GETTING STARTED AND COLONIZATION PROCESS
1. Take a shower. Brush your teeth. Do some mouthwash. You can continue naked, or wear freshly laundered clothes.
2. Place the mask provided with your JARS on your face snuggly fitting over your nose and mouth.
3. Lysol your kitchen counters and take your JARS by your stove. This process works best if you have a fan exhaust on top of your stove. If not, then under any box turned upside down will work, this helps prevent any airflow from entering your work area....just work swiftly and inside the box.
4. Sterilize with Lysol or alcohol (preferably 91% or more) a pair of scissors, your spore syringe(s) and anything you are going to touch and wrap them up in a paper towel.
5. Use the hand sanitizer that came with your JARS and squeeze a good amount on your hands and all the way up to your elbows. Allow this to dry at least partially before continuing. Re-apply as often as needed.
6. Turn ON your stove exhaust to High. You are going to use your exhaust as a semi flow hood, which will lower contamination in the air, by creating an upward suction. You will work in the middle, between the stovetop and the exhaust. If exhaust not available, then you can work inside an upside down box, any cardboard or plastic box will work, just make sure it’s big enough to work in. Remember to Lysol all counters and tabletops that you are going to use, including your box.
7. Cut the vacuum-sealed bag that the JARS are in. These bags are air tight for maximum sterility.
8. Grab your spore syringe and shake it nicely for about 5 minutes. Make sure the lid is on there tight! Hit it against your palm a few times so that the spores stuck on the walls, and/or clumped together will mix back into the solution. Don’t worry if some of the solution goes into the needle guard. Do not try to suck this solution back into the syringe.
The spore syringes are shipped with a small bubble of air in the solution. This helps to mix the spore solution properly once it’s ready to be used. If for some reason there is not even a small air bubble inside, you are going to have to suck some air into the syringe so it can be shaken effectively. Make sure that when you suck air into your syringe, that you are already working in between your stove and close to your operating exhaust fan, so that you don’t contaminate your solution.
If you are working underneath a box, then suck the air into your syringe underneath the box.
(Make sure that you also shake your syringe between each hole (5 holes per JAR, and 4 holes for JARS with “well”, so that the spores are distributed equally.)
9. Now take the needle guard off your syringe and torch the needle until red for about 10 seconds with your gas stove burner or butane lighter. Make sure not to melt the plastic on your syringe. Wait about 30 seconds and then wipe the needle down with 91% alcohol really well, and dry with a piece of paper towel. Wrap the dry piece of paper towel around the needle until use. Make sure that your hands are sanitized well with hand sanitizer, but still try not to touch the syringe needle with your fingers.
10. Take out your first JAR. Wipe the tape on top of the lid with 91% (no lesser grade) alcohol before injecting to be absolutely sterile.
11. Shake your syringe once again and break the tape (covering the holes) through with your spore syringe and put the needle in so that it touches the side of the glass jar and so it is visible to you. Make sure it's all the way in, and that it is touching the substrate and not just the dry vermiculite layer.
Also, make sure that the angled edge of the syringe is touching the jar so you can see the solution squirt out against the jar. Squeeze slowly so you don’t over do it.
Realistically, a jar can colonize with only 1 cc in the entire JAR, but the colonization process would be long.
We carry 20cc syringes, which allows you to "work with it" better. With 1 syringe you can use over 1/2 a cc for each hole (0.66 cc exactly or 0.83 cc for “wells”) and there are 5 holes. So that's 3.3 cc's PER JAR for 6 JARS. The colonization process will be FAST!
…..if while injecting a jar your syringe gets clogged. Take the needle out and try using your butane lighter to light the needle starting on the area nearest to the syringe, but don’t melt the plastic, and move your way out to the tip. Make sure it gets red. The trapped object should shoot out of the syringe. If this doesn’t work, then smack the end of the syringe plunger in a quick hard hit and it should shoot out with minimal solution loss.
Tilt your Jar at an angle as you are injecting the spore solution, so that the solution drips downward against the glass into the substrate below. Leave it tilted for a few seconds before going towards the next hole. For the center hole, inject straight down.
12. Wipe down the needle with alcohol between each hole that you inject spore solution into. Also, flame-sterilize your needle in between JARS you inject. Go one by one.
13. Place your already injected JARS in a disinfected plastic container with a lid, you can use alcohol or Lysol. Any plastic container of your choice will work.
At this point you can remove the punctured tape from the lid to allow for better oxygenation and C02 exchange. Some jars have a small strip of tape for each hole. However, we now recommend to leave the tape ON until cakes are at least 1/2 way colonized.
14. Cover the container and place it in a dark place. Like your closet....You can put a clean dark cloth over it if you want, to make it extra dark (RECOMMENDED).
15. Your JARS are designed to be contamination FREE even if you do not have the cleanest environment. Especially after injecting them.
With the built in filter that they have, we've seen them survive in even smoke filled rooms for months.
16. Within about 3-5 days you should start to see white mycelium growing in the areas that were injected with spores.
Make sure that the mycelium looks frosty white and not any other color. If any evidence of other colors are found, discard the JAR immediately, because it might infect your other JARS.
17. Check your JARS frequently for contamination.... once a day after the first 4 days of inoculation, but don’t expose them to light long. Your mycelium should start to look really strong and healthy by the end of the first week of inoculation. It can look a bit differently depending on the kind of substrate and species you are growing, but this is mainly for the P.C. strains. You might see mycelium strands, which look like white veins running through your JARS.... this is good.
18. Once they are completely colonized, (everything but the top vermiculite layers) give them at least an extra week before you birth them. You can start exposing your Jars to light after the first week of complete colonization, which aids in the pinning process once birthed. In fact, sometimes cakes will begin pinning and fruiting inside the Jars. This is a definite sign that they are ready to be birthed. The pins will look like tiny white dots poking out of the substrate in the Jar.