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Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. * 41
    #27187543 - 02/05/21 04:36 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

Trichoderma and sparse flushes are usually the product of compromised spawn. Bacteria can be difficult for many new growers (and even a fair share of experienced ones) to spot . Sometimes it takes a very discerning eye to spot compromised spawn, other times it's more obvious; things are far more difficult to determine in the beginning.

Your spawn can smell decent and still be contaminated leaving you to wonder "wtf, why are my tubs turning green? My jars smelled just fine!"

   

The following is my mental checklist. I am constantly looking at my spawn trying to find signs of contamination. There's nothing worse than babysitting your work only to end up with sparse flushes or the mean green.
Keep in mind that this post is done on my phone so it won't have any bells and whistles or be pleasing to the eye but it should be at least helpful to some of you newer ladies and chaps aspiring to clean spawn.

Keep in mind that knowing what bad spawn looks like won't prevent it from getting there, so as always: be present and deliberate with your technique and hopefully you won't see any of this staring out at you from your shelves.

 Get Aides with p9- visual aides for the technically impaired  











Remember to adjust for elevation, when applicable!


"Sweaty" jars can be the result of temperature swings or a cooler environment but when combined with some of the other visual indicators mentioned below, excessive condensation will be an indication of microbial activity. Bacteria will create catabolic heat which in turn generates condensation/moisture on the interior of the glass. Mycelium will generate very small amounts of thermal activity which will cause a small amount of condensation if your room is cool, but 98% of the time condensation is bad news. The same mechanism is present in compost piles; microbial thermogenesis is the source of the heat which cooks your pile.

Bacterial colonies consume grain which creates heat, heat differential between the interior of the vessel and the external temperature of the room creates condensation; bacterial reproduction halts mycelial growth as the colony consolidates in place(thickens) while producing metabolites to stave off infection.

The result is generally odd looking thick and or spikey mycelium that grows erratically, doesn't colonize completely, produces thick slimly biofilm, wet spot and or stalls out especially after a shake....shaking damages the mycelium while spreading the bacteria.




Some of the things that I look for in my spawn:

1.Colour and consistency:  Is your mycelium an unnaturally absurd colour of white? does it have bright white splotches or very pronounced, spikey spiderweb like rhizomorphic tendrils? Does the mycelium  have a thick/smooth ice cream like consistency;

Examples of bacterial, thick/creamy white mycelium:



Some very creamy mycelium with wet grains:


Picture credit goes to clockworkshroom.

"Spikey" bacterially stressed mycelium and uncolonized grains, the first pic also has incongruous white patches.

A note on rhizomorphs: "Hyphal aggregation may fulfil migratory or connective roles in the case of rhizomorphs and mycelial cords which, being corporate structures, are often capable of far more rapid extension than individual hyphae, whilst exhibiting parallel patterns of branching and anastomosis"
-Versatility and degeneracy p.25

Rhizomorphs are exploratory structures that will blend seamlessly with the surrounding mycelium once the grains have fully colonized, shifting from foraging/exploratory growth phase to exploitive phase which will result in pin formation if left for too long. The sort of spikey/sickly growth patterns pictured immediately below are not healthy rhizomorphs but likely an attempt by the mycelium to escape a contaminated environment: 





Here's an example of healthy rhizomorphic shoestrings: no sign of excess moisture/heat, wet spot, or stressed/erratic growth, these healthy rhizomorphs will blend homogeneously into the surrounding colony when fully colonized:

 

2. Metabolites:  Does your spawn seem to have a yellow liquid  being excreted from your mycelium?  Metabolites are produced by mycelium either as a response to competitive stressors like bacteria, or to aid in the digestion of food in the environment.  Small amounts in terms of a few small beads isn't anything to worry about so long as everything else is in order, however large quantities of yellow to orange metabolites (also described as myc piss, lol) is a solid indication of bacterial infection. Fungal metabolites are the source of many novel chemicals and medicines like penicillin, these metabolites contain antibiotics and chemicals that serve the mycelium in battle and to digest food in the environment;

An individual bead of yellow metabolite, no big deal:



