Mushrooms - P. cubensis
Citation: Anonymous. "Magic Mushroom Cultivation Project (PF Tek): An Experience with Mushrooms - P. cubensis (exp2242)". Erowid.org. Jun 29, 2000. erowid.org/exp/2242
1995 Magic Mushroom (Psilocybe cubensis) Cultivation Project using the PF Technique.
Spawn run chamber:
The spawn run chamber is basically an aquarium with filled with a saturated salt solution (salt will keep germs, bacteria, and other stinky stuff from growing in the water). The solution is of water and rock salt and extends up the half pint jars to the bump before the lids. The solution is heated via a submersible aquarium heater and an airstone to turn the water a bit. The water temperature has been set to 86F, the optimum spawn run temperature. Fresh water is periodically added to make up for evaporation to maintain the proper water level. If you do not use an aquarium, I DO recommend that you keep the jars in a humid environment. Also, I recommend that one uses 1/3 cup of water rather than the 1/4th recommended by PF. Lastly, I used a heaping 1/4 cup of brown rice rather than a level one as PF recommends.
Recommended Spawn Chamber Parameters
Humidity: I recommend you try to keep the jars in 60%-100% humidity so they don't dry out if it takes a LONG time like a couple of mine did.
Temperature: 86F is best, but most temperatures that humans can tolerate so can the mycelium of Psilocybe Cubensis.
The fruiting chamber consists of a ten gallon aquarium, an ultrasonic humidifier, PVC tubing, a fluorescent light with two 20W Triton aquarium bulbs (similar to Daylight, but stronger), two inexpensive timers, a thermometer and some cut plastic furniture covering. Most everything can be purchased at Walmart. I particularly recommend buying the timers there. Also, look around at pawn shops for ultrasonic humidifiers if you really want a deluxe chamber like mine; they make watering VERY easy.
I found my broken ultrasonic humidifier at a pawn shop for $3. Of course, the ultrasonic transducer (i.e. the little shinny thing at the bottom of the water chamber) was shot. I called the company who manufactured the unit and they sent me another transducer. I took the humidifier apart, soldering in the new transducer, and the thing worked fine. You see these ultrasonic humidifiers 'don't' break; rather, 90% of the time some moron puts syrup in the chamber (which you can do in conventional humidifiers) and destroys the transducer.
The humidifier and light cycle via inexpensive timers. I found that a 12-hour on/off cycle for the lights worked fine. Remember to be sure the light in shining on all surfaces you intend to try to pin. The humidifier was on a 1-hour on/off cycle. This is with the humidifier on the LOWEST or almost lowest setting! I cannot say this is the best way to do it, but it worked very well for me. Besides, Walmart timers cannot be set for any resolution less than one hour.
The humid air goes along 1 inch PVC tube around a couple corners and into the aquarium. Actually, the PVC tubing punches through a clear plastic furniture covering which is over the aquarium. The covering is cut a minimum of two inches bigger than the actual aquarium top. I taped one side of this covering and pulled the other over the aquarium. The loose side of the plastic covering flap is held over the aquarium by a rubber band which stretches around the aquarium (actually it was a string of rubber bands tied together). The humid air is released close to the floor of the aquarium, rises up around the cakes, and somehow escapes through the small imperfections in the plastic covering draped over the aquarium. I did not and do not recommend you make holes specifically for exhaust unless you really have the plastic covering on tightly.
The humid air condenses on all the surfaces in the aquarium, so I have tilted the aquarium slightly so I can suck the excess water with a turkey baster. I have learned that you must do this. The excess water seems to slow mushroom development EVEN if the cakes do not touch the water. I suspect that the water tends to absorb gasses as bacteria multiply in it. Also, if you are using an ultrasonic humidifier, I also recommend that one changes the humidifier's water frequently even if it hasn't run out, or else it will become stagnant too. The stagnant water mucks up the transducer element and probably isn't too good for the cakes either (ultrasonic humidifiers giggle everything into the air, including the bacteria, minerals, etc.).
There's a little to be said about the condensation problem on the cakes: occasionally, small beads of water did condense on the cakes. This is not good, but unless the beads are really excessive (a millimeter in diameter or more), I'd recommend you just leave them alone. A few tiny water beads isn't going to hurt the cakes any more than you dabbing around the pins with a towel or toilet paper. Just keep an eye on it, and try your best to control it. One thing that will help is if you make sure that the plastic covering is raised a little in the center of the aquarium (like a tent) so that the condensation on the top flows to the sides of the aquarium rather than dripping on the cakes. Also, if you are using an ultrasonic humidifier, I recommend injecting the misty air close to the bottom of the aquarium, well under the cakes.
