This section is relatively short considering its topic. That is because when you get to this point, you only need to make sure the fungus has the right conditions to initiate mushroom growth.
Once you place a fully colonized rice cake in the terrarium, it just needs several things to start mushroom growth. They are: high humidity, some light, and temperatures between 75-80 degrees (all temperatures in fahrenheit).
Once the mushrooms have started growing, temperatures between 80-90 degrees will help them develop faster. But the fact remains that the temperature range to start new mushrooms is fairly narrow (about 75-80 degrees).
Normally, with temperatures between 75-80 degrees, it takes about a week for pin heads to form if the rice cake was removed from the culture jar as soon as it was 100% colonized.
It can happen after just a couple days if the mycelium network is well established, or it can take several weeks if things aren't just perfect for the cake.
If you always keep the terrarium's temperature between 75-80 degrees, you will be constantly initiating new mushrooms (pin heads) while providing an ok environment for the growing mushrooms to mature.
A better idea is to stay between 75-80 degrees to initiate growth, then when the mushroom have started forming, increase the temperature to 80-90 degrees (adaptation-16).
If you deviate outside of this temperature range, you will still get a few mushrooms, but the fungus will initiate new pin heads only occasionally. You will spend a lot of time waiting for a mushroom to form.
The rice cakes need a small amount of light to initiate pin heads. Mushrooms are not plants and do not need light to grow. However, P. cubensis is a phototropic mushroom.
This means it needs light to trigger a hormonal response in order to form mushrooms. If you can see the rice cakes, there is enough light for this to happen.
Many mycologists believe the reason light is important in the growing cycle is because it provides a reliable clue to the mycelium that it has reached the boundary of the substrate in which it is growing.
In nature, P. cubensis often lives in a pile of cow manure. Once it has grown through the entire substrate and reaches the edge, light hits it and provides the mycelium with the information that if it forms a mushroom there, it can release spores into the air for distribution.
It is not productive to form a mushroom inside the substrate because the spores can not be distributed in that case. Any normal spectrum of light that you have available will work. Sun light, fluorescent or incandescent are all fine and will work.
A few minutes of light a day is sufficient but an hour or two will guarantee that pin heads form, if everything else (temperature, humidity, the mycelium network is well established, etc.) is right. Be careful not to heat your terrarium too much if you use artificial light near the terrarium.
The rice cakes will have a very bright white appearance when they are first placed in the terrarium. Soon, they will be coated with a thin layer of fluffy mycelium.
If the cakes refuse to fruit but continue to form more and more fluffy mycelium, this is an indication that the humidity is too high and needs to be adjusted downward. For people using a humidifier in their terrarium setup, this is the single biggest cause of failure assuming they get the rice cakes colonized successfully.
When pin heads form, they will look like a short section of a common pin. Hence, the name. The end of these pin heads will soon grow dark brown. This is the cap beginning to form.
When the rice cakes are fresh, the small mushrooms will start adding bulk rather than grow longer. They will form balls the size of a marble. Then, they will start to thin out and grow long, adding bulk the whole time.
If the mushrooms have mycelium growing on the caps, it is an indication that your humidity is too low in the terrarium. In this case, you have just enough humidity to allow the cakes to fruit, but you are right on the edge of failure.
You should avoid the temptation to grow the mushrooms as large as possible. Significantly more psilocybin is produced during the early periods of growth.
By letting the mushroom grow too large you are simply consuming nutrients and moisture from the rice cake for no purpose.
Also, the mushrooms taste increasingly bad as they get larger. Lastly, the mycelium network in the cake can only provide so much in the way of nutrients and water to maturing mushrooms.
If you let the mushrooms grow too big, they will hurt the development of other mushrooms on the cake. The mushrooms should be picked just as the veil underneath the cap is starting to tear away from the stalk.
On the average, you should expect to get between 4 and 6 average size mushrooms per 1/2 pint cake. On the average you should expect each cake to produce 1 mushroom a week but this number can vary in either direction greatly.
As the cakes get older, they will produce less and less and it will be more difficult for the mushrooms to grow (adaptation-17). This is a result of the moisture in the cake being consumed by the earlier mushrooms.
You will eventually see mushrooms form and start to grow but never bulk up during the initial phase of development. These mushrooms will seldom get big enough to develop caps.
Like the other mushrooms, you should harvest and consume these mushrooms too. But when you do see them, it is a good indication that the rice cake is about exhausted.
Once you have grown and harvested some mushrooms, you need to think about preserving them. They will only keep for a short time in their fresh state. Sometimes a single mushroom needs to be harvested and it isn't enough for a dose. Other times, too many mushrooms will be fully grown for a single dose.