By the time you see this level of metabolic response you should have noticed the other symptoms of overt bacterial infection, as seen here:




3.Does your mycelium run on the slow side or have slow recovery: If I don't see fuzzy grains in 12 to 24 hours (after the shake) I'm very suspicious;

PE recovering nicely on white millet:



The following pic is a great example of the best use of very bacterial spawn, imo. As mentioned above you should expect to see recovery of healthy spawn in roughly 18 to 24 hours. Bad spawn will often show itself post shake due to the weakening of the colony through it's disruption. The now weakened colony is the perfect opportunity for bacteria to take hold and overcome your mycelium, causing it to stall.


Photo credit: Inthepit

Although the above jar is obviously bacterial it flushed decently because it was top fruited, the mycelial-mass wasn't ripped apart by spawning which allowed the mycelium the chance to reproduce. Had this jar been spawned it could have spoiled a tub with other jars that were gtg, or if spawned to a shoebox the reservoir of water provided by the coir/verm would have allowed the bacteria to proliferate and potentially cause other problems like Trichoderma. Bacteria weakens the defenses of the mycelium which creates opportunity for competitor molds like Trichoderma.

The following is another great example of how to put your compromised spawn to good use. This method could also be utilized in the event of contaminated tubs by super spawning your contaminated substrate into a bed. This bed was built to keep skunks, raccoons, and other grain hungry bastards away from that delicious grain spawn:

All of these bags/jars are bacterial:
9 bags of MS PE, 3 different TOC clones, melmak clones, some MS RustyWhyte, and MS APE.



All mixed and level. Now time for 1/4 to 1/2" soil casing layer:



Grass seed was sown on the soil layer to aid in climate control at the surface.
Poor spawn and contaminated tubs will perform much better outdoors than inside without risk of polluting your grow space.

The outdoor bed can be found here:

The Official Outdoor Grow Thread



4. The shake: Is it extremely difficult to shake your grains apart? Does your jar require you to smash it so hard that it almost hurts your hand (or does hurt your hand/breaks)? If the grains hold together that tenaciously then they're  likely contaminated.

**Caveats to this observation: This does not or may not apply if you have allowed your grains to consolidate for a long period of time; this does not apply to all other species, we are strictly speaking cubes;






Clean, healthy grain spawn will readily break apart during the shake; it will not cling together to the point of requiring bicycle tires, rolled up carpet, broken jars, etc.

Bacterial grains will cling together tenaciously and will often have large (deathstar) balled clumps of grain at the core which will refuse to break up.

No struggling, no banging, no nonsense.


Mycelium that has been weakened by an infection will be further weakened by the shake prior to spawning; shaking allows for aggressive competitors like bacteria to take hold during this window of recovery which presents the perfect opportunity for bacteria.

Shaking up compromised spawn not only weakens the mycelium but it simultaneously spreads bacteria throughout the grains; when these weakened/infected grains are mixed into a bulk substrate they're now exposed to a water reservoir that facilitates the bloom of bacterial colonies.

This is why pf tek is the preferred tek when using septic inoculum like multispore solution. With pf tek the granular structure of the brown rice flour holds bacteria in place while the mycelial colony runs through the substrate; fruiting intact pf cakes keeps the mycelial colony intact because we're no longer shaking/ weakening the colony allowing for the infection to take advantage of the recovery window that the mycelium requires. Never inoculate grains with multispore solution for these reasons.

5. Do my jars look overly wet or have lot's of interior condensation:

Some condensation is ok, its just an indication that it's warmer inside the jar than outside of the jar, which is to be expected due to the presence of live mycelium; heavy condensation however can be an indication of bacterial activity/microbial thermogenesis.

Examples of excessive interior condensation:



Photo credit: Akicaps

6. Bacterial slime/biofilm:



I think the pictures speak for themselves here.

