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Offlinejunk_f00d
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Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice)
    #26683332 - 05/20/20 01:05 PM (9 days, 22 hours ago)

Hello all,

I've been chopping up straw for awhile now, just with a weedwhacker and garbage can, but it takes too much time so I was looking to upgrade to a woodchipper, but then thought, is this money better spent on a bulk sterilizer?

From what I understand these can be constructed cheaply using HDPE 55 gallon drums and submersible electric heating elements. It would allow me to start growing Lion's Mane in bulk too, and shiitake down the road, and also hugely increase my spawn production ability. I just wanted to run this by the community before deciding one way or the other, maybe there are some drawbacks I'm not seeing (especially at my small scale). The costs seem roughly equivelant. Personally, I hate working with straw and would love to move to a neater substrate at this point.

I am not officially 'commercial' yet, but as soon as this pandemic passes I will be setting up a stand and selling at markets. Prior to the economic shutdown in Feb-March I was doing a measely 10 pounds a week, just getting a feel for things, the daily routine, dialing in my equipment, and seeing how much work it would be (proportionally) to produce 100+lbs/week (it was a lot, mostly in chopping straw). Kind of shelfed the business idea for the last couple months given the global circumstances, but I'm looking to dump more money into it in preparation for things opening back up, especially while the weather is so nice and utility bills are low.

The only downsides I can think of with a the bulk sterilizer is that this will require MUCH more time in the lab, since spawning to bulk has to be done in a sterile manner with HWFP, unlike with straw. But it would eliminate time spent wrangling straw into tiny pieces and being stuffed into bags. I would really appreciate any advice you may have to offer, since money has become tight and I want to make the right decision here.

*EDIT: I should also add that this week I'll be buying some pre-shredded straw, it's more expensive but may be enough to hold me over until I come to a more firm conclusion.


Edited by junk_f00d (05/20/20 01:25 PM)


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Offlineseagu

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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: junk_f00d]
    #26683402 - 05/20/20 01:50 PM (9 days, 22 hours ago)

I hear ya... You don't want an HDPE 55 gallon drum for a sterilizer. You want a Metal or stainless steel drum for a sterilizer. The plastic ones work for a pasteurizer, but the sterilizer temps run you the risk of melting and warping and then leaking on your electricity and such.

You might be more happy if you get a 9.4Kw Sauna steamer for around $200 and a metal trough from Tractor Supply or somewhere. Rather than the 55 gallon drum route a lot of people have built as that would eliminate the bending down and over of a drum. But high or low walls on your sterilizer is personal preference of course.

But going HWFP + Soy and bags with a sterilizer instead of straw imo will save you in the long run. I have done both and compared cost effectiveness and for a business wise I can't see an advantage or savings to doing straw. But I don't know it all and every person and area is different for availability etc.

More time in the lab? Yea I hope you have a flow hood.... Then its just fun.

As for money tight, what you can do is work with what you have to make enough to buy the equipment you need. Maybe.

Hope these thoughts help...


--------------------
Plan to win or you are planning for failure. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it. Just figure out the solution. Even if that means banging your head on a wall until the solution oozes out of you.


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Offlinejunk_f00d
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: seagu]
    #26683459 - 05/20/20 02:13 PM (9 days, 21 hours ago)

Aw shit, yeah, that trough idea is what the Mossy Creek guy does, it looked a lot nicer than a barrel.

OK, I think I'll go with the trough sterilizer then, any links for a tek on this before I start my search? I imagine I'd want some sort of hinged, latching lid over the thing. I always thought HWFP style grows were a little more expensive than straw, even after factoring in increased yield. But really you're probably right, a 40lb bag of pellets is about as expensive as a 40lb bail of straw, with the yields being better with HWFP.

I might start building this out this weekend, I couldn't find any pre-shredded straw in my area anyway. And yeah, more time in the lab is waaaaaaay better than more time chopping straw!