Either way, you will be in a situation where you want to preserve them for later. And, even if this didn't happen, you may find yourself in a situation where you simply don't have the time or inclination to trip. The good news is that if they are dried correctly, nearly all of the psycho-active compounds can be preserved for many months.
There are several ways to dry them, but we will only cover the best way. What ever you do, don't use heat to dry them. Heat is very harmful to the psycho-active compounds. You will drastically reduce the mushroom's potency if you use heat to dry them.
--- 1/4 inch wire mesh.
--- Old wash cloth or rag.
--- Tupperware bowl with sealing lid.
Desiccant can be purchased for under $20 dollars a pound. It can be found in the paint department of some hardware stores because it is used to dry the air in musty closets before painting and things like that.
Every time I've been to a hardware store and asked, the person had no idea what desiccant was. So be prepared to look around the store to see if you can find it yourself. If you have any problems, get some desiccant online.
The drying chamber needs to have a space at the bottom for water to collect. This allows the desiccant to function well for extended periods of time. As it pulls moisture from the air, it drips to the bottom of the chamber.
The desiccant is held above the water by a circular section of the 1/4 inch wire mesh with a wash cloth spread out on it. See the following diagram for details. The wash cloth keeps the desiccant from falling through the wire mesh but any water that forms can drip through it to the bottom of the chamber.
The desiccant should be spread out evenly. If you use too large of a Tupperware bowl, you may have to add some structural strength to the screen in order for it to support the desiccant. You can simply lay a stick or ruler underneath the mesh and use tie wraps to secure the mesh to it.
Cut another circular section of mesh so that it fits above the desiccant and leaves a nice air gap. The mushrooms will be placed on this mesh in order to dry them. Make sure the desiccant is not touching the bottom of this screen.
There should be an air gap between the top of the desiccant and the bottom of the screen. You do not want your mushrooms to touch the desiccant while they are drying because some of it will dissolve into the mushroom if this happens.
That is the entire preparation for preserving your mushrooms with minimal loss of potency. In order to dry your mushrooms, simply harvest them and place them on the wire screen. Close the Tupperware container so it is air tight.
The mushrooms will shrink and shrivel over the next couple of days. After about three days, they will be fairly hard and contain very little moisture.
If you are not pushed for space inside the drying chamber, you may was well leave them there for five or six days to thoroughly dry them.
After the mushrooms have been in the drying chamber for three days, they can be moved to a zip-lock bag for long term storage. Remember that the dryer the mushrooms are, the longer they will keep (adaptation-18).
The reason this system works so well to dry the mushrooms is the desiccant has a very strong affinity for moisture and can pull almost all the moisture out of the air.
Eventually however, liquid will start to collect in the bottom of the drying chamber. Mushrooms are 92% water by weight. This moisture has to go somewhere when the mushrooms are dried, and it will eventually find its way to the bottom of the container.
When moisture starts to collect in the drying chamber you can simply drain it out and continue to use the old desiccant. The chamber will continue to work as long as there is sufficient desiccant in it.
You should be careful not to contaminate the sides of the container or the top screen with residue from the desiccant. You do not want your mushrooms to touch the residue.
For one thing, it tastes terrible, but in addition to this, the mushrooms will not dry completely. The residue will attract moisture. Whenever you empty the moisture, it is best to wash the Tupperware container completely.
First, we need to make sure some thing is understood. Before you dose, you need to be someone that likes yourself and feels pretty secure about yourself.
You should not have any major troubles in your life. If this does not describe you, don't trip on mushrooms. They tend to compound overwhelming problems rather than helping matters.
OK, you've decided that you're going to dose. After all, why did you grow these little devils if you weren't going to trip? The most important question to answer is how hard do you want to trip? If a 170 pound person had never done alcohol before, this is the advise I would give him.
Dosage could be anywhere from 1 beer to 12 beers. 1 beer is just enough that you might feel something, but everything will be pretty normal. 4 beers is enough you will have a strong sensation of what alcohol does, but you will be in complete control.
At 6 beers, you will start to be drunk. At 12 beers, you are pig drunk and may pass out. I would recommend 4 beers the first time out. This would give you a good feeling for what alcohol is about, but still keep you out of trouble.
These mushrooms will be fairly consistent in potency. They are all grown on the same medium under the same circumstances. If you take 4 average P. cubensis mushrooms, that will put you at the same relative spot on the spectrum as 4 beers.
But remember that psilocybin is more powerful than alcohol. What you experience will be more intense than 4 beers. However, on the spectrum of what is possible, you will still be on the low side.
