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Registered: 05/05/04
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    #3460821 - 12/07/04 07:16 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)


I give you this TEK in apologies for the ranting. I give you this amazing story just for the love of it. I still love mushrooms, even though I got hammered for getting into the illegal kind.

INTRO - many years ago when I first started shroom growing, I got into grain, brown rice and composting. I gave up composting when I started using brown rice (cubie cultivation) when I discovered that plain brown rice cakes (more like blobs) from wide mouth canning jars was the way to go by putting the brown rice mycelially infused cakes into a high humidity (powered by a humidifier) indoor micro greenhouse. 100% humidity will fruit uncased brown rice blobs quite nicely after about 2 weeks or more in the humidity. The blobs will turn blue and yellowish, but will fruit really nice, and sometimes amazingly nice.

But for a few years I made my own cow shit compost. The last compost bin I did, something amazing happened.

I used to live in Atlanta Georgia when I first started growing shrooms (late 70's - cubies). This event took place way down south, in the summer time - hot and humid. After deciding to go with brown rice blobs, I had my last compost bin of composted cow shit and wheat straw in the back yard. I abandoned it, deciding not to use it. The finished compost sat undisturbed in the back, in a shady tree area. Later that summer, I was hanging with a friend and we were doing our usual smoking weed thing and we went out back. I saw the compost bin and looked under the lid to see what condition the finished compost (maybe a couple of months old) was in. I lifted the lid, and stood back in absolute horror (at first). There covering the top of the compost were several species of shrooms. I know for sure one of the species was the "shaggy main" - the famous edible gourmet shroom rated very high by gourmet chefs around the world, as long as the shroom is in its' young primordial stage, before the cap opens and begins the deliquescent (melting black goo) stage. There were at least 3 other species in there that of course I had no idea of what they were. Since the compost was isolated from the ground on a raised screen there could be no complex environmental conditions associated. It was a big old compost cake. At the time, I didn't realize what a great thing that was. I thought the compost was ruined. But it wasn't. It was a fabulous new way to experimentally grow shrooms, ala mother nature - by spores only. What happened was that the season was right (summer time - high heat and humidity - normal Georgia summer weather). Shrooms were growing naturally and their spores were obviously in the air. The spores got into the ventilated bin, germinated and the compost was their food. The mushrooms were beautifully natural and growing straight up in the very dimly lit bin. Those mushrooms were potential cultivars because of the fact they were growing in an artificial environment, separated from nature because of the bin (giant compost cake). If I would have taken their spores and then produced more compost and did an indoor grow, I am positive they would have fruited because they fruited real nice in the bin and weren't on the ground around the compost bin.


The composting bin I used was no more than 3 times the size of a standard garbage can (standard home garbage can that the garbage truck empties weekly. ) It had holes around the side (not to many, spaced about a foot apart but enough for ventilation - a few inches in diameter each). The bin was a green heavy duty plastic one that was comprised of panels that you could dismantle. On the bottom of the bin, you put bricks on the ground and then over the bricks you place heavy duty wire screen (galvanized hardware stuff). This is very important because when the compost begins to heat up, the rising hot air sucks fresh air through the bottom and up through the compost, making for a nice aeration of the compost for the FIRE FANG fungi that eats the compost and breaks it down into food.

The bin had a lid. So it was a large plastic bin with periodic holes around it, the inside bottom had a raised wire support and the bin had a good lid (secured well, in case of wind). Also, the bin was in the shade. Direct sun can heat it and kill the shrooms if they try to grow. Under trees is great, but you can also use a garage or put it under a lean to or something like that. But keep the sunlight off of it - NO SUNLIGHT ALLOWED!


Go to a dairy farm. Take several of those ubiquitous 5 gallon buckets (white colored - hardware stores) with you in the trunk of your car or truck and be sure to have a shovel and just for luck, take a pitch fork also. Go to the front and ask whoever is in charge if you can go around back and grab some fresh cow shit. Tell them you are an organic gardener. Usually they will say absolutely yes, because the dairy farms have big problems with cow shit (way to much - environmentally bad news). Be sure and don't make a bunch of noise, have a good muffler on your vehicle. The foreman will pass you through with permission - be quiet and respect the cows.

