Instruction for cultivating Psilocybe Azurescens and Psilocybe Cyanescens mushrooms

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Also see: Spawn Bags for Wood Lovers

By Admin (Admin) on Thursday, August 23, 2001 - 12:20 pm:

instruction for cultivating Psilocybe Azurescens and Psilocybe Cyanescens mushrooms , two of the most potent mushrooms which are often favored by "veteran" trippers who've tried several different kinds. I hope you find this guide helpful, and PLEASE e-mail me with any questions, suggestions, or comments regarding this document. Thanks!


Overview of Procedure


In order to grow mushrooms, a suitable substrate must be inoculated and colonized by the fungus. This step requires sterility because the substrate contains no preservatives and can be overrun by any mold or bacteria that is present. This first step takes place in canning jars prepared in your home's kitchen. It uses hardwood sawdust and rice or wheat bran which are both readily available. A substrate is prepared, placed in the canning jars and sterilized with heat. After the jars cool, they are inoculated with a spore syringe. This phase of the cycle can be completed for less than $40.

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.


Preparation of the Substrate and Spawning Bed.


Materials needed:

1/2 pint canning jars
Hardwood Sawdust
Organic Rice or Wheat Bran (from a health food store - No Preservatives!)
Large pot with lid or pressure cooker
Measuring cups
Mixing bowl
Hammer and small nail
Deep plastic tray such as one you'd find in a photography store for developing prints
Corrugated cardboard
Maple or Alder Woodchips
Spore Syringe (Where to get a spore syringe)
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:

Ball 1/2 pint jelly jars.
Kerr wide mouth 1/2 pint canning jars.
Ball regular mouth 1/2 pint canning jars.


Step 1:
Prepare the tops of the culture jars so that they can be in place, on the jars when inoculating the jars with the spore syringe. Part of the reason this system works so well in the non-sterile kitchen environment is the fact that the sterilized substrate is never exposed to air born contaminates. Get a small nail and use the hammer to poke 4 holes in the lid of each canning jar.


Step 2:
Decide in how many jars you are going to initiate cultures. Unlike with psilocybe cubensis cultivation, the number of jars you prepare does not dictate how many mushrooms you end up with; only how long it takes to get them. Never the less, the procedure is cheap and easy enough that you might as well prepare as many jars as you have (up to 12) just incase you need extras due to contamination or other unforseen circumstances.

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.


Step 3:
The next step is to fill each jar with substrate material. Fill each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top with substrate material. Do not pack the material; simply allow it to fall into the jars. If you run out of substrate material, either mix up enough for one more 1/2 pint jar or cannibalize a jar to fill up the rest of the jars. This is important because you need to make sure the substrate is high enough in the jars for the spore syringe to inject spores into it.


Step 4:
The top 1/2 inch of the glass on each culture jar needs to be cleaned. No substrate material can be left on the glass above the compressed cake. First wipe it with your finger to get the bulk of the material off of it and then do a thorough job with a moistened paper towel. The glass needs to be spotless. The reason this is necessary is that bacteria and mold can use any material left there as a wick to infect the main substrate body.


Step 5:
Next, fill the top 1/2 inch of the each culture jar with vermiculite. This layer is pure, simple, dry vermiculite. Nothing else. Fill the jar level with the glass edge. What this layer does is insulate the sterilized substrate from any air borne contamination. This layer gets sterilized with the substrate later and air borne molds and bacteria can not (usually) get through it to contaminate the substrate. At the same time, it allows some gas exchange to occur. The fungus needs oxygen and gasses can filter through the vermiculite.


Step 6:
Now, place the jar lids in place. Normally, the jar lids have a rubber seal that is placed in contact with the glass of the jar. Do not place the rubber seal in contact with the glass; instead place it on the upper side of the lid. The allows more gas exchange to occur. Screw the lid down tight. Note that you need to have the four holes poked in the lid in Step 1. Otherwise you can have real problems when you heat these jars up!


Step 7:
Next, place a piece of tin foil over the top of each jar and crumple it around the sides of the jar. This is to keep water drops from going in the four holes in the lid while the jar is being sterilized. If you poked your holes in the lid such that the sharp edges are pointing up, be careful not to rip or puncture the tin foil. If you need to, you can add a second or even a third piece of tin foil to make sure water will not drip into the holes in the lid.


