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Psilocybe growing problems - overlay, abortions, etc

From Shroomok | Let's grow magic mushrooms
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📖
1.How to grow mushrooms at home
2.Stuff to buy for growing
3.Liquid mushroom spore syringe
4.Choose and prepare substrate
5.Cooking the substrate
6.Preparing Jars for spawn
7.Substrate sterilization (before adding mushroom spores)
8.Inoculation without glove box
9.Incubator control
10.Casing of mushroom cakes
11.Cold shock for mushrooms
12.DIY Grow Box. Mushrooms fruiting conditions
13.Start of fruiting, pinhead initiation
14.How to make mushroom spore prints
15.Mushroom harvesting time
16.How to dry and store mushrooms
17.Rehydration of mushroom cakes
18.Second flush of mushroom harvest
19.Third flush of mushroom harvest
20.Fourth flush of mushroom harvest
21.Fifth flush of mushroom harvest
22.Sixth flush of mushroom harvest
23.Disposing of mushrooms cakes
24.Mushroom growing statistics with charts
25.Mushroom growing experiments
26.Mushroom growing conclusions
👉Overlay & Stroma
28.Mushroom aborts
29.Mushroom metabolites
30.Mushrooms contaminants
31.Mushroom candies and mushroom chocolate recipes
32.Mushroom capsules for microdosing
33.Mushroom microdosing
34.Preparing for psychedelic trip
35.How to deal with bad trip
36.Mushroom tea
37.Liquid spore VS Liquid culture
38.Grain to grain transfer

Overlay and Stroma in Mushroom Cultivation


The process of cultivation psilocybin mushrooms is not only joy and pleasure. There are difficulties and failures. Sooner or later, every mushroom cultivator comes across them. Here we'll show you one of the most common problem in the growing process — stroma, overlay and attendant difficulties.

What is overlay and stroma?

We have 2 news for you.

The good one — overlay and stroma are not contaminants and there are chances to fix the problem.

The bad one — fruiting conditions for mushrooms development were disturbed. So you're not going to get mushrooms at all.

Overlay is a dense mycelial growth that covers the casing surface and shows little or no inclination to form pinheads. Mainly it caused by prolonged mycelial growth into the casing layer. Substrate and casing layer are 100% colonized are at such a risk. However, there are chances to fix the problem.

Stroma is a dense, mat-like growth of mycelia or cushion-like aggregation of mycelium forming on the surface of composts or casings and indicative of somatic (vegetative), not generative growth.

🧬 Such mycelium can absorb nutrients, but can't produce mushroom bodies. At the fruiting stage the cultivator won't be able to influence such genetic changes in any way. But pay attention inappropriate fruiting conditions can be a trigger for awakening genetic changes.

Overlay and stroma look like the same. Cultivators don't distinguish the difference between these two definitions. And it makes sense.

❗️Paul Stemets shares two definitions. He admitted overlay caused by wrong fruiting conditions and stroma caused by genetic changes (inappropriate fruiting conditions could be a trigger).


How to identify overlay

🔴 Visually it is a dense snow-white layer of mycelium resembling fluffy cottony clouds.

1 - start of stroma overlay. 2 - mushroom cake covered by stroma overlay
Step 1 - Start of stroma overlay. Step 2 - mushroom cake covered by stroma overlay


Overlay on psilocybin mushroom cake
Overlay. Psilocybin mushroom cake after rehydration


Overlay and mycelium products
Overlay and mycelium products


Mycelium overlay. Growing psilocybe cubensis
Mycelium overlay. Growing psilocybe cubensis


The difference between normal and overlayed mushroom cakes.