Some of my own jars that were bacterial and had too much internal condensation, classic wet bubble look produced by bacillus infections:



Some of my APE master jars are taking off. Notice the uniform growth and lack of condensation:



Having wet grains isn't in itself a sufficient condition to contaminate your grain with bacteria on its own. LC works just fine and its a jar full of nutrient water. Properly sterilized wet grains will be just that, sterile wet grains. This environment however, just like liquid culture, will reveal any mistakes in your technique or preparation. If there is any trace of bacteria whatsoever it will flourish in a wet environment where it is now highly mobile and can reproduce easily. Bacteria requires water as a medium for motility (shaking grains serve to artificially facilitate the movement of bacteria within your jars), this is why BRF is so resistant to bacterial blooms, and LC is "finicky "


6. Bacteria is often accompanied by uncolonized, wet looking individual grains dispersed throughout your jar or bag, often times pushed up against the glass or plastic. Sometimes you will have groups of grains that have been avoided altogether by the mycelium, they sit untouched no matter how long you wait, as seen above.

Here's some more sneaky fuckers, for your viewing pleasure:


Thanks to Lenz for donating the 3rd pic of the group.

Note the suspicious change in the mycelium's colour: it shifts between an almost grey colour and bright white; note the change in the mycelium's density as it radiates out from individual grains:  some spots seem thicker, others thinner; note the uncolonized grain and excess moisture on the interior of the glass.


Mycelium will have uniform growth throughout your grains when it has free reign. Where mycelium is fighting bacteria you'll see the mycelium thicken in response. Variation in density and colour is abnormal behavior for healthy mycelium.
All of these are bacterial red flags.

If any of the above observations are off I personally don't even bother with it, I just toss it and save myself the headache. I always have lots of spawn to fuck around with anyways so it's not a big deal. I suggest that you keep enough going so that it doesn't matter too much if you discover bacteria in your own spawn.

Spawning grains that aren't too far gone can be a great learning experience for the new grower, it will teach you through experience what kind of visual ques correlate to variations in performance.

Now these examples don't represent the gambit of bacterial infections and I haven't touched on contamination from molds, however these are some of the more common symptoms that I see slip by people new to growing.

From one of our Trusted cultivators:

Quote:

A.k.a said:
Contams can be really sneaky. Since I started using a hood I’ve realized there’s a good chance I sucked at SAB and was running a lot of cultures that seemed clean but weren’t.

The only sign anything might be wrong was early molding after the first flush. I’m noticing my cultures look slightly different on grain now with the hood. It could be a lot of other things but I’m leaning towards my stuff before being mildly dirty.




Remember that bacteria can happen to anybody, bacteria can be a slippery bitch.

In summary:

Your spawn should be easy to shake, it should be uniform in colour and consistency, free of excessive metabolites, free of excessive moisture, fully colonized, and lastly it should smell like fresh/clean mushrooms at spawning.

Using smell alone to determine the health of your spawn is unreliable. Poor spawn can still smell pretty close to good, it's far too subjective. Unless your spawn is contaminated with something particularly aggressive you may not notice much difference in the smell.

Quote:

Gan said:
I see a lot of newer growers think spawn is clean because it smelled fine.
I only use smell to confirm it's contaminated, never to confirm it's clean. Essentially, if it smells bad, it's bad. If it smells good, it could still be bad.





I like this, great observation.

Bacterial spawn is going to be operator error. Either your inoculation source was dirty, your grain was underhydrated, your technique was bad, or your sterilization cycle was incomplete, or some combination of those things. Keep in mind that you're literally covered in contamination and are therefore the most likely source for contamination.


So this is what I personally use as a mental checklist when observing my own spawn. Hopefully this will help some of you newer growers that haven't quite nailed clean spawn yet.

Good luck.

Note: I will be adding from my own picture stock as these problems arise in my own future grows as well as posting pics submitted my members. Members will be credited for their pics.

Some pictures of my own healthy spawn:




RustyWhyte running on wheat, in a jar.


More RW on wheat. Note the uniformity of colour and texture, the lack of excess moisture, fully colonized grains with no bare spots. This spawn is super easy to break apart. Good, wholesome, clean spawn.


Some healthy PE running on white millet in a bag, to be used as grainmaster tomorrow.

