PF DOUBLE ENDED CAKE CASING TEK
The photo on the left is a second flush off of a PF spore
race cake. The first flush was an automatic flush - sans
casing - initiated by invitro primordiation. The cake on the
right is a third flush.
First: In Vitro Primordiation
There are many ways to extend
the life of a cake and get more shrooms.
The essential pf tek is to always allow primordia to
appear on the cake in vitro.
But not only that, wait
for more. So when you
spot the first primordia, wait
around 3 to 4 more days before birthing.
This stimulates more of them, and
then your first flush will be fat. This invitro
primodiation works well with only the PF spore
race. All of the others that I have seen, need to
be birthed after about a month invitro, and then given
the casing treatment.
Second: The Casing
After the first flush is
done, clean the cake of all abhorted
primordia and fungi nubs (a sharp knife
blade will work).
fill a jar cap with vermiculite,
soak it and drain it. Place the
now cleaned post first flush cake
upside down on top of the wet
vermiculite (top left photo).
Carefully wet the now top vermiculite
layer (a thin layer that adheres to
the cake) that used to be on the bottom.
When the cake is first birthed, most of
this top layer is scraped away, but there
will be a thin layer that adheres to the
fungi. This becomes the top casing layer.
Another thing you can try is to soak and
drain some vermiculite and with a spoon,
smear it on the top over the thinner top
vermiculite layer to get a thicker top
layer which can add even more water to
the cake. That is what this is, a rehydration
of the cake. It is the new water that stimulates
Also, from the bottom they will reappear
growing from the wet vermiculite (as in the
top right photo - 3rd flush).
It is sort of a double casing technique
(cased on top and bottom).
You can get decent bumper crops this way.
Spraying and maintenance
Once you set the cake upside down, spray the
now top casing layer a few times. You can soak it,
but be careful to not overdo it. Do this once or
twice a day, when you air the cakes and mist them.
This will feed the cakes water - gradually. The
cakes will turn white again. As soon as you spot
primordia appearing in the casing layer, cease
spraying the casing directly and let the primordia
go for it. This is why it is probably important
to not use a thick upper casing layer. As soon
as the primordia start appearing, spraying them can
rot them. When you spot the new primordia - employ
the neglect tek.
The cake whitening phenomenon
One of the most interesting effects of this tek, is
the revitalization of the cake. After the initial
fruiting, if it is really fat, the cake will be a bit
blued. One of the signs of old age in PF cakes is the
blueing that will occur. Most likely, the cause of
this overall blueing of the cake is moisture loss and
thirst of the cake. When the PF double ended cake casing
tek is employed, the cake will gradually turn white again.
After about a week under the casing tek, the cake will be
completely white again and on its way to a good second
CASING AND RECASING
This casing tek seems to work better if you completely
clean the cake after the first casing flush and recase with fresh
vermiculite. After the flush occurs, the top and bottom
vermiculite layers should be scraped off and replaced. A good
way to do it is like peeling an apple. Hold the cake
in your hand without squeezing, and with a knife,
scrap the old vermiculite off the cake. Try to clean down
to the surface of the cake. The scraping doesn't hurt the cake
at all because these older cakes become "tougher".
The mycelium tends to be "tighter"
and less fluffy and the cake becomes contamination resistant.
This "toughening up" and recasing
of the mycelial cake is also reported in
the old OSS and OERIC (McKenna brothers)
mushroom cultivation book published in 1976.
After the cake is carefully cleaned (rather a painstaking
procedure but not difficult), the cake is placed
on a freshly soaked and drained bottom layer of vermiculite
(on a plate or
in a jar cap). Then, fresh dry vermiculite is poured over
the top of the cake and smoothed down to a
layer of 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. A thin layer is
the best way to go because the shrooms can easily fruit out
of it without making their way through a thick layer.
The spray bottle offers a good way to drip water onto the casing.
By slowly squeezing
the spray lever, the water will drip out in single drops.
You can also use an eye dropper. Slowly wet the top layer.
If you apply to much water and it over soaks the vermiculite,
the cake can be tilted and excess water drained
from the top vermiculite layer.
After every flush - reclean the cake and apply fresh vermiculite.
What this does is prevent contaminants from building up. The
cakes stay uncontaminated and fruitable for a good two to three
months. You can get several flushes out of a properly cared for
cake. This long life for a cake is essential for good Treasure
Coast fruiting since the TC has the longest gestation period of
any of these races and needs extra time. This casing tek keeps
the cake white and uncontaminated for its life duration. And scince
the TC has a cake life of at least 4 months, the PF double ended casing
tek is a must for the Treasure Coast (don't bother with invitro
primordiation with the TC - it doesn't work at all).
Seattle Washington USA
updated - November 3 1999