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Registered: 07/24/00
Posts: 19
Last seen: 22 years, 6 months
Old Timer's method
    #312533 - 05/08/01 05:30 PM (23 years, 1 month ago)

Someone asked me about this so I thought I'd write up a short summary since it may have worked for my friend:

Pastuerize an amount of straw enough for a depth of 3-6 inches in your pan. Use minimum of 1 pf cake for every square foot. crumble the cakes into marble sized peices then use a food processor or blender to turn the cakes into a fine dust which will look like it's just vermiculite but it's not. lay out the straw a layer at a time after it is cool and mix in a part of the dust: sprinkle it all over and mix it in good. Repeat until full and cover with foil. Incubate for 2-5 days and add a thin casing layer. Incubate a couple days until you see mycelium and give it air/light/temp drop. Three inches of straw may have produced hefty six inch fruits, who knows? I recommend using coco fiber as the casing. --Dvoid

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Registered: 05/02/01
Posts: 204
Last seen: 21 years, 7 months
Re: Old Timer's method [Re: Dvoid]
    #312627 - 05/08/01 07:32 PM (23 years, 1 month ago)

I'd say give a couple 'o cakes a roll in the hay! Should be interesting/rewarding to see the results.

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Registered: 04/27/01
Posts: 488
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Re: Old Timer's method [Re: Dvoid]
    #312637 - 05/08/01 07:41 PM (23 years, 1 month ago)

i was in the process of asking old timer about this tek, when DD went down.

i'm wondering how you get the cakes dry enough to make into a powder--less water to start? wait for a while after colonization??


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Registered: 03/28/01
Posts: 15
Last seen: 23 years, 1 month
Re: Old Timer's method [Re: gratefulredhead]
    #312681 - 05/08/01 08:45 PM (23 years, 1 month ago)

You might have better results if you used a grain spawn rather than brf/verm unless you don't have a pressure cooker.. You can use a whole container cased wall to wall and you will have some awesome fruits.. Peace.

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Registered: 03/31/01
Posts: 67
Last seen: 22 years, 8 months
Re: Old Timer's method [Re: SauconyFever]
    #312760 - 05/08/01 10:22 PM (23 years, 1 month ago)

I will be trying this method within the week with some BRF+verm equador, anyone else who has please share your results!

Here is most of the relevent info on this method from the thread on DD, hope this helps you guys out:

A method I use might prove useful to you. I simply start 1/2 pint jars using traditional PF Tek. Once jars are fully colonized I get ready for straw inoculation. I soak regular old straw (which I get from a Feed & Seed) for 24 hours. After soaking I chop the straw and place in a large pasta pot. Bring to 160F for 1 hour. After pasteurization I allow straw to cool, drain and place in pans with clear "greenhouse" type lids. Take the "cake" and grind it to powder in a food processor/blender. Believe it or not the grinding does not harm the mycelium. Sprinkle the cake powder all over the straw and mix in throughly. Every minute particle of PF cake dust will become a growth point giving super fast colonization of the straw. Allow spawn to run through and case. You will get really good flushes (much more than fruiting individual cakes) and produce many more carpophores for your enjoyment. Of course
optimum humidity must be maintained throughout the entire growing cycle from inoculation to fruiting. For years I
started cultures using petri dishes, replated several times, transferred to grain and fruited strictly on manure/straw compost. Now, thanks to PF I have learned a much easier and quicker method for growing our
fungi friends using straw and cakes with no lab time at all. See, you can teach an old head new tricks.
Lots of thoughts & questions on the grinding of PF cakes. Trust me it works...
This is a repost from another forum where I am sharing the process. You may find something useful here:

Geez Hippie.... Where do I start?!

Q: Is it more effective to pasteurize wet rather than dry materials?
A: Hell if I know. I do know it's a lot easier to stir a pan of 160 degree dry soil in the oven. In short, the heat is doing its job wet or dry and it's much easier to work with dry. An additional plus is the fact that you can store the dry stuff for later use. Wet soil is much less convenient to store and is more likely to be infested with bacteria if you tried to use it later. I like being able to sterilize a batch of dry soil, use what I need and put the rest in a clean zip-loc freezer bag for later use.

Q: Why do I prefer a peat based casing mixture that requires the Ph to be adjusted?
A: Well to be honest... I've always used peat based soils for casing because that's what Bob Harris taught me to use about 25 years ago! Actually though, I really like the "consistency" of these soils. They hold moisture nicely, stay fluffy and are easy to spread over the spawn. I assume vermiculite would work but may be hard to wet evenly if spread on dry. You could probably wet it in
a bowl (like you do when fixing up PF jars) and it would do okay. It's just a matter
of what works for me as well as ease of use. As for Ph, well it's no problem to throw in a pinch of lime. It's not like you have to get a Ph pen and really adjust the medium to an exact Ph. The lime just pulls the Ph up a little and takes the acidic edge off. I have used peat soils with no lime, but I do seem to get faster/better pinning with a little lime.

