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InvisibleRipper
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Registered: 01/20/00
Posts: 223
Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates * 2
    #92457 - 02/11/00 08:30 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Well.. After much thought I decided to write this. I know that I will receive much flame about how I'm wrong. BUT, I want to get something across to everyone.

A few months back a friend of myne wanted to eat a cake to get high. I told him if he really wanted to OK. Well after a couple bites he couldn't stand the taste and puked. Now he said that it tasted like the shrooms he had before and that it was just ALOT stronger. This got me thinking. Well.. The majority of shrooms that are sold, are probably grown using vermiculite in the process. Most of the time in both the substrate and the casing layer. Here is the kicker to the whole thing. Stamets, in TMC, suggests that an *OPTIONAL* 1 part vermiculate can be added to 4 parts peat, 1 part lime flour, and 1/2 part lime grit. Now, where the hell does the 50/50 make any sense there. Also, in the 50/50 standard(not plus) it doesn't suggest using a lime to balance out the soil. The Vermiculate isn't going to buffer out that peat moss any, vermiculate ranges in PH from 6-9. Meaning, yeah, its gonna get it close to 7, but not balanced properly. Now the 50/50+ does use oyster shell to balance the PH, this is good, but once again they use Vermiculite.

OK, so heres my findings that caused me to write this, I grew a batch of B+ on wheat straw that was spawned with rye. The casing was straight peat without the PH being balanced(didn't have chlorophast strips then) and I found that the mushrooms tasted like actually mushrooms you'd buy in a store, they didn't have this horrid taste! To confirm this, I had a friend try them also, he said that they tasted VERY good to him also. No nausia either.

Now sometimes when the local dealer has shrooms, they have "gold flakes" that "get you higher" HAH! It's fucking vermiculite. But the gold flakes is the reason I'm mentioning this. Psilocybe Cubensis in particular seems to draw up things out of the substrate and casing layers. So in theory, whatever you put in there to an extent, they're going to draw up. Not vermiculite stuck on them, but actually embedded in the stems. I've seen this on a few occasions.

Another interesting fact regarding vermiculite, you know how we all seem to get cobweb mold... Well call me crazy, I live in a place where molds and bacterias are extremely low, and the likelyhood of cobweb mold being present is slim to none. So it crawled in on something. And a friend of myne has tested straight verm with water added and got cobweb mold to generate. On the other hand, Stamets suggests that peat is fairly clean to begin with, yet our casings are constantly being infected with cobweb. Also, I noticed the first signs of cobweb usually show up within 24 hours of putting a casing on(very very hard to see). Now I prepared a casing last night, and let it sit in the middle of my living room, with no lid on it for 60 minutes, then covered it, and let it sit 24 hours. No signs of cobweb. Which furthers my conclusion that cobweb travels on vermiculite.

So whats the solution to this in my head, well I think that we need to look at possibly elimating vermiculite in substrates and casings layers. Eliminating it from the casing layer is simple. Just use peat moss, and balance the PH to 7 using limeflour/grit.. Use approximately 2 times as much flour as grit. A substitution for grit is oyster shell. I am also working on developing a substrate with different types of grain that provides aeration similiar to vermiculite.

I know this isn't a solution to a problem. Or maybe the problem is just in my head, But I'll tell you what. Either I'm going nutz, or vermiculite is a demon sent from hell to make my shrooms taste bad.

[This message has been edited by Ripper (edited February 11, 2000).]



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InvisibleAnubisRonin
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Registered: 12/15/99
Posts: 248
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92458 - 02/11/00 01:54 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

You know what..... I feel some truth in those words.... I have to think about this one for a sec...


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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92459 - 02/11/00 01:55 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Wow ripper, amazing!
I think you're right, I have noticed "gold flakes" in my shrooms also, but I thought its just verm stuck on it. I never realized they grew embedded in the stems! shit. I always heard that shrooms from the wild are really better tasting than grown ones. I really hope you're right ripper, cause Im sick from this horrible taste allready!

Later,
tweedy.



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OfflineCode
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Registered: 04/12/99
Posts: 190
Last seen: 21 years, 3 months
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92460 - 02/11/00 05:26 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

quote:
Originally posted by Ripper:
I grew a batch of B+ on wheat straw that was spawned with rye. The casing was straight peat without the PH being balanced(didn't have chlorophast strips then) and I found that the mushrooms tasted like actually mushrooms you'd buy in a store, they didn't have this horrid taste!

I haven't tried B+ myself, nor do I usually case, however, I do use lime to get my cakes, which are a modified PF Tek sugstrate, as close to pH 7 as I can. My mushrooms also taste fine. Not GOOD, but not bad at all if you like culinary mushrooms to begin with. I've found that drying has a severe negative impact on the flavor.

So, thus far our results seem to agree, I just thought I had a less-nasty tasting strain :smile:

quote:
Now sometimes when the local dealer has shrooms, they have "gold flakes" that "get you higher" HAH! It's fucking vermiculite.

Hmm, I examine every one of my cake-grown mushrooms (to check for any kind of contimination), and I've never, ever found vermiculite anywhere but around the base.
Maybe its different with casing.

quote:
Another interesting fact regarding vermiculite, you know how we all seem to get cobweb mold... Well call me crazy, I live in a place where molds and bacterias are extremely low, and the likelyhood of cobweb mold being present is slim to none. So it crawled in on something.

Again, my results seem to parallel yours, the only time I ever get contaminations anymore is when I don't bake the shit out of my vermiculte before using it (pressure cooking gets rid of most of the problems, but its not unusual for something to get through). However, I have never even seen cobweb, I have problems with some kind of yellowish powdery substance that takes over the cake.

quote:
I am also working on developing a substrate with different types of grain that provides aeration similiar to vermiculite.

