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Re-hydrating your CVG Bulk Casing Substrate

bulk substrate kit 12lbs microwave sterilize at home.

This guide will walk you through making hot n’ fresh CVG casing substrate the way grandma used to.

What you will need:

1 bag Mushyluv microwave substrate
8 cups of water
1 food grade gypsum powder supplement.

Hydrationempty milk jug used to add water to mushyluv microwave substrate.

We’ve found it easiest to measure out 8 cups of water into an old milk jug (or equivalent sized pitcher) and mark the level for future reference.  Add the gypsum powder supplement to your water and shake (or stir) mixing thoroughly.  Pour this mixture into the microwave substrate bag.


Let your bag(s) sit for the next 30 min to 1 hour.  This gives the coco/vermiculite mix time to more evenly absorb the water.  You’ll notice the coco expanding as it absorbs moisture.

While you’re waiting check out our bulk spawn and casing tek.

After about an hour begin kneading your substrate bag. Really get in there and work out those knots. Break up any chunks you run across. Mix it like you stole it. And remember a relaxed substrate is a happy substrate.


Line up the top of the substrate bag tucking in its gussets evenly all the way down on both sides.  This will remove all the air from the bag.  Roll the top of the bag forward around the substrate leaving the (unsealed) top under the substrate.

Note: Only microwave one substrate bag at a time.

Place the freshly wrapped substrate bag on a plate and microwave for 20 mins on high.

What does freshly pasteurized substrate smell like to you? Leave a comment below.

When your bag is done, it’ll be like a tiny little Chernobyl.  Be careful moving the very hot bag.  Always use oven mitts or similar hand protection.  If you’re unsure if it’s too hot to move then give it another hour.

Cool down time will take 4 or 5 hours.  You want the substrate to be room temperature or below. We’ve let pasteurized bags sit for several days in cool down without any issue of contamination. Mushroom bags can be saved and used on future projects.




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Bulk Spawn and Casing Tek

Tamping substrate with a gloved hand

Items we'll need to case our bulk spawn corn. Drop cloth, corn jars, alcohol, saran wrap. 9x13 baking pans we'll use to case our bulk spawn in.


What we’ll need to create 4 13×9 birthday cakes.

2 x 6lb coir, vermiculite, & gypsum bulk substrate bags or your favorite equivalent.
basic 9x13 baking pan2 x 1qt Colonized Grain spawn jars.  We’ll split the colonized corn between the two pans.
4 x 13×9 baking pans. You’re looking for a basic Steel or aluminum rolled edge baking pan with no handles on the ends.

1 x pair of gloves.
70% alcohol spritz bottle.
plastic wrap with a slide cutter.
Cardboard, newspaper, etc to catch crumbs and make cleanup easier.


Place the four pans in the oven and bake them at 350° for 30 min.
Cheap steel baking pans are great. They’re easy to sterilize, compact while colonizing, no plastic liners required, and they slip in and out of your monotub without a mess. This minimizes the cleaning required to ready a monotub.

Mix (Spawning Grain to Bulk Substrate)rolled bagMixing 1 corn jar with 1 6lb bulk spawn bag.

While your pans are cooling, dump the contents of 1qt corn jar into your bulk spawn bag.  Roll the top down on your bag and mix corn and substrate together by squeezing the outside of the bag and shaking vigorously. A really good mix helps the mushy colonize the entire cake quickly. Increasing your chances for a successful grow.


Pour the substrate grain mix into the first two pans. Pat the mix to sculpt a smooth even top. Swipe your hand left and right if necessary to even things out.


Wrap half the width of the the cling wrap over your cake and continue looping under then over the pan two more times until it’s completely covered end to end. It will feel a little awkward at first.  This is done to keep moisture in the substrate and block out contaminants while the cake colonizes. Leave at least half a width of the cling wrap loose off the end for air exchange.  We highly recommend keeping spawn pans in a room with an air scrubber while they colonize.


With this simple tek you can reliably make contamination free bulk substrate cakes.  Once you’re cakes have completed colonizing drop them into your favorite monotub.


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How to Melt Agar

How to melt agar being demonstrated in a hot water bath.

Mushyluv’s guide to our 3 favorite ways to melt agar.

Hot Water Bath:Using hot water bath to melt agar. Agar bottle sitting in 2 inches of water.

  • Fill a pot with 1-2″ of water.
  • Heat the water until it is gently boiling.
  • Loosen the cap on your agar bottle and place it into the hot water bath.
  • Monitor the bottle’s progress until it has completely melted.
  • Do a swirl test to see if you’re lump free.

Swirl Test

Using protective gloves, tighten the cap and swirl the bottom of the bottle to check for lumps. If your agar needs additional melting time, loosen the cap and heat for 5-10 additional minutes.  Repeat until completely melted.

Mushy IconWhen your bottle comes out of the microwave, it will be around 200°f.  Cool to 120°f or below before it’s safe to pour agar plates.

