DIY Grow Box for Magic mushrooms. Fruiting conditions
STEP 9. Day 18-26. How to make Growbox. Fruiting conditions
You've successfully passed Casing stage. For now casing layer colonized by mycelium (about 50-60% of the surface).
It's time to prepare growbox for the second phase of growing — fruiting and harvesting.
This means we will stimulate mushroom mycelium to turn from the vegetative phase of mycelium growth to the generative state - pinhead, primordia formation and fruit bodies growth.
Video «Magic Mushroom Cakes are moving to Growbox»
In this video we demonstrate magic mushroom cakes that we move in the equipped growbox.
Some growers recommend to do "cold shock" before moving cakes to grow box. Another part of growers are vehement opponents of such approach. Check the What is Cold shock? Pros and Cons of cold shoking for Psilocybe Cubensis growing section.
Construction of the Growbox for Psilocybe mushrooms
Step-by-step growbox preparation
1️⃣ You need plastic container, aquarium or terrarium for making fruiting chamber (aka growbox). The volume should be about 30 liters. You can use plastic boxes of larger (40-80 liters) or smaller sizes (15-20 liters) as well. Bigger volume of the fruiting chamber is better. Because there will be accumulated less carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration during mushrooms growing. Bigger growbox can be ventilated a bit rarely and it's easier to control the microclimate conditions.
Don't use too small containers!
Wash your box thoroughly with any disinfectant detergent.
2️⃣ Make about 6-8 holes (diameter about 1 cm) on the both sides of growing box, at 5-10 cm from the bottom. Cover them with sterile breathing patch. It's necessary for natural air exchange in your growing box. Because during fruiting period mushrooms need fresh air and they produce carbon dioxide, it is denser than air and goes down. Such ventilation holes help with additional natural ventilation during harvesting period.
3️⃣ Make a separate hole in the grow box to connect the aquarium air pump. We need it for automatic ventilation and humidification. If you use a terrarium humidifier, it must be built on top. You can do without the air pump and humidifier. But for this you need constantly monitor and maintain the conditions in the growbox (airing and humidifying) manually.
There is a stone at the end of the aquarium air pump hose; it should be dipped in a jar with water. This will filter the incoming air, humidify the growbox and reduce noise.
4️⃣ Some growers place a layer of exclay on the bottom of the grow box (about 2 cm). It ensures high humidity. At first we did so, but in the process we got a musty smell in our grow box. We removed the exclay and cleaned the grow box. That's why we don't recommend to use exclay in the grow box!
For the PF-tek a layer (1-2 cm) of moist (but not wet!) perlite should be placed at the bottom of the grow box.
5️⃣ Mix 200-300 ml of chilled boiled water with 10-15 ml of peroxide. Pour the water with peroxide over the walls of the growbox (convenient with a syringe).
6️⃣ Put all cakes in growbox. Some growers recommend to do cold-shock before placing cakes in growbox. Check the What is Cold shock? Pros and Cons of cold shocking in growing Psilocybe Cubensis
We'd like to mention that we used cold shock only as an experiment that turned out to be successful. However, we don't recommend to use this method for thermophilic psilocybin mushrooms that grow in the tropics and sub-tropics.
Place PF-cakes on foil or any plastic surface. They shouldn't contact directly with moist perlite.
If you have several PF-cakes in your grow box, there should be at least 5 cm between them to let mushrooms grow on the sides.
7️⃣ Close the grow box tightly with the lid.
8️⃣ Turn on the LED lamp. The lamp light should be weak in the blue range (~435 nm). No need to use powerful lamp. Light is needed for pinhead formation and to set the direction of growth for mushroom bodies. Diode strip is also suitable for lighting your grow box. Natural light is suitable as well, but NOT direct sunlight and only diffused light.
9️⃣ Add thermometer and hygrometer in the grow box to monitor temperature and relative humidity (RH) level.
🔟 Fully equipped growbox with mushroom cakes is ready for fruiting and harvesting period!
Here is the 20th day after inoculation.