I've found that whole, boiled birdseed (with sunflowers) and whole brown rice work quite well. It absorbs plenty of water during boiling, and does not get particularly sticky. Once in the jar, there is plenty of air between the grains (assuming you don't pack it in of course).

It grows quite well. I credit Mr. G for giving me the idea. B+ seems to love the stuff.

I'd recommend mixing up a bunch of spore solution, and innoculating substrates, one vermiculite based, and one or more an alternate. Grow them out in similar chambers and harvest. Then get a couple of friends and perform a double blind taste test and see if your fiends can tell a difference, or have a prefrence.



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InvisibleRipper
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Registered: 01/20/00
Posts: 223
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92461 - 02/11/00 09:48 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Well, I think that after the responses to this thread, and that no one has replied stating that I'm wrong, that it's obvious we possibly need to educate newbies and others about the use of vermiculite in their growing.

Another couple of sidenotes regarding it. #1 vermiculite is expensive. When compared in cost to all the other things you use, vermiculite is one of the most expensive. I used to think it was just a good idea to use, since everyone else was. When in reality it really should be removed from cultivation all together. Other species of mushrooms from what I understand do not absorb things out of the substrate and casing like cubensis do. Which leads me to #2

#2 Vermiculate is NOT consumable. It's not good for you to eat. And when people use 100% vermiculate casing and a 75% vermiculite in their substrates. It would be an obvious conclusion that these people are getting vermiculite in their fruitbodies.

Just a thought =P



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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92462 - 02/11/00 10:57 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Ripper,
I definetely believe you could be on to something here. It all fits together to nicely for it not. All points you brought up are valid and do make sense. I'll take a closer look at it and give you my results.

TryptoFarmer



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InvisiblePrellgott
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Registered: 02/09/00
Posts: 383
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92463 - 02/12/00 02:25 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

......hmmmmmmmm.......
you could be right...I grow on a casing with 30%Verm 30%peatmoss 30% Woochips and some Cocusflakes and some gypsum....
My shrooms don`t taste very good but not bad either...vermiculit is often in the base never on other parts...
I never have problems with cobweb mol but often with green mold...I bake and microwave my casing but it still comes often after the second flush...it grows on the used up substrate which I blame to the low nutriedent (?) amount provited by the rice floor...
this is the reson why I changed to birdseed/verm mixture (2/1) and I am trying
Birdseed and Ryegrains and quinoa grains together it seemd to be siry enough. I innoculated today will post results...

but vermiculite has some big advantages as casing cause it is very airy and lets the substrate breath.

B.T.W I don`t like the classical only Ryegrian tek...

peace and stuff

I will try pure woodcompost with cocus flakes and mybe oasis (a new growth media for hemp)
with some gypsum. I will post results also..
The woodcompst provides nutritients and serves as casing isn't very likly to be contaminated ( a guy in Germany wrote a book in which he described this and B.I.O also uses it) and the cocos flakes and oasis are very airy and can also hold lots of water..

a thing which could be tested is just soakig vermiculit in water if the water changes the colour, ph, Ec? a lot it is a sign that there is aggod chance that the shrooms suck uop some stuff...

well Ripper good point, lets research the totel Vermiculite free growing....also Vermiculite is the most expensive and most difficult to get thing in my setup....
(it isn`t very common in Germany)

------------------
I am back with a
vengeance
don`t dare to
call me a junior or
I`ll kick your virtual
ass.....



--------------------
i'm back


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InvisibleAnubisRonin
enthusiast
Registered: 12/15/99
Posts: 248
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92464 - 02/12/00 04:13 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Because I have always seen vermiculite in the mushroom recipies startng with PF Tek, I have always used it... What is the point of it besides holding water??? The Classical formula is RYE only... how does rye seem to hold water good all by itself? If you are using mixed grains like birdseed, quinoa, brownrice, flax, all mixed then would it work ok without the virmiculite??? Atleast you could eat the cake after your done right?? HMmmmmmm I Think its time for experiments on this.. Fuck vermiculite I agree lets find an alternate path... and uh oh yeah one more question... How is vermiculite made?? I know its formed from wood petrified or something.... I wonder if there are any negative health affects from using it? Just a thought.


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InvisibleAnubisRonin
enthusiast
Registered: 12/15/99
Posts: 248
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92465 - 02/12/00 04:16 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Another thought is that since Vermiculite is so widespread in use now... it might be hard to get that many people to experiment without it because it has always been the backbone for growing cubies.. atleast recently.... so some of us need to come up with a good alternate substrate recipie.


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InvisibleRipper
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Registered: 01/20/00
Posts: 223
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92466 - 02/12/00 04:40 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Well.. I have a couple friends experiment with using rye in 1/2 pint jars right now, I only work with quart jars normally, so I don't want to go out and spend the extra dough on 1/2 pints for one use. Of course, the widespread use of vermiculite is SAD to say the least. The whole reason everyone got on the hype was PF. And well, we ALL know that PF did do something, he made growing mushrooms a reality for the average joe, yes. But then people started letting everything revolve around vermiculite, put verm below your cakes to catch water dadadadada.

People also suggest that casings need vermiculate to improve aeration, well to be honest, I know that my peat casing that I just did with no vermiculite had plenty of aeration. When peat is brought to the proper moisture content it is still fluffy, and has plenty of water.