Step 8:
Now the culture jars need to be sterilized. You can do this either in a large kitchen pot filled with water or in a pressure cooker. If you're planning on using a pressure cooker, put the jars in for 1 1/2 hours at 15psi. If you're using a kitchen pot, follow these instructions:

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.


Step 9:
Let the jars cool slowly. Leave them covered in the pan that was used to sterilize them. Let them cool completely. The jars need to be at or close to room temperature in order to inoculate. The spores will be killed if the jars are not cool enough when they are inoculated. It will take several hours to cool sufficiently; it's best to leave them overnight. You may hear sounds as the jars cool. This is normal.


Step 10:
Now comes the good part. Inoculation of the culture jars. Assuming you have a viable, sterile spore syringe, you are now in a position to inoculate the cultures and start the first phase of the growing cycle. The needle of the spore syringe must be sterile. If your fingers or anything other than the lid or contents of the culture jars comes in contact with it, assume it is no longer sterile. If there is any doubt about its condition, use a cigarette lighter to heat the entire needle. Heat it until it glows red. Let it cool for a few minutes and squirt some of the solution out of the syringe.

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.


Step 11:
This is the easy part. Put the culture jars in a dark place and wait. The fungus will first appear as little splotches of white fuzzy stuff at the inoculation sites.

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.

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.


Step 12:
2 weeks after your substrate cake(s) are fully colonized, you must start to prepare the spawning bed. This consists of a piece of wet corrugated cardboard which will be fully colonized by the fungus. You will need a fairly deep plastic tray, such as the ones you find at a photography store for developing prints. Cut the cardboard so that there is about 1" of space on each side when you put it in the tray. Place the cardboard in the tray and fill the tray with water. You need to let this sit overnight so that the cardboard will absorb as much water as it can.


Step 13:
After the cardboard is sufficiently soaked, you can remove the cakes from the canning jars. Unscrew and remove the lid from the canning jars. Scrape all the loose vermiculite on the top of the substrate into the garbage. Turn the jar up side down and bang it onto a table top. The substrate cake should slide out of the jar. The cakes will typically shrink a little during the colonization phase of the process and will come out of the jars easily with a little tapping on a table top.


Step 14:
Now you have to chop the substrate cakes up into small pieces about the size of marbles. You can do this by hand with a knife but it's easier to do it with a food processor. Either way you decide to do it, try to keep contamination to a minimum. Flame-sterilize the knife or the blade of the food processor, and use a work space relatively free of drafts. Spray Lysol liberally. Remember, Lysol is flammable! Keep it away from open flames.


Step 15:
After you've got the substrate cake chopped up into small chunks, take the cardboard out of the tray and dump out any excess water. Spread the chunks evenly over the bottom of the tray, and place the cardboard on top. Cover the tray loosely with plastic wrap so that most of the moisture stays in but gas exchange can occur.

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.


Step 16:
After the cardboard is completely colonized, lay maple or alder woodchips down over the cardboard to a depth of about 2 inches. Soon you will notice the mycelium colonizing the wood chips as well. Once they appear to be completely colonized by the mycelium, it is time to induce fruiting.


Make Your Mushrooms Fruit.


Psilocybe Azurescens and Cyanescens require a temperature of about 50º F to fruit, so if you want mushrooms you'll have to drop the temperature somehow. The best way to do this is to plan your growth cycle so that you'll be ready with a colonized spawn bed when the temperature outside is at roughly 50º for at least 12 hours a day. If you can't do that, then you'll have to use a refrigerator.

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!

By ion ewe (Ion) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 10:54 am:

I just have to ask why nobody seems interested in the propagation of P. Azurescens. Since their discovery a few years ago, I've really seen very little talk of them in the way of home production. They're not that hard to grow, and they're rediculously potent. With psilocybin, no less! A lengthy shelf life and supreme potency would certainly put a fungus on my "get started immediately" list. What's the deal?
I understand those of you out there growing Pans and P. Mexicanas are in to it for the challenge and considerable rewards, but we're missing the boat here, people!
There's a tek out there in the archives somewhere about growing cyanescens/azurescens. It's a great starting point. Now I wanna see some energy! A little purpose! And I wanna see some serious shroomage! Now grow 'n get 'em!


