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OfflineBlue Helix
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pH differences are common in various peat mosses.
    #2342588 - 02/16/04 07:47 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

All ingredients in the list that follows were mixed using heat and allowed to sit 24 hours before taking pH measurements. pH measurements were made by taking a handful of casing soil, squeezing until a few milliliters of liquid is extracted, and then the pH of the liquid was measured using a recently calibrated probe with an accuracy of +/- .01 points (not just a display resolution but true accuracy of +/-.01). The liquid is allowed to sit until the CO2 reaches atmospheric as the pH is observed to gradually go up and eventually stabalize.

2 part crushed coral (i.e. aragonite, 1-3 mm size grains)
8 parts Uni-Gro Premium Peat Moss
8 parts medium coarse vermiculite
1/2 part calcium carbonate flour as used in wine making
Reverse Osmosis water used to mix

The resultant pH of the above mix was found to be over 8 and did not support vigorous mycelium growth. If one compacts the peat moss--a mistake of not doing which I make twice--the resultant peat added is nearly double that of uncompacted peat moss! Even so, the result is lower but still about 8.0, which is too high. Why?

I think the culprit for the higher-than-expected pH is the brand peat moss itself, Uni-Gro. The peat moss was measured with a pH of about 5.0, whereas Sphagnum peat, as recommended by ?The Mushroom Cultivator? by Paul Stamets and JS Chilton (TMC), tends to be closer to 4.0 (i.e. much more acidic). Also, it is worth noting that this brand peat moss is not classified as ?Sphagnum peat? anywhere on the bag, so it could be any mix of peat mosses--and there are many types, all of which have higher pH than pure Sphagnum.

Using this Uni-Gro peat moss I found the following formula to give me a pH of 7.3, closer to TMC recommended 6.8-7.2:

2 part crushed coral (i.e. aragonite, 1-3 mm size grains)
12 parts UniGrow Premium Peat Moss (very well compacted)
8 parts medium coarse vermiculite
1/2 part calcium carbonate flour as used in wine making
Reverse Osmosis water used to mix

The reason I wrote this is because a lot of mushroom growers, cubensis or otherwise, don't realize that casing colonization is very dependent on pH. A high pH is probably worse than too low of pH in the case of cubensis. Of course, pH isn?t everything.

Another critical factor of casing colonization is proper and EVEN bed temperature. A temperature too high, even say 90+ F in just the center portion from a misplaced aquarium heater, will almost DEFINITELY contaminate the casing layer (90% chance I?d guess). You need to incubate your casing evenly and at about 84F (as it?ll be hotter in the center from it?s own heat generation). Even heat can be applied by making sure air or water, whatever the case may be, is moving around the bottom of the tray. A 50/50 casing that is the right pH and the right temperature throughout will almost never contaminate in my experience unless the moisture content is way out of whack.


Edited by Blue Helix (02/16/04 07:52 PM)


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InvisibleJoshua
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Re: pH differences are common in various peat mosses. [Re: Blue Helix]
    #2343028 - 02/16/04 09:37 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

Great write-up!

"A high pH is probably worse than too low of pH in the case of cubensis."

I believe cubensis prefers a more basic mix (7-7.5) than acidic.

The previous quoted statement is a bit ambiguous as far as higher and lower. Did you actually see a preference for a more acidic mix from neutral than more basic from neutral?

Joshua


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OfflineBlue Helix
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Re: pH differences are common in various peat mosses. [Re: Joshua]
    #2343264 - 02/16/04 10:31 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

I have read about a decent degree of casing success not even using calcium carbonate buffering. Those mixes would have a pH of probably well below 5.0 since none of the other ingredients could bring the peat moss pH up. Yet when I tried to achieve casing colonization given a casing in the lower 8 pH range, I had not luck at all. From these observations I conclude that cubensis can tolerate lower pHs but will not tolerate a pH above 8.0 well.

The optimal pH is, as you said, slightly basic and in the lower 7 range according to many sources. Paul Stamets states in TMC it's 6.8-7.2.


Edited by Blue Helix (02/16/04 10:35 PM)


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InvisibleJoshua
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Re: pH differences are common in various peat mosses. [Re: Blue Helix]
    #2343341 - 02/16/04 10:46 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

If you are up for experimentation, you should compare equivalently acidic v. basic mixes, ie. 6 v 8, 6.5 v 7.5.

I'd be interested in knowing. It seems like you have the proper instrumentation to carry it out as well.

Joshua


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OfflineMax1
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Re: pH differences are common in various peat mosses. [Re: Blue Helix]
    #2406692 - 03/08/04 12:37 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

From my trials i have found that a ph in the lower 8's does not hurt your growth at all. As a matter of fact, givin the time it take to colonize and flush, the slightly higher ph keeps you in the ball park for a greater period of time. The ph will drop of as time goes by.
If you have a healthy batch of myc i say go with the slightly higher.

This pan was cased with 50/50 Sphagnum peat/verm with a Calcium Hydroxide buffer and had at the the time it was put to use a ph of at least 8.3 and no signs of stunted growth as you can see. To much, to fast IMO but I attribute the fast and abundant colonizing to a very healthy strain more than the ph of the casing.



Dont worry as much about the ph.

Keep it close and IMO i say go a little higher and let it fall in to range as your grow ages..

Max


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InvisibleJoshua
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Re: pH differences are common in various peat mosses. [Re: Max1]
    #2407139 - 03/08/04 02:57 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

Those are my thoughts as well.

Joshua


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