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InvisibleLenore
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Registered: 01/31/00
Posts: 366
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92467 - 02/12/00 05:36 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

some alternative ideas for substrate?
Coconut husk
Rockwool
I dont know how well these work but i imagine they compare well to vermiculite


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Offlinecamel
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Registered: 04/03/99
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92468 - 02/12/00 06:21 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

I have not used verm in my casings/spawn in quite sometime. 100% free of contams in both my jars and casings. NO JOKE. Although 10-25% of my petris contam, but NOT ANY JAR/CASING since I have stopped using verm...

Think about this people

peace
camel



--------------------
Don't do drugs.


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InvisibleCondi1
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Registered: 01/01/00
Posts: 502
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92469 - 02/12/00 06:30 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Rip,
Glad to see you still hanging here! Remember, I'm a big straw fan, too! One of the minority, here.
On the vermiculite situation, I have also been concerned with ingestion aspects. Don't know what's gonna be in those little flakes, nor have I been able to get much info. Would guess it probably wouldn't be good, but who knows.
Also, have not had much problem with cobweb using verm containing cakes as spawners. At least not any more so than other methods and mediums. Cannot say that it hasn't appeared at times, though. Have definately run into the ogre with straw medium using liquid mycelial methods, and other times. Go figure. I guess I'm the oddball out here after reading previous posts, but my results just the same. Sounds like others fairly unanimous, so far. Believe me, the cobweb has pissed me off to no ends with several different mediums, at one time or another. But have not noticed any more prevalence with vermiculite containing substrates.
Vermiculite has been used for two reasons, and two reasons only. First, as an additive, it is a moisture retentive medium. Second, it helps as a dry layer barrier to contaminants (assuming it is contaminant free), if using as a top barrier layer. This will always be a good method to those new to mycology, especially when not as attentive to sterility. It has worked for many going back a long ways, and will for many others. However, I am one to always seek better and more effective methods. And, I know we have better methods. Just got to learn a little! After a long time of experience and trial, I found that the buffer layer is not necessarily needed if you use good sterile technique, and a good medium. Also, have been familiar with using rye. Usually as a primary spawnmaster, after sterile culture is already developed. As a multiplying medium for bulk substrate, there is no substitute!
Can't help to say it, but don't jump the gun too soon on the vermiculite being the cause of the cobweb. I find it very hard to believe that the vermiculite could escape sterilization under the proper controls. I would think certain grains would have more inherent poblems than poreous vermiculite. Unless, of course, it has some undiscovered properties I am unaware of. Always open to new research, though.
Thanks for your thinking, and thanks for sticking around. You have much to offer all here. Anytime we can pin anyone down that spends as much time and enthusiasm in this field as you helps us all. Rock on, and multiply greatly!
Peace

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day!"

[This message has been edited by Condi1 (edited February 11, 2000).]



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OfflineSuntzu
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92470 - 02/12/00 08:58 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Very interesting. Very interesting.
My thoughts on vermiculite; The word means something like 'worm stone'--I thought in reference to the way it's made, some kind of extrusion process--but I'd be surprised if it is a synthetic substance. . .It seems like it should be [like perlite is synthetic]. I always assumed vermiculite was just crunched up mica; which is very very very very very very thin layers of some mineral [damn, it's not quartz, some mineral anyway--I can't remember] stacked on top of one another. So that in theory, you could peel apart mica [and vermiculite] 'page by page' until you had molecule-thick layers. This property of vermiculite gives its water-holding capacity; water will fill the gaps in some of the pages by capillary action, lots of surface area to hold onto. But in addition, lots of little crevices, cracks, and nooks for spores to germinate. Also, because this is a mineral with questionable heat conductivity, perhaps [emphasize perhaps] the heat of sterilization doesn't completely permeate to the core of each vermiculite fragment.
One lesson I've learned in the process of cultivation is that you are ice skating uphill if you try waging a war against every contaminant. The best way to fight is to creat environments and substrates that are more favored by the shroom, less so by the contaminants. Perhaps trichoderma thrives more on the vermiculite microclime than shroom mycelia. I am completely open to the possibility and look forward to any evidence supporting its elimination and suggestions for a viable replacement.
As far as the taste goes; Not much of a concern to me or any of my friends. YIELD, YIELD, let's talk YIELD!
Way to make us all think about something most people took for granted, Ripper.


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InvisibleRipper
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Registered: 01/20/00
Posts: 223
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92471 - 02/12/00 09:40 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Yield, Tengo en gotto es verde! HEhehe, spelling is prolly off there, no formal spanish, just enough to make an ass of my self. Well anyways, back the the point. Yield is greatly improved in eliminating vermiculite. #1 If you actually use, say STRAIGHT RYE(go figure) you can spawn to other substrates like straw... #2 without cobweb mold creeping in on your casing, not only can you prepare a deeper casing, but also will get more flushes before it contams.

vermiculite \Ver*mic"u*lite\, n. [L. vermiculus, dim. of vermis worm.] (Min.) A group of minerals having, a micaceous structure. They are hydrous silicates, derived generally from the alteration of some kind of mica. So called because the scales, when heated, open out into wormlike forms.

OK so vermiculite is derived from mica =)

Point being, no one really ever studies nutritional values of Psilocybe Cubensis. All of the studies you see pertaining to it and other psychoactive mushrooms relate usually to potency. Most people aren't too concerned about how healthy a finished fruit body is. But I'll tell you this, if you went into a grocery store, would you even consider buying mushrooms that tasted like shit, over the ones that tasted like REALY mushrooms. I know I wouldn't. As the thread gets hotter, we'll see the results..

BTW- For those of you planning on doing a casing layer without vermiculite, heres the #1 challenge you're going to have, no other casings or vermiculite can be present in the room its prepare, incubated, or fruited in. And if vermiculite was previously in these rooms take proper sterilization procedures.

