Shroomery - Magic Mushrooms Demystified
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After the substrate is inoculated, you wait until it is colonized completely by the fungus. Once the substrate is colonized completely by the fungus, you grind it into small pieces in a food processor and use these pieces to start mycelium growth on a pieces of wet corrugated cardboard. While waiting for this colonization to occur, no effort is required.
After the cardboard is colonized completely it is covered with maple or alder woodchips and the mycelium are allowed to colonize these as well. Once the wood chips are fully colonized, the temperature is dropped to induce fruiting.Materials needed:
The canning jars need to be tapered. This means that the opening of the jar is wider than the body of the jar. This is important because the fully colonized rice cake needs to be removed intact from the jar. You simply want the cake to slide out when the time is right. If you use a jar that is not in the following list, check to make sure the box says it is a tapered jar. The following jars are acceptable:
For each 1/2 pint jar you will need 3/4 cups hardwood sawdust. Put the sawdust in a large mixing bowl and fill the bowl with water. Let it sit for 24 hours so the sawdust absorbs as much water as it can. Then drain out the water and mix in the bran; 1/4 cup for each jar. Mix all of this stuff up well. You'll know you've got it right if you squeeze a handful of the substrate and you get a few drops of water between your fingers. This mixture is the substrate which you will use to grow mycelium.
Place the jars in a large kitchen pot and add water so that water comes half way up the side of the jars. Bring the water to a slow boil and place the lid on the pot. From the time the water starts to boil, the jars need 3 hours to be sterilized. Water should not be bubbling and splashing all over the place. The jars should not be floating around in the water. The substrate in the culture jars has the right amount of water in it already. You do not want water leaking into the jars and changing the ratio. The jars should not sit flat on the bottom of the pan. Too much heat can transfer directly to the jars and cause a loss of moisture. You can place a wash cloth inside the pan and set the jars directly on the wash cloth to help prevent too much heat from transferring to the jars.
Shake the syringe. Make sure the spores are mixed well within the syringe. This can be accomplished more easily if you pull the plunger back on the syringe to get a little air into the syringe.
Remove the tin foil from each culture jar as you prepare to inoculate it. Insert the needle of the syringe as far as it will go into a hole in the lid of the culture jar and get the needle to press against the glass. Examine the next figure for a simple diagram of how things should look. The amount of solution you'll want to inject depends on the number of jars you have to inoculate. If you have 5 jars then you'll want to use 1/2 cc solution for each hole (1/2 cc x 4 holes x 5 jars = 10 cc), etc.
As the time goes by, the fungus will spread throughout the jar. Eventually, the entire surface of the glass will be covered with fungus. Typically, the bottom of the jar is the last area to be colonized. Be on the look out for any contamination.
Any odd colors that might appear are contamination and the jar must be thrown out. Do not take any chances. If you think the jar might be contaminated, throw it out!. Some molds and bacteria produce toxins that can kill you. Just because a mushroom is growing on the opposite side of the cake from the contamination does not mean you are safe. The mycelium network carries nutrients and moisture to the mushrooms from far away and can easily pick up the toxins and bring them to the mushroom. The fact that you are using this guide means you are not an experienced mycologist. You do not know which molds and bacteria are deadly. Do not take a chance.
The one exception to the previous statements is the mycelium will some times change from a bright white to a very pale yellow if it has water droplets touching it on the side of the glass. It is very unusual for any area that is colonized by the mushroom fungus to become infected while in the jar. The uncolonized areas of the substrate are usually significantly more prone to infection.
The above pictures show a typical germination and colonization cycle. If your spores are old, or the temperature is not optimum, or you did not mix the substrate very accurately you can easily add a week to the above time frames.
The cake must stay in the jar until at least 2 weeks after the entire surface area is covered with mycelium. This is because you want to make sure the mycelium have penetrated fairly deeply into the substrate. As the substrate gets more colonized, the growth slows down. This is a result of CO2 building up and less oxygen being available for the fungus to consume.
Over the next week or so you'll notice the mycelium colonizing the cardboard. Once the cardboard is completely covered with white fluffy mycelium, go on to the next step.
Since 50º is significantly higher than the temperature used to preserve food, the best thing would be to have a dedicated fridge which you could set to 50º without worrying about your food spoiling. Since this is usually not the case, you'll probably have to improvise.
The temperature of a refrigerator is usually around 36 - 38º F. You'll want to turn the thermostat up slightly to around 40º - 42º F. This will strike a good balance between food refrigeration (you probably won't even notice a difference in your food's longevity) and mushroom habitat (the shrooms will still fruit well at 42º, although slightly slower). At any rate, if you are keeping your mushrooms in total darkness or in a habitat colder than their optimum temperature, be sure to take them out for a few hours every day or two to let them warm up a little and get some light.