Difference between cakes with fluffy/down-like, Tomentose Mycelium and fruiting cakes with a wiry-type structure, Rhizomorph Mycelium
Difference between cakes with fluffy/down-like, Tomentose Mycelium and fruiting cakes with a wiry-type structure, Rhizomorph Mycelium


Overlay on the cake with blue psilocybin spots. Problems in growing psilocybe Cubensis
Overlay on the cake with blue-gray psilocybin spots. Problems in growing psilocybe cubensis



🔴 To the touch neglected form of overlay like cotton pads or polyurethane foam. It can turn into a dense dry crust that block mushroom cake and doesn't allow air and moisture to pass through. Overlay often accompanied by Mycelium secondary metabolites or mushroom pee (phase 2).

1 - start of overlay. 2 - mycelium turned into crust of overlay
1 - start of overlay. 2 - mycelium turned into crust of overlay


Strange cottony mycelium or mycelium crust
Strange cottony mycelium or mycelium crust


Stroma overlay
Mycelium crust of overlay stroma.


Main causes of overlay

⛔️ Prolonged vegetative period after spawn run and casing. Overexposure of jars with colonized substrate in the incubator. Thus, an overlay can form even in a jar.

Overlay in spawn jar
Overlay in spawn jar


⛔️ Prolonged time for casing layer colonization. Fruiting conditions should be provided when 50-70% of the casing layer is covered with mycelium. Rhizomorph mycelium can stay in the incubator for a longer period.

Too late start of fruiting period for such mushroom cakes.

Fluffy cakes. Overlay. Psilocybe Cubensis F+
Fluffy cakes. Overlay. Psilocybe Cubensis F+


⛔️ Too dry casing layer.

⛔️ Too wet casing layer.

⛔️ Low relative humidity in the growbox (less than 90%).

⛔️ High carbon dioxide concentration (above 600-800 ppm).

To control carbon dioxide level in growbox during mushrooms fruiting period we use Carbon dioxide sensor (CO2 detector). These sensors are also indicate temperature and relative humidity.

All-in-One: Digital СO2 detector
Air Quality monitor: Digital СO2 detector + Thermometer + Hygrometer

Shroomok's Choice on Amazon:

3-in-1: CO2 Detector, Temperature, Humidity - $39.97

3-in-1: Portable CO2 Detector, Temperature, Humidity - LCD Display - $48.99

Air Quality Monitor: CO2, Temperature Humidity - NDIR Channel Sensor, Rechargeable Battery - $71.99

3-in-1: CO2 Meter, Temperature, Humidity; USB Power & Battery - $89.45

Professional 6-in-1: CO2 Detector, Air Pollution, Temperature, Humidity - $89.99

3-in-1: CO2, Temperature, Humidity, Tabletop & Wall Mountable - $129.99

Smart Home - All-in-One - Radon & Air Quality Monitor - $148.76

⛔️ High temperature (25°C or higher). Sharp temperature fluctuations.

⛔️ High evaporation rate. The humidity level in the growbox is high, but it is provided by evaporation from the casing layer instead of misting or using humidifier. This way mushroom cake dries out very quickly.

⛔️ High substrate acidity. To prevent substrate acidification, it is recommended to add buffering agents (limestone flour, dolomitic limestone flour, gypsum, chalk, marl, oyster shells) to the casing layer or secondary substrate for the monotube. Details are in Casing of magic mushrooms cakes

⛔️ Strain degeneration. Many strains from spores may be capable only for vegetative growth. Such mycelium can absorb nutrients, but is unable for pinning and fruit bodies development.

⛔️ Overlay stroma are not simply a disruption of just one fruiting parameter. It is often a complex of several factors. For example:

high temperature + low RH + high CO2 = overlay

low RH + high CO2 = overlay

dry casing layer + high CO2 = overlay

dry casing layer + low RH + high CO2 = overlay

any of parameters + genetic changes = stroma

In fact, if you do not decrease the temperature in the growbox, do not increase relative humidity (RH), do not provide oxygen regularly for mushrooms breathing, mycelium continue vegetative growth like before in the jars and skip mushrooms formation.

Check out Pinhead initiation. Growing parameters for Psilocybe Cubensis


How to fix overlay?

It is impossible for mushrooms to break through the fluffy layer of mycelium and start pinning. Because the top layer of mycelium is literally dead.

