The Straw Projects chapter of Let’s Grow Mushrooms shows two methods of using straw to grow mushrooms. Any number of containers can be used with straw, so let your imagination run wild. The two methods described here will give you the background info needed to follow these techniques or develop your own. I’ve used straw in everything from stuffed animals to synthetic feed sacks, to large diameter PVC pipe with holes drilled for fruits to form.It’s important with straw to compress it down tight so that the mycelium doesn’t waste energy trying to colonize across large areas of empty space. If you use a bin or other container, place a weight on top after you build the substrate, as shown in the Laundry Basket tek. If you stuff the straw into a container such as poly tubing, mesh, or plastic pipe, stuff it fairly tight. As I build a straw log, I push down to pack it with most of my weight.
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It's also important to not completely seal the bottom of any container holding straw. We let the straw drain before inoculating, but water still seeps out for a few days afterward. If the bottom of the container is sealed, water pools up, preventing growth of mycelium and providing the conditions for bacteria bloom. Leave a few drain holes open on the very bottom and if you’re growing indoors, place a tray or similar under it to catch the drips to avoid making a mess.
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Marc R Keith