Psilocybe azurescens outdoor cultivation
( updated: November 29, 2010, at 02:54 PM )
dead link reports, comments and suggestions welcome any time
This document describes the cultivation and links to the available information on the net about the cultivation of Psilocybe azurescens and similar species (Psilocybe cyanescens, Psilocybe subaeruginosa, Psilocybe bohemica, Psilocybe arcana, Psilocybe serbica, Psilocybe moravica . )
The outdoor cultivation of Psilocybe azurescens is somewhat more complex and takes more time from start to harvest compared to the indoor cultivation of Psilocybe cubensis, but it is also easier in some aspects since major parts of the cultivation are done outdoors by mother nature. In addition he outdoor yield can be substantial.
All the wood loving Psilocybe species essentially have the same cultivation parameters.
The most important requirement for a successful outdoor cultivation is that you live in the correct climate. The Autumns should be cold and moist to enable fruiting, the summers preferably not too dry.
Outdoor cultivation of the wood lovers is possible in the plant hardiness zones 6, 7 and 8.
The range can likely be extended also to zone 5, but the beds will need to be protected by applying a layer of fresh wood chips or a thicker layer of straw to survive the low temperatures in winter.
You can find out in which Plant Hardiness Zone you live by using the maps underneath:
The cultivation consists of the following 3 steps:
- Germination of spores on agar -> Transfer of colonized agar to grainsOR
Direct inoculation with spores using a spore syringe on either a PF cake or grains
Time line for the cultivation of wood lovers
Grain spawn or PF cakes preparation.
Transfer of the colonized spawn to sterilized or pasteurized wood chips.
March, April, May (as soon the snow melts):
Transfer of the colonized wood chips to outdoor wood chips beds.
(September), October, November, (December)
Maintenance of the patch
Once you have an established patch, you can simply mix fresh wood chips into the patch every spring and thus extend its lifetime for years. It is also possible to take some colonized wood chips from the original patch and create a new patch t a different location.
The most accumulated info on cultivation of Psilocybe azurescens can be found at Erowid (click on the images to see the individual grow reports), a very good document also at Historical P. azurescens cultivation notes by TEONANACATL
Psilocybe cyanescens Cultivation
Good pictorial on the outdoor bed preparation (pdf, 900kb)
How exactly did you prepare the wood chips to be used as spawn?
Beech smoke chips are simmered for 1 hour in order to soak them, then strained for 10 minutes and pressure cooked for 45 minutes in jars. After they cooled down the jars were inoculated with the Psilocybe azurescens grain spawn.
Can cedar wood be used for the outdoor bed?
Cedar is a conifer and its wood is very rich in resins which inhibit mycelial growth. There are other conifers which can be used, for instance Douglas fir or spruce. Some other suitable tree species :
beech, oak, birch, chestnut, alder, maple, cottonwood, willow, aspen, poplar, elm , sweet gum, sycamore .
Here is a list of trees recommended for the cultivation of gourmet and medicinal species, you can pretty much translate this 1:1 for growing Psilocybe wood lovers.
The list is taken from the excellent book Mushroom Cultivation by Peter Oei.
What should I look for when selecting a location for the patch
One of the important criteria is that the location stays moist throughout the year. In the vicinity of a creek the micro climate is usually quite moist. Be careful not to place the patch too near a creek in case it floods, since this would carry your patch away. A good moisture indicator are mosses. If moss grows on the forest floor it shows that the ground is moist and it will support a patch very well.
Also important is that the location is somewhat stealthy, so you can plant the patch and pick the mushroom without being disturbed. Also by having the patch in a stealth place you prevent other people from picking your patch.
Does it matter if the ground freezes solid during the winter?
No, it doesn’t matter. Here in Austria the winter temperatures go down to – 20°C for short periods of time, usually it’s a few degrees below the freezing point for about 3 months in winter. The mycelium is quite hardy and once the bed is established and colonized it survives very low temperatures. Just to be sure, you can cover the bed with a fresh layer of chips, straw or cardboard before winter.