Here is the 24th day after inoculation. 2 cakes of strain Brazil. At first glance, they did not seem to be sufficiently covered with mycelium. In fact, such rhizomorphic mycelium (root-like, filamentous) cover is perfect and more productive than tomentose (fluffy, cloudy) mycelium.
We made another small growbox (volume is 17 liters) for 2 Brazil cakes. Here you can see our 2 growboxes:
Fruiting conditions for psilocybe mushrooms
To initiate fruiting, we need to lower the temperature, increase humidity, give the mushroom a breath of fresh air, and show it soft diffused light in cloudy weather. Under these conditions, the mushroom understands that the dry period is over and the rainy season has arrived. This means that it can already come out of the underground and produce mushrooms on the surface.
The most important thing for the grower in the coming week is to maintain the microclimate in the greenhouse. This is a set of environmental factors. Only a combination of these factors and their parameters provides the ideal environment for the growth of mushrooms. The final yield will largely depend on this period.
Let's briefly consider the necessary conditions for the next 7-12 days.
❇️ Air temperature +22°...+23°C or 72-73°F
After incubation period we need to decrease the temperature by 5-10°C or 8-12°F to initiate the fruiting phase and pinhead formation. The acceptable limits are +21...+25°C or 70-77°F. But at the lower limit the start and growth can be slowed down. At the upper limit there is a risk that mycelium will switch back to the vegetative phase. In addition, you should take into account that the mycelium itself warms up during growth, and the temperature in the substrate itself will be 1-2° higher.
At this stage, it will be enough to continue cultivation at room temperature. Of course, everything depends on the temperature in your room. So, in the harsh winter months you may need a heater (the same one you use for the incubator). And in the summer months, it may be too hot and you can't do without cooling/air conditioning.
Measure the temperature with an ordinary thermometer.
❇️ Relative humidity 95-100%
To maintain required humidity spray the walls of the growbox 1-2 times a day with clean water. When doing so, use a spray-bottle. Never pour or spray water directly on the mycelium.
Make sure that casing layer of the mushroom cakes is moist. Casing layer shouldn't be dry!
If a humidifier (e.g. for terrarium) is used, it can be programmed in the intensity and frequency of spraying to maintain a constant humidity of 95-100%. Or you can turn it on when airing your growbox.
Use hygrometer to measure the relative humidity level.
❇️ CO2 level is no more than 600-800 ppm
As you know, mushrooms breathe oxygen and emit carbon dioxide(CO2). After the temperature drops, the fungus will adapt to the new conditions, mycelium growth will slow down and it will emit less carbon dioxide.
But at this stage it will already be necessary to introduce fresh air 2-3 times a day. Just open the growbox for 3-5 minutes and make a few winks with lid over the mushroom cakes. The smaller the growbox and the more cakes, the more often you need to introduce fresh air.
You can use an air pump to ventilate the growbox on a regular basis.
To measure carbon dioxide levels, you can use a CO2 detector. This device is very helpful, but unfortunately, not cheap. To compare, normal CO2 level outdoor is 400-450 ppm. In general, 600-800 ppm it's CO2 level in room, where breath a few people.
❇️ Light 12-16 hours
Turn on the light for 12-16 hours a day. Natural light is good as well, but only diffused light. NOT direct sunlight!
To improve your growing process and make it more automated you can use different sensors, timers and all sorts of gadgets. It's up to you. The sky is the limit!
It's just a brief overview of the necessary conditions for the next week after moving mushroom cakes in fruiting chamber.
In the next section we are going to figure out in detail:
- fruiting factors and their combination
- peculiarities and life cycle of fungi development
- pinhead initiation conditions
- fruiting parameters at different stages of life cycle
- fruiting conditions to increase overall yield
- what can go wrong: problems during fruiting period with examples
- contamination during fruiting period with examples
Now move on — STEP 10. Pinhead Initiation. Growing Parameters for Fruiting period ▶️
Feel free to ask any questions and leave your comments ⬇️⬇️⬇️