Thanks for popping by Seagu, your situation and layout is really similar to mine (but yours is much more mature), so I appreciate getting your advice in particular. You must've made the same transition away from straw? Super excited to get this thing built and start playing with Lion's Mane!


Edited by junk_f00d (05/20/20 02:15 PM)


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Offlineseagu

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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: junk_f00d]
    #26683588 - 05/20/20 03:20 PM (9 days, 20 hours ago)

Yea. I had seen that trough and someone else uses one too.. but for the longest time I didn't realize how easy it would have been to put together until after I bought everything for a 55 gallon, and on one of his recent videos someone asked him and he said he uses the 9.4Kw or something like that sauna steamer. I totally would have went trough if I knew all this beforehand.  Heck even for doing a drum I would have went sauna steamer cause the steamer only runs around $200 or less on amazon. I don't know any tek on it. It would be kinda the same as hooking up the steamer, except you are hooking it up to a trough. And the different troughs I have seen they use I think a heavy blanket and or tarp over the top and around the sides or something. You would have to go find some of the videos and pics. There is probably one or two on Shroomery from people doing it.

Naw just some rough numbers for you I can get 8 bags of HWFP for around 45$ and about the same  in weight for Soy pellets for 35$ or so. That will last you just starting out for a while for short money.

What I am currently working on :
All the stuff under the plastic is growing materials and substrate. About where the edge of the plastic toward us will become a plastic wall with a door. Shelves all around on the other side Which will be fruiting area and an inside the center of that room shelving coming soon for even more shelving space.


Exhaust and intake holes and the door.
AC works very well so far with all this insulation..

And what I am currently running although sorta on slow down mode because of the pandemic like you are doing :
pic of one of the shelves


--------------------
Plan to win or you are planning for failure. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it. Just figure out the solution. Even if that means banging your head on a wall until the solution oozes out of you.


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OfflineStromrider
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: seagu]
    #26683715 - 05/20/20 04:34 PM (9 days, 19 hours ago)

Yea man definitely get away from that messy ass straw.

My best advice is don't wait go for it now. We lost most of our restaurant business back in mid March but have more than made up for it with farmers market sales. I've never seen such crowds and business at the farmers market. It's one of the few things people can get out and do plus everyone is cooking more than normal.

You may want to go ahead and get the ball rolling on all bureaucracy shit if you plan on doing it any time soon. Idk if it's the same where you are but to do our market you need a tax ID number and maybe other stuff. I'm not sure because my wife takes care of all that. Also it's never a bad idea to register a business name and become an LLC

GOOD LUCK


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OfflineSHROOMSISAY01S
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: Stromrider]
    #26684578 - 05/20/20 11:40 PM (9 days, 12 hours ago)

I agree with getting away from straw totally. HWFP is easier less time consuming and less work all together a better deal. I have never seen the sauna and metal trough you are talking about but I don't pay much attention to that stuff since I have a 55-gallon drum. I will have to check that out. No matter if you get the drum or metal trough I would run it with a PID.


--------------------
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Offlineseagu

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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: SHROOMSISAY01]
    #26684958 - 05/21/20 06:35 AM (9 days, 5 hours ago)

I have seen them every so often over the years of reading Shroomery. :shrug:
But most people seem to have gone the barrel route. Maybe in part since RR and gr0wer had done a tek up on it originally or that barrels can fit in places troughs can't. Now we have several teks on the barrel setups, thanks to you SHROOMSISAY01 :thumbup:, and some others who put videos on youtube.. These videos below explain all how to wire a 240v water heater element and PID. And the ones about wiring PID and 240v that are not part of the 4 part series per se will answer questions the 4 part leaves blank. So, make a pot of coffee and watch them all if you don't know 240v wiring.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=35XCJNqXqiU This is part 4 of a series on wiring a PID for 240V and was the one I had up so you get the link to that one that you can use to find the rest. Not sure which direction you will go 120v or 240.. but there are more videos about the wiring and science behind it all made by him, that help explain parts and wiring of all 4 videos. You can look up where the other ones are too, on his channel. Just as easily as I can. He gives parts lists and all that too. So there are more than 4 videos that explain all this. If for nothing else it just all explains how the wiring and electricity works without getting yourself killed in the process..... if you go 240v. He sells these PIDs( I think SHROOMSISAY01 is trying to get into that too ?) but he also shows you exactly how he makes them. I had already bought most all the parts, so I wasn't going to at that point buy one from anyone. But its' honestly as easy as pie as long as you have a head on your shoulders and keep SAFETY FIRST and ALWAYS. Disclaimer - But you do it all at your own risk...