Lastly, the rice cakes are elevated off the floor of the aquarium by the half pint jars. You should place the lids back on the jars an put the cakes on this. If you place the jars on inverted glass jars, as I did originally, pins will try to form on the bottom of the cake, and that's a hassle.
Recommended Fruiting Chamber Parameters
Humidity: Near 100% Note: professional growers recommend a drop from near 100% to 85-92% once the pins have reached the size of a pea. I never worried about it though.
MY GROWTH RECORD
July 2th, Day 0 - The project begins today. I have inoculated nine jars total. Eight of these are half pint jars and one is a quart jar (had some extra spore solution). I placed the jars in the spawn run chamber
July 6th, Day 4 - One jar begins to show growth. Other growth signs in the other jars are staggered over next week and a half.
July 15nd, Day 13 - All but two of the nine jars show signs of growth now. One jar in particular, the first to show growth, spread very quickly and should be done soon. I discarded the two jars that show no growth.
July 23th, Day 21 - One jar is 90% colonized so I am moving it to the fruiting chamber. The other jars look around one to two week behind this one. Strange...
Fruiting chamber observation: The cake appears to be trying to close in the uncolonized hole. There is a large buildup of mycelium around the uncolonized hole that looks as if it is rolling over the uncolonized area.
August 1st, Day 30 - Pinning has already begun on the one cake in the fruiting chamber. The other jars are doing fine, but still need a week or more for 100% colonization.
(Note: was gone Aug. 3rd-Aug 6th)
August 6th, Day 35 - Picked my first mushroom off cake 1. The cake didn't seem to produces a flush and I suspect it was because it was stressed from the uncolonized area. LESSON: DO NOT PLACE CAKES IN EARLY! Put cakes 2 and 3 in fruiting chamber since they were 100% colonized.
(Note: was gone Aug. 7th-Aug 11th)
August 11th, Day 40 - Picked six or so mushrooms off cakes 1. These mushrooms blued much more readily than the first. Cakes 2 and 3 are fuzzy all over the surface. Cake 4 went in. The pint jar in the spawn run chamber was contaminated, so I threw it out.
August 13th, Day 42 - Cake 5 went in. Cake 3 starting to pin.
August 14th, Day 43 - Cake 6 went in. Pins on cake 3 double in size almost over night!
August 16th, Day 45 - Cake one's mushroom are growing very large this time. Cake 2 shown definite pinning. Cake 3's pins are very large and there are dozens of smaller pins. Cake 3 is proof that you get a better pin set if you let the cake colonize 100% BEFORE placing it in the fruiting chamber.
August 17th, Day 46 - Removed cake 1's two large mushrooms. I also see lots more pins. Cake 2 has dozens of pins. Cake 3 is pins are maturing so fast I swear you can see hourly changes. Cake 5 shows lots of new pins. EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING VERY FAST!
August 19th, Day 48 - Removed a nine mushrooms off cake 3! Again, proof you need to let the cake colonize 100% before insertion into the fruiting chamber. Cake 1 has new pins. Cakes 4 and 6 are pinning now. Cake 5 has hundreds of new pins! I may destroy the pea-sized dozen or so first pins if the new ones don't catch up.
Note: From this point on I will not report further mushroom pickings; there are just too many mushrooms. I had one cake, for instance, that produced 14 small-medium mushrooms the first flush!
August 28th, Day 57 - Took all cakes out of the aquarium and placed them in a moist environment in order to clean an disinfect the growing chamber. Replaced all cakes and put my 7th and last cake in chamber. Cake 7 was 95% colonized, but I'm tired of waiting and parts of it are starting to pin in the jar.
August 29th, Day 58 - Growth of the cakes has been accellerated after the disinfecting yesterday. Let this be a lesson; keep the cake environment clean!
September 7th, Day 67 - Cake 7 is completely colonized and has begun pinning. The other cakes continue to pin and produce mushrooms at a reduced pace.
