PF-Tek MycoBox Grow Kit
STAGE 1: INOCULATION
For this stage, you will need:
- 1 x PF-Tek MycoBox (supplied)
- 1 x Surgical face mask (supplied)
- 1 x Pair of sterile gloves (supplied)
- 3 x Alcohol wipes for wiping injection ports (supplied)
- Gourmet spores / liquid mycelium syringe and needle (not supplied)
- Flame lighter (not supplied)
- Zipper bag for leaving the MycoBox in afterwards (not supplied but recommended)
Make sure you and the room are clean and draft-free (no pun intended!). Fit your gloves and face mask – make sure your hands are clean and bone dry before fitting them or you won’t get the gloves on, trust us! Use the alcohol wipe to thoroughly clean the rubber ports built into the tub (allow a few seconds to become visibly dry) and then pierce into each rubber port to inject between 0.5ml and 1ml. Flame sterilize the needle between each other kit you may have purchased (if you haven’t purchased extra needles from us).Now place the MycoBox into a plastic zipper bag to keep dust and other nasties off it – leave a gap in the seal so it can still breathe! Place somewhere at room temperature to begin colonising, they will turn completely white in time, so be patient. Don’t put these tubs in any direct sunlight. When it looks complete, don’t rush it – let it have another week.
1. Get organised
Choose a space to use as your ‘lab’ – An ideal room to use will be draft-free, such as a small cupboard. Kitchens and bathrooms are generally not suitable because of the increased risk of mould.Take everything you will need into your lab at this point, you want to keep air currents to an absolute minimum – close the door and keep it closed until you are finished! – to lower the odds of contaminant spores getting into the MycoBox.
Take the time to ensure you are completely clean – have a shower, brush your teeth and change into fresh clothes. Before you begin the inoculation process, take your face mask out of the bag and secure it tightly to your face. Then, make sure your hands and forearms are clean – you can wipe them with the included Clinell hand wipe and let them completely air dry first or you’ll struggle to put your sterile gloves on!
Give the syringe a good rattle and shake to help break any clumping. Remove the cap from the end of the syringe, unwrap the sterile needle and screw it on to the syringe. Thoroughly wipe the rubber injection ports on the MycoBox and allow them to dry before swiftly piercing the needle through and injecting 0.5-1ml of liquid into each port, try to get close to where the substrate meets the plastic wall.
When inoculating other grow kits with the same syringe, it’s advised to flame sterilise the needle until it glows red hot, giving 15 seconds or a tiny squirt of liquid to allow the needle to cool down before injecting. Or you could purchase some extra needles and switch them over if you prefer.
Never wipe a needle with an alcohol wipe – this will only sanitise it. It’s best flame sterilising for proper sterilisation.
Now it’s time to leave the MycoBox in a safe place to fully colonise with mycelium. We recommend that you place the MycoBox into a plastic zipper bag to keep it as clean as possible for the next stages. Remember not to seal the bag fully to allow the growing mycelium to breathe! It’s recommended to leave the MycoBox to colonise in a room with indirect sunlight or light from a flourescent bulb.. although a dark cupboard won’t do any harm. Just keep it out of direct sunlight and it will be fine!
Regarding heat, many species love very warm climates during colonisation but it can be a balancing act because so do bacteria!.. If your mycelium is going strong, it can outrun many types of bacteria and you will never know they were even present. Keeping the colonising MycoBox somewhere between 18C and 26C is ideal. 26C will be noticeably faster than 18C but with some patience it will get there regardless.
If you are determined to have a warmer environment for faster colonisation times, we strongly advise against the use of heat mats as they can dry out the bottom of the substrate and stall colonisation. It’s a far better idea to store your substrates somewhere with more balanced heat like a warm cupboard above a fridge or near the water boiler..
Generally, you will start to see mycelium growth after 10 days depending on optimum conditions – if not, just hang in there a while longer as you may have injected too deep to see any growth yet.. Injecting gourmet spores or culture close to the walls of the container (tub in this case) is of course going to show quicker results than injecting deeper into the substrate – and that’s the most common reason we get emails saying ‘I can’t see any mycelium..’. Patience is key here! It normally takes around 6-8 weeks for the MycoBox to fully colonise with white mycelium and become what we refer to as a ‘cake’, but again, this depends on a range of factors such as temperature, genetics, etc.
When the MycoBox has reached full colonisation, it’s highly recommended that you leave it for an extra week to allow the mycelium to consolidate within the core of the cake.
GROW METHOD CHOICE
Here we will lay out a couple of different methods for you to choose from. Each have their own pros and cons, each option is great in our opinion!
1. Removing the cake from the MycoBox for fruiting:
Move straight to the next stage.
2. Fruiting the cake within the MycoBox:
Simply remove the lid and discard. Now mist the vermiculite ‘casing’ layer heavily to make sure it’s very damp and move straight to STAGE 3.
STAGE 2: DUNK N ROLL
This stage is optional but provides extra moisture in your cake to help support bigger and better flushes. Many cultivators in the scene don’t bother with stage until after their first harvest..
For this stage, you will need:
- 1 x Bag of vermiculite (supplied)
- A container big enough to submerge your cake in water (not supplied)
Remove the fully colonised cake from the MycoBox. Place the cake inside a bucket of tap water so it fully submerges under the weight of a dinner plate. Leave like this for 24 hours before removing and giving it a good rinse under the tap. Take the bag of dry verm, pour this into a dinner dish and roll the cake around in it to cover as much of the surface as possible.
1. Carefully clean a work surface near a sink and take your fully colonised MycoBox to this area. Remove the plastic lid, turn upside down and hit it off the solid surface so it falls out.
2. Find a suitable container and fill it with cool tap water. Now, place your cake in and make sure that it is going to stay submerged (placing a dinner plate on top of it is a popular way of doing this) and of course cover the top of the container, to ensure nothing can fall into the water. Submerge for 24 hours.
3. Then it’s time for the ‘roll’.. Grab the bag of vermiculite we supplied in your kit and empty it either on to a clean work surface or something big enough to move your cake around in.
4. Take the cake out of the water and give a quick rinse under a cold tap.
5. Place the wet cake into the vermiculite and work it until every side has a vermiculite coating. Don’t be scared to firmly press the vermiculite onto the cake to get it to stick.
STAGE 3: PREPARING THE HUMIDITY TENT
We will now set up the chamber for growing your mushrooms.
For this stage, you will need:
- 1 x Bag of perlite to provide humidity (supplied)
- 1 x Humidity tent for fruiting your mushrooms in (supplied)
Place your perlite in a strainer and rinse under the tap until soaking. Shake off some of the excess water and pour into the humidity tent.
1. The first step is to rinse the perlite to get rid of all the excess dust. Please wear a face mask or cover your mouth and nose in some way when working with perlite. Get yourself a sieve or strainer (of course with holes smaller than the size of the perlite) and empty the perlite into it. Rinse under a running tap until you can see all of the dust is gone and that the perlite is fully soaked, turn the tap off and shake off some of the excess water but make sure you don’t remove too much.
2. Pour the damp perlite into your humidity tent – this will create the humid environment mushrooms love.
STAGE 4: FRUITING STYLE
If you have opted to remove the cake from the MycoBox to fruit then you will need to cut a fitting piece of tin foil to place down on to the perlite first so the cake isn’t touching it.
If you have chosen to grow directly from within the MycoBox, you can now simply place it onto the perlite.
Now fold over the top of the humidity tent and either leave it as is (if the opening is pointing downwards, no dust/mould particles can fall in there) or if you prefer – you can put some paper clips or pegs on there to hold it shut.
STAGE 5: HUMIDITY CONTROL
Whichever fruiting style you chose, the humidity techniques will be the same.
For this stage, you will need:
- Spray bottle to mist your cake with water (not supplied)
You will now need to mist the cake with water regularly to ensure constant hydration. If you have opted for the Dunk ‘n’ Roll method then it’s best to avoid misting your cake for the first 12 hours to help keep the vermiculite stuck good. Mist your cake / casing layers directly until they glisten with moisture and when you can no longer see the glisten on it, it’s time to mist it again.. Misting 3-6 times a day is pretty common for ultimate results.
Click here to view some photos which will help you see what is meant by ‘glistening with moisture’.
The evaporation of moisture from the cake is the trigger for mushroom pins to form and grow – this is why the humidity tents we supply in our grow kit have lots of filters to provide clean air exchange. If you do not mist regularly to replace this evaporating moisture, you will break the cycle and you will have a poor harvest.. Simple as that.
You must continue to mist throughout the full growing process – when you see pins forming and whilst your mushrooms are growing.. remember mushrooms are 90% water, they need all that extra moisture!!
An extra tip on humidity: It may be best to pour the perlite into a strainer and hydrate it again at least once or twice a week.. moisture will evaporate out of the bag quickly. The more work you put in the greater your reward.
STAGE 6: HARVEST TIME
When your mushrooms are ready for harvest, you can either cut them off the cake with a scalpel/knife or some people prefer to just twist and pull their mushrooms off – but be aware this can sometimes pull some of the cake off with the mushroom, so it’s not the best method.
When you have harvested all of your mushrooms, you can dunk the cake in water again for 24 hours – but no need to roll in dry vermiculite this time – just place back within your humidity tent for more fruting!