As far as the comment regarding vermiculite in pressure cooking not getting everything killed.. Well typically vermiculite sterilizes just fine. Its the problem with casing layers. You don't really need to sterilize casing layers. Or for that matter, without using vermiculite, I haven't even pastuerized my casings. Now on the other hand, had I used vermiculite in this last batch with no sterilization nor pastuerization, I would have developed cobweb within 24 hours for sure and haven't.

More replys! Keep this thread alive, you might save a fellow shroomerite from eating mushrooms that taste like ASS again!



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OfflineKrupa
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92472 - 02/12/00 12:29 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Ripper:
Just thought I'd let you know that I really appreciate your posts. Always something new to think about...
This is a great thread and I hope it keeps generating posts. New ideas are my favorites to read. Keep it up!


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Invisiblemycofile
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Registered: 01/19/99
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92473 - 02/12/00 12:57 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Hate to be the buzzkill. But, I'm not sold.
Vermiculite is indeed made from mica, which is fired in extremely hot ovens that makes it explode into it's much expanded shape. The main purpose for putting verm in a casing is for it's superior water holding capabilities, not it's aeration. Look it up if you have TMC orGGMM. Verm holds a good bit more water than peat. Therefore, you can have more water in a casing with verm while still retaining propper consistency than you can with just peat. Remember also that it is usually the lack of moisture rather than nutrients that causes a crop to stop flushing.
I do aggree that it is not needed in many substrates. If you are going to be casing, then you don't need verm in your sub. The only reason it was in pf cakes is because pf doesn't case and wanted a kind of interrior casing. I don't think it needs to be stripped from casing formulas, but it certaintly isn't needed for subs that will be cased.
You may think that verm is predisposed to cobweb, I havn't noticed, but I have noticed that peat is deffinitly predisposed to the forrest green mold. At least in my area, anyone else?
Flavor varies a great deal on different substrates, are you sure it wasn't just the straw that made the difference? It also varries a great deal depending on maturity and environmental conditions. Ever tasted straight verm? It doesn't taste bad, just a little dirty. How would it then make shrooms taste so horrible if it doesn't taste bad itself? Also, any number of things could be growing in the spawn or the casing and these organisms could vary from time to time, thus imparting different flavors. I don't mean full blown contamination, but just a little bit. Or even a bit of fermentation during colonization. Lotsa things change flavors, even on verm cakes/casings.
If you simply wash your shrooms before you dry them you will have no more goldflakes to rip off highschool kids with. After they dry on the stem, the verm flecks do seem embedded. Usually they are just stuck however. I think more than the shrooms sucking up the verm, verm gets stuck to the shroom as it emerges from the casing, then as the mushroom grows, it sometimes grows around the pieces. This will happen regardless of your sub/casing formula. Ask somebody who has fruited uncased straw, for some reason there are always stems of straw stuck inside the stems. I'd rather have a few pieces of verm that you'd barely notice than say a stick from peat moss or a large piece of straw that you can't just chew up and swallow.
Not to diss your idea, it is a good thing to question tradition, but I think that not using verm in a casing is almost akin to spiting tradition. Removing verm from substrates: fine, improving taste by doing so: doubt it, improving sterility: also doubt it, avoiding health effects of verm: not a problem. That's my ideas
Also, I think it's a little early to start preaching to beginners about the evils of verm. Just one person's hypothesis isn't enough of a solid background to start preaching gospel. Telling them that it is not needed for substrates that will be cased is fine, that's obvious and been around for a while (rye, birdseed, BR ala 9er tek). Let's keep the anti-verm sentiments as experimentation until there are more people that agree based on experience than on "sounds plausible".
peaces

------------------
-From a registered Mad Scientist

"From a certain point of view"
-Jedi Master Obiwan Kenobi (also a Mad Scientist tm)



--------------------
"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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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92474 - 02/12/00 05:34 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

A couple of things... I do believe it is perlite that has been popped under heat. Which gives it its lava-rock like properties of humidification... also why lava rock has uses in hydroponics. Vermiculite I belive is just ground up mica. And it wouln't be affected by heat treatment. I could be wrong about that, but I am pretty sure I am right about the perlite.

Anyway.. Mycofile: Your absolutly right about vemiculite and the PF formula, but its side benefit was it allowed the use of the flour in the first place over whole grain.. It also functions to allow the mycelium to grow throughout... With just brown rice flour, you would have a solid inpenetrable brick... I doubt it has any role in the taste as well. My guess is that the one batch that tasted good was apparantly grown on straw, spawned with rye... Sounds a lot more reasonable to me that the taste would be affected by something fungus actually ingests, since vermiculite is non-nutrient... Growing on a different substrate is why you noticed a difference in taste...

The cobweb mold absence probably comes from the benificial bacteria present in peat. That is one of the main reasons for using peat in the first place. You don't get this protection in dry vemiculite.

ThE JafF

[This message has been edited by ThE JafF (edited February 12, 2000).]



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InvisibleRipper
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Posts: 223
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92475 - 02/12/00 11:23 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Well. In my oppinion vermiculite DOES affect flavour. Reason being, I've grown rice cakes and I've grown bird seed cakes using vermiculite in both substrates, and the mushrooms tasted almost identical. They both had a VERY NASTY taste to them. I do admit the birdseed ones didn't taste AS bad, but they were still nasty. As far as vermiculite not tasting bad, why don't you do this, and I just did for knock on woods sake, go get some vermiculite, say 1/4 of a cup, put it in a glass of water, and let it sit for about 45 minutes, now taste the water. Tell me that doesn't have that same wretched flavour that seems to be present in cake grown shrooms.