Soon you will notice small dark bumps forming at places on the substrate. These will grow larger over the period of several days. Soon you will be able to recognize them as mushrooms. Wait for them to grow fairly large, then grasp their base and pull. Congratulations! You've grown Psilocybe azurescens or Cyanescens mushrooms!This section is ordered for some one just starting off in the home cultivating experience. Once you have grown a crop, this section is ordered backwards for your needs. The intent is to get you started easily. In order to grow subsequent generations of fungus you need to generate a spore print and use this to create a spore syringe. This information is at the tail end of this section.
In order to use the process detailed in this document, you need a sterile, viable spore syringe. The spores should be Psilocybe azurescens or Psilocybe Cyanescens spores. There are several ways to get started. The easiest way to get started is to order a spore syringe but alternatively, you could obtain a spore print and use that to prepare a spore syringe.
Once you have grown some mushrooms, it is worth while to learn how to generate your own spore prints so that you can produce spore syringes when ever you need one. Currently, you don't have to do this if you choose not to because the spores are still readily available from mail order suppliers. Many people believe the day is coming when this will not be true. Many of the sources of psilocybe spores have quit selling to the public and others have destroyed their cultures because of mandates given by the DEA. If you have a sterile, viable spore print, you can eliminate your dependence on these suppliers.
Sources for a Spore Syringe
Psilocybe azurescens:You can get a Psilocybe azurescens spore syringe from Smart Botanics for $24 + $4.95 shipping and handling. Send or fax your order, along with payment in cash or your Visa, Discover or Mastercard number, to:
Include a note with your address, what you're ordering (Item # M0181, 1 azurescens Syringe) and the signed statement "I am at least 18 years old and I agree with the sales-conditions".
Sources for Spore Prints
In the event you wish to start with a spore print instead of a spore syringe, this section provides a few places you can obtain suitable spore prints. In general, the first time grower really ought to start with a spore syringe because it eliminates many of the sterility issues. The one benefit to starting with a spore print is you can make close to fifty 10 cc. spore syringes from a single spore print. However, this is really a moot point. Once you have grown a crop of mushrooms, you can generate as many spore prints as you want. One spore syringe is guaranteed to produce a crop if you follow the directions in this guide.
The real reason this section is included is that I have yet to locate a place to purchase P. Cyanescens spore syringes, but I know of two places which sell prints. So if you plan to grow P. Cyanescens you're going to have to buy a print and then make a syringe from it. If anyone knows of a source for pre-made Cyanescens syringes, please let me know.
Psilocybe azurescens:The Growroom has Psilocybe azurescens spore prints available for $35 each. To order, send them a note with the Print Code (PSAZ01), the number of prints you're ordering, and your address as well as payment in cash or check. Their address is:
P. Cyanescens:Pacific Exotic Spora has cyanescens prints available; Hawaiin Copelandia cyanescens spores are $45, and Hawaiian Panaeolus cyanescens spores are $55. Their address is:
Pacific Exotic Spora
Teonanactl has Astoria Ossip Cyanescens prints available; the price is $5 for a small one, $10 for a large one, and $20 for a very large one and a small one. Their address is:
How to Make a Spore Syringe
Sterility is key. If your spore print is contaminated or you introduce contamination into the spore syringe, you will have difficulty later in the process. Ideally, there should be no fans blowing or drafts of air. You should clean the area where you will be working carefully and make sure that everything is tidy.
Several things need to be accomplished. First, we need to sterilize a shot glass to easily mix the spore solution and we need to sterilize a syringe to hold the solution. We also need some sterile water in which to suspend the spores. The following procedure will accomplish all of this.
Fill a coffee mug with water and place a shot glass inside the coffee mug. Make sure the shot glass is completely submerged. Place the coffee mug in the microwave oven and get the water to a full boil for 10 minutes. It does not need to be a violent boil. Adjust the heat level of the microwave oven to keep too much water from being lost if necessary.
Remove the shot glass and empty the excess water out of the shot glass. Place another glass over the shot glass. This will keep air born contaminates from settling in the shot glass while you wait for the shot glass and water in the spore syringe to cool.
Fill the syringe with hot water from the mug. Eject the hot water and repeat several times. This will insure the inside of the syringe and the needle are clean and sterile. This is especially important if you are using a syringe from a previous crop. When the needle is inserted into the substrate, it is possible to get nutrients up inside the needle and for contamination to grow. The last time you fill the syringe with hot water, do not purge it. Let it sit in the syringe until it is cool. This is useful for two reasons. First, the continued heat from the water can still work to eliminate any remaining contaminates. Secondly, once the water is cool it can be used as the sterile water needed to fill the syringe. Make certain that nothing touches the needle of the syringe.
