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First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. * 1
    #26091483 - 07/05/19 02:13 PM (1 year, 7 months ago)

Hi guys,

I’ve successfully used PF tech in the past and I’m about to begin my first grow using spawn bags and bulk substrate in an 18 x 12 x 12, clear monotub.  The monotub has two one inch holes on both long sides, near its top.  I plan to cover them with micropore tape.

I’ve read conflicting reports about the temperature and lighting conditions needed for successful spawn bag colonization.  I have a few questions. 

After inoculation, do the bags have to be in the dark?  I was considering putting them in a closed closet, but they wouldn’t get much air flow.  If they don’t require darkness, can I simply put them on the floor and ensure that they don’t get direct sunlight? 

After the bags are colonized and I mix them with the substrate in the monotub, does the monotub need to be in the dark?  Or can I leave it on the floor, away from direct sunlight?  I considered painting the monotub (except the lid) black to keep out light.  Should I bother?

What is the ideal temperature range for spawn bag colonization?  The temperature in our apartment ranges from about 63 F at night and about 70 F during the day.  I know that colonizing spawn generates its own heat.  So, is my temperature range okay, or should I use a heating pad underneath the bags?

What is the ideal temperature range for monotub colonization? 

What is the ideal temperature range for monotub fruiting?

Is ambient light sufficient for fruiting, or should I provide additional overhead lighting?


Thanks for your assistance.


Tom


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: tomcards] * 1
    #26091506 - 07/05/19 02:25 PM (1 year, 7 months ago)

This is the current tek list stickied at the top of the forum. There's lots of old outdated ideas floating around.
https://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/24144021

To start, you're success rate is going to go down inoculating grains directly with spores from what you saw with brf cakes. It's highly recommended to clean a culture on agar to inoculate grains with.

Darkness for colonizing is old school. Light is beneficial at all stages of development.

again light good.

Don't use a heat mat. They tend to cook substrates. Room temp 70-76, is considered ideal, but you have plenty of range beyond that. 60's will grow, just a tad slower.

Already answer temp qquestion.

Ambient sunlight is fine or 6500k cfl's work fine. Depends on where you're trying to grow. A dark closet would use a light bulb, a room with a window should have plenty of light itself.


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: LtLurker]
    #26091570 - 07/05/19 02:57 PM (1 year, 7 months ago)

Thanks LtLurker!


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: tomcards]
    #26109586 - 07/15/19 02:23 PM (1 year, 7 months ago)

Guys,

On 7/8, I inoculated each of two 3-pound rye spawn bags with 5cc of Golden Teacher.  Because the ambient temperature had been less than 70 degrees, I elevated the bags 1.5” above a heating pad covered with a folded hand towel to dampen the heat. During the day, I crack open a window to the right of the bags for fresh air. 

I taped a thermometer near the bottom of one bag. I know that this won’t indicate the interior temperature of the bag, but it does reveal the temperature of the bag vs. the ambient temperature. 

I don’t always use the heating pad.  It’s gotten warmer recently.  During the day, I try to keep the bag temperature about 73 degrees.  If the ambient temperature is considerably lower, I turn the heating pad on to Low to bring the bag up to around 73.  I never use the heating pad at night.  Overnight, the temperature of the bag dips down to about 66.

One week has passed and I see no signs of mycelium.  Is this normal?  When should I see evidence of colonization? 

Can I assume that the interior temperature of the bag is 5-10 degrees warmer than the outside of the bag?

Should I increase the heat or leave everything alone and be patient? 

Thanks,

Tom




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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: tomcards]
    #26109593 - 07/15/19 02:26 PM (1 year, 7 months ago)

leave temps as they are. your well within range.

give them up to another 2 weeks to germinate. Spores straight on grain can be a little slower than cakes. If you injected those spores towards the center and not against the sides, keep in mind it will take extra time for the myc growth to make it to an edge you can see.


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: LtLurker]
    #26109794 - 07/15/19 04:46 PM (1 year, 7 months ago)

LtLurker,

That's very reassuring news.  Now my biggest struggle will be to remain patient.

Thanks,

Tom


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: tomcards]
    #26117461 - 07/19/19 09:35 AM (1 year, 7 months ago)

On 7/18, a small patch of mycelium appeared in bag #1.  No growth is visible yet in bag #2, but hopefully colonization is occurring internally.  I'm encouraged.