Stage 1 on the photos below are mushroom cakes at the start of stroma/overlay formation. Such a problem can be handled by increasing fresh air exchange every 4-6 hours (but not aggressive fanning) or by connecting an aquarium air pump for introducing FAE 24/7.

Stage 2 - poor or almost impossible to be treated.

1 - start of stroma overlay. 2 - mushroom cake covered by stroma overlay
Step 1 - Start of stroma overlay. Step 2 - mushroom cake covered by stroma overlay


1 - start of overlay. 2 - mycelium turned into crust of overlay
1 - start of overlay. 2 - mycelium turned into crust of overlay


How to initiate pin setting

1️⃣ At the first stage of overlay just increase the FAE. Ventilate the growbox every 4-6 hours manually. Maintain a high humidity 95-100% by misting or using humidifier.

Great thing to use is aquarium air pump for constant FAE in the growbox. There is a rock at the end of the hose, it should be dropped into a jar of water. This will filter the incoming air and maintain high humidity level.

Aquarium air pump for FAE
Growbox with aquarium air pump for FAE


The aquarium air pump should be switched on all the time 24/7 during this hard period. This way fresh air exchange in the growbox move all the time and don't worry about high CO2 level. For sufficient FAE use air pump with about 150 liters per hour capacity and higher. This would be enough for growbox of 30-80 liters.

Aquarium air pump for introducing FAE (180 L/hour)
Aquarium air pump for introducing FAE (180 L/hour)
Air pump for growbox
Air pump for growbox (2,5 L/min)

Shroomok's Choice on Amazon:

Quiet Oxygen Pump for 20-100 Gallon - 2 Outlets - $14.99

Air Pump with Dual Outlets - up to 80 Gallon - $16.98

Adjustable Oxygen Pump for 20-100 Gallon - 2 Outlets - $16.99

Powerful Air Pump - for 20-200 Gallon - 2 Outlets - $19.99

2️⃣ Decrease the air temperature in the growbox to +21°..+23°C or 70-74°F.

3️⃣ If there is significant overlay (stage 2), you can use fork-tek and "scratch" the mycelium. This way give air access for mushroom cake. But don't scrape it off completely!

The fork must be sterile! Otherwise, you increase the risk of contamination.

This is a rather blasphemous method, but sometimes it works.

Overlay and fork-tek
Fork-tek and overlay


How to fix overlay? Fork scratch
How to deal with overlay? Mushroom cake after fork scratching


Overlay and fork-tek
Overlay and fork-tek


4️⃣ If casing layer is too dry make rehydration after scratching mycelium with fork. If overlay is not removed, then rehydration is absolutely useless. A demonstration in the photo below.

Magic mushroom cake with overlay in the water
Magic fungi cake with overlay in the water. Mycelium is watertight


Mycelium overlay and rehydration
Mycelium overlay and useless rehydration without fork-tek

Check out How to rehydrate mushroom cake section.

5️⃣ There is a hypothesis that rehydration with a cold shock works as a trigger for pinning. The temperature shock can inhibit the aggressive growth of mycelium on the cakes and stimulate pins and primordia formation.

In our «Cold Shock by Shroomok» experiment this hypothesis was not confirmed. But we are working on gathering data, as one experiment is not enough for final conclusions and recommendations.


A Few Points to Consider

🔴 Don't touch casing layer with your hands. This can provoke contamination. Use sterile gloves (treated with alcohol) when work with mushroom cake.

🔴 Use sterile fork (treated with alcohol) for fork-tek scratching.

🔴 Don't remove top casing layer from mushroom cake! It is direct path for contamination.

🔴 Fork-tek is rather stressful for mycelium. It takes about one week for recovering.

🔴 You may notice that top casing layer is completely dry. In such case rehydration is must have.

🔴 Overlay indicates significant faults in the growing process and the probability to start pinning process is quite low. You can wait for mushrooms too long or you're not going to get them. Be prepared to say goodbye to such cake any moment.