Can I directly inoculate a pf cake with a wild print syringe?
If the syringe is clean (which CAN be the case if you worked clean when you were taking the print and the mushroom itself was clean) then it works. Otherwise you will see contamination grow. Psilocybe azurescens colonizes normal PF cakes in
3-4 weeks at room temperature.
Can I inoculate fine wood chips straight from a spore syringe?
Hardly. Spores germinate very poorly on wood chips and seem to take forever. Inoculation on something more nutritious (grain, pf cake) ) is needed if you want to see results in a reasonable time.
I am not in one of the hardiness zones, should I give it a shot?
If you are in a hardiness zone less than 5, you could potentially still have success by letting the substrate colonize outdoors during the summer, and then move it indoor in a cold cellar when the temperatures fall under the freezing point.
This has been done in the past and it worked. Here are the links:
Azurescens indoor 2003
It’s summer already, can I still inoculate the outdoor bed?
You can begin anytime of the year.
If you plant the bed outdoors later than spring, it simply won’t fruit this year, but if you add some fresh wood material in the spring next year, it will fruit in the autumn of the next year. Better start now than be late next year again!
Would it be a good idea to cover the bed with cardboard to keep it moist?
Yes, you can do this through the hot summer, although it is not essential. Definitely uncover it in Autumn.
How often should I water the patch?
Depends on the weather. If it rains at least one a week in the summer, you probably won’t have to water it at all. Water it in times of prolonged droughts. Best what you can make though is to choose the location of the patch wisely, somewhere in deep shadow, possibly along a creek where the conditions are naturally moist throughout the year.
It is also important to not over-water . The bed should be moist
1 inch below the surface all the times for fast colonization , but don’t let it sit in water.
If you keep the bed moist, the colonization will speed up considerably. In drier conditions the colonization will take longer.
I had a couple of patches that I didn’t water at all throughout a very dry summer, and they still fruited after abundant autumn rains, wood lovers are quite hardy.
Is the point of being outdoors is to have the full environment?
Yes, the point of colonizing them outdoors is to expose them to natural conditions. It seems as they profit greatly from this, since “normal” indoor cultivation attempts are difficult to successfully accomplish.
Does my patch need a casing layer?
The wood lovers don’t require a casing layer, but they do benefit from one.
I like to make my patches in form of several parallel long channels each around 20 cm wide, 10 cm deep with 10 cm space in between. This way the mycelium is in contact with soil which it obviously benefits from, most fruits come from the area where the wood chips have contact with soil. Some fruits also occur away from the patch in soil covered with growing grass.
Alternatively cover the patch with a thin layer of dry foliage and other debris you find in the woods. Over time this will decompose and provide a thin casing layer which will help the mushrooms fruit all over the patch.
Is indoor cultivation of Psilocybe azurescens possible?
Yes, it is possible , but one needs a dedicated controlled environment. Here is how it can be done:
Psilocybe azurescens indoor cultivation
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Psilocybe azurescens outdoor cultivation ( updated: November 29, 2010, at 02:54 PM ) dead link reports, comments and suggestions welcome any time This document describes the cultivation
Growing psilocybe Azurescens (outdoor)
These 3 mushrooms grow in the colder and wetter places on Earth. Therefore they are no good to grow indoors. This means that growing these mushrooms is not for everybody. You must live in a place where autumn is cold and wet and besides you need to find a location where you can lay the bed and where it is safe throughout the year.
We are thinking of a bed in the garden (or woods) of 80 * 80 * 10 cm.
These mushrooms come up in the autumn and in the beginning of the winter. The whole process from preparing the spawn until the mushrooms come out is a process that will take very long. If you want to harvest these mushrooms in the autumn, you actually must start at the beginning of the year (Jan/Feb).
