[image of the the kiez pilz lab workspace at toplab, in the picture can be seen magnetic stir plates, a pressure cooker, and a variety of cultures in jars and buckets. there are also a lot of chemicals on a shelf, which are part of top lab but not related to the kiez pilz project]
This post is an update on the Kiez Pilz project, following up from here Kiez Pilz Fruiting Chamber In Progress Notes, five months later, on the current state of Kiez Pilz.
Since August, we built a fruiting chamber in the top basement, and in the chamber fruited a round of about 30 1 liter plastic bags of oyster mushrooms, which produced harvests that we ate ourselves.
Our next goal is to produce a harvest that is large enough that we can share the bounty, and to try to make some of our cultivation processes more consistent and reliable.
Here is our current process:
- every week I make spawn by sterilizing one pressure cooker full of rye grain jars. I enjoy the ritual of doing this at home while working at home, and then I bike with the bag of sterilized grain jars to top the next day, and inoculate the grain jars using grain to grain transfer from previous colonized jars. This process seems reliable and produces 12 500ml jars of spawn per week. The jars I use are re-used pfand jars and I enjoy knowing that eventually they can return back to the pfand system.
- from this spawn, we are trying to inoculate buckets of coffee + sawdust bulk substrate. We’re imagining doing this every two weeks. We have been collecting buckets from Sahara Imbiss, a local Sudanese restaurant, to use as the containers. We mix the substrate in 25L insulated plastic coolers, and then pour boiling water into the substrate to pasteurize it. After letting it cool, we mix the spawn and substrate together into the buckets, within a giant still air box.
Eventually once the buckets have colonized, we hope to fruit them in the chamber. We have a few buckets that are looking pretty good, but haven’t fruited them yet.
We’ve also made some improvements to our fruiting chamber since our last harvest:
- added a more powerful extractor fan which blows air out of the chamber on a timer (we found this fan when cleaning out the sari-sari basement)
- added a humidity regulator (I also considered using arduino for this, but decided 20 euros was a pretty good price for a reliable unit)
Lastly, we purchased a larger tank for water, and a new disc based fogger which is on the way and we hope will allow us to go for longer periods of time without refilling the humidfier (the previous humidifier on a timer needed to be refilled every couple days).
There are still some open questions about our process and how to make it sustainable but the exploration continues. It will be a big milestone when we have fruited a 10L sahara bucket, and hopefully share mushrooms with some friends.