Maintaining a Psilocybin Farm

Fresh inoculum can come from stock culture dishes kept under refrigeration. If these should become healthy strains of mycelium from the crop cultures can be used to inoculate sterilized agar media in the dishes. The crop culture jar is shaken violently to break up the mycelium. Then drops of the liquid are transferred to au-toclaved petri dishes of unused agar medium with a sterilized pipette and left to grow as before. If this reinoculation of stock cultures from existing crops is continued over a long period of time, the strain will eventually weaken due to what is called the senescence factor. To avoid this, the media used in the stock dishes are alternated. If PDA is used the first time, MEA is used the second time, and is used again the third time, and so on.

Mushroom primordia

Fruiting the Mushroom

Mushroom primordia

People who cultivate psilocybian mushrooms initiate fruiting of the mushroom after the mycelium has developed rather than immediately extract the psilocy-bin. Great pleasure is derived from nurturing a mushroom from inception to fruition.

There are several methods for initiating carpophores, or fruitin bodies. To bring forth the fruit of the success will be more easily achieved if a spawning medium other than a liquid broth is used to cultivate the mycelium. Some people recreate natural growing conditions through the use of compost, whereas apartment cultivators often prefer the ease and low cost of a grain medium. Rye is the most commonly used grain medium because of its low cost and availability, and because its kernels don't clump together like other grains do.

grain medium is sterilized and inoculated using the same methods described earlier for the liquid broth cultivation jars.

Once the mycelium has completely colonized the grain medium, it is ready for casing. Casing is a layer of organic matter which covers the substrate (in this case, the colonized grain medium). The function of the casing is to prevent the surface of the mycelium from drying out. The casing material must be porous enough to allow for sufficient aeration, yet it must also be able to retain moisture. Some mycologists recommend the use of a peat moss casing with the addition of chalk or limestone flour in order to balance the highly acidic pH of the peat moss. Home-growers simply use sterilized soil or vermiculite.

Before the substrate is cased, a suitable growing container must be chosen. The easiest method is to leave the colonized grain medium in the cultivation jars and simply case the surface. The fruiting mushroom bodies will then grow out of the mouth of the jar. (Use of a wide mouth jar makes it easier to remove the mushrooms when the time comes). There are a few disadvantages with this method: mushrooms frequently and unsuccessfully attempt to grow between the grain and the glass surface of the jar; the low ratio of surface area to grain depth means that much of the mycelium is unable to form carpophores; and it is more difficult to water and pick mushrooms without damaging developing pinheads, or primordial mushrooms. Alternative containers include plastic trays, trash bags, baking dishes, plastic lined cardboard boxes, or aquarium tanks. If one opts for one of these alternative containers, the colonized grain medium is simply transferred to the new containers and covered with a casing layer.

A growing environment must be created in order to initiate fruiting of the mushroom. There are five factors which are involved in creating the optimum fruiting environment: humidity, temperature, fresh air, C02 levels, and light. And there are three stages of carpophore development, each of which has its own special environmental requirements. Therefore, a growing chamber must be constructed that can meet the demands of each of the following stages:

Casing Colonization

During this stage the casing material is colonized by the mycelium. The humidity of the

Psiiocybin Production growing chamber is kept very high (around 90%). A humidifier can be used for this purpose. If this is not it is essential to maintain the moisture content of the substrate and casing through light but regular watering. The optimal growing temperatures are different for each psilocybian species (Psilocybe cubensis does best at 84-86° F). At this stage there should be no light and no fresh air. The casing layer should be made to resemble and valleys" in order to increase its surface area and aid in the dispersion of carbon dioxide.

Pinhead Initiation

This stage starts the actual fruiting process with the initiation of When the myce lium has uniformly broken through the surface of the casing's it is time for initiation. Pinhead initiation is achieved through a drop in temperature, a reduction of carbon dioxide (through the introduction of fresh air), and the presence of light (via natural daylight or an artificial 12 hour on/ofi cycle). The humidity is maintained at its previous level. When using artificial lighting, a type pruitinfi the Mushroom

artificial light high in blue spectra is most effective. It is important to carefully maintain the growing environment at this time. Abrupt changes in humidity or temperature will disrupt the growth of the mushrooms. Too much fresh air can reduce the humidity and alter the temperature of the growing environment. The casing can be misted with water. However, if it is too forceful, developing pinheads may be damaged or destroyed.

Primordia Development

Once the pinheads have grown to the size of a pea, the humidity is dropped to 85-90%. Small primordia will begin to develop. These baby mushrooms look like small penises and will continue to grow over a period of a week. The mushrooms are harvested just after the partial veil ruptures. The psilocybin content of the mushrooms is highest at this stage in the carpophore's growth. If spores are required, one can let the carpophore continue to grow until the cap becomes slightly upturned or until there is a slight purplish color around the base of the mushroom indicating that sporing has already begun.

Constructing a Growing Chamber

A growing chamber can be contructed from a plastic lined box, an aquarium, or a styrofoam cooler. The main requirements are that it be insulated and well sealed in order to prevent loss of temperature and humidity. Humidity is provided by a humidifier or by regular misting. The required temperature is provided through steam, a heating pad underneath the chamber, or an overhead light. Use of a heating pad or light will tend to lower humidity, so caution is used to maintain proper humidity. Fresh air can be introduced via the humidifier or when the chamber is opened for misting. C02 is removed through holes at the bottom of the chamber (CO, is heavier than air and will sink to the bottom of the chamber) or by opening the chamber and fanning the interior.

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