Here is a fully colonized, healthy bag of millet spawn:



Both of these pictures are from the same bag: the pic on the left is the top of the block with the bag removed. You can see that some of the top grains look uncolonized, this is not the case and it is worth noting as it is a common occurrence with bags. Filthyknees has a thread dedicated to this topic:
Will dried grains topping spawn bags lead to contamination


The picture on the right is a shot from the side of the block with the bag peeled away to show a clear view of the underlying spawn. That portion in the middle that appears to also be uncolonized is where I put my thumb into the grain, lol.


Some pictures of clean spawn taken at various stages of growth, grown on various grains, and graciously donated by the community:

Crackatoa:



Sockadin:



Sh4d0ws:



D3monic:




(More will be added as they become available)


Grain prep checklist:

If you find that you keep producing bacterial spawn and you are at your wit's end, try following this troubleshooting checklist:

Grain prep:
Make sure not to undertook your grains, undercooked grains will have a kernel that's improperly hydrated. Improper hydration means incomplete energy transfer to the kernel and incomplete sterilization, water content facilitates the efficient transfer of heat energy via conduction . Check hydration by cutting open your grain to see if there's a white, starchy core. You want that core to have turned clear, as seen here:



This does not apply to WBS, millet, or any other seed, just to large cereal grains like oats, wheat, rye, etc.

If you've overcooked your grain it's preferable to undercooked because it will sterilize, just make sure to give it time to dry out on the exterior before loading.


Sterilization time/Venting PC:
Make sure to vent for at least 10 mins, don't start that ten minute timer until steam stops sputtering and begins to steadily hiss; this won't happen until both plugs on your presto lid pop up, Then start your timer. I always vent for 15 mins (20-30 mins on the 75x) just to be sure, this will allow not only for ample time to purge the vessel but will allow enough time for all surfaces to reach working temperature. If you don't purge/warm up correctly you're going to get bacteria because  cooler pockets of air will be trapped in the pc which will prevent it from reaching correct sterilization temperatures.


Sterile technique:
Once sterilization is  covered focus on you your sterile technique and the cleanliness of your culture. As stated at the outset of this post you'll need to clean up your act. Be present, be deliberate; you, your utensils, dishes, jars, etc, are covered in contamination.


Clean culture/inoculant:
Make sure to go back to your culture to insure that it's actually clean. Culture's can harbor bacteria and meshed in mold.

Should you have a particularly dirty culture that just won't come clean on agar, or you have shitty spore syringes, swabs, etc, use this method to clean up your inoculum:

Josex' Poke: No Mercy for Bacteria


Vessel and lids:
Make sure that your bags and jars are intact, set aside a test bag/jar to see if they contaminate on their own. Jar lids can fail, bags can get pin holes.


Narrow down the source of contamination by attacking each issue methodically:

1. Grain prep
2. Sterilization cycle and vent time
3. Technique
4. Clean/efficient culture
5. Filters/lids/bags
6. Conditions: Environmental (spawn run room), and at the substrate surface level (post spawn and full colonization)

These 6 things, in that order will make or break your grow. If you're having any issues whatsoever it will lay with one of those criterion being off. Keeping this in mind will help you focus your efforts and troubleshoot effectively.

Attention to detail is necessary with every step. Make sure all of the above is in order and your grain will be gtg.
Clean spawn, clean/efficient culture, proper fruiting conditions; these three things will make or break your grow.




Edited by p9hu7 (10/31/22 08:23 PM)


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OfflineMushroomNewbie2
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Re: Clean spawn checklist [Re: p9hu7]
    #27187547 - 02/05/21 04:38 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

:leocheers:
Great mental checklist!
I’ve seen you post this on a couple threads over the past week or so so I’m glad that you did a write up.


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Edited by MushroomNewbie2 (02/05/21 04:39 PM)


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OfflineProfessor X
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Re: Clean spawn checklist [Re: p9hu7]
    #27187569 - 02/05/21 04:51 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

My avatar came from some bacterial jars that never finished colonizing. Took that picture 2 days ago and yesterday had a corner full of trich (I knew it was coming) I cut it out (I never do that firat flush) and salted the shit out of the area and removed everything that wasn't albino. 4 small albino clusters popped up in it and it's KSSS so I'm trying to grow them out some more before I clone them. I'm just glad I went ahead and spawned it. I've been hunting for KSSS Albinos for 2 years.