The growing process normally has 3 phases: – preparing the spawn – growing the mycelium outdoors – growing the mushrooms
First you must prepare the spawn. You do not need that much: 300 to 400 ml. is enough. Rye is the best basis for spawn and the mycelium of these mushrooms grows best in the incubator with a temperature of 20 °C.
When the rye is totally colonized, it is time for the next step in preparing the spawn. The Psilocybe azurescens, cyanescens and baeocystis love woodchips. The colonized rye will also be helpful in colonizing a part of the woodchips with mycelium.
It does not really matter what kind of woodchips you use. In general the mushrooms grow very well on almost all kinds of woodchips. We use the ones that you can buy in the pet shops to use as underground for your pet house.
Before you inoculate the woodchips with the colonized rye, you must first soften them by soaking them. Fill up 2 pots of 1000 ml for 60% with small woodchips and totally cover the woodchips with water. Let them soak for 48 hours. After 48 hours let the 2 pots with the woodchips leak out in a strainer. Do this very thoroughly. Fill the 2 pots again with the prepared woodchips and close the pots with a lid with a filter. The pots must be now sterilized for 1 hour on 15 psi. Let the pots quietly cool down afterwards.
If the pots have cooled down entirely, you can start to inoculate with rye. Divide de rye over the 2 pots. After inoculation you must give the 2 pots a good shake to spread the rye. After that, place the pots in the incubator (18 – 20 °C.).
After 2 up to 4 weeks the pots have been entirely colonized. From time to time shake the pots well to speed up the process. Once this has happened, it is time to prepare for the open air.
For an outside ‘bed’ of 80 * 80*10 cm. you need approximately 10 liters of woodchips. It is all right if these woodchips are a bit larger than the ones you used for making the brood. Put these 10 liters in a garbage bag and add plenty water. Let this now soak for 24 hours. After these 24 hours the bag must leak out entirely. Make some small holes in the bag tot make that happen. And cut off, after a while, the corners on the bottom of the garbage bag. Wait till there is no more water left.
Put your boots on! Go outside and dig a hole in the ground of your desired size. It is smart to choose a spot with much shade. Scatter a layer of 4 – 5 centimeters woodchips on the floor. Take the 2 pots with brood (loosened up by shaking) and scatter these over the complete bed. Cover this again with a few centimeters of wet woodchip. The bed is almost ready now. Irrigate the bed and cover it with a garbage bag. This makes the bed the ideal environment for the mushrooms, nice wet and dark. You can keep the bag in its place by laying some stones on the edge.
The best time of the year to make such an outside bed is around March/April. Your work is down for now. During spring and summer the mycelium needs enough time to build a firm network thorough the whole bed of woodchips. Verify, however, on a regular basis if the bed still has a nice humid condition. Spray the bed with water if nescessary.
At the beginning of September the weather becomes colder and wetter: the ideal circumstances for the growing mushrooms. Remove the garbage bag and give the bed, if needed, a good irrigation to keep it humid. You will probably see a number of insects and other small beasts walking around in and on your bed. Do not worry; these small creatures will not damage your work. They do not have an influence on the quality of the bed or the growing of your mushrooms, except in extreme cases (plagues etc.) I would almost say: give them the space and let them enjoy the mycelium…
It is difficult to indicate when the mushrooms will rise. This is entirely dependent on the specific weather of that particularly autumn. You can expect them from mid- September up to beginning December. Care at all times that the bed will not dry out.
It can be that in one autumn several flushes will rise. After the last flush you can simple leave the bed. The mycelium should not have too much trouble surviving the winter and giving flushes the next year. It is nevertheless wise to spread out, at the beginning of a new spring, a fresh layer of woodchips on the bed.
Growing psilocybe Azurescens (outdoor) These 3 mushrooms grow in the colder and wetter places on Earth. Therefore they are no good to grow indoors. This means that growing these mushrooms is not