Brown Rice Flour Technique
Also Known as PF Tek
This section of our video is presented in full to help you get started growing mushrooms. The BRF tek video from our DVD is broken here into four parts to make it more compatible for streaming. Simply click on the header or thumbnail image for each section to watch the video.
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BRF/PF Tek Part 1
BRF/PF Tek Part 2
Part 2 of the brown rice flour technique (pf tek) picks up where part 1 left off. You’ll remove the sterilized jars from the steaming kettle, and once they’ve cooled to room temperature, inoculate them with either a mushroom spore syringe or liquid culture syringe using sterile procedures as demonstrated by well-known mycologist Jim Read of Seattle, Washington.
This chapter demonstrates the use of a simple ‘glovebox’ made from an inexpensive plastic storage tote you can purchase locally for around $10 or less. The only purpose of the glovebox is to provide an enclosed work area free from the normal drafts in your home. It does not need to be sterile. The only purpose of the glovebox is to provide a place where there is no circulation or ‘wind’ that would otherwise carry possible contaminant mold spores or bacteria from your own breath or body into your sterile media.
You’ll observe as Mr. Read flame sterilizes the needle of his culture syringe before using it to inoculate the sterilized jars of brown rice flour and vermiculite. Once inoculated, the jars are set on a shelf at normal room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks until fully colonized. While normal room temperature is great for colonization, try to keep the ambient temperature below 81F to help prevent the stimulation of thermophilic molds and bacteria.
BRF/PF Tek Part 3
Part 3 of the pf tek videos demonstrates how to build a small fruiting chamber for growing mushrooms, also known as a terrarium, using an inexpensive plastic tote that you’ll purchase locally. The purpose of the terrarium is to provide a semi-enclosed area of high humidity for fruiting your mushrooms. It’s extremely important to also have a means of fresh air entry to your terrarium t stimulate pinning of your mushroom crop, and to prevent stale air. Stale, still air tends to stimulate competitor molds such as the dreaded green meanie Trichoderma, also known as the forest green mold.
Once filled with well-drained perlite, this design will easily maintain upper 90% humidity levels while allowing for the air exchange that is necessary both as a pinning trigger, and also to keep air flowing, which reduces the incidence of contaminant molds.
For this terrarium to function properly, you’ll want to have an ambient humidity in your room of 50% or greater. If you live in a desert or very dry climate, you’ll want to run a cool mist humidifier in the room your terrarium is located to raise the humidity to 50%. This becomes especially critical during the winter months when indoor humidity is often very low.
BRF/PF Tek Part 4
Chapter 4 picks up as you’ve just placed your cakes in the terrarium. You’ll remember from part 3 that after the dunk and roll, we placed the cakes in our terrarium and misted heavily a few times to moisten the dry vermiculite we previously rolled the cakes in.
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Misting your Mushrooms and Fruiting Chamber
It’s very important to keep your casing or vermiculite layer on the cakes well misted throughout the fruiting process. Don’t spray your cakes directly, but rather aim your misting bottle up in the air, so that the mist falls gently on the cakes and developing fruit bodies. Most of the mist will actually fall on the perlite, replenishing the moisture that has evaporated into your fruiting chamber or terrarium. I recommend three or four misting sessions per day. Gently mist your entire terrarium until the cakes ‘glisten’ with moisture. Obtain an inexpensive mechanical hygrometer from a local cigar shop, and then calibrate it by wrapping a damp towel around it for an hour. Next, unwrap the damp towel and adjust the screw on the back so the dial reads 99%. Try to keep your humidity level above 95% all the way through the fruiting process.
After each misting, use the lid of your terrarium to ‘fan’ the inside of the box to remove any stale air that may have accumulated inside. With certain species, such as P cubensis, fanning is not usually as critical as with less CO2 tolerant species such as Oyster mushrooms, which will grow large, fat stems and small, under-developed caps if the air in your terrarium is not exchanged enough. Remember that with oyster mushrooms, we usually discard the stems and only eat the caps, so you want lots of bright light and fresh air.
Lighting requirements for mushroom cultivation
Contrary to popular belief, most mushrooms require light to develop properly. Mushrooms are not plants, thus do not use light as a source of energy in the same way plants do. However, due to many factors, some of which are not yet fully understood, light is extremely important in the primordia forming stage with most fungi, and with species such as P cubensis and the oyster mushrooms (P ostreatus), it’s important to provide bright, high frequency light all the way through to harvest or your fruits will be under-developed and of poor quality. If your oyster mushrooms look like twisted coral formations, or your Shiitake or P cubensis have fat stems and tiny caps, it’s a sure sign that your lighting is not sufficient.
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Marc R Keith
RR Video - 415 N Empire Creek Road - Malo, WA 99150 - USA
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