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OfflineXray_Salami
Registered: 03/08/02
Posts: 62
Last seen: 4 years, 2 months
Growing with Moisture Plus.
    #2792928 - 06/14/04 06:27 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I've been a lurker here at the shroomery for many years, and I have yet to see much about using this stuff in cultivation. Except using it in the substrate. A couple dollars for a little container, and it makes a ALOT. No more carrying bags and bags of vermiculite and perlite for me. It's great for casing, keeping the humidity in the terrarium, and it isn't messy like perlite. I haven't had to sterilize it to use it for the casings either. I just put a few scoops in a container, fill with water, and let it set overnight. 3 teaspoons of the moisture plus will fill up a container that is about 6in. x 6in. x 6in. :thumbup:



It's also clear when its hydrated, so I haven't had a single problem with overlay. I can see just how colonized the casing layer is and don't have to guess when it is ready to put it into fruiting. You just have to be careful not to expose it to too much light when patching though, otherwise the mushrooms will grow too far under the casing layer. It's not really a problem because the contrast between the caps and the underlying mycelia makes them easy to spot. The only problem i've had so far is getting the mushrooms to let go of the crystals after I pick them. I usually just scrape them off with a knife.

Here's a picture of a current casing. It is 2 quarts of colonized popcorn, about 3/4in. deep, and it is cased with 1/4in. of moisture plus. This is 4 days after putting it into the terrarium. For scale, the larger mushy in the upper left is 2.5in - 3in. Note that I have already harvested mature mushrooms from this casing too. There's currently 27 mushies on it. I hope that this will at least help a few newbies to advance from cakes to casings, as I never had any success with some of the "easy" methods like straight verm, or 50/50.



Moderators, if this post isn't advanced enough then feel free to move it accordingly.


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OfflineXray_Salami
Registered: 03/08/02
Posts: 62
Last seen: 4 years, 2 months
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Xray_Salami]
    #2792971 - 06/14/04 06:40 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

...


Edited by Xray_Salami (07/30/04 11:55 PM)


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Offlineempath
I feel you

Registered: 03/03/04
Posts: 245
Loc: Seattle
Last seen: 12 years, 7 months
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Xray_Salami]
    #2792985 - 06/14/04 06:45 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I was wonder about this stuff but had serious doubts about it for some reason because everyone was saying "perlite! or vermiculite!" I'll have to give this a go next time :thumbup:


--------------------
"It tastes like burning"-Ralph Wiggum


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Invisiblejonneill
Hero
Registered: 06/08/04
Posts: 133
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Xray_Salami]
    #2792986 - 06/14/04 06:45 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Do you have any yield information? I obviously can't ask you to guess about relative yields between that and, say, 75/25 coir/verm since you say you haven't had success with those...


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Offlinegbhtrfv
journeyman
Registered: 02/09/04
Posts: 154
Last seen: 10 years, 10 months
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Xray_Salami]
    #2793017 - 06/14/04 06:56 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

the only problem i've heard associated with this stuff is that sometimes there's too much moisture.


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OfflineXray_Salami
Registered: 03/08/02
Posts: 62
Last seen: 4 years, 2 months
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Xray_Salami]
    #2793138 - 06/14/04 07:54 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

empath: So far its been perfect for keeping the humidity. I can even achieve lower humidity levels, between 70%-90% by lowering the amount of misting I do. Every few days I take everything out of the terrarium and mix up the crystals on the bottom with my hand, then rinse off. It keeps the moisture evenly distributed.


gbjtrfv: That's what I was afraid of at first, I figured the mushrooms might rot where they touch the crystals. I've found that the moisture isn't too hard to control because as a casing layer, they keep the water from puddling up in any one area. If I happen to mist a little too much, then I just forget about it during the next fanning and then it's all good. So far it's been really hard to overmist for me, and I've been fanning then misting every few hours or so.


jonneill: No sorry, the casing layer gives nothing to the mycelium except protection and moisture, so I doubt it makes the yields better than any other cased popcorn.


I also want to add that I don't sterilize the casing containers I use. I just wash them in the dishwasher then use them when I am ready. My growroom isn't a laboratory or anything either. Just the closet of an average, semi-cluttered bedroom. I just leave the bedroom door closed and the window open as much as possible.