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: tomcards]
    #26117972 - 07/19/19 03:27 PM (1 year, 7 months ago)

I had a bag that was in a closet at 77 degrees with very little draft, which I saw chunks of colonization after 8 days. I have another bag going right now, that was in the same closet and I did not see anything for 12 days. Both bags are the same batch of grains, same spores, same everything. The difference is in the conditions of the closet. For the second bag, I had the AC vent open in order to keep it cool and provide FAE for the tub which the first bag was spawned to. It was around 74 degrees in there. The lower temperature and constant moving cool air kept it from colonizing as quickly. I now have it in a cabinet by itself with no breeze or AC vent. It is probably 77 to 78 degrees in there. I have not looked at it in three days, but I bet anything it is taking off. Before I put it in there, I broke it up and found a good chunk just under the surface that was colonized. It is not recommended to break it up before at least 20% finished, so I am not suggesting that.

Depending on how you inoculated the bag will make a big difference. If your needle was even a quarter inch into the grain then it will colonize from the inside out and take much longer to see it. If you colonized between the bag and outer surface of grains you will see it much quicker.


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: Spiritualscience]
    #26119719 - 07/20/19 01:28 PM (1 year, 7 months ago)

I bought commercially available spawn bags.  The instructions stated to inject the spores into the grain at different locations, which I dutifully did, being a nubie.

I have since learned that injecting the spores between the bag and the grain is better because it allows you to see colonization quicker.  But that wasn't possible with these (any other) commercial bags because the injection port is BELOW the grain on the bag. Why do they do that?

Clearly, the injection port needs to be ABOVE the level of the grain so that you can inject the spores between the bag and the grain.  In the future, I won't buy bags with injection ports.  I'll use the tape method to create a port above the grain.

I'll eventually get around to buying a pressure cooker and making my own spawn bags.  But first things first.

As of today, no evidence of colonization in bag #2.


Thanks for your input.


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: tomcards]
    #26119929 - 07/20/19 03:46 PM (1 year, 7 months ago)

You can still inject between bag and grain. The grain is just loose in the bag. Once you stick the needle in, just angle it and lift the bag off the grains a tad and quirt. All the grain bags are the same. I thought the same thing you did at first. I actually used 5cc in my first three pound bag. It was a little too much. It actually ran to the back of the bag and that is where I saw the colonization at first, 8 days later. If it would not have ran all the way to the back, it would have colonized the middle and I would not have seen it for a while.


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Edited by Spiritualscience (08/09/19 08:13 PM)


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: Spiritualscience]
    #26120012 - 07/20/19 04:43 PM (1 year, 7 months ago)

Spiritualscience,

Thanks for that injection information!  It makes sense.  You've accelerated my learning curve. 

This morning (5:30 am), the outer bag temperature was 70.  Based upon your earlier response regarding temperature and air flow, I turned on the heating pad (low) and didn't open the window as I've done in the past.  I've kept the temperature at around 77. 

I checked bag #2 about twenty minutes ago and happily discovered a one inch patch of mycelium on the side of bag #2.  Hooray!  It's on the side facing bag #1, indicating that it's benefitting from the warmth of bag #1.

It seems that the slow colonization has been due to lower than optimal temperatures and counterproductive airflow.  Given LtLurker's advice, I didn't want to cook the grain or burn up the spores, so I've employed the heating pad sparingly, keeping the temperature around 74. 

The increased temperature seems to be paying off. I plan to keep the temperature around 77. 


Thanks to both of you for schooling this old hippy.


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: tomcards]
    #26127096 - 08/08/19 05:06 PM (1 year, 6 months ago)

Guys,

Whew!  I’m relieved that the forum is up and running. 

It’s been 30 days since I inoculated the rye bags.  I turn the heating pad on and off during the day to keep the bag temperature at 77-79 degrees.  I leave the heating pad on Low overnight.  The bag temperature in the morning has been 74-75 degrees.  The increased heat has dramatically increased colonization.  I’ve attached photos of their progress. 

I’ve read differing opinions about breaking up the mycelium to more evenly distribute it in the bag to speed up colonization. Many people report that the bag should be broken up or shaken when it is 20%-30% colonized, but never after it is colonized 50% or more.  My bags appear to be about 20% colonized on the outside, but who knows the degree to which they’re colonized on the inside.  They may be more than 50% colonized.

Does a bag need to be broken up or shaken?  Are there any negative consequences to NOT breaking up a bag?  Time is not an issue.  I’m in no hurry.