P.S. My buddy may have spores in the future, but until then, get 'em at sporeworks or something.

By quote: (Quote) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 12:26 pm:

i guess i've never bothered because i'm perfectly content with cubies.
i've always been more interested in the product instead of the process.
not much of a mycologist, i guess.

By ion ewe (Ion) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 06:17 pm:

That's cool. I understand your point of view, but I'm really addressing those who do have a hankerin' for something different. Especially those who are out there growing Pans and such.
Azures and Cyans actually smell pretty funky when growing. Maybe those that have tried it thought they were getting contams, and just threw out the whole shit'n kaboodle! Maybe they're embarassed about it. I don't know.
Alright people! This is good! Keep up the feedback! We just may start something wonderful!


P.S. The "product" is tryps. These are really easy to grow, so why not, Quote? It's about as complex as a flat cake cased. And you get quite a bit more "product" for the buck. Azures like to cluster, you know. Cubies will do it, but they usually need to be forced gently.

By quote: (Quote) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 06:19 pm:

now, azures grow on woody substrate and like it cold, correct ?

By ion ewe (Ion) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 07:26 pm:

Yes, hardwood (Alder, Oak, Birch, etc.)or Douglas Fir chips for a casing/substrate type layer. I would use straw to retain moisture in the chips a little better.
Yes, really chilly for fruit initiation only.
45-55 deg. F
But, warmer for fruit developement.
50-65 deg. F
And just about room temperature for colonizing.
65-75 deg. F

I think cold shocking will work quite well with this species, as you really can't over-chill them without freezing them. I admit, it's probably best to grow these in winter and autumn months.

You seem to be either interested, or getting to a point. Please continue. I'm lovin' it!


By Timothy Leary (Timothyleary) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 07:56 pm:

what about coconut bark??? It is easily
attainable, cheap, and it is good at holding
moisture and keeping out contams.

By ion ewe (Ion) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 08:06 pm:

I don't think coconut bark is very high in the essential nutrients for fungal growth. It's a good casing, as it doesn't contam easily, but if you look at a mushroom mycelia as a form of infection (which it is)....
Good thought, though. Coconut is becoming rather popular for casing, and I'm happy about that. I've been pondering the stuff for years, as I am an avid herper. (Probably why I only recently got a computer and can't afford much else. Too many hobbies and professions, but no time and a great sense of morality.)
Keep up the great questions, folks!


By Fishy1 (Fishy1) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 03:18 am:

All I need is a print and I am all over them!!! Everyone probably has prints THIS time of year!
I enjoy a new challenge! Wish I had tried the PANS. years simple as cubies, IMO...and much more potent.
Maybe after the Samuiensis and the Tampanensis!!!!So many fungi, so little time!!fishy1
---ion, do you have Azures from afar?(not USA)--

By Fishy1 (Fishy1) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 03:34 am:

Oh, BTW...speaking of less effort than cubies...arent the AZURES able to fruit on cardboard?!? This would solve the search for all the crazy cubie substrates!!

By Lichen (Lichen) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 03:46 am:

well, I'm intrigued

By ion ewe (Ion) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 03:51 am:

I appreciate your enthusiasm, fishy, but they really are kinda challenging. Thing is, until we isolate and clone and print out some varieties that fruit well indoors, they're pretty hard to get fruiting. The purpose of this thread is to get more people growing them so there is more diversity in the species. A facilitated evolution if you will... My buddy's are originally Hammonds from sporeworks. The Astorias, I've heard, are even tougher to get fruiting indoors, so we haven't bothered with them. Buddy is up to about 4 flushes per casing, but only about 10-20 fruits per flush. He needs to keep the spores until he clones out some better (and fertile) indoor fruiters.
But GO FOR IT!! We need the diversity and gathering of minds on this one... It has been sorely neglected as a good species for cultivation. We're on the verge...


By ion ewe (Ion) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 03:54 am:

Good to see you, lichen! Grab some spores and have a go!


By Fishy1 (Fishy1) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 04:27 am:

Everyone told me the Pan Cyan and Trops were tough too, But I find them much more successful than similar cubie attempts.
I know of the difficulties...give them what they need.
I wrote a long post and lost it. Hold on...
BTW- you tried the Samueinsis yet? Talk about a challenge. I have yet to see a pic of those!!(not the ones BIO has...those are unconfirmed).