https://www.amazon.com/ECO-LLC-Generator-Shower-Controller/dp/B075GB95V4/ref=pd_sbs_86_1/144-5670247-8141908?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B075GB95V4&pd_rd_r=516b1e0b-7f76-4088-92e6-3b50d0507d8d&pd_rd_w=S7IAq&pd_rd_wg=RUuCy&pf_rd_p=12b8d3e2-e203-4b23-a8bc-68a7d2806477&pf_rd_r=03QBQ6X9ZSG4REHCJQF6&refRID=03QBQ6X9ZSG4REHCJQF6&th=1
I am not saying this particular sauna steamer is worth it or anything, other than providing a link to one as an example. And keep in mind anything coming from China right now has risks associated with it, until things settle down and shipping and tariffs and all that goes back to normal or switches to another country or whatever is going to happen. Not sure if this ECO company is from there or not, but definitely some of the other steamers are so there might be huge shipping delays or whatever. I know House of Hydro has been affected.. :shrug:

And yea from a business stand point, for my area and what I can get. HWFP and Soy Pellets is the clear winner. People on here had said to go HWFP instead of straw and I didn't listen at first. I wish I had. It would have saved me a lot of time and money. But I had done the research and planning and trials for straw before HWFP was even a thing, took a pause from this site and came back to it and so everyone was sharing the new knowledge from all their trial and errors of learning HWFP. It took me some reading and planning and research but I finally understood what they were raving about. And so, took a deep breathe and started making the switch.


--------------------
Plan to win or you are planning for failure. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it. Just figure out the solution. Even if that means banging your head on a wall until the solution oozes out of you.


Edited by seagu (05/22/20 05:32 AM)


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OfflineSHROOMSISAY01S
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: seagu]
    #26686877 - 05/21/20 11:23 PM (8 days, 12 hours ago)

George (1st video) is awesome!! I have had many conversations with him in the past. He is very helpful and a great guy. He has helped me more times than I can count.


--------------------
SHROOMSISAY01 TEKS

SHROOMSISAY01 55 GALLON STEAMER TEK.


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Offlinejunk_f00d
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: junk_f00d]
    #26692424 - 05/24/20 11:05 AM (6 days, 50 minutes ago)

Thanks for all the links and discussion everyone, sounds like HWFPs are definately the way to go (which matches Shroomery sentiment across the forums). Also, Stromrider, thanks for the input about the Farmer's Markets - they've been empty in my town so I've (ignorantly) assumed they're closed everywhere; I had no idea that was an option right now, I'm gonna hop on this ASAP, luckily I have tons of grain spawn just waiting right now.

Seagu, thanks so much for writing all that, time to brew a pot of coffee and learn a thing or two!

So, stupid question, but what's the difference (in this case) between using a PID and using an arduino? Can I program an arduino to do the same job, for possibly less money? I know Mr. Shrooms was toying with one recently, maybe he can chime in here. Once  I figure that out I'll start throwing together my shopping list, hoping I can keep this under $200 total, I should be able to get a trough for free.


