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1. Use whatever Cake or spawn Tek you like. I use a finch seed variation. Try to find seed mix without sunflowers. The rumor is that they are hard to sterilize, but I?ve had no problems. If you are using another cake Tek skip to step #2 or #3.
You will need: Finch seed ,whole brown rice,vermiculite, perlite, flax seed. A coffee grinder. (I use a cheap Bunn blade type) , aluminum foil, a pressure canner/cooker, 1/2 pint wide mouth jars and Lysol.
I use 3 parts finch seed, 1 part brown rice, 1/2 part vermiculite, 1/2 part perlite, 1/4 part Flax seed.
Steep your finch seed in hot water for about an hour. To steep your seed you should find a pot big enough to hold the amount of seed you are going to use, if you are doing a big batch you might use two or more smaller pots as these will lose heat faster when you are done steeping, this will let you move on to the next step faster. Not critical however, just a comfort thing. Put your finch seed in the pot and add enough hot tap water to cover by about an inch and put the lid on pot. Use springwater if you have chlorine in your tap water. Turn the burner on low to medium heat, you don?t want it on high. Give the finch seed a stir every five minutes or so until the water starts to steam, at this point turn the heat to its lowest setting and leave it for about an hour, only stirring it about every 20 minutes. You want to avoid ?burning? the seed at the bottom. After an hour turn off the heat and let the finch seed cool to a point you can work with it by hand. This will depend on the size of the pot, volume of water and amount of seed you used, as well as your tolerance for heat.
While the seed is cooling: Take your perlite and bake it in the oven for 30 min at 400 F, this is just to make sure. Take the flax seed and use the grinder to break it up. I don?t try to powder it. Take your brown rice and using your coffee grinder make it into a corse flour. I leave about 1/2 powder and 1/2 chunks of grains. When you are done use a little extra rice to clean the grinder if you use it for coffee also, then wipe it with a dry towel. Next you should mix the brown rice flour, flax seed, vermiculite and perlite together. Don?t worry if the perlite is still pretty warm, it is nearly impossible to burn yourself with hot perlite, but don?t be a dope. And don?t smoke while you are doing this.
When you have mixed the above and the finch seed is cool enough to work with start ladling the seed into a LARGE mixing bowl. Add a couple of scoops of finch seed and then a scoop of the dry mixture and use your hands to combine them. Keep doing this until you have combined everything. I use gloves to keep the stuff out of my fingernails and to keep the stuff under my fingernails out of the mix. Now you need to add water to make the mixture moist but not wet. It?s better to be a little too dry than to be too wet and, as wiser heads have said, make sure you use the water from the finch seed steeping before you add any other water. This may be all that you need, if not use bottled water of some type. I have found that I usually don?t have to add much or any water if I use all the steeping water.
Next Step!Take a large spoon and put your moist mixture into your jars. DON?T PACK IT! On a standard 1/2 pint jar put in enough to come within about 3/4 of the rim of the jar. When you have your jars filled take squares of aluminum foil and make a ?pond? on top of each jar. This is like the Ramsey Seal. The ?pond? should be about 1/2 inch deep, but not touching the top of the substrate. Use heavy foil as cheap stuff will rip most of the time. When you have your ?pond? add enough vermiculite to come to the rim of the jar, but don?t overstuff it. Now take the jar lids and bands put them on the jars with the LID upside down. You already poked a hole in the lids, right? Don?t worry about it. Fold a towel over on itself a few times and set it on a solid surface (kitchen counter ect) then place a jar on the towel. Use a small finish nail and a hammer to put one hole in the middle of the lid. I?ve never cracked a jar this way, but use caution, or punch the holes ahead of time. Now make a loose cover of foil over the top of each jar. Give ?em a little kiss because this is the last time you can touch them without being fairly sterile. Put the jars in the canner, making sure that they are not directly on the bottom. Most canners I?ve seen have a tray that keeps the jars off the bottom, a washcloth will work in a pinch. Turn the heat on high until the canner gets up to pressure and then turn it down. I turn mine down to about the med-low setting. Do NOT leave it on high for the whole time! Cook them at 15psi for 1 hour then turn off the heat. You SHOULD let them cool overnight. I don?t. My canner is only a 7qt model and I like to rush the process. I wait 2.5 hours and take the pressure gauge off. In my case the pressure is stabilized with the room by this point. I then place the jars in a sterile oven (with gloves) and shut the door. I then repeat the canning section until all jars are done, turning the oven heat on low before you add more jars, this keeps out contams. Turn the heat off again when you are not adding jars!
When you have sterilized all of your jars in the canner and they are at room temperature you are ready to inoculate. How sterile should you be? It?s really up to you, I?m pretty lax and I lose about 15% to contams. I used to be much more sterile and I lost about 10%. I?ll say what I do and you can add whatever other steps you would like.
Assuming you have a spore of mycelium syringe handy you are ready to go!
Turn the oven on low again and give it about 5 minutes to heat up. Put on some latex or nyplex gloves spray them with lysol. I spray one glove and rub my hands together to spread the lysol. Now open the oven door and grab a jar, remove the foil lid and insert your sterile needle. I inject about 1.5 cc?s of spore water per 1/2 pint jar, divided between three or four locations in the jar. I tape over the hole in the lid after I inoculate and flame the needle between jars. I?ll speak about the tape again later.
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