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Registered: 05/28/20
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Helping to Salvage a First Grow - Too Dry? (bruising, few side pins only)
    #26856382 - 07/31/20 10:26 PM (13 days, 21 hours ago)

Like others before me, I thought I'd grow some shrooms and decided to buy some some bags of pre-sterilized rye grain and substrate for my first grow (separate bags for rye/sub and from a sponsor at least), and an MS syringe (cubes). Like my predecessors, now that I've done some research, I'm planning on future grows following standard TEKs. (planning on either mini-mono or shoeboxes next--maybe find a use for the SGFC, or go unmodded so I don't have to drill more holes. I'm also excited to make some prints and totally nerd out on agar. I love this shit!)

In the meantime, I'd be grateful for some help making the most of what I've got. After searching and reading many many threads here and absorbing a bunch of info (a tiny fraction of what's here), I have some ideas about what might be going on. But on the other hand, I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing, so I could use some help.

Here's a tl;dr version: Do you think these got too dry before I started spraying more over the past day? Should I just keep spraying? Dunk after 1st flush?

Details and Stuff

The Grow Bags
These are two grow bags with hpoo-based substrate that I mixed with fully colonized rye grain ~18 days ago (left bag) and ~15 days ago (right bag). (Roughly 1:2.5 spawn to sub.) About that time I mixed the spawn with the sub, I started soaking up some of the huge amounts of useful info here.

I started to plan future grows with proper TEK, but also wanted to get the most with what I had. (No reason to waste about 2 quarts of decent looking (albeit almost certainly not actually clean), fully colonized rye grain, right?) I ditched the seller's instructions (fruit in bag, mist & fan for several minutes a day) and built a shotgun fruiting chamber instead. SGFC Specs: Sterilite 54qt. tub, drilled 1/4" holes, 2" grid, all 6 sides, 3" hydrated perlite (more on that later), elevated few inches from surface with some cups at the corners, allowing airflow on all sides. I never want to drill another hole in my life. No fans or HVAC vents in isolated small half-bathroom with east-facing window, with SGFC getting quite a bit of indirect sunlight (I do not have a supplemental light, and it did get very cloudy for a few days). Average grow-room temp about 76F, with temps in the SGFC reading consistently about 1.5F cooler. Temp swings day/night from about 72F to 78F. Grow-room (not SGFC) humidity averages about 65%.

When the substrate bags were almost fully colonized (about 10 days after mixing with colonized grain), I cut off the tops and folded them down near the surface, and put the bags into the SGFC--left bag first(Z strain, if curious), followed two days later by right bag (Golden Teacher). See pics.

(The pics aren't really great for comparing the bruising over time because there are inconsistent shadows, which also causes some areas to look worse, and maybe sometimes better, than they actually are. Sorry about that!)

Question about this: Either now or before trying for a second flush, should I cut the bags away entirely and set them onto pieces of foil (like a cake) instead of folding down the tops and leaving the sides (which I think is more like a tray, but in a bag)?

I haven't seen this discussed in detail, which makes sense because this isn't a TEK--it's triage. I saw RR refer to pulling or cutting away a grow bag to put into an SGFC in response to a question from another grow-bag newbie. (I'll try to find the post and add a link in a later edit.) He didn't elaborate, but by then I had figured out I should do pretty much whatever RR says, so I was about to take them out. But that's when I started more strongly suspecting that they were drying out and worried that removing the bags might make it worse. I've also seen others recommending cutting/folding the top to the level of the substrate (which I read before seeing the post by RR). Again, this is triage, not TEK, so I wouldn't expect there to be a broad consensus about what works best here.

Back to the grow

At first, I really obsessed about getting them too wet. When I first opened them, there were pools of water (including a few yellow/metabolite puddles (see pic), and I read that misting too much could cause aborts, although I think I've seen people disagree with that. So for about the first 3 days in the SGFC, I only very lightly misted about 3 times a day, with 2-3 fine-mist sprays a couple feet over the bags.

The pools were gone in about 1.5 days. After misting, the sub would glisten, and have tiny droplets of water, which appeared similar to posts I've seen about what it should look like (to my inexperienced eye). Because of the pooling, on the first few days, I fanned pretty heavily with the lid for about a minute after misting.

Around Day 3 in the SGFC (a little over a day after the pools of water were gone), I noticed quite a bit of bruising. After panicking for about a day as I was reading through the forums and thinking it was contam (please don't tell me I was right the first time!), I decided just to keep an eye on it.

Around Days 4-5 I  see a few knots and pins (yay!!) on the left bag, but only a few, and only on the edges and sides. I wasn't surprised about side pinning--rough surface, air pockets on sides--and didn't really worry about it. But I noticed the bruising was spreading. I read even more about bruising and started to suspect that the substrate got too dry, and maybe that was encouraging pinning on the side, where there was more moisture. I started to pay more attention to the surface condition, misting more, and reducing fanning (later stopped completely). I also sprayed the perlite more. I didn't want to overreact and drown my sub, so I misted more, but still not very heavily.

Day 6, bruising still seemed to be spreading and the surface seemed pretty dry, at least in parts, less than an hour after misting. I poured a small amount of water directly onto the perlite, instead of several sprays.

Yesterday morning (Day 7), I stuck my finger into the perlite and it felt damp, but not super wet. I poured the rest of the water from the spray bottle directly onto the perlite around the bags, and noticed that none dripped out the bottom. I filled up a small water bottle and poured it onto the perlite twice, and it started dripping heavily from the bottom of the SGFC only after pouring the second bottle.

