BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Be sure to follow the golden rule of cleanliness and wipe down your entire work area with isopropyl alcohol and do the same for your hands/gloves, the interior (and lid) of your MonoTub Chamber and the included black plastic tray. Also be sure there is no air movement in your workspace; this includes fans, air conditioners, open windows, people or pets walking around nearby. Following these simple steps will help to decrease chances of contamination.
Before proceeding make sure your grain substrate is completely colonized with white fibrous mycelium covering 100% of the jars (or bags).
LAYERING SPAWN AND NUTRIENTS
First you will need to transfer and layer your mushroom grain spawn and CVG (Nutrients: Coir, Vermiculite, Gypsum) in the included black plastic tray. Be sure to shake up your jars prior to opening to break apart and loosen up the spawn. If you are using a bag, use your hands to break the spawn apart within the bag.
Start by spreading a thin layer of CVG on the very bottom of the black tray using just enough to cover the bottom surface. Next add a layer of spawn, enough to cover the surface of your previous layer. Add another layer of CVG and continue this alternating process until you’ve used up all your spawn. Save enough CVG for a final top layer that covers 100% of the previous and final layer of spawn. Pat down the top layer lightly with your hands so it’s nice and flat. Using the included spray bottle, give the top CVG layer a fine misting with filtered water so that the surface is nicely saturated but not soaked. Take your tray and gently lower it into the chamber.
Next you may position your adhesive temperature strip and digital hygrometer to one of the walls in your chamber. These simple tools will help you monitor the conditions in your chamber throughout the cultivation process.
Once everything is in position, it is good practice to wipe down the lid once more with alcohol before placing it back on top and closing the latches.
SETUP HEATING PAD
When setting up your heating pad, it is highly recommended that you set it on a short stand or some sort of rack that it is elevated rather than setting it on a flat surface. Having space/airflow beneath your heating pad will help prevent overheating. Once your heating pad is set, you may place your chamber directly on the heating pad. It is also highly recommended that you use a thermostat with your heating pad - if you do not adhere to the recommendations there is an increased risk of overheating and potential fire hazard.
The thermostat is an optional (although recommended) add-on. If you did not purchase a thermostat with your grow kit, skip this section.
If you purchased a thermostat with your kit, set or mount it at least 1 to 2 feet away from your heating pad. Take a bath towel and lay one end over your heating pad, if possible fold it over once more to double up. Place the silver probe from your thermostat on the towel and then again layer the towel once or twice over. Make sure the probe is unable to come into direct contact with the heating pad. Once your probe is sandwiched between the layered towel on top of your heating pad (which should be elevated) you may then place your chamber on top. Once your chamber, heating pad, and thermostat are in place, you may plug the thermostat into your wall outlet and then plug your heating pad into your thermostat.
The thermostat comes with instructions for setting temperature and changing from Celsius to Fahrenheit. Depending on the temperature surrounding your chamber (on the outside) you may need to play around with the temperature setting to get it just right. Keeping your controller set between 72°F - 74°F generally keeps the chamber where it needs to be but keep a close eye in the beginning to ensure the temperature doesn’t get too high. If at any point your chamber seems like it’s getting too hot you can decrease the temperature on your controller until it reaches the desired temperature. Once the temperature is ideal and stable you should be good to go from there on out.
Keep your chamber between 70°F and 74°F, ideally 72°F and check to see how your tub is looking after 7-10 days. Once you begin seeing the formation of hyphae, that appear as dense knots of white mycelium extending vertically from the surface of the substrate, this is a sign of full colonization and signaling the switch to Fruiting phase. To initiate fruiting all you need to do is introduce fresh air exchange (FAE) and light.
INITIATE FRUITING (ADD FAE + LIGHT)
To setup FAE within your chamber, simply remove the 6 pieces of white duct tape (and the paper backing) around the top portion of the chamber. Behind each piece is a 2” hole covered with breathable micropore tape which is meant to stay in place during the fruiting phase to keep out any potential contaminants. Once all the duct tape is removed, lift the front side of the lid and rest it on the top edges of the Chamber. This will make the chamber less air-tight and provide a thin pathway that allows your chamber to breathe a little better.
Throughout the fruiting phase, you want to make sure your substrate/spawn never gets too dry. When moisture is visible anywhere on the interior of the chamber (sides or lid), or droplets of water are visible on the surface of the substrate, these are indications that the substrate/spawn is still hydrated and you're safe. When there are no signs of moisture or water at all, then you want to take your misting spray bottle, fill with filtered water and spray around the interior of the chamber and the surface of the substrate/spawn. The key is to spray the mix just enough so that the surface is saturated and never want to see visible pools of water anywhere on the surface. Better to go a little light on the misting and do it more frequently, rather than accidentally over-doing it (this can lead to mold/contamination). In the beginning you should check your chamber as often as possible to determine how often you need to mist, and continue to do so regularly throughout the fruiting phase until harvest.
To setup your lighting, first set your mechanical timer to 12 hours ON / 12 hours OFF and plug into your wall outlet. The included 6500k LED bulb and wired socket should be set-up at least 8 to 10 inches above the chamber and no higher than 18 to 24 inches for the best results. Once your light is set, plug into the timer, make sure your light is in the “On” position and wait for your first pins to poke through the surface (generally within another 7-10 days). Once mushrooms begin growing, many more will follow in a very short time.
The final steps in the cultivation process are Harvesting and Drying. Refer to the Guides section on our website for further instruction.