On online forums, the question of what is a good time to pick mushrooms often arises. Users paste photos asking if the fruiting bodies of the mushroom, in one state or another, are ready for harvest. It is not uncommon to also come across a question regarding. The effect of the method of harvesting mushrooms on their potency. We even encountered the statement that the harvesting moment has no effect on power…. nothing could be further from the truth.
With mushrooms is like with many other fields, in order to get the most benefit from the relationship with the mushroom at the stage of breeding, you need to give a little from yourself, gain knowledge and understand the process from the very beginning 🙂
The Life Cycle of the Magic Mushroom
A psilocybin mushroom such as that of Growkit Golden Teacher or Mazatapec, like many others of its species…. has its own life cycle, understanding it will help you pinpoint the right time to harvest it
The aforementioned life cycle of the fungus can be divided into five stages.
- Stem node
But first, what is a fungus anyway?
It’s a creature not quite plant, not quite animal – mushrooms belong to the kingdom of fungi. Which, by comparison, is more closely related to animals than to plants!
And the mushroom fruiting body that comes to mind when we think of mushrooms is a tiny part of a larger cycle.
In the case of psilocybin mushroom cultivation, the life cycle is of interest from the moment the mycelium is formed.
Mycelium is the vegetative part of the fungus, which decomposes organic matter (in our case it is the so-called “cake” of growkit, prepared under laboratory conditions) and absorbs nutrients from the soil. It is the mycelium that you can buy in our growkits
The first sign visible to the naked eye is a sagittal knot. This is when the mycelium binds together to form a node near the soil surface, which will soon develop into pins (small mushrooms).
These pins are visible to the naked eye.
In its final form, it consists of a hat with gills, a leg and, of course, a thread of mycelium at the base.
And as with most things in nature, the whole story is being written once again: spores are released from the gills of the fungus, looking for a suitable place to land, germinate, grow a stalk, form a mycelium, condense into a knot of stalks and form yet another fungus.
Talking about the cycle is important if we are discussing when to pick magic mushrooms, because we need to know that our little competitors exist only to create spores, until then mushrooms have the most vital energy and psilocybin.
That would be it in terms of the general knowledge we need to work properly with psilocybin mushroom cultivation.
However, if the subject of mushrooms as such, as a phenomenon, has interested you, it is worth reading the wonderful book “The Secret Life of Mushrooms” by Robert Hofrichter.
“They are not plants or animals, they mostly live in hiding. Yet without mushrooms, there would be no our forests, no climate, and perhaps no life on Earth as we know it today. Mushrooms are masters of the world, they have unusual qualities, they make surprising alliances, and they are full of unsolved mysteries. Robert Hofrichter opens our eyes to the invisible ecological universe that stretches beneath our feet – and not only there! The book is not a lexicon or atlas of mushrooms. It’s not all about tips on how to collect and prepare these – sometimes tasty, sometimes tricky – treasures of the forests. Rather, it aims to make readers amazed by this unknown cosmos and its fascinating relationships.
So let’s take an exciting trip through the mysterious world of mushrooms. In it we will meet real aristocrats and devious crooks, helpful networks and stunning masters of transformation. Above all, however, we will learn a lot about the context of life, a world full of symbiosis, partnership and helpful support.
Let’s allow ourselves to be enchanted!”
When to collect Magic Mushrooms
But how do you recognize that crucial moment to pick mushrooms? Observation of the membrane of mushrooms is necessary to be sure when is the right moment magic mushrooms no matter what variety we are dealing with(Golden Teacher, Ecuadorian or Mazatapec). However, there is a general rule – better too early than too late.
Picking psilocybin mushrooms at the right time
The right timing for picking magic mushrooms is crucial for maximizing future casts and making the most of the mycelium “cake” we have. Choosing when to pick mushrooms comes down to watching the veil, the thin membrane on the underside of the cap that holds the spores in the mushroom.
When the fungus matures, this veil breaks and the spores are released, ready for the next generation of fungi to grow. In a situation where we miss the right moment and the spores spill out of the cap, our mycelium will produce far fewer new pins and finished mushrooms as a consequence
Another reason for keeping an eye on the right time to harvest is the fact – agreeing with what we wrote earlier – that once the spores are ejected, the fungus completes its cycle, loses vitality, and the production of psilocybin we care about does not increase. The mushroom may still grow, but from the perspective of the intention with which we grow these mushrooms, it is pointless. The fungus will grow, but psilocybin levels will remain the same. Unfortunately, the size of the mushroom does not indicate its power, the opposite may be true. It is better that such large specimens do not “eat” our mycelium because, as they say, “all the steam will go to the whistle.”
When to pick Magic Mushrooms – What is the right time?
The right time to pick mushrooms is just before the veil is torn.
The aforementioned veil, also called a membrane, is located on the lower part of the hat and covers the gills.
Sometimes, even in a single cast, there can be quite a wide range between the final sizes of individual mushrooms. Ultimately, it is wrong to assume that just because some are quite large, all others will grow to a similar size once they reach their final form. Each mushroom is a separate story and they should not be measured by the same yardstick as with humans 😉
When to pick Magic Mushrooms? It is important to start harvesting when the membranes (also called veils) are light in color. The right moment is when they begin to darken.
How do you recognize that it’s already too late?
It has to happen someday, because, as we know, we learn best from our mistakes. It is good to know when we have made a mistake, how do we recognize it? When to pick Magic Mushrooms?
When the veil is torn, it will fall off the stem and separate from the lower part of the hat, revealing the gills at the same time. In the beginning, the detachment may occur piecemeal, but the rest will tear further in a short time. The membrane that fell blackened, darkening will immediately begin the rest of the fungus.
Here we are heading to the end of the adventure. Because right now the fungus is starting to die, as it has served its purpose. It will continue to darken, droop and eventually crack. Such a fungus at the base will have a lot of spores. However, the conditions in which they are now located are not conducive to proliferation, unfortunately, the only result will be a modest next cast or a complete lack of new fruiting bodies. How should psilocybin mushrooms be harvested?
How should psilocybin mushrooms be harvested?
In short, it should be done carefully. In the same way we pick normal mushrooms in the forest. It is necessary to take care of the mycelium without tugging them, gently twisting them. In the case of such sensitive mushrooms as those that can be grown from our growkits, it is worthwhile to take care of the hygiene of the harvesting site, disinfect your hands so as not to “infect” the mycelium, as it is supposed to give birth to the next cast for us.