Today is Day 8 in the SGFC (day 6 for the left-side bag). I've continued to mist and fan and the surface appears to be holding moisture better, while still evaporating as it should. I've seen a few more tiny knots and some pins from the left bag--including a pin and a couple knots on the surface. The right bag now has three side-pins and some knots on the side and surface (mostly side, though). The bruising doesn't look worse to me, but it doesn't look a lot better either, and the discoloration on the right bag is troubling. I'm not really sure, but I think they are doing a bit better.

Some Thoughts and Qs

Any tips on how to get the most from this grow are much appreciated.

  • Perlite. I plan to add another inch+ of wet perlite to the SGFC tonight. (EDIT: did this, see update below.) Does that make sense? Based on what I've read, I'm pretty sure it can't hurt anything. I suspect too little perlite without enough hydration was at least part of the problem. I added 3" based on some initial instructions I've read, but I think people usually go 4-5". Before loading the perlite, I rinsed it off thoroughly with water in a strainer. I don't remember, but I might have left the perlite in the tub for half a day or more before adding the bag (lots going on in my head at the time).

  • Rehydrating? Assuming the bags survive a first flush, should I take the "cakes" out of the bags and dunk them and try for a second flush? Should I dunk at some point before then? Any use in casing it? I have some vermiculite and a brick of coco coir, although I hadn't planned to use it for this.

  • Bruising Does it sound like the bruising was probably caused by inadequate moisture? Or do you think it was something else?

  • Uneven fruiting? Could the dryness have also caused the (what I think might be) uneven growth shown in the pics? And is it probably the reason there are almost exclusively side-pins, and none towards the center? I understand that using an MS syringe is a crap shoot, and uneven flushes are the norm. Do you think the pics show uneven growth typical of an MS syringe? I've read that genetics can cause side pins, but these are two different "strains" (albeit the right bag colonized a few days later). There are 5 or so healthy-looking (I think) side pins on the left bag that you can't see in the pics.

EDIT: More Bottom/Corner Pins!

I took the bags out to add more perlite and to saturate it with water. When I put the bags back, I glanced at the bottom and saw dozens of size/bottom pins in the corners of BOTH bags! See first pics below. I think I've seen it mostly recommended to leave side/bottom pins alone and harvest when ready. But this is usually when people have monotubs or shoeboxes (and some use liners to reduce them). Will these guys be able to grow? They'll be a bitch to harvest--another reason to avoid grow bags if you needed one. Any reason to cut away the bag or anything? I wouldn't think so; I mean, they apparently like it there just as it is so far.


Cramped corner pins!

Many of these were taken right after misting. The water droplets on the SGFC are from that--there is no condensation.

The SGFC (taken today).

"Left" bag the day it was opened and placed in SGFC.

Day 3, when second bag was added to SGFC.

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6 (Edit: Ugly spot on upper half of right bag is from some idiot *ahem* accidentally dropping the tub lid on it. :rolleyes:)

Left bag close up (Day 6)

Today (Day 8)

Edit: After looking at the pics again, I realized that the pictures taken today exaggerate the contrast compared to the earlier pics, mostly because they were taken at night with the light off. The bruising was at least as bad on day 6 as it is today, even though the pic might not look like it. Sorry for the confusion.

Today left bag

Today right bag

Edited by judicata (08/01/20 12:47 AM)

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Rhythm Guitarist

Registered: 04/08/20
Posts: 753
Loc: Lakeside Amusement Park Flag
Re: Helping to Salvage a First Grow - Too Dry? (bruising, few side pins only) [Re: judicata]
    #26856569 - 08/01/20 01:50 AM (13 days, 17 hours ago)

It`s like rolling a dice with premade stuff,
but i guess you know it.

If i were you, i would have placed each brick
in a small tub or shoebox, and put a grocery bag over the top.
Bodhisatta style, look here:

More perlite won`t help you for a better surface condition.
These bricks need another chamber, they dry out too fast.
Why didn`t you mix up a minimono from the start?
After all it`s a good experience for the future,
and you will definitly get some fruits out.

There are no strains that prefer side pinning.
They grow wherever they want to, if you give them the conditions.

I wouldn`t advice to dunk.
I´d just do some bottom watering to the corners
between bag and substrate, and look how much
gets absorbed.

I guess that bruising won`t stop cause it gets stressed
from drying, misting, drying, misting all the time.

So that`s all from me :wink:

Good luck!


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Registered: 05/28/20
Posts: 2
Last seen: 4 hours, 44 minutes
Re: Helping to Salvage a First Grow - Too Dry? (bruising, few side pins only) [Re: Goatrider]
    #26857861 - 08/01/20 09:09 PM (12 days, 22 hours ago)

Thanks for helping me out!

I think I read up on mini-monos the day after I built the SGFC. Definitely would've done that instead.

I don't have any smaller tubs these will fit in. Would it be better to set them into an unmodded tub, with the lid flipped? Or should I just set a plastic bag(or maybe wax paper?) over them where they are?

The surface looks about the same today ("Day 9"), but I'm seeing more growth and pinning on both cakes. The fruits look pretty good to me, except the top of one has a split, I suspect from the extreme wet-to-dry swings (it otherwise looks healthy).

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