To start these growing observations are my own. I present them neither as hard scientific fact, nor as well supported theory- these are solely my personal experiences. There are lots of cultivators out there, and lots of teks that work really well. The tek described below is an effort to find an easier way to make cultivation accessible to more people for less money. There are elements of growing that are very inexpensive to some, but prohibitively expensive to others, things like grain and hours worth of stove fuel to safely run pressure cookers. This can be a huge barrier to starting a small personal use home grow, leaving the most vulnerable without help or worse at the mercy of the black market.
The teks listed here are not designed to maximize yields, they have not been optimized for large bulk grows and they are much much slower than a traditional grain spawn + substrate method. The current tek doesn’t quite meet all of the criteria I want it to, I used soybean hulls as a nutrition source, which are not always easy to get, and future teks will try other recipes.
Additionally, this tek requires agar work. It is a hurdle for many, but there are teks available on line that show how to do agar inexpensively and without a pressure cooker. This is the only sterile work involved.
Once the mycelium begins to colonize the substrate in a grain free grow it seems to develops more like it would in nature, with thick cords running through the soil and robust growth that I have documented defeating contamination that would have ended a traditional grow.
THE TEKS BELOW ASSUME THE USER IS FAMILIAR WITH WORKING IN AS NEAR STERILE ENVIRONMENT AS POSSIBLE AND USING A H.E.P.A., LAMINAR FLOW, OR STILL AIR BOX IN ADDITION TO ALL SUGGESTED CLEAN WORK GUIDELINES WHICH CAN BE FOUND ON LINE.
PART 1- LIQUID CULTURE
I tried several different methods of inoculation- multispore syringe- not suggested, colonized agar wedges- ok but very very slow, and the most successful – a nutrient agar based liquid culture. I use a premade nutrient agar mix with 3 grams per liter water, bring to a boil, run through a coffee filter then sterilize - there are a ton of liquid culture, and agar teks on line. I inoculate the liquid culture with a clean colonized agar plate, and allow 5-8 days growth. I have not tried other liquid culture recipes, as this one always works for me, but use what ever works for you if you have a different recipe. Always test your LC on an agar plate before using it, check for bacteria.
Preparing agar plates and liquid culture is the only sterile work in this tek. A pressure cooker makes it easy, but there are other methods that can be researched. Of course, if you have a friend who can just hand you a jar of Liquid Culture (LC), skip to the next step.
PART 2 – SUBSTRATE
Removing the grain from the grow removes almost all of the nutrition. Nutrients need to be added in in a different way - I tried a few different recipes with different ratios of: Coconut Coir, Pasteurized Manure, Pelletized Straw (used as animal bedding, found in pet stores), Vermiculite, Wheat Bran, and Soy Hull Pellets (sold as bird food).
Without question the most consistently robust growth with the biggest fruits was:
MOJI MIX - 33% Pelletized Straw 33%Vermiculite 33% Soybean Hulls by dry volume.
Initial tests were pressure cooked at 15 psi for 120 minutes, later tests were run with pasteurization using “Bucket Tek”, and the final round of testing, tubs were hydrated to field capacity then microwaved for 5,6,and 7 minutes. Success rates were uniform across all substrate preparations.
Incidents of contamination were defeated in 100% of the cases where it was found with each recovered tub going on to produce at least 1 robust flush.
PART 3 – TUB PREPARATION AND INOCULATION
Hydrate MOJI MIX to field capacity, and place in a clean clear plastic ‘MICROWAVE SAFE” plastic disposable take out food container to a depth of 2-3 inches, place microwave safe lid on loosely and microwave on high for 5-8 minutes depending on your microwave. You really just need it over 140 deg f for a while, don’t go crazy. Remove from microwave and leave it alone for a few hours, if you wrap a towel around your containers, they stay warmer longer, expect to let them cool over night, just to be safe. You do not want them hot. This process is going to be slow and take weeks, rushing here isnt worth it. Let the containers cool completely.
Once cooled, in front of a H.E.P.A. or a Laminar Flow or in a Still Air Box (SAB) inoculate each tub with a liberal quantity of liquid culture. I suggest 3-5ml per tub. Flame the needle between tubs, and always try to use a new sterile needle to draw from your liquid culture reservoir. LC can be sprayed directly on the surface, but is quicker to colonize when injected just below. Multiple injection sites against the perimeter allow for faster colonization and the ability to check progress. Replace lid, allow access for air exchange, not much is needed a small hole filled with polyfil or covered with micro-pore tape will do. Place in a temperature stable room temperature location and leave alone to colonize.
PART 4 – COLONIZING AND FRUITING
In a no grain grow, colonization takes much longer than one would expect with grain. Inoculation to starting fruiting conditions averaged about 30-40 days, and fruiting took another 14-20 days. I started fruiting when colonization was at 70%. The misting and fanning seemed to accelerate the remaining 30% growth. Pin counts were a bit lower than hoped, however fruit sizes proved to be substantial with fresh weights averaging 12 grams each with outliers as large as 25 grams on a first flush. Fruiting chambers were created by inverting a second plastic container as a lid. yield dramatically increased with casing
PART 5- Moji Perpetual TEK
The most astonishing thing I learned in my no grain experiments was, how resilient mycelium was to contamination without the grain present. There were several instances where green contamination was visibly over run and consumed by healthy mycelium. This lead me to wonder how resilient the mycelium actually was and if it was as durable as I suspected, could it be easily transferred?
This lead me to develop the first run of ‘MOJI PERPETUAL TEK”, in which, after harvesting the first flush, the substrate is crumbled up, and used as spawn to seed the next
no-grain grow. The hope being to create a perpetual grow.