As far as Vermiculite supposed "superior water retaining capabilities" you quoted. Stamets says "One half to one part coarse vermiculite can be added to improve the water retaining capacity of thse casing mixtures and can be an aid if fruiting on thinly laid substrates" also on the same page he says that Vermiculite contains 84% water at saturation, and that peat contains 79% water at saturation. This being said, YES vermiculite does hold more water, but its not that much more. He suggests that on thinly laid substrates it should be used. If it was neccesary with a properly applied casing layer then he would state that in the formula, not list it as optional.

As far as the shrooms sucking things up... Well Psilocybe Cubensis in particular has been known to draw things up out of its substrate. Remember when all the MAO inhibitor in substrate experiments were going on. Now these weren't nutrients, and if they were, it would have broke then down. It was just something that was present in the casing layer.

As far as cobweb mold goes, if you guys would read my posts they're pretty self-explanatory, Cobweb mold has spontaneously generated on vermiculite with sterile water added to it, while peat hasn't. Also, cobweb mold has yet to be seen since the elimination of vermiculite. I'm not saying set in stone, vermiculite is where everyone gets their cobweb mold. Just that I know that its not present where I live, and the likelyhood of it being spread throughout the united states so much is VERY unlikely. Its more likely that a common cause of it is its tracked in on something.

As far as your Trichoderma AKA Forest Green mold grows. If you would read TMC you would have noticed that Trichoderma prefers a PH of 4-5.5, meaning that if your casing layer's PH was properly balanced, the likely hood of it showing up is slim to none. And if it did show up its easy to control, simply pouring baking soda on it to raise the pH does the trick.

Stamets also refers to peat casings as being "fairly clean", and not requiring pastuerizations typically. Well the test in progress right now, we'll see if my bed with straight peat moss and limeflour that wasn't pastuerized contaminates.



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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92476 - 02/13/00 11:40 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Interesting thread. For the most part it doesn't jive with my experience though. I've grown straight grain, whole grain/ vermiculite mixtures (alien type substrate), PF type verm/flour, manure, manure/verm, straw and compost. For casings I've used buffered peat, 50/50, 50/50+, straight vermiculite, and straight potting soil.

I have to say out of the observations in this thread on the draw backs of vermiculite, the only one I can partially agree with is the greater tendency towards cobweb mold in vermiculite casings. My take on this is that cobweb mold is partly parasitic on mycelium, and partly nourished by metabolic gases given off by mycelium. Cobweb is mostly supressed in casing that has balanced bacteria populations. Vermiculite as it comes from a sealed bag can be considered nearly sterile. Cobweb seems to like vermiculite casings because of the favorable gas diffusion and lack of beneficial bacteria. A few months ago I posted on some experiments I did incubating casing material with acetone/ethanol to encourage beneficial bacteria. This prevents cobweb very well for cubensis, and fairly well for Pans.

I would note that vermiculite is totally inert and insoluble. I can't think of a plausible explanation for vermiculite being resonsible for "taste". I have seen vermiculite flakes imbedded in the base of stems, but it never extends above the base next to the casing/substrate.

Vermiculite is very useful in casing and in substrate and nothing I know of can totally replace it. I won't be rushing to eliminate it. I would caution beginners from shying away from vermiculite because of this thread. PF tek type methods are far more foolproof and certain than anything else out there. Don't shy away from vermiculite until you have some successful experience.

DD



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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92477 - 02/13/00 06:54 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Heheheh, this is a good thread and debate. Cheers to Ripper for bringing this up. My 2 cents. 50/50 is a lazy-ass cheap casing for people who can't be bothered doing it properly. I am lucky enough to have gotten photocopies of one of Paul Stamets first ever books, entitled, Psilocybe Mushrooms & Their Allies. This is a small softcover, about 25 pages in total. I don't have the publishing date but this book is pretty old, back when Stamets was growing and experimenting maily with psilocybes.

Anyways, guess what. Even back then this is his casing mix:

2 1/2 parts peat
2 parts verm or perlite
2 parts fine sand
2 parts cruched oyster shell

Now the Magic Mushroom Growers Guide calls for this which is essentially the same.

7.5 litres peat
3.5 litres fine verm.
4 litres fine washed sand
2 litres calcium carbonate

Now this is the only mix I have ever used
and have gotten extremely high yields
and quality tasting shrooms. I also only ever use organic rye grain kernels. You eliminate a lot of the moisture (verm) problems just by using rye grain since when
you sterlize it the kernels swell with water. The only thing I have yet to use is wheat straw/manure. But if you look at any of Stamets books you'll see that the pics of cubies on these substrates are large and densely grown, yummy! So in conclusion, stick with what the experts found through more experimentation than you will ever have time to complete. Sure try playing around with the mix, but don't chop ingredients and then expect the same results. Just my opinion. ; )



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InvisibleAnubisRonin
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92478 - 02/14/00 01:31 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

When considering eliminating vermiculite from my substrate I realized a plus that using vermiculite in the substrate has... and thats lowering the cost... if you use say straight whole grain brown rice or quinoa or bird seed all the time its going to cost you more than if you are mixing it with vermiculite... maybe not A lot more but it will be more.. atleast in my area.