Edited by junk_f00d (05/24/20 01:45 PM)


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OfflineSHROOMSISAY01S
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: junk_f00d]
    #26692487 - 05/24/20 11:45 AM (6 days, 10 minutes ago)

That was not a PID that you are talking about. That was a humidity controller. You can buy a nice PID for about $30 that has all the functions you need. No way I would try and go Arduino for a PID. Just buy two PID'S and make yourself a hotplate from an old electric stove and you then you can build a controller for your steamer and one for your PC. No more babysitting the PC!! I have an alarm on my PC PID and when I do agar the alarm goes off at 140F to let me know the plates are ready to pour.









--------------------
SHROOMSISAY01 TEKS

SHROOMSISAY01 55 GALLON STEAMER TEK.


Hi pressure fog under $250


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Offlinejunk_f00d
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: SHROOMSISAY01]
    #26692775 - 05/24/20 02:16 PM (5 days, 21 hours ago)

WHAT, that is insane. I've been eyeballing those electric PC's since I hate babysitting, but this idea is actually within my price range.. Bravo! Definately saving this. Can you explain what that wire is that's coming out of the PC? Tempature probe, maybe? You're not worried about it exploding?

Also, anything you'd recommend I stay away from when PID shopping? I see some are only $15, others $100+. Not sure what I need in one yet, I'm watching those videos now.


Edited by junk_f00d (05/24/20 02:40 PM)


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Offlinejunk_f00d
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: junk_f00d]
    #26692842 - 05/24/20 02:54 PM (5 days, 21 hours ago)

Seagu, one question: why a sauna steamer over a submerisble heating element? The submersible elements are considerably cheaper than a sauna steamer, no idea what's more efficient though in terms of the utility bill. I've seen drake mention these a few times, and Mr. Shrooms includes them in his excellent and super detailed tek (which I'm gonna be following when I build this out, thanks!!). Maybe one of you can help me understand the pros cons to either choice? Going with the element seems a little more simple to me. If you're reading this Mr. Shrooms, you think translating your tek into a trough tek would be easy enough? I'm extremely space constrained and I have a nice floor plan design with the trough, and they seem a little more ergonomic to me.

Something like this is what I've had in mind: https://www.amazon.com/Camco-02203-Screw-Heater-Element/dp/B0006JLVBW

And then, from what I understand it's as simple as having the thing submerged in water, your grains on a false bottom above the steaming water, and some PID tempature control. Of course I'll learn a lot more as a step through the tek. Just thinking out loud before I pull the trigger on this stuff, I don't have any more money to waste on mistakes at this point.. :begger:


Edited by junk_f00d (05/24/20 03:24 PM)


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OfflineSHROOMSISAY01S
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: junk_f00d]
    #26692994 - 05/24/20 04:03 PM (5 days, 19 hours ago)

Quote:

junk_f00d said:
WHAT, that is insane. I've been eyeballing those electric PC's since I hate babysitting, but this idea is actually within my price range.. Bravo! Definately saving this. Can you explain what that wire is that's coming out of the PC? Tempature probe, maybe? You're not worried about it exploding?

Also, anything you'd recommend I stay away from when PID shopping? I see some are only $15, others $100+. Not sure what I need in one yet, I'm watching those videos now.




would go for a my pin or ink bird PID they are basically the same. Later tonight I will tell you exactly what to buy if you want me to? You might be able to find a kit with almost everything you need to put it together. You will have to buy one piece from Brew hardware and have a 220 to plug it into if you don't have to run a 220 line you can build the whole thing for about $50 bucks if you have the PC already. Even cheaper if you find a broken stove from craigslist.

No I don't worry about it blowing up any more than an electric one you are talking about that will cost you about $1000. I set it to 255F and my guage sits right where it should sit. there is a timer on my set up and plenty of water and you can set an alarm to go off if it gets to say 260F. My alarm is loud I think it is 105 dB which is loud enough. I'll walk you through setting it up. If you think you need some help. On a side note anyone wanting a high-pressure mist system I am going to be selling a kit to build one from a pressure washer. Mine has been going for 2 years without one problem. All you do is buy a $75 pressure washer and plug it into a garden hose and you have a 1000 PSI high pressure misting system for your mushrooms no taping into your plumbing is required just a garden hose.


