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Discussion Starter · #802 ·
A very quick update today. I’m seeing signs of life from my first attempt at propagat roses from cuttings! I started with four. One was lost to mold, and the other three didn’t seem to be doing much. It’s well past the two weeks that the article said it would take but I figured if it’s green, there’s life. And sure enough, I have new growth! Yay! Now just to find a place in the garden for them, so I can plant them outside in spring.

Plant Flower Houseplant Flowerpot Terrestrial plant


Morty got a new cat tree. A friend’s cat died (he was 16) and she gave me his tree. Morty was suspicious of the cat smells at first, but he’s getting down with the program. I’m sure that dangling toy will be gone by morning, if Kona sees it! Or soon after he sees it. Kona does not like toys that dangle.

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Congrats on your cutting success! Did you do all the cuttings the same, as in length and age of cutting wood, cutting angle etc? Just curious as I've never tried roses before but might now this coming year from the one rose I have.

Lester sends Christmas greetings to his twin Morty. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #804 ·
I took one long branch that was growing in the wrong direction anyway and cut it into four equally long pieces. So age was the same. Cutting angle was the same, plus I dipped the ground end into rooting hormone. I had the pot covered for humidity for quite awhile, then uncovered it after the one mold incident plus the soil was just too moist and my gardener's gut said uncover. I do have to keep an eye on the soil since indoor air is so incredibly dry this time of year, even with a humidifier going in the hall. That's proving a problem with the mushrooms, btw. The one pin I have forming on the lion's mane block is going brown, even though I spritz several times per day. Probably a good thing I ordered liquid cultures and have both plates and grain ready for inoculation.

Morty returns Christmas greetings to Lester. :D
 

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i took my "first" cuttings this last year as well, mine were from goose berries , it looks like a great way to propagate different plants that are a pain to start from seed ,out of 24 cuttings i think i got 16 or so strong plants , given a chance this spring / summer i would like to try and get 100 started ,if not to plant here then to also be able to sell i think the "mother" plant cost 28 $ looked to be around 3 maybe 4 years old ,with a bit of time and playing around it could be a income stream down the road a bit to go along with these i started potting up extra raspberries and still have a ton of those to get into pots in the spring ,,currants are this years experiment that i intend to try cuttings from
 

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Discussion Starter · #806 ·
Diversified income streams are good. Skills are also good. A pile of stuff isn’t bad but skills go with us wherever we travel! Still, I can see one of those house flippers or a real estate agent in years to come, wondering what the heck I was thinking with all of these plantings! Most city folk and bureaucrats want flowers 🤣🤣
 

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One more question in the curious department. Is the surviving cutting the tip cutting or from farther down the branch? At the nursery where I used to work, the propagation folks mostly took tip cuttings (various lengths depending on what plants they were doing that day) but sometimes it was the slightly "older" wood under the top 3-4".
 

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Discussion Starter · #808 · (Edited)
One each. As I said, I took one long branch and cut it down. So the tip cutting is surviving, and one of the mid-branch cuttings is also surviving. The entire branch was green wood.

Edited to correct info. I only have one branch with two growing points, and it's a tip piece. I really don't remember what happened to the third; I started out with four and have two left, one of which is making new leaves. Plants lie! My apologies for the incorrect info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #809 ·
OK! Time for another update. And Merry Christmas! It's actually a pretty nice day here, although we're expecting a couple of serious snows and subzero temperatures in the next couple of days. So what can I do but play with my mushrooms?

I've been misting the blocks several times per day and making sure the humidity tents are completely covering them. Inside air gets really, really dry here in winter so I need to compensate. My care is paying off too! The lion's mane pin is looking like a mushroom and I've harvested a couple of shiitakes again. There's another one pinning just below my finger. I've also flipped the lion's mane block and sliced an opening, which is what the instructions that came with this particular block indicated. So hopefully I'll get a third batch of tincture. The value of those batches compared to buying the stuff is paying for this project very well.

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Wood Automotive tire Recipe Ingredient Cuisine


The lion's mane in straw doesn't look like much but it's only been one week. If I look carefully I can see clumps of white here & there, which I assume is growing mycelia. The shiitake bag OTOH is fully colonized. The mycelia aren't brown as the Fresh Cap site says it should be, and it's been a good month. So I'm taking my chances and cut a couple of holes for them to fruit through, and stuck the bag under the humidity tent with the block. We'll see what happens.

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The first of my liquid cultures arrived yesterday, so I inoculated two grain jars and two PDA plates. One thing worth noting: getting the needle into the jar past the cotton was kind of tricky. I hadn't made a specific port for that in the lid because I didn't have any sealant, which I might have to rectify or buy specialized & reusable lids. I got it done though. We'll see how long it takes these to colonize, compared to inoculation of jars from block slices.