I had some other jars I spawned like that as well with some having better results than others but all in all I just pulled 9 oz dry from 6 quarts of bacterial spawn. I'm not arguing with you by any means, I'll take clean spawn over dirty spawn all day but just because it's bacterial doesn't mean it's trash. None of these jars ever finished colonizing. They all matted at the bottom at 85% so I scooped the top 3/4 out without breaking them up first. It was due to improper grain prep. My apprentice has been prepping grain solo lately and I'm not sure where she is screwing up but she is so this weekend we're going to have a refresher course.


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Invisiblep9hu7Discord
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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: Professor X]
    #27187583 - 02/05/21 05:00 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

Yes I agree, you can grow some mushrooms with bad spawn. I don't want to grow "some" mushrooms alongside trich but there may be scenarioswhere this is an acceptable outcome. The purpose of this thread however is to help those of us in the community that don't know why they have trich or poor flushes. You knew that your spawn was bad and expected the results that you got.


Edited by p9hu7 (02/05/21 06:08 PM)


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OfflineProfessor X
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Re: Clean spawn checklist [Re: p9hu7]
    #27187590 - 02/05/21 05:02 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

Sure did. It's a great write up. I just don't encourage newbies to trash everything they have.


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Re: Clean spawn checklist [Re: p9hu7] * 1
    #27187591 - 02/05/21 05:03 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

good shit P9

i think it was pasty who once said somethin along the lines of i wish ppl put as much time and effort into having good grows as they do tryin to save bad ones.

or somethin to that effect.


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Invisiblep9hu7Discord
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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: Professor X]
    #27187595 - 02/05/21 05:03 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

I'll encourage what I like....

Quote:

jcm4620 said:
good shit P9

i think it was pasty who once said somethin along the lines of i wish ppl put as much time and effort into having good grows as they do tryin to save bad ones.

or somethin to that effect.




Thanks, bro. And I agree 100%

*edit:

Quote:

Professor X said:
I had some other jars I spawned like that as well with some having better results than others but all in all I just pulled 9 oz dry from 6 quarts of bacterial spawn.




Wait a min, I didn't catch this at first. I had to come back to re-read this. 9oz dry from bad spawn...from one tub or in total across 6 jars spawned in different places?


Edited by p9hu7 (02/05/21 06:09 PM)


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Re: Clean spawn checklist [Re: p9hu7]
    #27187647 - 02/05/21 05:47 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

Thanks for writing this.  I appreciate the detail about condensation.


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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: Land Trout]
    #27187661 - 02/05/21 06:01 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

:cheers:


Edited by p9hu7 (02/05/21 06:09 PM)


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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: p9hu7]
    #27187744 - 02/05/21 06:52 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

nice post! I saw your checklist posted earlier this week too. super helpful for both spawning and expansion.

i also want to add something that's probably obvious to everyone else but.. comparing all your jars side by side before spawning them helps (me, at least) detect the bad ones, especially with the smell and difficulty to break apart. 

would be awesome if you could include some example pics of spawn with some of the more subtle issues, like what you'd consider to be just a tad too many metabolites, too wet/uncolonized or too white/patchy. it's obvious when it's bad enough, but knowing where to draw the line can be tough, especially when you're starting out and/or spawn is limited.

edit: oops, I see you've now done that already, lol! :thumbup:


Edited by junk_f00d (02/05/21 06:54 PM)


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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: junk_f00d]
    #27187749 - 02/05/21 06:55 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

I plan on adding pics as they become available to me, I generally don't take too many pics but ill add them as things pop up during my own spawn production.


