straw culture

Paul Stewart stewart at
Sun Apr 2 14:44:32 EST 1995

	I am currently growing a few dozen bottles of grain spawn of 
oyster mushrooms, and plan to inoculate pasteurized straw. As this is my 
first attempt, I would like to float a couple of questions to the group.
I could not find detailed answers to these questions in Stamet's latest book.

	1.  How does one cut the straw into the desired lengths without 
expensive farm machinery?  I have access to a chipper which a friend 
uses to chop apples prior to cider pressing, but he says when he tried 
straw in it, the straw wasn't so much cut as "puffed up". 

	2.  I plan to dump the pasteurized straw on bleach-cleaned 
plastic sheeting, inoculate with grain spawn, roll the sheet into a tube, 
tie the ends with wire, and hang the tube in a plastic-partitioned grow 
room in the loft of my garage/barn. Will this work? I just don't have the 
cash for "space bags" right now. How cold can such a mixture be and still 

	3.  In the interest of obtaining slants or spores from others 
within Canada or USA, what are the regulations governing transport or 
mailing of spawn/spores?

	4.  All I can find on PEI is barley/oats straw.  Not much wheat 
grown here, and the straw is ploughed back in.  Stamets favors wheat 
straw. Is there anything I can supplement the barley/oat straw with to 
bring it up to scratch?

	5.  The grain I am using is also barley/oats.  Not much rye grown 
here and what I've found is quite expensive.  I know about 50% moisture 
is good for grain spawn, but I steeped/boiled the damn stuff for two 
hours and couldn't get the weight of 100 mL of the stuff to double. Best 
I could do was 35%, which seems awfully low. Anyone else use this grain?
Also, when cooled the next day, thousands of tiny white dots was seen on 
the grain surface. Is this some form of contamination or a normal 
phenomenon of boiled grain?  It appeared on the inoculated and unopened 
bottles both. 

	6.  I drilled holes in the mason cover, and put a piece of filter 
paper (Whatman #42 Ashless) over it before sterilizing. I sterilize at 15 
lbs for 1.5 hours, and autoclave tape placed in the center of the grain 
jar turned black. Will this filter paper be sufficient to keep te interior 

	I will be most grateful for any replies...

				Paul from the Great Thawing Northeast

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