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I had to toss two lion's mane grain jars due to contamination, so they're in the compost. I also have more liquid culture on the way, along with materials to make my own blocks in-house for both varieties. I found some liquid culture on a buy one, get one free deal so I'll have plenty to play with. From what I've read, liquid cultures will last in the fridge for 2-3 months before using up their nutrients, and I have 5 mL left of the first 10. It looks like I'll be making more grain spawn jars soon as well! I may have to pick up quart jars, since I don't have many of those and hate to use what few I have on this. OTOH pint jars are paid for, right? The idea behind the quarts being they'll last longer before I have to subculture them.

And the project is expanding! I cleaned off the front two of my veggie seedling rack for these, plus the table. This could get interesting come Spring LOL! Oy. And I bought another field guide-type book. With a second batch of lion's mane tincture in process, I'm 'way ahead financially, and I do like taking this in my morning tea. Lion's mane is supposed to be really good for brain health and anxiety, among other things, so it's nice to have a homemade and therefore reasonably priced source. The shiitake might make good gifts to the mushroom lovers in my life. And there's always the food bank! Sometimes I do knowledge for its own sake. Crazy, I know!
 

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Discussion Starter · #811 · (Edited)
Maybe next year. I do have bees nesting in my yard though, bumbles and masons. It’s part of why my immediate neighbor hates my garden. I’ve planted more pollinator-friendly items this year and I‘m sure she wasn’t happy to see my 6th raised bed! Too bad though; the farmer’s market isn’t any cheaper and my food is more important than flowers for her to look at. Oh well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #815 ·
mostly I let the bees & butterflies take care of themselves. With a bit of help from my plantings, of course. I don’t want to risk the city getting involved. Technically my beds may not be as set back from the property line as they’d like, and I don’t need the hassle. Cowed is good but I don’t want to push too far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #817 ·
Happy New Year! Time to report my latest progress on the Great Mushroom Growing Project.

Today I made my very first sawdust blocks! It’s not that difficult: 5 C oak pellets, 3 pts water, 1-1/4 C wheat bran. Put it all together in a mushroom grow bag & pressure can at 15 lbs for 2.5 hours. The procedure I’ve followed is here: Let's grow gourmet mushrooms!

The oak pellets look a lot like rabbit pellets and disintegrated easily in water. Gloves are good, especially when hand mixing.

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I think I overloaded my bags a bit though, as I thought when I inoculated them this morning. But here they are in the canner, with extra water due to the long cook time. They’re also sitting on jar rings to keep the bags from direct contact with the bottom of the canner. The plate is to keep the bags from inflating and potentially covering the pressure release valve outlet. The article emphasizes this carefully and I agree: a blocked pressure valve could be very bad. Hence, the plate.

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The grain spawn seems to be well colonized after two weeks. Shiitake grows very quickly and hasn’t been picky about its substrate so far. I have two jars, so two blocks. Normally people use the first generation spawn, termed G1, to make more grain spawn and make the blocks from that. Since I’ve got two more jars brewing from liquid culture I’ve used my G1 to make my blocks. This project is taking up room that I’m going to need in a few months for seedlings. That should be interesting!

Food Ingredient Cuisine Spice Dish


My very first sawdust blocks! Now just to let them colonize to the correct point.

Blue Drinkware Grey Plastic bottle Artifact


The lion’s mane block has produced a second good-sized fruit! I tried to weigh it but no dice.

Food Ingredient Cuisine Recipe Dish


However, I have started this third batch processing. My pint jar is full so I’m thinking that my third batch of tincture will come in at around 50 oz. At this rate I’m going to need a bigger jar! And can potentially trade some. I also have just enough Everclear left for a smaller batch.

Drinkware Liquid Mason jar Fluid Glass bottle


My cultures seem to be making some progress. As you can see, this plate was inoculated on Christmas Day. I hope that’s a lion’s mane fungus growing and not something undesirable! All I can do is wait and keep a hawk eye out. Nothing exciting from the shiitake plates yet.

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Another day in ***** cat paradise! I’ve stolen these days from my clients since I worked on a horrid book over last weekend and have a generous deadline on the current one. And I needed a good rest! Fall push was intense. If I accepted every single book I was offered I’d be working 20 hours per day! Work is a good thing. Rest is a good thing. Plus it gives me time to work on projects! With three batches of tincture I estimate $1330 worth of tincture from these next two batches. Not a bad return on a $350 investment! And the books are forever. 🥰
 

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Wow, your mushroom project is really taking off. That's a beautiful lion's mane! Finding room for everything should be interesting when it comes time to start garden pants. LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter · #820 ·
Wow, your mushroom project is really taking off. That's a beautiful lion's mane! Finding room for everything should be interesting when it comes time to start garden pants. LOL!
Yeah, the space thing should be interesting. Hopefully my outdoor inoculations will take off but I won't know for sure until Fall. And this particular Hericium species prefers warmer territory.

I found another contaminated jar this morning, to make 4 of 8, all lion's mane. My hypothesis is that LM grows so slowly that the mold is easily able to out-compete. I've ordered better mycology lids; these are one piece screw on lids with injection ports so I don't have to take them off at all to inoculate the jars. They're reusable, of course. Having a lamellar flow hood would be really helpful but as I understand it, they're terribly expensive! Better lids will help. I hope.
 
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