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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92479 - 02/14/00 05:38 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

my 2?-

I totally agree that vermiculite might have no impact other than moisture on shrooms, but the point that might be missed here is how it's processed. If most people use vermiculite for garden use, the random minerals/ chemicals that are in it from processing steps would just flush out into the ground, however the ways that it is used for mushroom cultivation keep all (if any) extra minerals/chemicals in the cakes, thus they could get "soaked up" into the mushrooms. Thus, my advice, Ripper, if you say that the water that the verm is soaked in gives off a nasty taste, try flushing the verm with some water, get all the extras that are in there out, and make sure all that's left is pure verm. If it is just the verm, and of course vermiculite is insouluble, when you put it into water, there should be nothing else in "vermiculite water" except for water.. but back to my point. Does anyone know how Vermiculite is produced. I think this is key, because who knows if it is exposed to anything other than vermiculte that would make shrooms taste bad or encourage contams. ....I've babbled long enough

-peace



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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92480 - 02/14/00 06:40 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Vermiculite is a member of the phyllosilicate group of minerals, resembling mica in appearance. It is found in various parts of the world. The details given here relate to the deposits mined in the Palabora region of North-Eastern Transvaal. Palabora vermiculite is basically a hydrated phlogopite mica which has the remarkable ability to expand to many times its original volume when heated, a property known as exfoliation.
After being mined from open cast pits by drilling and blasting, flake-shaped particles of Palabora vermiculite are separated from the host rock by a process of crushing and air separation. Ore is blended from various parts of the mine in order to maintain a consistent and reliable product. The final concentrate is graded, ready for shipment all over the world.
Being non-combustible and insoluble in water or organic solvents, vermiculite is safe and easy to handle, making it suitable for a wide range of different applications. Due to its inherent stability, vermiculite is being used increasingly in applications where health and safety are of prime importance. Click the applications button to discover some of the many innovative applications for vermiculite.


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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92481 - 02/14/00 06:41 PM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Vermiculite is a member of the phyllosilicate group of minerals, resembling mica in appearance. It is found in various parts of the world. The details given here relate to the deposits mined in the Palabora region of North-Eastern Transvaal. Palabora vermiculite is basically a hydrated phlogopite mica which has the remarkable ability to expand to many times its original volume when heated, a property known as exfoliation.
After being mined from open cast pits by drilling and blasting, flake-shaped particles of Palabora vermiculite are separated from the host rock by a process of crushing and air separation. Ore is blended from various parts of the mine in order to maintain a consistent and reliable product. The final concentrate is graded, ready for shipment all over the world.
Being non-combustible and insoluble in water or organic solvents, vermiculite is safe and easy to handle, making it suitable for a wide range of different applications. Due to its inherent stability, vermiculite is being used increasingly in applications where health and safety are of prime importance. Click the applications button to discover some of the many innovative applications for vermiculite.


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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92482 - 02/15/00 12:40 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

related to my last post - taken from http://www.vermiculite.org/VHSE.pdf

Vermiculite and Health Aspects Associated with
Potential Contaminants:

Vermiculite and other ore bodies can contain a variety of
associated minerals such as mica, quartz, feldspar, etc.
The associated minerals are unique to a particular
deposit and, in some cases, may include minerals which
could pose a health risk if present in significant quantities.
In most countries, manufacturers are required to publish
and make available Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
These sheets will typically identify any hazards
associated with the material and also provide information
on safe handling and proper disposal.
Asbestos fibres are a potential risk to health, and in the
past there has been some vermiculites contaminated with
trace amounts of asbestiform material. Vermiculite ore
bodies currently in use by the major producers, do not
pose a health risk when used in accordance with the
manufacturer's MSDS. However, there are numerous
sources of commercial vermiculite available in the world
today and it is important for the end user to understand
test data from a particular manufacturer.
Such testing should take into account both mineralogical
and morphological differences between asbestos and
non-asbestos varieties of the same amphibole or
serpentine mineral.
Finally, it is important to note that the issue of potential for
fibrous asbestos contamination exists for a wide range of
naturally occurring materials. Included in this list are
materials such as sand, clay, and gypsum. Due to this,
and other studies referencing background levels of
asbestos in the environment, it is inappropriate to state
that any naturally occurring material is asbestos free. Any
reference to trace asbestos levels must include (as a
minimum): analysis technique, detection limit, and
definition of asbestos used in the study.

and from http://www.vermiculite.org/VINA.pdf

Vermiculite ore deposits, like most other rocks, contain an assemblage of other
minerals besides the vermiculite (Addison and Davies 1990). There may be major
components such as feldspars, pyroxenes, amphiboles, carbonates, and quartz, as
well as minor components such as phosphates, iron oxides, titanium oxides and
zircon (Atkinson et al 1982). The full assemblage at any one mine is determined by
the nature of the original rock types from which the vermiculite ores were formed. So
the vermiculites formed from ultramafic rocks such as phlogopite pyroxenites and
serpentinites may contain chrysotile, tremolite and anthophyllite in veins or as altered
relics of olivine, pyroxene and mica. Vermiculite ores formed from gneisses or
granites are more likely to contain feldspars and quartz; vermiculite formed from
carbonates may contain magnesite, calcite and other carbonates, and phlogopite.
The proportions of the different accessory minerals may vary depending upon which
part of the ore body is being worked, and the proportions in the final product may
also vary with the grade of the product.

sorry for the page clutter, but any mad scientist must document his sources...



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InvisibleAnubisRonin
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92483 - 02/15/00 12:55 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Yeah??? I dont know about you kids but that isnt appealing to me... Ripper thanx for bringing this up because I'm looking for another way with my substrates now... I dont think its a big deal to use vermiculite in casings, but in the substrates The mushroom grows and lives off that and surely it absorbs some of the funkyness from the vermiculite.... MadMax5 thanx for that little info.. it added backbone to this thread.


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InvisibleRipper
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Posts: 223
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92484 - 02/15/00 01:20 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

That being said about Vermiculite, I feel as though the original hypothesis in my thread has been validated. Not only has vermiculite been agreed upon by individuals to harbor cobweb mold, it may also contain other things deeply embedded.