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Invisiblematts
matts

Registered: 01/28/02
Posts: 3,649
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Xray_Salami]
    #2793793 - 06/15/04 03:07 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)



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OfflineXray_Salami
Registered: 03/08/02
Posts: 62
Last seen: 4 years, 2 months
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: matts]
    #2793828 - 06/15/04 03:33 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I am in no way qualified to guarantee safety when following these methods, so follow them at your own risk.  :syringe:

The label says it is non-toxic and this stuff is used in soil to grow plants. If it were harmful to humans I don't think it would be used in growing food either. (Anybody who knows more about mushrooms absorbing toxins please correct me if i'm wrong.)





I don't want this to become one of those threads with just a few tid bits of information on the progress, so...

I just finished a little patching of the above casing, and found that my casing feels the same way apparently. I found the perfect opportunity to show what happens when you expose your casing to too much light, too soon. I have some very nice close up pictures of how to differentiate between popcorn kernels and pins\aborts. Unfortunately I have reached my upload limit for today so I will have to post them later.

I would love to answer any questions, as so many of mine have been answered by this community even though I never had to ask them.


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Offlinegbhtrfv
journeyman
Registered: 02/09/04
Posts: 154
Last seen: 10 years, 10 months
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Xray_Salami]
    #2793919 - 06/15/04 04:37 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

since the crystal is supposed to release water slowly, do you think one can use this as a casing layer and leave the casing in open air?


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Invisiblematts
matts

Registered: 01/28/02
Posts: 3,649
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Xray_Salami]
    #2793922 - 06/15/04 04:41 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)



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OfflineXray_Salami
Registered: 03/08/02
Posts: 62
Last seen: 4 years, 2 months
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: gbhtrfv]
    #2793941 - 06/15/04 04:58 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Sadly no, you will still have to cover it. I just used a tupperware like container, and slightly cracked 2 corners of the plastic lid (Just make sure they're opposite corners for even humidity). Seems to keep very nice humid conditions doing it this way.

How I did the casing above was:
1. Put colonized popcorn in tupperware container and covered.
2. Put in incubator at 86 degrees for 24 hours.
3. Cased with 1/4in. - 1/2in. Moisture Plus crystals.
4. Placed casing on top of incubator and forgot about it for 3 days.
5. Incubated for another 7 days at 86 degrees. (Fan 1-3 times per day if it looks overly wet.)
6. Put casing in terrarium and initiated pinning 4 days ago.

Note that I did not do any misting to the casing during the 10 day incubation period, only when placed in the terrarium. I did not cold-shock either. The mycelium would have permeated the casing layer earlier if I hadn't forgotten about it.


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Offlinegbhtrfv
journeyman
Registered: 02/09/04
Posts: 154
Last seen: 10 years, 10 months
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Xray_Salami]
    #2794969 - 06/15/04 02:15 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Xray_Salami said:
Sadly no, you will still have to cover it.




what's the reason behind it? dries out too fast?


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OfflineXray_Salami
Registered: 03/08/02
Posts: 62
Last seen: 4 years, 2 months
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: gbhtrfv]
    #2795099 - 06/15/04 03:01 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Even though these crystals are supposed to release water over a long period of time, I have found that the mycelium and the mushrooms have a tendency to hold on to the crystals and suck the water right out of them. I have mushrooms growing, that have m.p. stuck to the caps still. When I first noticed them, I tried to clean them off and almost harvested them because they wouldnt let go of the crystals.

When I patched that casing yesterday, I noticed that the crystals in the casing layer were about half the size of recently hydrated crystals. After this next flush I will post some results on the yield. I think it should be decent considering there is now 50+ mushies.


Edited by Xray_Salami (06/15/04 03:38 PM)


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Invisiblemycofile
Pooh-Bah
 User Gallery

Registered: 01/19/99
Posts: 2,336
Loc: Uranus
Trusted Cultivator
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Xray_Salami] * 1
    #2795393 - 06/15/04 04:13 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

So far as the toxicity thing goes. The crystals are made out of something like polyacrimide or something. I don't really know the name, but it's been discussed at pretty great length. They aren't really toxic to humans, but most professional mushroom growers avoid them because they take a long time to break down, thus creating vast amounts of waste. (Which as people like stamets are apt to point out, is ironic considering fungi's ability to recycle so much of what we consider "waste". Like all the straw that gets burned every year because we don't have other uses for it. CA gets more airborne pollution from straw burning than it does from all it's electrical power plants combined. Cultivating mushrooms to recycle that waste is a whole different subject though). Also, when the crystals do break down, they can break into some rather nasty chemicals that we don't particularly want in our environment. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the environmental effects of producing the product in the first place.