--------------------
SHROOMSISAY01 TEKS

SHROOMSISAY01 55 GALLON STEAMER TEK.


Hi pressure fog under $250


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OfflineSHROOMSISAY01S
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: SHROOMSISAY01]
    #26693022 - 05/24/20 04:16 PM (5 days, 19 hours ago)

You might be better off with this PID I think you can set this one to cool down to a certain temp and stay there until you are ready to pour your agar...

https://www.amazon.com/Temperature-Control-Controller-Dual-Alarm/dp/B017MO04X4

I know Auber makes one like that but I don't have time to check into it right now.


--------------------
SHROOMSISAY01 TEKS

SHROOMSISAY01 55 GALLON STEAMER TEK.


Hi pressure fog under $250


Edited by SHROOMSISAY01 (05/26/20 11:11 AM)


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Offlineseagu

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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: junk_f00d]
    #26693292 - 05/24/20 05:58 PM (5 days, 17 hours ago)

Quote:

junk_f00d said:
Seagu, one question: why a sauna steamer over a submerisble heating element? The submersible elements are considerably cheaper than a sauna steamer, no idea what's more efficient though in terms of the utility bill. I've seen drake mention these a few times, and Mr. Shrooms includes them in his excellent and super detailed tek (which I'm gonna be following when I build this out, thanks!!). Maybe one of you can help me understand the pros cons to either choice? Going with the element seems a little more simple to me. If you're reading this Mr. Shrooms, you think translating your tek into a trough tek would be easy enough? I'm extremely space constrained and I have a nice floor plan design with the trough, and they seem a little more ergonomic to me.

Something like this is what I've had in mind: https://www.amazon.com/Camco-02203-Screw-Heater-Element/dp/B0006JLVBW

And then, from what I understand it's as simple as having the thing submerged in water, your grains on a false bottom above the steaming water, and some PID tempature control. Of course I'll learn a lot more as a step through the tek. Just thinking out loud before I pull the trigger on this stuff, I don't have any more money to waste on mistakes at this point.. :begger:




The advantage would be if your trough is bigger than the 55 gallon, that you can run more bags at one time. So it all depends on your needs. Or if you just don't want to bend down into a barrel and pick up bags because you have a bad back.


--------------------
Plan to win or you are planning for failure. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it. Just figure out the solution. Even if that means banging your head on a wall until the solution oozes out of you.


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Offlinejunk_f00d
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: seagu]
    #26696787 - 05/26/20 11:01 AM (4 days, 55 minutes ago)

Seagu, sorry if it wasn't clear but I was asking about the tradeoffs between going with a sauna steamer to make steam versus a submersible heating element like I had linked. The price difference is huge (sauna steamers are around $200, while the elements are ~$10). Also, if you're still hanging around, what does your waste disposal system look like? Do you compost or just throw everything away? I'm trying to figure out a system to keep up with composting, but I may have to ask a friend if I can borrow some land, I just don't think I can keep up with the waste and my trash can only fits one straw log.

And thanks for the info Mr. Shrooms! Busy week so I haven't had time to digest all this yet.


Edited by junk_f00d (05/26/20 03:06 PM)


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OfflineSHROOMSISAY01S
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: junk_f00d]
    #26696847 - 05/26/20 11:29 AM (4 days, 26 minutes ago)

That the link is not the right one I was thinking of a ramp and soak PID. I would go with a my pin or an ink bird like I said before.

after thinking about the through I don't understand the benefit. Unless you build a stand for the through to sit on (more money) you still have to bend down to get into it. The only difference is you would not be going inside a drum. So if you are not extremely claustrophobic. I don't see a difference. Unless someone can correct me on this? I would just go with the drum and use gaco 100% silicone roof to seal it and you will have it for a very long time.

