PF-TEK STARTER KIT
1) Contents of the PF-Tek Starter Kit:
1 liter of vermiculite
250 g organic rice flour
4 culture bottles (280 ml) with air filter
2 grow bags with air filter
1 pair of sterile gloves
1 Vial of spores of 10 ml.
2) You'll need:
Alcohol (or other disinfectant)
Lighter, best torch
1 safety pin
1.-) Preparation of culture boats with filter:
A) Use the safety pin to poke 4 holes in the lids of each grow pot. These holes will be used later to inject the spores into the substrate.
B) Mix 2/3 of the vermiculite (600 ml) with 250 g of rice flour. Add 300 ml of water and stir well. Fill the grow boxes to about 1 cm from the top of the box, do not pack too much. Clean the edges and put a half-centimeter layer of vermiculite. Cap the jars but keep a slightly open part, so that the pressure escapes.
If you don't, chances are the canisters will warp during the substrate sterilization process. Wrap the boxes with a double layer of aluminum foil.
2.-) Substrate sterilization:
In the next step we are going to sterilize the culture bottles in a pressure cooker to destroy bacteria.
A) Fill the pot with a few inches of water and put the jars inside. The pots should not be in direct contact with the bottom of the pot, as it can break (you can put an old cloth on the bottom of the pot) Sterilize the pots for 60 minutes at 121 °C. During sterilization, constant pressure is necessary. Sterilization time should be measured from the moment there is a constant flow of steam escaping from the valve.
B) Once sterilized, the canisters require a few hours to cool down completely. Don't be impatient (a still hot substrate can kill the spores). When the boats are at room temperature, remove them from the pot. Close the cans completely. Do not remove the foil yet.
3.-) Inject the spores:
You need a sterile work area. Wear the gloves and mask and spray the entire work area with the disinfectant. If you touch any non-sterile part you must clean yourself with disinfectant before continuing.
A) Shake the spore syringe well for about 5-10 seconds to achieve even distribution of the spores.
Remove the protective cover and heat the syringe needle until it is red hot. Then let it cool down for 15-20 seconds.
B) Remove the foil from the jars and inject a total of 2-3 ml of the spore suspension into each of the jars. This is a crucial step in the process. After the injection, seal the holes with the electrical tape.
C) Place the jars in a dark and warm place. A temperature of 20°C is acceptable, but always aim for a temperature of around 28C if possible. Lower temperatures can slow down the process. Temperatures below 15 °C stop mycelial growth. After two to four weeks, a white layer of mycelium forms, and it's time to move on to the next step. Your work is done for now. Spores need time to grow
4.-) Mushroom growth:
When the substrate is covered in white mycelium, you can expose the mycelium to light and fresh air. The vermiculite layer now serves as a water reservoir. This layer should be damp but not soaking wet. Never let it dry out. The humidity inside the bag is important. If there is condensation inside the bag, the humidity is sufficient. It's hard to say exactly how much water you need to add. That takes practice and intuition, but that's what makes home growing so interesting to experiment with growth patterns to optimize results.
A) Remove caps and spray only once. Place the grow boxes inside the bags and spray the inside of the bags sparingly. Fold the ends of the bags and close them using the clips. Put the kits in a warm place (23-26°C) with light, but not in direct sun or on top of a heater. Temperatures around 25°C allow faster growth. Check daily and spray top coat and inside of bags as needed. The first mushrooms appear after about 14 days. And, after 7 more days, the mushrooms are ready for harvest.
B) Harvest the mushrooms when the cap begins to open. If you wait too long, the caps open fully and the fungi release their spores. This makes the mushrooms and the inside of the bags turn black/blue. However, this is basically a cosmetic issue. Harvest all the mushrooms at once, except when one or two are growing much faster than the others. Leave the small mushrooms that sometimes grow between the substrate and the sides of the box.
C) Immediately after harvest, the box needs to be watered again, to start a new cycle. Remove any mushrooms that haven't grown well, but try to keep the substrate intact. Put the lid back on and water again, as before, draining off excess water, after 12 hours. Place the box inside the bag and close with the clips. The cycle of irrigation, growth and harvest can be repeated until the substrate has been used up.
Usually this occurs after 3 or more harvests.