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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: p9hu7]
    #27187808 - 02/05/21 07:44 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

Quote:

p9hu7 said:


4. Is it hard as fuck to shake the grains apart during the shake? Like, do you have to smash that jar so hard that it almost hurts your hand? If it's that tenacious then it's not likely good, at least for cubes;






This might have some truth to it but if I wait a few weeks too long before using grain to bulk its hard AF to break up.
Also sometimes when using cracked corn its hard AF to break up. Waiting too long is not ideal, but still worth spawning.
I like the write up, just gotta remember there can be exceptions in certain scenarios.


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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: bw86]
    #27187815 - 02/05/21 07:46 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

Definitely, I'll make that addition.

Esit*
Caveats added.


Edited by p9hu7 (02/05/21 07:53 PM)


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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: p9hu7]
    #27187823 - 02/05/21 07:54 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

:snoopyes:


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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: Gastronomicus]
    #27187827 - 02/05/21 07:57 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

Is there anything particular to look out for when using bfr cakes as spawn?


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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: sunnydays]
    #27187831 - 02/05/21 07:59 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

This is grain spawn specific. I don't have much experience with brf so I cannot comment on that. I will assume that there will be some overlap in visual cues but couldn't comment more than that.


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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: p9hu7]
    #27187851 - 02/05/21 08:20 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

Quote:

p9hu7 said:
I'll encourage what I like....

Quote:

jcm4620 said:
good shit P9

i think it was pasty who once said somethin along the lines of i wish ppl put as much time and effort into having good grows as they do tryin to save bad ones.

or somethin to that effect.




Thanks, bro. And I agree 100%

*edit:

Quote:

Professor X said:
I had some other jars I spawned like that as well with some having better results than others but all in all I just pulled 9 oz dry from 6 quarts of bacterial spawn.




Wait a min, I didn't catch this at first. I had to come back to re-read this. 9oz dry from bad spawn...from one tub or in total across 6 jars spawned in different places?




6 quarts total 3 tubs. 1.5 in each 20 quart and 3 in a 32 quart. I attribute it to pure genetics. It's my mono KSSS and it's resilient as hell. I have actually seen it overtake green before I guess it depends on the strain of trich. I normally get better yields so that was a bad yield for me. My apprentice screwed up a bunch of grain so I've lost some jars recently, we're going to have a refresher course this weekend. The other one that put out the Albinos is a different KSSS culture that tends to put out mutants but doesn't ever have the great yields even when it's healthy. I pulled maybe an oz dry out of that tub 1.5 quarts as well.

That's why I don't tell people to toss cause of bacteria, I also don't condone putting a ton of effort into saving a lost cause. I see these guys trying to save shit when trich gets it before it fruits and hate to tell them but they could possibly get some fruits if they cut at it daily and iso and salt and their fruits will be spindly tiny cap crappy bs shit. I call it psychedelic ramen. Getting 1/2 oz dry from 4 - 6 quarts spawn isn't worth all that work.

I know a guy that actually expects an oz dry from 5 quarts spawn. Hurts my head...


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My no pour Petri TEK - https://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/27252059/page/1


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Invisiblep9hu7Discord
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Registered: 08/04/12
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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: Professor X] * 1
    #27187859 - 02/05/21 08:26 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

People can spawn bacteria all day, if they like. Thats just what I do. I can understand keeping iffy jars around if you don't produce much spawn or don't have the space etc. I personally don't mess with anything that looks off anymore, but that's my personal preference and situation.

Like I said, this is for people who don't know that they have bacteria in their jars, not the people who know what they have and don't care.


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OfflineProfessor X
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Registered: 04/18/19
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Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: p9hu7]
    #27187873 - 02/05/21 08:29 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

I usually do too. I just thought this was a good chance to teach my apprentice a lesson and show some guys here why they shouldn't toss their only jars. I'm unhappy with myself when I get screwed up spawn because it's my fault and I have been doing it too long to make those mistakes.


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My no pour Petri TEK - https://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/27252059/page/1


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Invisiblecoversall
إِنْ شَاءَ ٱللَهُ
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Registered: 06/06/20
Posts: 2,744
Loc: संसार
Re: Clean spawn checklist for the new grower. [Re: Professor X]
    #27187881 - 02/05/21 08:34 PM (1 year, 9 months ago)

Saved for when I decide to try grains again.

:retrocool:


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