Anyway, the point is that so far as I've read, there are no toxicity issues to the home grower who will only have them around for a month or so, should be well before it breaks down. Also, home growers don't produce anywhere near the waste that a commercial op goes, so you might not feel bad about producing just a few gallons of waste that is semi-not good for the environment.

About the only caution I would give is that I don't know of any studies that discuss the breakdown and by-products that can happen by the interaction of the fungi with the crystals. It is plausible that the fungus exudes some enzymes or something that break down the crystals into harmful chemicals that then could be absorbed into the fruits.

Even if that were the case though, remember most people are only going to be eating a few grams. Very little chance that eating those grams would be anyworse for your body than say walking down a road that cars are driving on, or ingesting cow hormones in your milk, or even living in a house that constantly emits VOC's from it's walls formaldehyde from it's carpet etc etc.

Good work Xray, looking forward to more info....


--------------------
"From a certain point of view"
-Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi

PM me with any cultivation questions.

I just looked at my profile and realized I had a website at one point in time on geocities, it's not there anymore and I have no idea what I had on it. Anybody remember my website from several years aga? PM if so please.


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Invisiblemycofile
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Registered: 01/19/99
Posts: 2,336
Loc: Uranus
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Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: mycofile]
    #2795409 - 06/15/04 04:17 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Oh, forgot to mention that there was a very thorough study that I saw recently studying the yield off of various casing mixes. A general trend that was evident from the results was that the casing materials which had more ability to hold gasses yielded more. I would imagine the crystals to be very dense and full of water, holding very little gas. You might want to consider adding some perlite to the crystals which would create little gas pockets.


--------------------
"From a certain point of view"
-Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi

PM me with any cultivation questions.

I just looked at my profile and realized I had a website at one point in time on geocities, it's not there anymore and I have no idea what I had on it. Anybody remember my website from several years aga? PM if so please.


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OfflineXray_Salami
Registered: 03/08/02
Posts: 62
Last seen: 4 years, 2 months
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: mycofile]
    #2795435 - 06/15/04 04:29 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Thanks mycofile for pointing that out about how they break down over time. I just throw out the m.p. that I use for casings and I recycle the ones I use for humidity.


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InvisibleMykey
spectraltraveler

Registered: 04/07/04
Posts: 542
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Xray_Salami]
    #2796175 - 06/15/04 09:12 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

A friend of mine has been using a mix of coir and moisture plus for a long time now and is very happy with the results. Seems very resistant to contams and makes it very easy to keep moisture levels optimum. The water pretty much has to be drawn out of the polymer crystals so it seems to do a good job of keeping the shrooms growing as well as keeping the coir from becoming over saturated. If you over mist a bit the crystals simply suck up the extra water and keep it there until the myc sucks it out. GREAT STUFF! Excessive myc piss is also wicked into the crystals and will quickly turn them yellow,but the myc stays nice and white instead of getting yellowed from the drying piss.

Good Post
MYKEY


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Invisiblematts
matts

Registered: 01/28/02
Posts: 3,649
Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Mykey]
    #2796736 - 06/15/04 11:35 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)



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OfflineSuntzu
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Registered: 10/15/99
Posts: 1,394
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Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: mycofile]
    #2797083 - 06/16/04 12:43 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I agree with Mycofile 100%; 

In this hobby, we are taking a huge shortcut over the manufacturer's intentions for the product.  If you've seen polyacrylamide in a casing, [at least IME] it definitely colonizes.  So comes the big question:  Do mushrooms break it down into acrylamide?  If they do, do they also furthur remediate it into harmless compounds?  Or do they end up sequestering it?  I wouldn't be surprised if they chopped it all up into non-toxic molecules, but who can say for sure?  I did some looking and found a paper I'd LOVE to read. . .

Determination of acrylamide monomer in mushrooms grown on polyacrylamide gel
Laurence Castle
pp 1261 - 1263

in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry:

http://pubs3.acs.org/acs/journals/toc.page?incoden=jafcau&indecade=1&involume=41&inissue=8

Unfortunately, as usual, you gotta pay :wink:  I emailed the author and will certainly report back if I hear anything.

Personally, I think the crystals are fun to play with.  I don't use them for casings anymore because they do almost appear nutritive to the mycelium.


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OfflineSuntzu
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Re: Growing with Moisture Plus. [Re: Suntzu]
    #2798340 - 06/16/04 10:25 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I got a reply from Dr. Castle. . .

"In our paper, we found no problem when polyacrylamides were used in the way you describe."

I don't know what species they worked with, but I'm sure it was along the lines of button mushrooms [food industry research].


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