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I use a mixture of sawdust(4parts), wood chips(1part), and brown rice(1 part) for fruiting out shiitake. Rye grain works well to start the spores on then transfer to your fruiting subrate. As for azures, i don't really know. I get my wood chips and sawdust from a local sawmill for about $5 a pickup load. Check around, most sawmills only cut hardwood( oak, maple, etc.) which works well for woodlovers.
The sawdust and chips i use are usually cut within the week i get them. But I've used older chips and haven't had any problems. I sterilize for 1 and a 1/2 hrs at 15psi. 1 hr. is alright, but w/ 1 1/2 hrs. my contamination rate is usually 0. Try some store bought chips and see what kind of results you have.
Here is another source for chips. I work as an arborist and we usually chip all the brush. There is usually someone in most towns that do this type of work. Just ask if you can get some chips before they go to the dump. This way you can experiment with different types of wood. Here in the northwest most of the sawmills are cutting softwoods ie spruce, pine etc... because those are the native trees. Tree trimmers often get exotics that you can experiment with such as russian olives and hawthorn. Chips are usually free for the asking just bring your own bags.
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