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Registered: 11/21/04
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    #3466237 - 12/08/04 07:31 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Psilocybe Cubensis are habitat specific. Meaning, they cannot grow in the wild, unless their habitat provides a suitable environment, along with sufficient natural nutrients. Over the millennia, they have evolved inherent genetic traits best suited for their continuous survival in specific geographic area?s they successfully inhabit.

All fungi feed by absorption of nutrients. Because of the huge range of potential nutrient sources, fungi evolved enzymes suitable for the specific environments in which they are generally found. The range of enzymes, though wide in may species, is not sufficient for survival in all environments.

Psilocybe Cubensis excrete a complex array of genetically predetermined enzymes for digestion. The enzymes are present in multiple forms, based on a single inherent genetic sequence, and include a range of isoenzymes, which arise from different inherent genetic sequences.

Simply stated, Psilocybe Cubensis excrete enzymes into the organic material in which their underground mycelia (root) system naturally grow. Those enzymes degrade nutrients there, into simple soluble forms of sugars and amino acids, which are then easily absorbed into the mycelia network. Resulting in them acquiring all essential elements with which to grow fruit bodies, and spores (seed) by which they propagate their species.

It is common knowledge that most strains of Psilocybe Cubensis flourish in select warm moist habitats worldwide, associated where horses, cattle and water buffalo naturally spread bovine type manure. Consequently, Psilocybe Cubensis developed inherent genetic traits, enabling then to excrete specific enzymes best suited to enable them to specifically dissolve, digest and take up nutrients available from bovine type manure, and/or soil enriched with it.

Therefore, Psilocybe Cubensis own inherent genetic traits attest that bovine type manure alone, or soils enriched with it, is best suited to their natural nutrient needs. Taking that fact, one step further. Bovine type manure, when aerobically composted together with other select fruits, vegetables, grains and straw provides an even more enriched super nutrient source. Moreover, a compost of this type provides an ideal moist subsurface habitat (substrate) that, Psilocybe Cubensis mycelia will colonize in, faster than any other.


I. Guidelines for calculating pre/compost nitrogen (N) content:
Calculate the starting N content of pile to be 1.5 to 1.7% before composting. The starting N for a synthetic compost formulas may be slightly higher than the wheat straw horse manure formulas. The percent N will increase throughout Phase I composting and Phase II and at spawning time the N content of the compost should be 2.1-2.6 %.

Knowing the N and % moisture of the bulk ingredients and supplements will increase the accuracy of the calculated and finished nitrogen content. If supplements are added by volume, occasionally weigh volume added to confirm calculated formula.

At the end of Phase I and again at the end of Phase II, compost may be analyzed for N, ammonia, ash and moisture. It is important to take a representative samples, several small handfuls thoroughly mixed. When taking a sample do not shake the compost.

II. Examples of Mushroom Compost Formulas

Horse manure pile
Ingredients Wet Wt. Dry Wt. %N Tons N
Horse manure 80 T 50 T 1.2% 0.6 T
Poultry manure 7.5 T 6.0 T 4 % 0.24 T
Brewers Grains 2.5 T 2.5 T 4 % 0.1 T
Gypsum 1.25 T 1.25 T 0 0
59.75 T 0.94 ? 59.75 = 1.57%

Synthetic pile
Ingredients Wet Wt. Dry Wt. %N Tons N
Hay 15 T 12.8 T 2.0 % 0.26 T
Cobs 15 T 12.8 T 0.3 % 0.04 T
Poultry manure 3.8 T 2.4 T 4 % 0.09 T
NH4NO3 0.3 T 0.3 T 32% 0.10 T
Potash 0.3 T 0.3 T 0.0 0.00
Gypsum 0.6 T 0.6 T 0.0 0.00
29.2 T 0.49 ? 29.2 = 1.68%