The general use of vermiculite in gardening is not in large quantities like those used in substrates typically. Vermiculite has been found to contain all sorts of unknowns. When working in a laboratory style environment it just doesn't make sense to use something that can harbor so much!

As far as people bad mouthing peat, I've checked my casings again, its been almost one week since application, with no pastuerization, and I have got no contamination yet. I used the following formula in my casing, I know that the lime that I used is not a very great idea, but the concentration was miniscule.
10 Quarts Peat
20 Grams Chemical Lime(used for curing concrete)
1 Gallon Water
1/4 Cup Hydrogen Peroxide
I sifted the peat in a spaghetti collander first, this took out dirt and sticks, so I was left with a fluffy peat. I used one of the large bags you can get at Home Depot for like $10(Much more economical then Schultz). I mixed the water and hydrogen peroxide in a pesticide sprayer I obtained at Home Depot, it was $10. I then sprayed and turned the peat over and over again, until the gallon of water was in it, it was fluffy, but had a good amount of water in it...

As far as substrates are concerned, we should have some results using straight rye grain in 1/2 pint jars pretty soon. I'll keep you guys informed.

Now that we've determined that vermiculite is a bad idea, we need to start a new thread about ways to avoid using it. I will be compiling information regarding the pros and cons of vermiculite in substrates and casings. What I need from you people is some ideas in this thread, I'll try to post the new thread sometime this week =) Thanks for all of your support regarding this matter, its nice to see you guys thought for yourself and got the facts straight =)



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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92485 - 02/15/00 08:01 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

My god, what are you the vermiculite police? You certainly have yet to convince me of anything. Nothing of your original hypothesis has been validated in any way..

Your original hypothesis being that vermiculite "CAUSES" the bad taste in mushrooms.. (first of all this is subjective and thus improvable) also that it "CARRIES" the cobweb mold... Not just that it is suceptable to it, but that it carries it...

NOPE... The problem is that the vermiculite is STERILIZED... Sterilize your peat and you will have the same problem with it.

It is just susceptible to it the way it comes from the store.. The heat treatment during its production destroys any benifial bacteria that may have been there, as well as the cobweb mold. It just doesn't come from the vermiculite.. The vermiculite is just an easy target in that it holds water and creates a good environment.. Peat would as well if it didn't have bacterias that help defend it against cobweb mold... But if you sterilize it COMPLETELY, and subject it to the same conditions, you will run into the same problem... This does in a way help your ultimate point of why you like peat better, but you are a long way from proving your hypothesis. I think you just don't realize what your "hypothesis" is.

You say :"The general use of vermiculite in gardening is not in large quantities like those used in substrates typically. "

What the hell are you talking about? Bags and bags of vermiculite are used in gardening. YES, SOMETIMES ONLY VERMICULITE!

What am I saying? I am saying your whole Shabang here is ridiculous.. I am not saying it is unworthy of investigation. I am saying you are jumping to conclusions stating things as fact with nothing but speculation to back it up... You seem poised to launch this "Just say no to vermiculite" campain (and it seems to have a lot in common with other just say no campains). Take it easy and try this "thinking" you mention. Prove it with side by side comparisons prepared at the same time, innoculated with the same innoculant, grown in the same terrarium, etc... Then report what you find. Not this Antivermiculite propaganda. I personally don't care one way or the other why you have this intense hated of the demon vermiculite, but I just can't stand propaganda with a spoonful of "think for yourself"

ThE JafF



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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92486 - 02/15/00 08:46 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

sorry, I wasn't trying to drop any sort of "bomb", but I am mostly interested in if vermiculite gives off a different taste. I think that people would be in agreement that shrooms grown on different substrates and even casings would taste different, another thread concerning a "taste test" of sorts would be helpful in determining what to grow on for the tastiest shrooms, because, as you know, we have to eat them sometime :wink:


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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92487 - 02/15/00 09:01 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Well, I was refering to Ripper's last post, but I completly agree with the idea of doing taste tests and even experiments using radioactive tracers etc, if you want... I just want there to be expeiments done before people go encouraging people to do things like "start a new thread about ways to avoid using it"

Not that I expect that anything of the sort will be done properly... I certainly won't waste my time on it. It seems analagous to a huge clinical trial to prove why pint jars are better than 1/2 pints when I am perfectly happy with the results of 1/2 pints. Yet I don't find defending poor vermiculite from the propaganda machine to be a waste of time. I will always enjoy the fight against the propaganda machine..

ThE JafF

[This message has been edited by ThE JafF (edited February 15, 2000).]



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Invisiblemycofile
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92488 - 02/16/00 02:54 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

