PF DOUBLE ENDED CAKE CASING TEK


The photo on the left is a second flush off of a PF spore race cake. The first flush was an automatic flush - sans casing - initiated by invitro primordiation. The cake on the right is a third flush.

First: In Vitro Primordiation

There are many ways to extend the life of a cake and get more shrooms. The essential pf tek is to always allow primordia to appear on the cake in vitro. But not only that, wait for more. So when you spot the first primordia, wait around 3 to 4 more days before birthing. This stimulates more of them, and then your first flush will be fat. This invitro primodiation works well with only the PF spore race. All of the others that I have seen, need to be birthed after about a month invitro, and then given the casing treatment.

Second: The Casing

After the first flush is done, clean the cake of all abhorted primordia and fungi nubs (a sharp knife blade will work). fill a jar cap with vermiculite, soak it and drain it. Place the now cleaned post first flush cake upside down on top of the wet vermiculite (top left photo). Carefully wet the now top vermiculite layer (a thin layer that adheres to the cake) that used to be on the bottom. When the cake is first birthed, most of this top layer is scraped away, but there will be a thin layer that adheres to the fungi. This becomes the top casing layer. Another thing you can try is to soak and drain some vermiculite and with a spoon, smear it on the top over the thinner top vermiculite layer to get a thicker top layer which can add even more water to the cake. That is what this is, a rehydration of the cake. It is the new water that stimulates more fruiting. Also, from the bottom they will reappear growing from the wet vermiculite (as in the top right photo - 3rd flush). It is sort of a double casing technique (cased on top and bottom). You can get decent bumper crops this way.

Spraying and maintenance

Once you set the cake upside down, spray the now top casing layer a few times. You can soak it, but be careful to not overdo it. Do this once or twice a day, when you air the cakes and mist them. This will feed the cakes water - gradually. The cakes will turn white again. As soon as you spot primordia appearing in the casing layer, cease spraying the casing directly and let the primordia go for it. This is why it is probably important to not use a thick upper casing layer. As soon as the primordia start appearing, spraying them can rot them. When you spot the new primordia - employ the neglect tek.

The cake whitening phenomenon

One of the most interesting effects of this tek, is the revitalization of the cake. After the initial fruiting, if it is really fat, the cake will be a bit blued. One of the signs of old age in PF cakes is the blueing that will occur. Most likely, the cause of this overall blueing of the cake is moisture loss and thirst of the cake. When the PF double ended cake casing tek is employed, the cake will gradually turn white again. After about a week under the casing tek, the cake will be completely white again and on its way to a good second flush.

CASING AND RECASING

This casing tek seems to work better if you completely clean the cake after the first casing flush and recase with fresh vermiculite. After the flush occurs, the top and bottom vermiculite layers should be scraped off and replaced. A good way to do it is like peeling an apple. Hold the cake in your hand without squeezing, and with a knife, scrap the old vermiculite off the cake. Try to clean down to the surface of the cake. The scraping doesn't hurt the cake at all because these older cakes become "tougher". The mycelium tends to be "tighter" and less fluffy and the cake becomes contamination resistant. This "toughening up" and recasing of the mycelial cake is also reported in the old OSS and OERIC (McKenna brothers) mushroom cultivation book published in 1976.

After the cake is carefully cleaned (rather a painstaking procedure but not difficult), the cake is placed on a freshly soaked and drained bottom layer of vermiculite (on a plate or in a jar cap). Then, fresh dry vermiculite is poured over the top of the cake and smoothed down to a layer of 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. A thin layer is the best way to go because the shrooms can easily fruit out of it without making their way through a thick layer.

The spray bottle offers a good way to drip water onto the casing. By slowly squeezing the spray lever, the water will drip out in single drops. You can also use an eye dropper. Slowly wet the top layer. If you apply to much water and it over soaks the vermiculite, the cake can be tilted and excess water drained from the top vermiculite layer.

After every flush - reclean the cake and apply fresh vermiculite. What this does is prevent contaminants from building up. The cakes stay uncontaminated and fruitable for a good two to three months. You can get several flushes out of a properly cared for cake. This long life for a cake is essential for good Treasure Coast fruiting since the TC has the longest gestation period of any of these races and needs extra time. This casing tek keeps the cake white and uncontaminated for its life duration. And scince the TC has a cake life of at least 4 months, the PF double ended casing tek is a must for the Treasure Coast (don't bother with invitro primordiation with the TC - it doesn't work at all).

Psylocybe Fanaticus
Seattle Washington USA
updated - November 3 1999

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