Usually out back, there will be a huge pile of cow shit, with the shit being bull dozed into the pile daily. The outside of the huge mountain of shit will be drieish brown, but with a couple of strokes with the shovel, there before you will be "fragrant" greenish black fresh cow shit. Love the smell! That is some good shit. Then, shovel the greenish black uncontaminated fresh ready to go cow shit into your buckets. Say thank you to the cows and the foreman, and split. Don't use old cow shit, it must be fresh with no decomposing or contamination therein. If you use old cow shit, I can't predict success with this.


Use only wheat straw. Not hay or anything else. Wheat straw is dirt cheap and you can get it at plant and nursery and hardware stores. It is a ubiquitous ground cover. They come in bales. Get one bale. Make sure it is clean and uncontaminated with mold et. Make sure it is dry.


At the plant store or hardware store, get a bag of garden gypsum. This is what the encyclopedia defines it as - "GYPSUM, a common sulfate mineral of great commercial importance, composed of hydrated calcium sulfate (CaSO4 ~ 2H20)."


I used to use a lawn mower for this. I made an enclosure with panels of plywood, threw straw in there and chopped it with my lawn mower. The plywood panels would hold most of the flying straw inside. Gather it up as it mounds up. Chopping the straw is important for composting.


At first, I would make a pile of the chopped straw, get the hose out and wet it down until you see water coming out the bottom of the pile. Then I would cover it with a tarp. Then I would come back several hours and do it again and again until the straw was obviously thoroughly wet. This is very important, because without a soaked condition, break down is nil.

The way I wound up doing this, was that I got one of those plastic one piece KIDDY pools that the kids jump around in in the summer (being sold even today at Walmart - for cheap). The size is such that you can carry it on the top of your car. A pickup truck is the way though. It doesn't blow up, but is a molded light weight plastic. I would pile all of the chopped straw (from one bale of straw) into it, put in the hose and fill it full of water. Then I would stomp around in the hay (the fun part) to make sure it was down and in a soaking up water position. I would leave it for 24 hours. Then I would dump it out into a pile and let it drain for several hours. I used a pitch fork for that, but unfortunately, if you are not very careful, you will punch holes in the kiddy pool, screwing it up for the next soak. Be very careful with your pitch fork unless you are ready to buy another kiddy pool.


With your chopped, soaked and drained wheat straw at hand, your bucket fulls of fresh cow shit, and your gypsum, make the layer cake.

Shovel (or better yet -pitch fork) some straw into the bottom of the bin. Go for a 6 to 12 inch layer. Then, with your shovel (the pitch fork doesn't work very well), get a shovel full of the cow shit and smear it over the top of the straw layer. Don't make the shit layer to deep, just a nice covering will do right. Then, sprinkle a liberal amount of gypsum over that (not to much though). The gypsum makes for a really nice environment and feeds the FIRE FANG FUNGI. When the compost is done, the gypsum makes for a nice friable non sticky easy to handle and work compost.

Do this to the top of the bin with several layers of the straw, shit and gypsum. When you near the top, finish it off with a layer of straw. That's it.


Now you just wait and use your nose. After a fews days of sitting, the bin will begin to heat up, and I am saying REALLY HEAT UP! The fire fang fungi goes crazy in there. After a couple of days of heat up, then the ammonia starts to fume. This is the ending of the process. The compost fumes pretty heavy.


The smells aren't bad at all. When you first set up the compost bin layer cake, you can't smell the cow shit from no farther than 12 feet around the bin. When the ammonia starts fuming, the same goes for that.

But here is major warning for you. In Stamets often quoted mushroom growing books, he talks about SUPPLEMENTING the compost. The main ingredient he suggests is COTTON SEED MEAL. Don't and I mean Don't use that!!!! I used it once and the smell that the compost bin gave off went for blocks around my neighborhood (luckily, I lived in fairly rural neighborhood in North Atlanta with room between the houses). But god damn, the smell was like some kind of toxic waste dump. I was real nervous, because I thought the health dept. was going to come and investigate. But luckily, after a couple of days, it faded. But it was real scary. So don't be creative and add anything to this recipe, because you might be real sorry for doing it. This is not in the TEK.