By Fishy1 (Fishy1) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 04:35 am:

The Mushroom Cultivator describes the cardboard tek. Pretty cool. Spawn to cardboard cover with alder/fir/etc...have to check it out!. Thanks for the inspiration, ion. fishy1

By ion ewe (Ion) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 08:38 am:

Yes, I know of the cardboard thing! It works well, but the species is stubborn to actually get to fruit indoors without aborting too much. I really can't figure it out, but I assume that by trial and error (multiplied by hundreds of growers) we'll all be greatly rewarded, eventually.
Sams are pretty tough all around... but how would I know? I don't do anything illegal...
BTW, I've copied and modified the tek in the archives for growing these caramel caps. I've included steps for straw casing, and supplementing the substrates. Hint: Try dried, ground pine nuts in place of some of the BRF. Not too much, as the nuts are coparatively acidic (due to high nitrogen, I assume). They have tons of protein, and are more similar to the natural food of a caramel cap. You can make a tea of their nutrients to impregnate the cardboard and/or woodchips, too! Ahhh, the possibilities...


By Fishy1 (Fishy1) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 12:11 pm:

Thanks, ion. I will check out the tek. Pinning problems can be difficult, but as you said...with a good clone maybe......

By ion ewe (Ion) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 11:24 pm:


If you're speaking of the tek I modified, I haven't actually posted it. It's just sitting here being tweaked more and more each day. I'll send you a copy if you want. What's your e-mail?


By Fishy1 (Fishy1) on Friday, November 30, 2001 - 01:38 am:

Ion, I am at [email protected] I thank you very much!!!
--ps- any tips on cloning Pan cyans?
Thank you ion...and watch for Pan pictures in the next day or 2. fishy1

Shroom Glossary

By Chunkstyle B (Iago) on Thursday, December 06, 2001 - 09:00 pm:

besides advising that i do not attempt to grow p. cyanscens on my inceptual forray into mycology, can anybody provide me with useful knowledge?

i will substitute alder chips/oatmeal for the brown rice powder, still sterilized in half-pint jars, inoculated via needle, incubated in jar, broken up into a bed, and cased.

i think i shall use the 50/50+ casing tek with a little wood in lieu of some of the peat.

any feedback for me, my little psilocybin-ehanced friends?

>>has anyone found an optimal incubation temp?
flushing temp?
humidity level?

thanks a lot in advance, this is the type of information that will make my ambitious project a success.

chaz, yag.

By Oldtimer (Oldtimer) on Friday, December 07, 2001 - 01:21 am:

If you want to see fruits I have found the following to be practical....

Grow the spawn (PF jars) of cyanescens or azurescens just as you would for cubensis... Once the jars are colonized, grind them and use as inoculant for sterile jars of Alder chips.... I use 1 gallon jars... Soak your chips overnight in a bowl of water, drain and place in jars... Pressure cook the chips for about 45 minutes at 15 psi... When cool place about a tablespoon or so of ground PF cake powder in each jar and shake well.... Leave in a semi-dark area at 60-70 degrees F until the chips are fully grown over...
At this point open the jars, dump the inoculated wood chips into a large bowl and place in a flower bed around your abode (preferably one that has landscaping bark in it) cover with a 1 inch layer of soil/bark and leave alone... If you plant a solid bed of spawn you will be sure to see a nice flush once winter temps set in... I'm in the deep south and have successfully fruited azurescens... but be forewarned, it does take time....leave the beds in the hands of Mother Nature and all will happen when the time is right... try it! My experiments on indoor fruiting have still proved impractical with cyanescens... If you know the trick please share...


By Professor Fustertingle (Fustertingle) on Friday, December 07, 2001 - 03:46 pm:

I myself, dislike the shroomery's discussion board.

But there is a cyan/azur tek over there somewhere.

I don't whant to step on anyone's toes or anything just spreding the info, ya know.

Damn, I don't want to link that damn site but I guess if it warrents a flame or a rebuke or a tounge lashing or perhaps a thousand lashes with a four by four wrapped in barbed wire I guess thats what I get. I went and found it for those who might care. It's a rip-off of the MMGG but its got some info and some ideas.

Guide To Cultivating Psilocybe Azurescens/Cyanescens