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Cube2, or The Outdoor Cultivation of Psilocybe cubensis by Gerald Peppard

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Cube2, or The Outdoor Cultivation of Psilocybe cubensis

by Gerald Peppard

We have seen a plethora of information on indoor cultivation. But what I find amazing is there is little or no information on outdoor cultivation of Psilocybe cubensis. Let me ask you a couple of questions: Are you tired of small mushrooms? Would you like a mushroom the size of a small dinner plate? Are frustrated by the number of steps involved? Are you always worrie about the posibility of contamination?

This species (P. cubensis) can be grown outdoors with a high rate of success and all with a limted amount of money and time. Eventhough P. cubensis is a warm sub-tropical mushroom, I believe it can be grown outdoors as far north as Canada. In order for a mushroom to grow it must have the right enviroment. As long as you meet the requirements, anybody can be succesfull.

Let`s talk about a location for these wonderous creatures. Clumps of grass, yes that`s right clumps of grass. You can look at a clump of grass as if it was a terrium. The grass will act like a barrier and keep humidity at a high level for well over 6 days. If the humidity level ever drops to low, take a hand mister and spray until the desired level of humidity is reached. The grass will then help with a couple of things by filtering the sun and absorbing CO2 during the day.

What substrate is suitable? Aged cow dung is best: but I would say horse dung might be a good subsitute. A good way to determine whether or not the dung is aged enough, is observing other fungi growing from the dung. Some of the species you might encounter are Psilocybe, Panaeolus, Coprinus, etc... Another way of determining whether dung is aged enough is checking it out. I like to take my walking stick and flip the pies upside down and then break it in half with my stick to check the moisture content. It should be the same consistency throughout the whole piece of dung, dry. After awhile you will be able to judge what is suitable and what is not. Once it is determined to be suitable, pick it up and place it in a collection bag. A good bag for collecting cow pies is an old pillow case. For those of you who are a little squeamish about handling cow dung, go buy a pair of RubberMaid kitchen gloves. Pick up all sizes of dung for your future endeavor.

Personally I don`t pretreat my cow dung before use. The problem I see with pretreating the dung, is there is a chance you might kill some of the beneficial microbes. Besides that P. cubensis mycelium is known for its rapid and highly aggressive behavior. There are maybe a few other fungi whose mycelium can compete with P. cubensis in the wild. Here are a few suggestions for those of you who want to pretreat their dung. First take the dung and place it on a cookie sheet. Then place the dung in the oven at 150 degrees for 30 minutes. Second you can microwave 4 cups dung with a 1 cup of water for about 5 minutes.

Watering your homemade cow pie is not difficult, just water the pie every 3 to 5 days. How much water to apply depends on how big of a pie you made. Personally I like to collect rainwater for my pies; but tap water will do if you let it stand for 24 hours before use. Water the pies directly from the top with a watering can. Apply the water all over the pie while allowing at least 60% of the water to flow through the medium and loose substate. This will allow the water to transfer itself throughout the whole pie. Overwatering is not hard to do, so when the water comes rushing from out the pie you have overwatered. If you do overwater just add 1 to 2 days to your normal watering schedule before you water next.

Look around your yard and find a healthy clump of grass. An ideal clump of grass would be over 2 feet high with a diameter 2 to 3 feet. Clean out the middle of the clump to a diameter of 1 to 1 and a half feet. There should be nothing in the middle of the grass clump except bare ground. (fig 1)

Now is a good time to seperate the dung into three piles; large, medium, and small crumbled up pieces. (fig 2) If you don`t have enough medium pieces break up some of your large pieces. The same goes with the small pieces just crumble up some medium or large pieces. Soak your dung at least 2 to 4 hours in a large container. When done soaking wring out the crumbled up dung to the point where it is moist; but not soaking wet.

Fill in the area you had previously cleaned out with a 2 inch layer of the small substrate.

Take a print or a syringe and apply half of your spores on the exposed substrate. Place the larger pieces of substrate along the edge of the small substrate.

Fill in the inside with the medium substrate, and fill in the cracks and crevices with the small loose substrate. Use the rest of your spores and apply them to the top of your homade cow pie. Take the the grass that surrounds your homemade pie and fold it over. The idea is to make a dome, and not to have the grass lay flat on top of your substrate. Wait until your pie slightly dries up before you water the pie for the first time.

In Spring it would be best to wait until the night temps average in the mid 50`s and the day temps were at least in the high 60`s. The more you water the substrate the faster the mycelium will grow once it is established. Don`t overwater because your mycelium can drown. When you are ready, let your substrate dry up somewhat and those cubes will begin to pop up. I f you have the urge to water more when the caps start sprouting or the humidity level is to low use a hand mister. After a flush you may water the pie heavily again. Then just repeat the process through out the growing season. It is that simple and there is no worry of contamination or the use of sterile techniques.

This document Copyright Gerald Peppard

Created 7/31/2001 3:37:40
Modified 7/31/2001 3:40:17
Leda version 1.4.3