If you have neighbors living close by, the compost bin odors occurring during heat up will not be noticeable outside of about 12 feet around the bin, so there is no problem with that. And besides, it's only compost, and your neighbors if they ask about it, just say you are making fresh compost for a friend in the city. Have a good excuse ready to go. Don't disturb your compost or give them any.


After about 2 weeks (in the summer), the bin will go dead. The compost inside will shrink to about half the size that it started out as. When that occurs, check it out. Reach down into the pile and pull out a handful of the compost. It should be a very dark brown color, maybe some whitish flecks (FIRE FANG FUNGI) and it should smell absolutely wonderful. The smell is like fresh forest hummus. No cow shit smells anymore. If there are bad smells or cow shit smell, you did something wrong and might have got some kind of anaerobic bacteria. That is nasty shit and it is ruinous. I made compost like this many times, and never encountered a failure. You might want to read up on the principles of composting in a gardening book or mushroom growing book. But once, I had some compost that I threw on the ground. It got quite wet. I was shoveling it around, and detected a horrendous odor. That was anaerobic bacteria. It is one of the worste smells I ever experienced. So the bottom ventilation screen with your bin will prevent that from happening as well as the vent holes around the sides of the bin (space the holes maybe about a foot apart). Air is good and probably the numer one ingrediant to the heat up and successful cool down,


Next, just wait. Make sure you do this in the spring. After the cool down and the compost goes dead, don't disturb it. Periodically open the lid and peak inside to see what is going on. If it works for you, you will eventually see shrooms growing. Those are your new COMPOST cultivars. Then take spore prints, make some fresh compost and do the indoor grow op. If you are experienced PF TEKKERS, you have all the knowledge you need. The ventilation holes (a few inches in diameter each) in the compost bin will allow a dimly light interior, providing the shrooms with all the light they need. The shrooms that appeared for me were all growing straight up and perfect in the dim light.

Then, after a successful indoor grow by the spores, you got a great new (possibly unknown) cultivar. Then you need to identify it. Take prints and photos and go for it.

One danger is slugs. With a raised bin, this can be easily averted by the placing of slug poison around the periphery of the bin. Of course you will get bugs and flies and such, but then, you can use bug poison that is safe for plants (check your nursery for info on that). Be conservative with the bug poison. I used no bug poison or slug bait when I did my serendipity (by accident) grow. So be conservative with that. Use nothing that will be harmful to fungi. Lady bugs and such are great since they are strictly carnivorous.

So good luck if you do this, and if it works, you got something very special, new and maybe very valuable. And besides, it worked for me the first time! Nature rules.


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Vargen ska fanleva!!
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Registered: 10/12/04
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    #3460951 - 12/07/04 07:45 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

added to favourites since im interested in making own compost, but first I wait till my 1st PF cake will fruit.. :lol:


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Wild Woman
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Registered: 06/06/03
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    #3461106 - 12/07/04 08:13 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Very interesting, thanks.  :thumbup:

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The Mother Fucking Bear-o-dactyl
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    #3461114 - 12/07/04 08:14 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I put soaked straw, and horse poo in a 55 gal plastic drum. And spawned it with p.cubensis. After the cubes stopped growing I had like 3 strange mushrooms growing in the drum.


[quote]KristiMidocean said:
Good now thats clear.WHO FUCKING CARES. If I am fat u all keep pointing it out like its suppose to be a secret.LIke u really have nothing better to do then make fat jokes. If o know its like I do I know yall can come up with NEW AND BETTER SHIT . This shit is old and boring . I left in the first place cause this shit got boring not because of the fat jokes . Fat jokes dont bother me but seriously its old[/quote]

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Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 605
    #3476541 - 12/10/04 04:09 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

the professor.. damn it brings back memories of the first time i read high times and seen your add, and every since i have been somewhat involved in cultivating, sometimes more than others. its good to see that through all this drama and what not your still showing interest in this hobby, although I'm not sure that's a good thing or not, it sure does bring a smile to my face to see you here at the shroomery. and nice compile of info there, thanks for it.

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