Because I don’t know the degree to which the bags are colonized, I fear that breaking them up might irreparably damage the mycelial network.  I really don’t want to do it.  Can I just leave them alone until they appear to be 100% colonized?  Please advise.


Thanks,

Tom




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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: tomcards]
    #26127293 - 08/08/19 06:53 PM (1 year, 6 months ago)

If time is not an issue than why use the heating pad? For real 63-70F is perfectly fine temps and less likely to encourage bacteria to grow. Like mentioned before....ditch the heating pad.

I would highly recommend breaking these up and giving them a good shake and observe recovery. Not going to hurt the mycelium.


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: tomcards]
    #26127332 - 08/08/19 07:13 PM (1 year, 6 months ago)

Wow, those look excellent. They are more than ready to be "shaken."

No, you don't have to shake. It just majorly speeds up and evens out the process of colonization. If you were to break those up and mix well, within three or four days the whole bag would be white and colonizing evenly. You would be amazed at how well it works. If you don't shake it may take a long time to get them colonized.

You don't have to worry about percentage rules. That is all pretty much either nonsense or preference. If a bag fails to recover from a simple shake, something is wrong with the spawn and it would not work good in a grow anyway. Some used to recommend shaking at 20% and again after 70%. Others recommend one or the other. Most recommend shaking now at around 20% and then letting it finish on its own. The only reason they say to wait until approximately 20% is because the bag would definitely have enough mycelium to spread around the entire bag by that point. If you shake too early, you may get some spots that myc did not get into and you would have to do it again if you want speed and uniformity. I guarantee the fear of doing it after 50% is completely bogus. MANY will shake after 90% just to test their spawns recovery time, especially if it appears bacterial. I shook my last bag at 90 plus percent because some thought it looked bacterial. It recovered fully in about four days and was done in a couple more. 

I have a bag sitting at about 20% that has taken a month to get there. I have not shaken it, because I don't want it ready before I am done milking my current grow. I think I am on my last flush (#4), so I am about to shake it.

To "shake" a bag simply means to break up and mix the colonized portions up with the un-colonized portions. If you decide to do it, you just massage the myc with your hands until it is all broke up. Then you shake the bag a few times to make sure it is thoroughly mixed. Try not to touch the filter patch and take the chance on contaminating it. Also, when you break up a bag the mycelium seems to disappear and the grain looks naked again. Don't worry it is still there. You will want to get it back in the same shape it was before shaking. Holding it up about six inches and dropping it on a hard counter-top seems to get it all back in form. Just make sure your air channel is still open between the grains and the filter patch. As it really gets going, it needs more GE. It may get a little wet and "bacterial" looking. Meaning it may look a little milky and damp. If you look up colonized bag pics, you will see how common it is. 

My concern with not shaking at all would be giving more time for contamination to take place. In my inexperienced opinion, it is not good to have sections of un-colonized grains sitting for too long. It just gives more time for something to go wrong. The sooner you can get sterilized grains fully colonized, the better.

I agree with Tormato. If it was me, I would shake it, and I would be very leery of the heating pad. But it sounds like your heating pad has some really low temperature settings and it has not caused problems so far, so you may be fine with it. It just sounds sketchy to be creating hot spots in the bag. I would definitely not put the bag directly on the pad, especially if I had two bags that looked as perfectly as those do.


Edited by Spiritualscience (08/08/19 09:20 PM)


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: tomcards]
    #26127358 - 08/08/19 07:22 PM (1 year, 6 months ago)

I just saw that you have the bags on a rack above the heating pads, so all you are doing is heating the air a little around them. As long as the bottom of your bags are not getting too much of the heat and it is fairly even, I don't think that will cause problems.

Keep in mind that the ideal temperature to colonize is talking about the temperature of the grains themselves, not necessarily the room temperature. The grains heat up when colonizing. From what I have read, the bags get about five degrees warmer under the surface layer. That would be 82 degrees. You really don't want to take a chance of pushing it past 84 from what I have read. I like to keep my room between 75 and 77 and it has worked fine. I would definitely not want to go over 77.


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Edited by Spiritualscience (08/08/19 07:32 PM)


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: Spiritualscience]
    #26127369 - 08/08/19 07:27 PM (1 year, 6 months ago)

Ideal ambient temps are 68-72F. You start getting off into the 80's inside the jar or ambient and your asking for bacteria to grow faster.