Horse manure-synthetic blend
Ingredients Wet Wt. Dry Wt. %N Tons N
Horse manure 15 T 10.5 T 1.2% 0.13
Hay 7.5 T 6.3 T 1.1% 0.07
Corn Cobs 7.5 T 6.4 T 0.3% 0.02
Brewer's grains 3.0 T 3.0 T 4.0% 0.12
Poultry manure 2.0 T 2.0 T 4.5% 0.09
Urea 0.1 T 0.1 T 44.0% 0.06
Potash 0.2 T 0.2 T 0.0% 0.00
Gypsum 1.0 T 1.0 T 0.0% 0.00
29.5 0.49 ? 29.5 = 1.66%

III. Suggested watering procedures during composting:

Add as much water as possible without run off during pre-wet conditioning or during the first two turns. Avoid adding too much water early during Phase I, always be able to control moisture. Add only enough during next turn or turns to wet dry spots. Bring up compost moisture to desired water content by adequate watering just before filling.

During pre-wet it is advisable to flip or turn the compost every day. After the rick or pile is built, the compost should be turn every other day unless pile temperatures have not peaked.

IV. Changes in organic matter, carbohydrates and nitrogen during mushroom composting.

Soluble carbohydrates are simply adsorbed by the micro-organisms and it is converted into new living matter or provides energy for the cells. As these micro-organism grow energy in the form of heat is released.

As the pile heats to temperature above 150o F the activities occurring within the pile change from biological to chemical reactions. It is at these higher temperatures that carmelization takes place. Carmelization is the process where water is eliminated from the carbohydrates and carbon is concentrated. This process can be compared to boiling sap down to make maple sugar.

V. Phase I is considered complete when as soon as the raw ingredients become pliable and are capable of holding water, the odor of ammonia is sharp and the dark brown color indicates carmelization and browning reactions have occurred.

Moisture content at filling should be 70-73%. Water should drip from compost squeezed in the hand. But a good rule of thumb to follow is: the longer, greener or more coarse the compost then more moisture it can take. The shorter, more mature or dense the compost the less water it should have.

The shorter or wetter the compost, the more loosely it should be filled into the beds or trays. The longer or greener the compost, the more it can be firmed into the beds. Attempt to fill uniformly in both depth and compaction. Edges or sideboards should be packed slightly tighter, whereas the center should remain looser.

VI. Phase II composting has two objectives:

Pasteurization - elimination of undesirable insect pest, microbes and pathogens.

Conditioning - Creation of specific food for the mushroom and creating a selective and suppressive compost to favor the growth of the mushroom.
VII. Insure adequate ventilation during Phase II. When in doubt, ventilate. A flame should be burn at all times.

The higher the nitrogen content of compost, the greener the compost or the more dry weight at filling time, the greater the ventilation required. When outside temperature is high as in summer or early fall, more ventilation is required than when Phase II occurs during the cold winter weather. This is especially important when the grower does not have a forced air ventilation system.

VIII. During Phase II keep compost in the temperature range where microorganisms grow best (115-140o F).

Microbes convert ammonia and ammonia containing salts into protein and other nitrogen compounds the mushroom uses for food. The growth of these microbes depends on having the available food, adequate moisture, sufficient oxygen and suitable temperature. A shortage of one of these requirements will limit growth and often results in incomplete conditioning.

IX. Heat up (pasteurization) for insect kill early in Phase II (perhaps 1-4 days after filling) so as to avoid a second heating cycle of the compost.

A good indication that the compost is ready to pasteurized, is the subsiding of microbial activity, which is indicated by a decrease in compost temperature at the same air temperature.

X. After pasteurization slowly lower compost through the temperature ranges of the microorganisms. A general rule is to lower compost temperature no more than 4-5o F. per day.

Provided that enough food, water and oxygen the microbes will continue to grow. Different microbes use different compounds and grow at different temperatures. Therefore it is important to make sure all areas of the beds and room gradually drop through all temperatures ranges.

Thermophillic fungi grow at lower temperatures and are important because they are able to grow into denser areas of compost.

XI. Composting is considered compete when no trace of ammonia odor can be detected and the compost has a uniform flecking of white colonies of actinomycetes, called fire-fang. The N content on a dry wt. basis should be in the range of 2.0 to 2.6.

