Boosting yields: growing on bulk substrates (coco)

Coco coir consists of the fibres between the husk and outer shell of the coconut. It can be purchased a compressed blocks and contains both cellulose
and lignin, like straw. However it is much easier and cleaner to handle and seems to contaminate less. I prefer to use specially cut 1/2 size coco blocks available

The MycoFarm produces enough for most hobbyists. However, if you would like to invest more time and effort then you can try growing on bulk substrates.
This particular method is still quite experimental but we have excellent results accross a range of species (and very low levels of contamination, so far at least).

The idea is to take your colonised bag of grain from the MycoFarm and use it to inoculate a much larger amount of bulk pasteurised substrate
(in this case, coco treated with hot water). This method works because cooled coco coir is clean enough to allow the mushroom mycelium to
rapidly colonise it before other organisms can.

The coco blocks are then fruited to give many more and much larger mushrooms. With some species of mushrooms it is also possible to add a casing layer (not shown here).

dry coco block

1. A 300g block of coco coir inside a humidity tent.

kettle pouring water

2. Boil 1.5 litres of water in a kettle. Carefully add the boiling (!) water to the large plastic bag containing the block of brown coco coir substrate. Tip: it is best to roll down the sides of the bag down a bit as this will help to keep it open while you pour the water.

expanded block coir

3. Close the top of the bag using a clothes peg or tape. Leave the bag for about 30mins to cool slightly and then massage the bag to mix contents and break up any remaining hard lumps. The coco coir will swell and expand. Leave for 3-4 hours to cool completely.

pour grain into bag

4. Break up the white grain inside the colonised grain bag (300-600g needed) to break it up into pieces. Using scissors cut of the top of the bag and pour the contents into the cooled substrate bag. Close the top of the bag by folding the top over a couple of times and sealing with tape. Mix VERY WELL for a full 5 mins!!

grain growing on bag

5. Place the bag at the correct temp for your species and leave for approximately 10-20 days (depends on species and temp). As the mushroom mycelium grows, the bag will gradually turn from brown to white (Day 2 shown above).

colonised white bag

6. Day 14. The bag has turned almost completely white and can be fruited. If in doubt leave it a bit longer. At this point you need to choose how to produce mushrooms. Most species can just be placed in a plastic storage box or vitopod. A layer of damp perlite on the floor helps to boost humidity. Leave a gap for air exchange to occur (eg lid 1/4 open).

golden oyster

7. Golden Oyster on coir block



pink oyster

8. Pink Oyster on coir block



two shiitake kits

9. Two shiitake coco blocks fruiting in a vitopod (lid removed).

diagram showing tipping bag

10. Instead of fruitng in a plastic storage box, you can just use the humidity tent. Tip the colonised block on it side and push it to the middle (it doesn't matter if you break a few bits off).



block on side in bag

11. Block on it's side pushed to centre of bag.



tree oyster bag

12. Block in bag fruiting (Tree Oyster). Once small pinhead mushrooms form it is best to cut the top of the bag open slightly to allow extra air exchange. Just spray with water if it begins to look dry.



close up tree oyster

13. Close up of fruiting Tree Oysters.

shiitake mushroom close up

14. Close up of a shiitake. You can buy this species as a kit with ready made spawn here



pink oyster close up

15. You can get many flushes if you keep the coco moist with a sprayer or dunk it in a bucket of water for after each flush.