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: Tormato]
    #26127417 - 08/08/19 07:50 PM (1 year, 6 months ago)

I see what you are saying. RR said, "What I have repeatedly found regardless of strain is that cubensis colonization remains rather flat from about 75F through 81F. Beginning at 83F, the rate of growth falls off sharply. By 86F, growth has slowed down nearly 50% what it was between 75f and 81F. Growth is much slower in cold temperatures until you hit 69F, where it speeds up quite a bit until about 75F, where it remains 'flat' until 81, then is flat again until 83, where it falls off fast beginning at 84." 

He was running controlled tests on petri dishes, so we have to take into consideration the extra heat that happens in a bag or jar when colonization really gets going. I had a bag in a room that was getting under 74 with constant cold air coming out of the AC vent and hitting the bag and it sat there seemingly doing nothing for almost two weeks. I stuck it in a cabinet that was around 76 to 77 and I saw growth in a few days. At least that is the way it appeared. I am sure if I left it alone it would have eventually been fine in the colder room. I bet it would be fine anywhere from 69 to 78 in the room, but I am with you. I would not want to take a chance of it getting too warm and creating an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.

My last bag finished in a closet that was 76 to 77 degrees. It did look a little bacterial and had a lot of condensation but I am on my fourth flush with no problem. Personally I want my bags in a room that is 75 to 77 degrees to start with, when there is no heat being generated inside the bag yet.


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Edited by Spiritualscience (08/08/19 07:54 PM)


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: Spiritualscience]
    #26127450 - 08/08/19 08:00 PM (1 year, 6 months ago)

How old is that info? Sounds a bit dated like back when we were still making incubators for grains jars. :shrug:

I keep make incubation temps right around 70F and have even had temps drop as low as 63F and never noticed a significant difference in growth.


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: Tormato]
    #26127507 - 08/08/19 08:29 PM (1 year, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Tormato said:
How old is that info? Sounds a bit dated like back when we were still making incubators for grains jars. :shrug:

I keep make incubation temps right around 70F and have even had temps drop as low as 63F and never noticed a significant difference in growth.





His temperature experiments were controlled on petri dishes. That kind of info cannot get outdated. I understand where you are coming from though. A lot of old info is outdated, because it did not come from controlled experiments that could be repeated. It came from opinions and just the way things were done back then. I don't think anyone uses 80 plus degree incubators anymore.   

I guess if we do the math,and trust in RR's controlled experiments, then ideally we want our grains colonizing at 75 to 81 degrees for steady and quick growth, 81 to 83 for the fastest growth, and never over 83 degrees where growth slows down and conditions are much better for bacteria to thrive.

So, if we accommodate for an extra five degrees in the bag, we want the room to be 70 to 78. Sounds like we are both there. 

I keep my house at 68 in the winter though, and I won't do anything to make my bags warmer. I just have to be a little more patient. I am in Florida and getting my bags to 70 degrees in the summer would take a refrigerator, lol.


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Re: First time grow with spawn bags and bulk substrate. [Re: Tormato]
    #26127515 - 08/08/19 08:38 PM (1 year, 6 months ago)

This is a wealth of information. It will never be outdated, unless mycelium evolves and changes its material characteristics.

Quotes from Road Runner’s temperature experiments:

“Growth is much slower in cold temperatures until you hit 69F, where it speeds up quite a bit until about 75F, where it remains 'flat' until 81, then is flat again until 83, where it falls off fast beginning at 84. By 'flat' I mean there is no discernible increase or decrease in rate of growth within those ranges. Jars will colonize as fast at 75F as they will at 80F. I've proved this time and time again with every strain in my collection. Growth also falls off rapidly above 84, and this is why so many new folks have problems with incubators set at 86F, and jars that 'won't colonize'. The figures I give are substrate temperatures, not air temperatures. The temp inside the jar is 1 to 5 degrees higher than the surrounding air, depending on where in the colonization cycle the jar is. The heat produced falls off fast as the jar approaches full colonization. If you live in an igloo, (or near the waterfront) by all means build an incubator, but keep it in the normal room temperature ranges for best results. I see no reason to set one above 80F, and lots of reasons not to. I've been saying that for years. My Petri dish studies a few years ago showed that cubensis reaches peak linear growth between 75F and 80F, then is flat until 83F, where it starts to slow down. Mycelium at 86F is growing at about 2/3 the speed of mycelium at 80F. In addition, the higher temps tend to stimulate thermophilic molds and bacteria. When I did it there were ten Petri dishes colonizing at each temperature, in separate containers. I went through well over 200 Petri dishes of mycelium for no other reason than to determine the temperature that stimulates fastest growth.”


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