If I remember correctly it cost me about $120 to build the steamer. Including the insulation and I use a 5500 watt element. I would not put a drain on the steamer buy a cheap swamp cooler pump and pump it out when you clean it it is easier and cheaper. It took forever to drain now it takes less than a minute. I only clean it maybe twice a year if that.

Don't buy those cheap $10 elements spend the money and buy an element from brew hardware they are completely stainless the other ones may say they are stainless but only the main element is stainless and they rust out and must be replaced.


--------------------
SHROOMSISAY01 TEKS

SHROOMSISAY01 55 GALLON STEAMER TEK.


Hi pressure fog under $250


Edited by SHROOMSISAY01 (05/26/20 11:53 AM)


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Offlineseagu

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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: SHROOMSISAY01]
    #26697063 - 05/26/20 01:16 PM (3 days, 22 hours ago)

sure the element is cheap, but then you need to add on all the other stuff you would need such as the stainless float valve, adapters, special nuts, drain or pump which would cost more.. and yea like SHROOMS said those cheapo $10 elements rust. I have had to replace a few on my pasteurizer. Also, I believe the steamers can power more than 1 trough. And I believe troughs are bigger and hold more. So to me, it's planning for the future expansion. But I had gone barrel too, so this is all a what I would choose different and had the cash to go steamer route. An easy hookup for adding another trough or two or just a much bigger one. Cause my barrel setup is costing WAY more than $10... Thankfully I think I might be getting my first restaurant customer soon. Head chef is excited. Once I get production cranked back up soon, bring a sample box down and seal the deal.

And if I had a bad lower back, which is a common problem, with chronic pain I would much rather bend at the knees to pick up bags then bend down inside a barrel. Or sit a chair next to a trough and have a cart on the other side while I quickly move the bags without having to put strain on the pain. :shrug:


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Plan to win or you are planning for failure. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it. Just figure out the solution. Even if that means banging your head on a wall until the solution oozes out of you.


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Offlinejunk_f00d
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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: seagu]
    #26697288 - 05/26/20 03:25 PM (3 days, 20 hours ago)

Well, I'll have to weigh all this out this week before I start my build. You've got some good points about the added costs Seagu, thanks. I'll probably go with the barrel, if only because that's the what most teks are written for and that sounds the easiest. And thanks to both of you for the tips about getting a better element, not a cheapo one. If I really regret doing a barrel, I should be able to recycle all the materials and transfer to a trough on my own. 

On a totally different note, what do you guys do with all your spent substrate? I've been composting mine and now my compost is waaaaay over capacity to the point where my whole process is getting clogged up. I think I'm going to fence off a 10x10 or so area this evening, line the walls with something that won't degrade like sheet plastic or metal, then just pray I can keep up with it on a monthly basis. Do you guys think an area of that size will work if I'm producing around ~50-100lbs of oysters weekly? I just have no idea what I'm going to do with all this stuff if I can't sell it, I may need to make friends with a local gardener. If you guys have any tips here that'd be awesome, this is a suprisingly big problem right now, I have tons of spent sub just backlogged and needing to be properly addressed.




Edited by junk_f00d (05/26/20 03:45 PM)


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Offlineseagu

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Re: Transitioning from Straw to HWFP + Bulk Sterilizer (Seeking Financial/Biz advice) [Re: junk_f00d]
    #26697486 - 05/26/20 05:00 PM (3 days, 18 hours ago)

yea.. I just wanted to give ya some thought so you could make a more varied choice.

So far my spent sub is going in the garden. And then a pile beside it to enrich some soil for planting where ever around the yard. When it starts going haywire.. I have a small plot of woods out back that will get tons of enrichment of the soil. And I want sheep or other animals so down the road I plan on using it as a partial food source for them.


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Plan to win or you are planning for failure. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it. Just figure out the solution. Even if that means banging your head on a wall until the solution oozes out of you.


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