it doesn't take much either. I have a fairly decent PH meter since I am also a certified advanced Master Gardener. The meter comes in real handy when working with peat casings that may require some adjustment. Hell, it also nice to just check manure based subs, etc. just to see what the PH actually is....  :mushroom2:


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"They who can give up essential liberty, to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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