The Psilocybe mushroom spores will be killed if they come in contact with anything too hot. You need to wait until the shot glass and spore syringe are at room temperature. When it is safe to proceed, use the cigarette lighter to flame sterilize the X-Acto knife and the needle of the syringe. Let the blade of the knife cool, but make sure it does not touch anything. When it is cool, carefully open the spore print and scrape a fleck of spores into the shot glass. A fleck 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch is more than sufficient for a 10 cc. spore syringe. Use the needle of the syringe to stir the spores into a few drops of water. Usually, there will be a few drops left over in the shot glass from when you emptied it. Otherwise, you can get the drops from the syringe. Stir the fleck of spores until they are well broken up and 'dissolved' into the water. Purge the water out of the syringe into the shot glass. Pull the water back into the syringe, being sure to suck the spores in also. Do this once or twice more to make sure the spores are well mixed in the spore syringe. Often, it takes several tries to get the spores fully broken apart and well mixed.
If the spores in the print have been dried and are not fresh, it is best to wait six hours to use the spore syringe. The spores need to rehydrate. If your in a hurry, the spores can still rehydrate in the culture jars.
How to Make a Spore Print
Once you have a mature mushroom, you are in a position to make a spore print and use it to continue cultivation of mushrooms. The cap should be harvested when the mushroom cap has become flat or is starting to invert.
Sterility is key.
Be careful not to do anything that will compromise the sterility of your spore print. The typical procedure is to cut the stalk off of a mature mushroom very close to the cap. A sterilized knife or razor blade is used to do this. The cap is then laid on a sterile piece of tissue paper or card stock and a small glass set over it. The glass is needed for two reasons. First, it keeps the spore print insulated from airborne contaminates. Secondly, it helps keep the humidity high so the mushroom cap can continue to live and drop its spores. One note of caution. Some humidity usually needs to be allowed to escape. You want the environment inside the glass to be slightly less humid than the environment in which the mushroom was grown. If you have problems getting a cap to drop its spores, try using a piece of paper for the print that fits entirely inside the glass and spreading out a wash cloth flat on the table. Let the edge of the glass seal to the wash cloth instead of the paper. This will usually allow enough humidity to escape to cause the cap to drop spores.
If everything goes well,
after a day or two the cap will drop its spores.
There will be a dark dust underneath the cap. These are the spores.
Once you have a spore print on the paper, remove the glass and cap. Fold the spore print in half and seal the edges so air can not get in. A piece of scotch tape on each side will do nicely. The spores will stay viable for 18 months if they are kept in a cool, dry and dark spot. If you place a small amount of desiccant in the bottom of a film container and place a cotton ball on top of the desiccant, you have an ideal container to keep the spore print. The cotton ball will keep the desiccant from touching the spore print. Seal the spore print in the canister and place the canister in your refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Note that if you want to be self sufficient, it is a good idea to have multiple spore prints and store them separately. You just never know when you are going to be surprised with a massive contamination problem or thermal death. The safest thing to do is have a couple viable spore prints so it is easier to recover from disaster. A spore print is typically viable for about a year if it is stored in a cool, dark location. As a print ages, germination gets slower and this process becomes more prone to contamination.
Combination of Spore Print and Preparation of Inoculant
This excellent idea is from: AN165023@anon.penet.fi
If it is your intent to use a mushroom to immediately generate inoculant for a successive crop, you can eliminate some of the above steps and reduce the risk of contamination.
Poke a small nail hole in the cap of a wide mouth jar. Cover the nail hole with a piece of electrical tape. A 1/2 pint canning jar similar to that used for the cultures is fine. Sterilize both the jar and the lid.
Place the harvested cap in the sterilized, wide mouth jar. Seal the top with the lid and wait until a spore print has been generated on the bottom of the glass. Open the jar and remove the mushroom cap. Add 3/4 cup of sterilized water. Seal the top of the jar with the lid and shake the jar. The spores need to be mixed well into the water. This procedure elements the need to transfer spores from a print to some container to make the solution. The spore print is generated inside the container and the only extra step is adding water. It also has the benefit of making a large amount of solution that is easy to use.
Now, any time you need inoculant, you can shake the jar and peel the tape back to expose the nail hole in the lid. Simply insert the needle of the syringe into the inoculant and pull some into the syringe. The syringe needs to be sterile or you risk contaminating the entire jar of solution. The solution will keep longer if you refrigerate it. You still should keep some spore prints on paper because it is possible to contaminate the entire jar of inoculant if you make a mistake.
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