Composition of Manure(from samples reported in Knott's Handbook for Vegetable Growers)
Fresh Manure with bedding or litter Moisture (%) Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium
Cattle 86 11 4 10
Duck 61 22 29 10
Goose 67 22 11 10
Hen 73 22 22 10
Hog 87 11 6 9
Horse 80 13 5 13
Sheep 70 20 15 21
Turkey 74 26 14 10
Dried Commercial products
Cattle 10 42 42 61
Hen 13 31 31 40
Hog 10 45 45 20
Rabbit 16 26 26 32
Sheep 16 32 32 41
From: Lorenz, Oscar A. and Donald N. Maynard. 1980

Knott's Handbook for Vegetable Growers. Second edit. Pg. 76-76
Guide to the Mineral Nutrient Value of Organic Materials
Percent (%)
Materials Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium Relative NutrientAvailability
Bone Meal (raw) 2 to 6 15 to 27 0 Slow
Bone Meal (steamed) 0.7 to 4 10 to 34 0 Slow Med
Cocoa Shell Meal 2.5 1 2.5 Slow
Compost (not fortified) 1.5 to 3.5 0.5 to 1 1 to 2 Slow
Cotton Seed Meal (dry) 6 2.5 1.7 Slow Med.
Dried Blood (dry) 12 1.5 0.57 Med. Rapid
Fish Meal (dry) 10 4 0 Slow
Manure (fresh)
Cattle 0.25 0.15 0.25 Medium
Horse 0.3 0.15 0.5 Medium
Sheep 0.6 0.33 0.75 Medium
Swine 0.3 0.3 0.3 Medium
Poultry (50% water) 2 2 1 Med. Rapid
Milorganite (dry) 5 2 to 5 2 Medium
Mushroom compost 0.4 to 0.7 1 0.5 to 1.5 Slow
Peat and Muck 1.5 to 3 0.25 to 0.5 0.5 to 1 Very Slow
Sawdust 4 2 4 Very Slow
Sewage Sludge (digested) 1 to 3 0.5 to 4 0 to 0.5 Slow
Urea 42 to 45 0 0 Rapid
Wood Ashes* 0 1 to 2 3 to 7 Rapid
*Wood ashes may raise pH
Resource: A Guide to the Nutrient Value of Organic Materials, Fact Sheet #8,
by Marcia Eames-Sheavly Extension Support Specialist, Department of Fruit and
Vegetable Science, Cornell University and Robert Kozlowski and Joann Gruttadaurio,
Senior Extension Associates, Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture,
Cornell University, Spring 1993.



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Oneironaut's Apprentice

Registered: 08/13/14
Posts: 183
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    #20436305 - 08/18/14 10:22 AM (2 years, 2 months ago)

I want to note that I'm going to attempt this, but on a lowered scale. I really appreciate Agar's work, or at least citing and research, on this thread.

Sadly, I'm no commercial scale grower, but I'll be using the Horse manure formula, swapping out the "T" as in "ton" for "P" as in "Part." I'll be going at it using one half all the values presented, in pounds (e.g. 80T horse manure = 40lbs. manure), so my batch size will be much smaller.

Wish me luck. I really hope to not be a bother by bumping too old of a thread, but I'd like to post my results here, given that it isn't too meddlesome to do so.

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Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 204
Loc: Sector 001
    #20436450 - 08/18/14 11:19 AM (2 years, 2 months ago)

very old thread, but some good info. let us know how it goes.:thumbup:


      My records for your prints

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Registered: 08/01/14
Posts: 50
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    #20436528 - 08/18/14 11:36 AM (2 years, 2 months ago)

Great write-up. Thanks agar. I've been reading a lot of your stuff the last few days.

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Oneironaut's Apprentice

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Re: BEST SUBSTRATE = COMPOST [Re: Whizwithout87]
    #20446901 - 08/20/14 06:48 AM (2 years, 2 months ago)

Because I'm a bit shy about bumping old threads, here's my journal, where I'll be giving updates as well as the essential photodocumentation.


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