Q: If one did use a 3/4th inch thick casing, what depth of substrate would you recommend?
A: Depends on how deep your container is! Seriously, I usually place about 3-4 inches of straw in the pan and case with 1/2 to 3/4 inches of soil. You don't want your straw too deep since you're wanting the spawn to colonize rapidly. A really deep container of straw tends to compact reducing spawn run plus it can get so dense it can actually mat allowing anaerobic bacteria to crop up ruining your bed. You don't need a thick layer of straw to grow an abundance of shrooms.

Q: Have you fruited directly from straw, without casing?
A: Yes.

Q: I'm told that straw doesn't need to be cased, why do you prefer to case it?
A: Open straw will pin and fruit, as will PF cakes, compost or whatever else you find to grow on. The reason for casing is easier moisture control. Pure and simple. The casing layer acts as a buffer between the air and the spawn effectively creating a micro-environment just under the casing. This protects primordia that are forming and prevents aborts due to excessive drying. Plus you can mist the casing layer without applying water directly to your spawn. The shrooms will thank you for this. By using a casing layer you can eliminate a lot of the stress involved in trying to keep bare cakes or whatever from drying. The casing makes your mushrooms a little more "forgiving", plus you don't need as wet an environment
thereby helping to reduce the growth of unwanted fungi and bacteria in your beds.

Now for Infoseeker:
Q: How many PF cakes to use?
A: I normally grind up and spread one 1/2 pint jar per square foot of bed. My beds
are generally about 3-4 inches deep but one jar should handle beds of 6 inches in depth. Be sure not to get to deep are you'll have unwanted guests from the anaerobic bacteria community. By the way, while we're discussing bacteria, please be really careful handling spawn or anything else that has become contaminated. Some of the critters you might find growing in your jars or beds can make you quite sick if you happen to breath them in or inadvertently ingest them. Dispose of any and all contaminated cultures immediately.

As for the hydrogen peroxide process for bulk spawn preparation I have to refer you to the resident expert on the subject, R. Rush Wayne, Ph.D. His booklets titled "Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way" "Cultivation with Hydrogen Peroxide" Volume I and II can be purchased from him at mycomasters.com. I have read both volumes and find that problems related to peroxide-decomposing enzymes in
organic substrates can limit your choices. He spells out ways to work around this but I have found hot water pasteurization to be an easier route. If you can swing it, set up a clean 55 gallon drum on concrete blocks and place a gas "fish cooker" under it. Make a basket out of metal hardware cloth and heat bulk quantities of straw this way. I have never needed that much straw for psilocybes but I do pasteurize straw this way for Pleurotus (oyster mushrooms), Portobellos and other gourmet shrooms that I grow.

Q: Does anybody sell ready to use compost?
A: Check with MushroomPeople and Fungi Perfecti but don't mention psychedelics
as they probably won't deal with you if you do. Personally, I would suggest making your own compost if you have access to cow manure and straw. It's very simple and I know a super quick trick to get usable compost in 7 days. I'll post the method when the "writers cramp" moves out of my fingers! Later.


If you are placing perlite under your straw it probably IS more trouble than it's worth. A good, properly prepared straw bed 3-4 inches deep shouldn't need any additional humidity or moisture retaining additives. The straw itself is moist and should hold more than enough water to produce plentiful mushrooms. My beds stay moist (especially after casing} and the mycelium grows fast and furious. You should strive for a light and airy bed with ample (but not stifling) moisture content.

Beds that I inoculate with ground up PF cakes fully colonize in 2 days to the point where you can literally lift the entire bed out as a block or brick of mycelium within 2-3 days.

Inspection under the straw reveals a moist, healthy environment with no contaminants at all. I think folks are getting too involved with environment control and missing the point (to produce carpophores). Mushroom farming is like any any other growing project. Sometimes folks get so wrapped up in creating environments they overlook the simple, common sense things. Trust me,
pasteurize some straw, drain it and place in a shallow pan with some type of lid.
Inoculate this straw with a jar or two of ground up PF cake powder as spawn and watch what happens. Let go of all the processes and procedures you've read about and let nature take its course. Please don't think I'm trying to sound like some mushroom guru or something, I'm not, I'm just relaying knowledge to you that has accumulated around me over the years. Simple methods work and simple is always better if you achieve the desired results.