You know, information is pretty worthless without an interpretation that applies it to something. What you get out of your information depends entirely on your interpretation.
Ripper, when you stated, "When working in a laboratory style environment it just doesn't make sense to use something that can harbor so much!", do you mean as opposed to things that harbour absolutlely nothing such as Rye? Or maybe it is agar that is completely safe from contamination or extraneous material? Perhaps you were referring to straw which contains just about anything in trace amounts that can be found in soil. My point is all these things are common in mycological labratories world-wide. They all harbor contams and hidden ingredients/chemicals. Yet they are prepared and used in ways to effectivly negate this.
Also, "Now that we've determined that vermiculite is a bad idea". Who the hell determined that? Did I miss something? Another case of interpretation. I assume you were referring to the posts concerning trace elements found in vermiculite. I read the posts, but got something entirely different out of them. What they said to me is "yup, there are trace elements present that varry from source to source, but don't seem to be much to worry about". Do you think that the lime you used was 100% pure? How about the peat, was it free of all chemicals and forign material? Very little that is available to the average consumer is going to be absolutly pure, and if it was it would be far too expensive for the home mycologist.
And the part about people badmouthing peat. Again, did I miss something? I didn't see any badmouthing of anything except vermiculite. I do know that peat is more prone to green mold than verm. That is a fact due to the small pieces of wood present in peat. Sure it doesn't happen everytime. Sure it can be controlled. I was just pointing out that I don't think that peat and verm favoring different contams makes one better than the other.
Again, I hate to be a buzzkill, but I'm with JafF on this one. You don't do research to prove a point. You do research to gather information. The information may or may not support what you would like, but as a scientist you shouldn't care. I think this is going in a possibly good direction, but taking all the wrong roads to get there. Now let's not get upset and take anything here personally as has happened before at the shroomery. I think this topic has some merit, but it should be looked at from a more objective point of view.
All for now.

------------------
-From a registered Mad Scientist

"From a certain point of view"
-Jedi Master Obiwan Kenobi (also a Mad Scientist tm)



--------------------
"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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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92489 - 02/16/00 06:48 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Ripper: Seeing what mycofile wrote, reminded me that you probably don't know my personality all that well. I'm sure a few people around here know me well enought to know that I do not throw ego into what I do.. I will defend and idea almost violently, throwing everything I have at it, but in another thread I might be bowing to you, saying how unworthy I am to be in your presence.. Please take nothing of what I say personally, as I put none of ME personally into what I say.. I just wanted to let you know since I may come off a bit gruff if you don't understand.. Ok... good... back to the war...

ThE JafF



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Invisiblemycofile
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #92490 - 02/20/00 02:59 AM (22 years, 7 months ago)

Oh, I forgot to add this. I intended to open the other post with it, but was not thinking.

Glad to see your still around, Ripper. I read your goodbye post and it saddened me. I didn't keep up with the problems you cited for leaving, but gathered that it was some personal problems with people at the shroomery. It sucks to loose intelligent people that have much to offer just because some have to be assholes.

Now that you're back, lets do what we're here to do: learn, teach, debate and improve the world of closet mycology. For it is in the closet that the most innovative ideas in mycology originate.
peaces

------------------
-From a registered Mad Scientist

"From a certain point of view"
-Jedi Master Obiwan Kenobi (also a Mad Scientist tm)



--------------------
"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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OfflineJsyd4
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #789225 - 08/01/02 03:36 AM (20 years, 2 months ago)

I agree. i don't think anybody mentioned that some vermiculite has been found to have asbestos in it. That can't be good. Just a thought, a cereal like cheerios that would allow for aeration, multigrain probably would that work? Maybe that's stupid....


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Invisibleutopianglory
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Posts: 965
Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substra [Re: Jsyd4] * 1
    #789589 - 08/01/02 09:25 AM (20 years, 2 months ago)

Quite a while ago there was a post by somebody about a cake they had made that contained a large amount of sugar (i think, the details on this matter are very sketchy in my memory). The person said that after the cake had colonised (which had taken a long long time) the fruits were very noticably sweet. Unfortunately I cannot be sure on much about this post because for all I know it could have been a joke. More than likely the post was made atleast 1 year ago so I doubt searching will yield any results. I think this idea of verm being sucked up is strange and I add my voice in saying that I have never seen verm anywhere but at the base of a fruit.

Personally I found wild ones to be worse tasting than grown (on vermiculite) and that any exposure to the horrible taste of the average fruit makes my body consider heaving anyway, gelcaps all the way. In terms of cost peat is a lot cheaper than vermiculite though.

I have had a fair bit of trouble with ye olde cobweb on straight vermiculite and straight peat seemed pretty good.


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Offlineaural
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Jsyd4] * 1
    #789729 - 08/01/02 12:49 PM (20 years, 2 months ago)

The vermiculite/asbestos thing comes around every so often.IIRC,it was mainly from a certain source.If you are concerned about inhaling asbestos,then DONT.Wear a dust mask.It says to do that right on the bag anyway.


Edited by aural (08/01/02 12:52 PM)


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Offlinedanelectro
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substra [Re: aural] * 1
    #791108 - 08/02/02 01:01 AM (20 years, 2 months ago)

Well I'd like to volunteer my taste buds for testing, I know it's a tough job, but I'll gladly do it. Actually that's a good idea, but as for the whole worrying about verm... everything now gives you cancer, milk, sunlight, I sometimes think that thinking gives you cancer (and therefore I'm going to get a brain tumor soon) I agree it should be tested, but only after long scientific test should any results or actions be taken.


--------------------
We should really love each other, in peace and harmony. Instead we're fussing and fighting, like we ain't supposed to be.-Bob Marley
The people, the still sleeping mass which it was necessary to mobilize and its vanguard, the guerrillas.
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Invisiblemycofile
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: aural] * 1
    #792074 - 08/02/02 03:39 PM (20 years, 2 months ago)

Actually asbestos is becoming more of a problem with vermiculite. That's why it's getting harder to find. Walmart, Lowes, and several other places around here stopped selling it. I spoke to managers, and they said that it was an asbestos problem. I told them that I though it was just verm from a certain mine that had it. 2 of them said that no, they were detecting asbestos in verm that wasn't supposed to be from those mines. The others had no idea about anything and just sent me to a nursery (which didn't have any). Whether the asbestos is a problem or not remains to be shown.

What is obvious is that verm is prone to cobweb. Peat is prone to green molds due to all the woody debris in it. choose your poison I suppose.


--------------------
"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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