Inoculating Your Bags
To get started you will need a 10 ml spore syringe or some kind of live culture, a 1 or 2 pound bag of sterilized rye grain and a 5 or 10 pound bag of compost. If you are a beginner, we recommend our All in One Kits to start. This provides you with one environment that will carry you from inoculation to harvest.
Our Compost or bulk substrate is best inoculated with a colonized grain spawn and not a spore/liquid culture solution. This is because spores usually need some kind of food to take ahold of in order to get a mycelium network established. Mycelium feeds off decaying matter and compost is already broken down whereas sterilized grain is in the process of breaking down and still contains nutrients.
The process begins with spores or a live culture solution in a syringe. To inoculate a bag of sterilized grain, inject 1-2 ccs of solution for every one pound of grain. Then, once the bag is fully colonized, break the grain up while in the bag and transfer it into your bag of compost. It is important to use sterile techniques with every step of any substrate transfer when working with any colonized spawn. The mycelium on the grain will spread throughout the compost, establishing a mycelium network (root structure) throughout the entire bag. Once your compost is fully colonized it will need to be moved to fruiting conditions in order for the mushrooms (fruit bodies) to grow. This is accomplished by changing factors such as temperature, oxygen levels and humidity.
Q: How many ccs does it take to inoculate a kit / bag?
A: There is no exact answer to this question. We generally tell people that 2-4 ccs of solution should be sufficient enough to inoculate two-pounds of grain (which is the same amount in our kits). 1-2 ccs of solution for every one pound of grain is a good place to start. This amount can vary depending on the potentency your syringe and if you are using spores or a liquid culture.
Even though our kit are five pounds, you only need to inject enough solution to inoculate the grain portion of the kit, because the colonized grain will in turn later spread throughout the compost.
It is important to know that you must not to add too much liquid as this can over saturate the kit and will cause slow or no growth.
Q: Can I use spores to colonize compost?
A: Our compost works best when inoculated with colonized grain spawn. If you just inject this bag with spores you will more than likely not see any growth. Spores need some kind of nutritive substance like grain to take ahold of and establish mycelium growth first. Start by injecting your spores or liquid culture into a sterilized grain medium (we have this for sale in our store), then once the grain is colonized you can transfer it to the compost, then once the compost is colonized the mushrooms will grow right out of the bag or you can transfer them to some kind of fruiting chamber, tote or terrarium.