Microwave Melting Agar:

  • Loosen the cap to your bottle (very important) Never microwave a sealed container with liquid in it.
  • Place your agar container on a plate and microwave 6 minutes at power level 3.
  • Watch for boiling  to occur.
  • Verify the agar’s heated evenly with a swirl test.

Wearing hand protection, tighten the cap and swirl to check for lumps. If your agar requires additional de-lumping, loosen the cap and microwave for  1 minute at medium power.  Repeat until everything is completely melted.

Mushy IconWhen your bottle comes out of the microwave, it will be around 200°f.  Cool to 120°f or below before pouring agar plates.

Autoclave/Pressure Cooker:

Loosen the cap on the agar bottle and pressure cook the bottle at 15 psi for five minutes. While wearing protective gloves, carefully remove the hot bottle and cool the molten agar to 120°f before pouring plates or slants.

At what temperature does agar liquify?

Agar liquifies around 104°f.  To keep agar in a liquid state for an extended period of time, setup a water bath by filling a pan with an 1″-2″ of water and set the burner temp to the lowest setting (Lo).


You don’t have to use the entire pre-sterilized agar bottle at one time.   Pour as many plates as you need. When finished, make sure the cap is on tight to prevent contamination and drying between uses.  The sides of your bottle may draw in as it cools.  Re-heat as many times as needed. Bottled sterilized agar can be stored at room temperature for months. Never put agar in the freezer as It will cause the agar to breakdown and become unusable. To prevent contamination, keep all bottles and petri dishes sealed until ready to use.

bottle of pre-sterilized-agar.


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Tips for making a Still Air Box SAB

Mushyluv's porthole glove box kit. White. Installed in an SAB-mini still air glove box.

Begin by determining if you want your lid to be the top or bottom of your SAB. Orient your tote accordingly.

Note: Due of the rounded edges common to most totes used for SABs, It’s important you don’t install your ports any closer than 3/4″ from the edge of your tote. The cutout template makes it easy to visualize how your ports will look installed and any safe cutting distances.

Select the the distance apart for your arm ports (Relative to the floor of your SAB)

Mark the desired centers of your arm ports. You can use your cutout template to help visualize where your arm ports will fit best. Draw the port hole circle cut out guides onto your SAB with a sharpie using the template.

How do I cut out ports for my still air box?

Note: Cutting polypropylene and polyethylene totes can be a tricky. They have a tendency to crack and split when drilling or cutting. The following suggestions can help minimize  chances of splitting.

ez-SAB-port cut out template download (a preprinted template is included with your order as well.)Mushy Icon
When printing the cut out template, It’s important you tell the acrobat print dialogue to print “Actual size“. This insures the template is dimensionally correct. Test your template by placing it over your port threads.

The two options that are the least likely to cause cracking and splitting when cutting out your sab port holes:

Hot knife for cutting Still Air Box
Hot Knife sab port plastic cutter tool. (safest) #ad
4.5" 115mm still air box arm port hole saw.
4.5″ 115mm still air box arm port hole saw. (quickest) #ad

Hot Knife:

plastic build up around port hole after hot knife cut
Click to enlarge

You may notice plastic build up occurring on either side of your cut.  Once the newly cut port hole has cooled to room temp, take a razor blade or sharp utility knife and run it along the edge of your port hole.  Be especially careful not to cut yourself. The razor blade should trim off the excess leaving a noticeably cleaner edge around your port hole.

4.5″ (115mm) hole saw

When using a hole saw always make sure the tote’s surface you are drilling into is supported by wood or similar sturdy material underneath. Very important to prevent cracking.  If the hole saw binds when drilling out the arm port, stop and clear the cut of debris. Re-center your hole saw and complete the cut with the drill in reverse.

The Next safest bet in cutting out your port holes:

3.) Drill (a bunch of) tiny holes into the sharpie circle outlines you drew on your SAB. The smaller the drill bit the better and the more holes the better. Think 7/64″ or smaller on the drill bit. Be careful when drilling not to apply too much pressure to the bit.  Excessive bending of the plastic could lead to a split.

Two options:

A) Cut between the holes with a heated utility knife. Place the blade of the utility knife over a candle, cigarette lighter, or similar heat source then drag the heated knife cutting hole-to-hole until it cools and stops cutting. Re-heat the knife blade and continue the process until you’ve cut out the entire circle.

B) Clip between the holes (if you’ve drilled them close enough together) using flush cutter snips such as these: (#ad)

This is a tedious process and will produce a ragged edged hole. No problem, simply clean up the hole as best you can pulling off any loose plastic bits from the process. As long as you don’t go way outside the template lines, the lip of your ez-SAB-port will cover up the ragged edges beautifully.

Install guides for optional glove port configuration :

elbow length Poly gloves (included): ez-SAB-glove install guide
Latex gloves (not included): – Latex glove install guide

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