To avoid confusion: This quide was originally written for mycopots with the self-healing rubber injection ports built into the lid, but it also applies to the lid without them – the only difference is you will either need to take the lid off briefly (in a very clean environment) to inoculate them with your gourmet syringe or heat up the needle on your syringe enough to melt and pierce through four holes in the plastic lid (a lighter is perfect) for injecting through. Just remember to stick clean tape over any holes you might have made! Other than that small change, the guide is identical.
STAGE 1: INOCULATION
For this stage, you will need:
Gourmet spores or liquid mycelium syringe Mycopots (supplied) Sterile gloves (supplied) Surgical face mask (supplied)
1. Take everything to your ‘lab’
An ideal room to use as your lab will be draft-free, such as a small cupboard maybe. 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 – keep air currents to an absolute minimum (doors closed!) to lower the odds of contaminant spores getting into the mycopots.
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 wipes and let them completely air dry first or you’ll struggle to put your sterile gloves on!
3. Inoculation process
When you are ready and have fitted the pre-sterile needle on to the syringe, swiftly pierce your needle through each sterile self-healing injection port and inject approximately 1ml in a circular motion (totalling 2ml). The alcohol wipe shouldn’t need to be used and is there only as a last resort in case you accidently touch the port with something non-sterile!
If you are inoculating more mycopots with the same syringe, make sure to flame sterilise the needle until it is glowing red hot between mycopots. This will reduce any chances of cross contamination. Just remember to leave the needle to cool down for 5 – 10 seconds, or you can just squirt a little solution through it to cool it quicker!
DO NOT EVER wipe a needle with an alcohol pad. Alcohol merely sanitises, it does not sterilise. Flame sterilise for fast results.
4. Light and room temperature
Now it’s time to leave your mycopots in a safe place to colonise. It’s recommended, though not necessary, to leave them colonising in a room with indirect sunlight or light from a flourescent bulb.. but many growers just leave them in a dark cupboard.
Regarding heat, many species do 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..
If you can manage to keep the colonising mycopots somewhere between 18C and 26C, then it will be just fine. 26C is noticeably faster than 18C, but if you have a cold house or flat don’t worry about it – it will do it’s job! I have even managed it in a cold 10C flat! If you are determined to get a warmer environment for faster colonisation times, I’d strongly advise against heat mats as they will just dry out the bottom of your substrate. You will need something a bit more equal on all sides. A warm cupboard above a fridge.. Near the water boiler..?
Generally, you will start to see mycelium growth after 5-10 days.
It will normally take around 3-5 weeks for your mycopots to fully colonise (i.e. to be completely covered in white mycelium) but again, this can take a bit longer or shorter depending on a range of factors such as temperature, genetics, whether from spore or culture syringe etc..
When they have reached full colonisation, it is highly recommended that you leave them for another week to allow the mycelium to consolidate – basically, to make sure the mycelium has a full hold on the PF-Tek mycopot cakes.
STAGE 2: DUNK N ROLL
This stage is optional, but works to provide extra moisture to your cakes to help support bigger and better flushes.
For this stage, you will need:
Container to fill with water (big enough to hold your cakes) Vermiculite (supplied) Tin foil
1. Carefully clean a work surface near a sink and take your fully colonised mycopots to this area. Remove the MycoLid(s), then turn the mycopots upside down and knock on the bottom of it until the cakes slides out.
2. Fill a container big enough to hold your cakes with cool water and then place your into the water.. This is the ‘dunk’! You will want to make sure that it stays submerged in the water (a dinner plate, maybe?) and of course cover the top of the container to ensure nothing can fall into the water. Submerge your cake in the water for 24 hours.
3. After 24 hours, it is time for the ‘roll’.. So, grab the bag of vermiculite we supplied in your kit and empty it either on to a clean work surface or into a bowl big enough to move your cakes around in.
4. Take your cakes out of the water and give a quick rinse under a cold tap.
5. Place the wet cakes into the vermiculite and work with it until every edge of the cake has a vermiculite coating. Don’t be scared to firmly press the vermiculite onto the cakes to get it to stick.
6. Cut a piece of tin foil to the size of your cakes and place aside for later..
STAGE 3: FRUITING
Ready to grow some mushshrooms?!
If you have skipped the dunk n roll stage, you will need to knock your cake out of the mycopots and place on a piece of tin foil cut to the size of your cakes.
For this stage, you will need:
Perlite (supplied) Humidity tent (supplied) Spray bottle to mist your cakes with water
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 tents – this will create the humid environment mushrooms love.
3. Place foil on the damp perlite, then your cakes – make sure the cakes aren’t touching perlite!
4. Fold over the top of the bag 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.
5. You will now need to mist your cakes with water regularly to ensure constant hydration. Though, it’s best to avoid misting your cake for the first 12 hours to help keep the vermiculite stuck good. Mist your cakes directly until they glisten with moisture and when you can no longer see the glisten on them, it’s time to mist them 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 your cakes 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!!
Extra tips on perlite humidity: It may be best to pour the into a sieve 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 4: HARVEST
When your mushrooms are ready for harvest, you can either cut them off your cake with a knife/scissors 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 your cakes in water again for 24 hours – but no need to roll in dry vermiculite this time – just place back within your humidity tent(s) for more fruting!