🔴 Overlay is a frequent companion of Tomentose mycelium (fluffy, cottony, cloudy). Rhizomorphic mycelium is less prone to overlay.

🔴 Even if you haven't made mistakes during the colonization and fruiting phase the cause of stroma overlay may be because of poor strain genetics. In that case the mycelium is only capable of vegetative growth. It will actively continue to devour the substrate, but will not be able to form fruiting bodies. Alas, you won't get mushrooms from such cake even in ideal fruiting conditions.


About stroma overlay in our growing experience

A prime example of overlay in our growing experience was Psilocybe Cubensis F+. It was very actively colonizing the substrate. The first signs of mycelium in the jars were already 4 days after inoculation. When casing was 60% colonized with mycelium we've started fruiting phase.

Overlay happened at the fruiting stage in the growbox at +21°...23°C, humidity 99% and FAE 4-6 times a day - fruiting conditions that were successful for other strains.

But in the end we did not get mushrooms from these cakes at all.

We were curious to play with different salvage options. Each mushroom cake with stroma overlay was subjected to a number of experiments: fork-tek, fork-tek with and without rehydration, cold-shocking.

No one was successful. The cake was covered with a new white fluffy mycelium. No pins. No shrooms. Perhaps our cakes were an example genetic stroma degeneration.

After 75 days after inoculation and all our experiments we said goodbye to three Psilocybe Cubensis F+ cakes.

Psilocybe Cubensis cake 1, F+ strain. 75 days after inoculation
Psilocybe Cubensis cake 1, F+ strain. 75 days after inoculation


75-th day after inoculation. Cake before disposing
Psilocybe Cubensis cake 2, F+ strain. 75-th day after inoculation. Cake with overlay before disposing


Psilocybe Cubensis cake 1, F+ strain. 75-th day after inoculation. Cake before disposing.
Psilocybe Cubensis cake 3, F+ strain. 75-th day after inoculation. Cake before disposing.


Accompanying problems with overlay

Check out Mushroom aborts

Aborted psilocybin mushroom example
Mushroom aborts and stroma overlay


Check out Mycelium metabolites or mushroom pee

Mycelium waste products and overlay
Mycelium secondary metabolites and stroma overlay



Full list of all possible contaminants and problems you can check in How To Recognize whether Mushrooms Contaminated or Not section.

Have a Happy growing and healthy shrooms 🙏

Feel free to ask any questions or share your own experience in Shroomok Discord or Shroomok Telegram Chat or in comments to this post ⬇️⬇️⬇️


< Previous
Next >️
📖
1.How to grow mushrooms at home
2.Stuff to buy for growing
3.Liquid mushroom spore syringe
4.Choose and prepare substrate
5.Cooking the substrate
6.Preparing Jars for spawn
7.Substrate sterilization (before adding mushroom spores)
8.Inoculation without glove box
9.Incubator control
10.Casing of mushroom cakes
11.Cold shock for mushrooms
12.DIY Grow Box. Mushrooms fruiting conditions
13.Start of fruiting, pinhead initiation
14.How to make mushroom spore prints
15.Mushroom harvesting time
16.How to dry and store mushrooms
17.Rehydration of mushroom cakes
18.Second flush of mushroom harvest
19.Third flush of mushroom harvest
20.Fourth flush of mushroom harvest
21.Fifth flush of mushroom harvest
22.Sixth flush of mushroom harvest
23.Disposing of mushrooms cakes
24.Mushroom growing statistics with charts
25.Mushroom growing experiments
26.Mushroom growing conclusions
👉Overlay & Stroma
28.Mushroom aborts
29.Mushroom metabolites
30.Mushrooms contaminants
31.Mushroom candies and mushroom chocolate recipes
32.Mushroom capsules for microdosing
33.Mushroom microdosing
34.Preparing for psychedelic trip
35.How to deal with bad trip
36.Mushroom tea
37.Liquid spore VS Liquid culture
38.Grain to grain transfer

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