There are two choices with the lids during incubation - tight or loose. With a very high moisture content (good for fruiting), a tight lid can cause water to collect in the bottom of the jar. This is to be avoided. If it happens, the lid should be kept on loose during incubation. Tape the canning jar lid to the band to make the lid act as a one piece lid for raising and lowering. If the substrate is on the dry side, a tight lid will preserve the moisture content. It is all a matter of the balance between the water needs of the mycelium, the size of the jar, the available air space in the jar and the type of vermiculite used. Only by simple experimenting and comparison can the right balance be found for a given set of conditions. Take notes and go with what fruits the best.
After the substrate turns white with the mycelium (2 or 3 weeks after inoculation), the jars are left to sit in indirect light. The mycelium will continue to infiltrate the substrate until it gets enough food to trigger the fruiting cycle. In less than a week to a few weeks after surface colonization of the cake, tiny white "pin" like structures begin to appear. This is called pinning. This is the beginning of the fruiting cycle. Soon after that, within the week, small round fungus growths appear that soon begin to turn yellow.
Lastly, "primordia" start to grow. These are tiny worm like structures with tiny reddish heads. These are the first mushrooms.
This photo is of a 1/2 pint PF substrate jar about 23 days after inoculation. The primordia have appeared and it is now time to birth the cake. Wait until you see this, and the fruiting will be maximized. The fruiting is fairly relative to the primordia that appear.
The best time to remove the fungus cake from the jar is when the primordia (tiny worm like structures with reddish heads) appear on the cake while still in the jar. Be careful not to damage them in handling. The rule is to handle with care.
Remove the lid. With a clean fork, scrape away the majority of the dry top vermiculite layer. There will probably be seen some wispy mycelium here and there in the top layer. Place an old jar lid over the jar mouth and turn the jar upside down. Lightly slam the jar down on a table cushioned with a magazine. The fungus cake will slide out onto the old jar cap (BIRTHDAY).
The jar cap functions as a base for the cake. When handling the fungus cake, be careful as not to squeeze and bruise it. Bruising results in a bluish mark. This fungus is resilient and can tolerate a certain amount of handling, but handle it as least as possible. The aroma is distinctly mushroomy, very pleasant.
As soon as the fungus cake comes out of the jar, daub the cake with a piece of loose tissue paper to soak up any water droplets that may have deposited on the cake as it comes out of the jar. Immediately after the birthday, place the cakes into the dual chambered terrarium for the fruiting cycle.
This is the cake a few days after the birthday. This is a healthy fruiting start. Some of these primordia will abhort, but most will go on to full developement.
Some of the first mushrooms to form are "abhorts" (convoluted caps, gnarly stems and stunted growth), and ironically they are primo in magic alkaloids. They are even more powerful in magic than the stately beauties that will soon dominate the cake. The tiny "baby mushroom" abhorts are likewise good. After witnessing the growth of the fungus, recognition of these abhorts is easy. As long as the abhorts are healthy and pure, they are primo. Also, another form of mutants will manifest, blobs of fungus with little or no cap, also good for harvesting. And along with these mutants, appear the perfect specimens, the sporocarps.
It has been reported that Psilocybe Cubensis is a "weak" mushroom. PF and others have seen this to be not necessarily so. It all depends on how it is grown, on what medium and how it is harvested and preserved.
The secret to potent mushrooms is in their age when picked. It has been scientifically proven that the small immature specimens are significantly more potent than the larger mature specimens. Over half of the small primordia that first form will abhort (cease growing, convolute and deform). Pick these before their heads turn black. A pointed knife blade works well for removing these high potency primodia. These are among the most potent. The abortive mushrooms are also high potency. Harvest them when they are young and before their heads turn black. When the fruitbodies are normal, harvest them before the veil under the cap breaks. The mushrooms will be smaller and their heads will be roundish. It is important to note that the mushroom cakes pictured in this book are all mostly well matured. While these mature specimens are beautiful and perfect, they are not as potent as the diminutive specimens. The mature specimens are good for spore collecting and showcasing but are weak in psychedelic potency.
Grow them on brown rice, harvest them when they are young and cool dry them with desiccant. When this is done, they are an entheogen of the highest order.
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