What are average size mushrooms? Mushrooms are like snowflakes. No two are the same. I would call a mushroom that has a stalk 3 inches long and a cap 1 inch in diameter average.
Drying the mushrooms as described in this document will have minimal impact on their potency. Many sources claim that dried mushrooms are significantly less potent that fresh ones.
If you use the method to dry the mushrooms described in this document, you'll find that claim is not true. It's your choice whether to eat them fresh or in their dry state. Some people have strong feelings one way or the other because of their taste.
Most people agree that these mushrooms will never win any culinary awards. Try some each way. Find out if one way or the other is better for you.
Some people find that these mushrooms cause some nausea. Some people suggest the use of digestive aids available over the counter at any pharmacy. This will make consumption of the mushrooms a lot easier on you if you are susceptible to nausea.
Also note, that most people should avoid consumption of alcohol while using these mushrooms. When the mushrooms are mixed with alcohol, even people with cast iron stomachs can lose their lunch.
If you find the taste of these mushrooms particularly distasteful, you can always bury them in a burrito or peanut butter sandwich. If you do this, it will slow the onset of the effects somewhat. Some people just chew them up and wash them down with orange juice.
Some people dislike the taste so much, they are willing to go to extraordinary measures to disguise the taste. Several popular recipes follow. With the exception of the first recipe, these recipes all suffer from a common problem. They use heat.
Heat will cause some of the psilocybin to break down and as a result you will need to use more mushrooms for the same effect than if you had ingested them directly. This fact in and of itself is not too big of a deal. After all, you can grow as many mushrooms as you need.
A 25% to 50% loss of efficiency is not ideal, but it may be worth it to some people in order to avoid the nasty taste of these mushrooms.
The real problem is it is impossible to predict how strong the effect is going to be. It depends on how hot you heat them when you do the preparation and how long they are hot. Use caution!
Put several spoonfuls of frozen juice concentrate into a blender. Dole's Orange-Pineapple-Banana works especially well but regular Orange Juice or Lemon Aid will work.
Add a bit of water, but keep the resulting juice on the strong side. Throw in a few ice cubes and your shrooms (fresh or dry) and whiz on high for a minute or so. Let it sit for a few minutes after you turn off the blender, then drink.
A 500 mg vitamin C capsule can be added and will make the juice more tart which is beneficial in masking the mushroom taste.
Take the fresh mushrooms (6-7 per person depending on size of caps) and cut the caps and stems into very small pieces. Place mushroom pieces into medium sized pot 3/4 filled with water.
Boil the water along with the mushrooms. Boil for ten minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 more minutes. Strain mushrooms with a coffee filter, or paper towel. At this point, if you truly desire tea, a mint flavored version works well.
Otherwise, kool-aid is an option. Grape kool-aid mixed stronger than usual will definitely cover the taste. Serve with ice to chill the kool-aid to the desired temperature.
Using Ramen Pride or any other dried noodle soup, follow directions on package, except put cut and cleaned mushroom pieces in the broth. Prepare as usual. If the mushroom pieces are small they are relatively unnoticeable.
Cook your favorite frozen pizza according to directions. Several minutes before the pizza is done cooking, add finely sliced fresh mushroom pieces to the pizza.
Optionally, you can add some grated cheese on top of the newly added mushroom pieces. Adding cheese will help encapsulate the mushroom pieces and dramatically help mask the taste. Place pizza back in oven and cook until done.
Obviously, some of the people that grow these mushrooms are going to be looking for a 'mind melting' experience. Bad trips on mushrooms are rare, but they do happen.
One of the most common reasons for bad trips on mushrooms is taking a high dose of mushrooms that have grown on cakes that also have contamination growing.
Toxins get absorbed by the mushrooms growing on these contaminated cakes and as the dosage gets higher it starts to become an issue. Care should always be taken to avoid contamination but if you plan to dose on the high side, it is absolutely mandatory.
Think about it. How fun would it be to have a nasty allergic reaction to some toxin while tripping hard. The email I've received on the subject suggests it is not very pleasant.
Throw out any cake that is contaminated and any mushrooms that were grown on that cake even prior to when the contamination was noticed.
One final note. If you ever find that you have dosed too heavily, just remember that 90 minutes after ingestion will be the peak experience. Things will start to settle down after that.
The good news is that medically you can't overdose on psilocybin. If you remember these things, and believe them, they can help ease you through a high dose experience.
Grow Magic Mushrooms Index
--- Growing Cycle
--- Drying, Preserving
--- Dosage And Ingesting
--- Getting A Spore Syringe
--- Getting Stuff
--- Growing In Bulk
--- List Of Adaptations