Approximate grams of mushrooms to date (August 29th): 2+12+5+8+4 = 31 dried grams
Well, there you have it: PF technique does work! I sometimes am overwhelmed by how fast things happen once you get the cakes into the fruiting chamber, but sometimes things are slow. However, if this project has taught me anything about growing mushrooms, it is to be patient. For instance, did you notice that it took cake 7 58 days before it was sufficiently colonized to be put in the fruiting chamber!?! Well, that was definitely the exception, but it is doing fine.
If you have questions, reply to this and I can answer then anonymously. Otherwise, get off your butts and start growing some magic!
PS - I would like to thank PF for making a great technique that actually works and is easy. I am familiar with the old processes and am glad I never had to use them. PF makes magic mushroom growing much easier.
I've added this section after going on my first mushroom trip. I would like to recommend that first-time trippers be especially careful about dosage levels. I took approximately 4 dried grams, and I had a bad first trip. I lost all sense of reality and thought that there was a huge world-wide conspiracy against me and others who had entered the 'mushroom portal'. I assumed that the trip would last forever, and in many ways, it seemed to. I also almost destroyed all of the cakes in an attempt to 'close the portal'. I thank my trip monitor for stopping me.
There were two others with me. Both had extremely strong trips. One of the people began to think he was god and could change anything. He went so far as to call his girlfriend to 'begin a new civilization'. The third person was lucky: she had a good trip. The point is, start with far less than 4 dried grams. I would recommend you start with 1-2 grams and then work up from there. Remember, your product, unlike many dealers' stuff, will be very fresh, and so you must adjust accordingly.
Follow-up Section On Spore Syringes
After I completed growing the my first cakes, I decided to make a spore syringe. If you intend to keep using the PF technique, I recommend doing the same. The following tells my method of making spore syringes and how well it worked for me:
1) Take a half pint Ball or Kerr jar and make a hole just large enough to stick the needle in toward the edge of the lid. You should make this in the same place you would an inoculation hole when using PF Tek, except punch through from the TOP to the bottom of the lid rather than the bottom up. This makes it so the tape in step 4 will seal properly.
2) Place the lid on (do not invert the lid like in the growth jars) and screw the band down.
3) Sterilize the jar either through steam, dry heat, or boiling water. Be careful here, the rubber seal on the Ball brand jars can start to melt if you use too high of temperature in dry heat sterilization. I recommend placing foil around the lid to prevent air from going into the hole directly.
4) When the jar cools, remove the foil and place tape over the hole.
5) Cut a mature mushroom cap off with a sterilized knife (do not breath on cap). quickly unscrew the band, remove the lid, and place the cap gills down on the bottom of Kerr jar. Replace the lid and band quickly. The room in which you do this should be clean and draft-free. It might help to spray Lysol around before opening the jar. Leave the cap in the jar for two or three days.
6) Remove the cap and fill the jar with cool sterilized distilled water to within a half inch or so of the rim. Scrape the spore print under the water loose with a sterilized spoon. Again, replace the lid and band quickly. A full print, according to PF, can be used in 300-500 milliliters of water, yet a half pint jar filled a half inch or so from the top is only around 200 milliliters (half pint = 236.6ml), so obviously, this will be a very strong solution.
7) I recommend refrigerating the solution when not in use. I've heard of people keeping spores for over a year this way without germination problems.
8) When you are ready for use, remove the jar from the refrigerator and shake vigorously for a few minutes. Immediately after you are done shaking, remove the tape, take a sterilized syringe, and fill the syringe. If the solution in too low to draw off with the jar upright, tilt the jar toward the hole and draw. Retape the hole immediately with a fresh piece of tape. In the next month or so, when you are ready to fill another syringe for inoculations, repeat.
When I made my first spore syringe, I used a spore print about an inch across and added 50 ml of water. I filled one 14ml syringe (that's all I had) and inoculated a set of ten jars. The result was INCREDIBLE! The jars showed hard-to-see signs of germination on the third day. Within 24 hours of this, however, the jars EXPLODED with growth in each of the quadrants. These were big spots the size of a quarter or more in 24 hours! Many of the jars colonized fully within seven days after germination. I lost only one jar to contamination, and this was because I was storing the jars next to something that I later discovered was molding. I did not use an aquarium to keep the jars at exactly 86F like the first time, yet the germination and mycelium growth was MUCH faster than the when inoculating with spore syringes PF sent me. I assume this is because my solution was so much more concentrated and fresh than the one they sold me.
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