If you plant a bed in the method described above you should have no need for hydrogen peroxide or any other sterilants.
Straw Bed Construction...
Place a layer of pasteurized straw about an inch thick in container. Just leave it loose, do not compact. Sprinkle 1/4 of your PF cake dust into this layer and work in. Repeat layering of straw/spawn until you reach a depth of 3-4 inches. The loose, airy straw seems to colonize faster than compacted straw. And, since you have literally provided hundreds of thousands of inocculant growth points all over the straw, the need for compacting is eliminated. Older grain spawn methods specify compaction to help the spawn to run by increasing contact between spawn and substrate. In the ground PF cake method the tiny particles of spawn stick all over the damp straw causing mycelium to sprout and run from each contact point. Let the straw grow over (2-3 days) and then case as mentioned above. Mist casing lighting a couple of times a day. You should see copius fruiting within several days to a week depending on your temps, humidity, etc.
I grow them to fruition in the same trays with "greenhouse" style plastic lids that I start them in. The trays are kept in an orchid house with controlled temps around 85-90F days and 75-80F nights. I do mist the cased trays at least twice daily. One could keep these indoors at normal room temps and expect good results.
- If you feel a need to feed your shrooms just add a little fish emulsion or bloodmeal to your water while pasteurizing the straw.

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Registered: 10/14/99
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Re: Old Timer's method [Re: SauconyFever]
    #312788 - 05/08/01 11:08 PM (23 years, 1 month ago)

I was just about to try this with birdseed spawn, and stopped because I thought about contams...BRF is one thing, when pulverized it should still have lots of mycelial contact, reducing contam potential on the grain itself. But birdseed [or even worse, rye] has relatively large grains with 'unexposed' centers that when pulverized could potentially expose some uncolonized inner seed material to the air.

Maybe birdseed grains are small enough that you can get away with it, but I'd really question it for rye.

I think doing it for PF cakes is brilliant, no matter what the bulk substrate is.

The above information is complete fiction.

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Registered: 02/03/01
Posts: 177
Loc: Texas, home of the longho...
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Re: Old Timer's method [Re: Suntzu]
    #312849 - 05/09/01 12:27 AM (23 years, 1 month ago)

If you use rye or birdseed you just want it crumbled into kernels, I would not "blend" it. I'd also avoid blending for too long and stick to dicing it well by hand on the cutting board. If your cake was dry enough to "powedr" then it would be about dead anyway, and too much blending will cause a lot of damage. Using a food processor to chunk up a tough cake won't do anything bad...just don't get it too fine.


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Registered: 11/06/99
Posts: 3,090
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Re: Old Timer's method [Re: Shroomzilla]
    #312954 - 05/09/01 07:31 AM (23 years, 1 month ago)

a ground up pf cake has literally thousands of points of inoculation from which to grow, every bit as much as a quart of rye or even birdseed.
and oldtimer still posts at mycotopia, if you have any questions about it.
a dozen ground up pf cakes can spawn a dozen square feet of straw/dung, no pressure cooker needed.


Admin @ mycotopia.net

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Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 4
Last seen: 22 years, 24 days
Re: Old Timer's method [Re: Shroomzilla]
    #313088 - 05/09/01 12:00 PM (23 years, 1 month ago)

Thanks for spreading the word... Keep us posted on results...


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Registered: 01/31/01
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Re: Old Timer's method [Re: OldTimer]
    #313126 - 05/09/01 12:43 PM (23 years, 1 month ago)

This is probably just a newbie question, but could normal casing material (verm,coir,etc.) be mixed with ground or diced up pf cakes in the same way that OldTimer's Tek uses them to speed up the process of colonizing the casing material? I may just be missing a vital reason why this wouldn't work, cause I don't hear people talking about it.


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Registered: 05/27/00
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Re: Old Timer's method [Re: Heysoos]
    #313155 - 05/09/01 01:35 PM (23 years, 1 month ago)

Hey I heard of some guy who tried this and it failed. But his cakes didn't grind up properly; they just kind of clumped up and formed a paste. But he put the bottom verm layer in with the last one and it worked perfectly. He reccomends adding some dry verm when grinding so that it dosen't clump up.

"Ha ha" -- Nelson

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Edited by tom on 05/09/01 10:09 PM.

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Registered: 07/24/00
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Re: Old Timer's method [Re: SauconyFever]
    #313162 - 05/09/01 01:48 PM (23 years, 1 month ago)

Don't grind grain spawn, the reason this works is because of the pf cakes. What hippie said was right and the whole point is to replace the grain spawn anyway, although you could always add a layer if you think it will boost the potency. I don't think it's necessary. just the straw and 1/4 cup of brown rice does the trick. I would recommend adding dung and not grain--you can flush it once and bury it outside. -Dv

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Registered: 11/06/99
Posts: 3,090
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Re: Old Timer's method [Re: Heysoos]
    #313512 - 05/09/01 09:33 PM (23 years, 1 month ago)

sure, heysoos.
the only reason you don't hear much about it is because it's new, the concept of grinding pf cakes up, that is.


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