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Pinning

Pinning

Once you have all your cakes in your growing chamber and ready to produce primordia. You have to "shock" the mycelium so that it gives out instructions to pin. Pins start out looking like tiny little white dots (pins) that stick out a little from the cake. They are easy to spot once you know what they look like. They are hard and not fuzzy, cottony, or veiny like mycelium. You can do this, and should do this several different ways. First of all, they are going to need light, fresh air, and misting, which we have already talked about. These 3 things together will definitely help pins be on their way faster. Once you see these pins you will feel something that can only be described as pure joy, this is a definite sign of accomplishment. You will probably see dozens of pins on each one of your cakes. Don't get too exited....a lot of those pins will never grow all the way to maturity, they will just suddenly stop growing and begin to discolor and turn dark. You want to pick these as soon as you can spot them. These are called ABORTS. Or as we like to call them: Crunchies. These crunchies are not to be thrown away, in fact they pack some surprisingly powerful magic. Keep these to munch on, in complements of your fully mature and beautiful mushroom(s). If all you are getting is aborts, then make sure your growing chamber is not too dry or too humid. 91%-100% humidity works best for cakes. It is possible for you to have more than 100% humidity, so make sure that condensation is at a minimum (meaning no exessive dripping, yet water parcticles on chamber are still there). Pinning can take up to 2 weeks to inaugurate, so you have to be patient, and don't do anything drastic. However, if your humidity is correct and you have given them some light everyday and you have aired them and sprayed them twice or more a day like you are supposed to. You might have to do some cold shocking after 5 days of birthing. Some species and strains of mushrooms will not pin at all without a drop of temperature. The easiest way is by putting frozen ice packs inside your growth chamber, and just leaving them in there until they have fully melted and they aren't cold anymore. A temperature of anywhere in the 50's or low 60's is easily achieved with ice packs. Keep in mind though, that when temperature drops, naturally so does humidity, so don't allow your chamber or your cakes to dry out. There should always be water parcticles or some fogginess on the sides and on the lid of your chamber. The use of a thermometer and a humidity gauge is recommended, but not necessary. Once your ice pack(s) fully melt, put them back in your freezer. Put them back in your grow chamber once they are frozen again. Do this two days in a row and then, every other day, until you achieve pins. Then go back to room temperature (70's) until your first flush is over. (Until your pins have all grown into full-grown mushrooms and they have all been picked) After every flush, you want to drop the temperature again (if needed) to achieve a next flush, and a next flush, and a next flush, until your cake has expended it's supply of nutrients. Allow about another 5 days after a flush before expecting a second flush. Don't cold shock until after the 5 days if needed. An important thing is not to put the ice packs too close to your cakes because this will harm them and cause them to turn blue. Keep an eye out for that. Another tip that could do wonders before and after pinning is to leave the lid off of your container or chamber for about 5-6 hours in room temperature after a medium/heavy misting (about 10 seconds). This helps mycelium enter the pinning stage and can help a lot during mushroom growth. Don't worry your mushrooms will not dry out, and if they look like they do, it'll get better. This is just creating a more natural environment. It's not always that high in humidity all day in nature, even during mushroom season. This even helps in avoiding "Aborts" and has even helped in "bringing back the dead"... a mushroom that is thought to be lost by "abortion" can actually regain color and health if this is done. Remove lid, spray kind of heavily but from far away, a bit more than usual. Leave the lid off for about 5-6 hours or untill all water that was sprayed is completely evaporated, but leave open for at least 5 hours. Then just replace the lid. Do not mist or use a humidifier for several hours, just use the moisture from the perlite to do it's job. This tecnique also helps mushrooms mature faster! Also read about pre-dunking your cakes for great results in the "Think Your Cakes are Dead?" Chapter. PICTURES: