Let's Grow #3: Bag to Tub

When your bag is about 30% complete (you see 30% white mycelium growth in the bag), break up the bag to help speed colonization.

The beginning 
Here's more.... 
This bag is ready to go! The yellow color is mycelium "pee" - it's fine. The mycelium needs air. 

To break up the bag, just mush it around until all the grains are fully mixed. The mycelium can be quite hard and may need a little bit of force to break up the bigger chunks. Be careful not to break the bag. I find after breaking up the bag, I see complete colonization in just a few days. Your bag is ready to go to the monotoub (you'll see people say "send it") when it's completely white.

If the bag isn't fully colonizing an area or there's anything off color - you might have contamination. If it's just not colonizing quickly, you can wait and see what happens. However, if you see anything off color (check out the forums and Youtube videos for pics of contamination), it's best to get rid of it. The saying "when in doubt, throw it out" is true. The stuff that grows in a contaminated bag or jar can make you sick and contaminate your other growing things. Get rid of it. Don't open it in the house. If you have some need to open it before putting it in the trash, wear a mask.

Filling the Tub

Like inoculation, this is also done in a sterile situation. I use the tiny sterilized bathroom for this one.

  • Close the vents
  • Get all your stuff in there (spray bottle with 70% iso, substrate, grain bag, scissors)
  • Get yourself showered and dressed for the occasion (clean clothes, mask, shower cap, gloves)
  • Wipe surfaces down with 70% iso
  • Spray the room germ killing air spray

Ok, now clean all your equipment with iso, let it sit for a minute, and you're ready to go. I know it smells awful. Luckily this doesn't take too long. Refer to the MaxYieldBins video for more info on this step. You're going to make a lasagna with your grain and substrate.

  1. After sterilizing your bin(s), the outside of your grain bag & substrate bags, yourself, and your tools...
  2. Take your sterilized bin, pour in a little substrate, pour a little grain on the substrate, and then cover the grain with substrate.  
  3. Keep alternating grain to substrate until you use it all. The last layer should be substrate, ensure no grain is showing. You have 3lbs of grain and 15lbs of substrate. Use it all in one bin.
  4. You're done. Put the lid on the bin and get on out of that alcohol-smelling room.
  5. In about 10-15 days the mycelium will fully colonize the substrate. If your temps are too low, it will take longer.
  6. Once you see full colonization, change the painter's tape to filters (I only do this at the top), I leave painter's tape on the small holes at the bottom.
I hadn't put this bin into fruiting conditions, but it fruited anyway. I just changed the tape to filters and everything worked out fine. That's the new filter, not my finger, on the right. I don't open the bins unless I have to. 
I did originally worry that the mycelium would detest the alcohol smell but it dissipates after a while and they haven't seemed to mind.

Ok - so now you have your taped up bin ready to go. Put it somewhere quiet. I cover mine with a towel and wait. 10 days or so and you should be good to go. Some strains take longer. Some are faster. Recently I missed the full colonization point and the tubs started fruiting without me doing anything to help. I looked one day and had pins and small shrooms all over. Whoops. I changed to fruiting conditions and everything worked out fine.

From now on, try not to open your bins for any reason. A lot of my photos are from the outside of the bins. That's because until it's time to harvest, I don't open the bins. I don't want the mycelium or the growing fruits to have to deal with the outside world. All they need to do is grow and be happy. It's my understanding that once the tubs are fully colonized, there is little risk of contamination. That may be, but I err on the side of caution.

Next up - what's the difference between colonization and fruiting conditions, you've got pins/shrooms, or you don't. What next?