Hello, this is my first real post on Mycotopia! I am working on a video for this but I like to make written versions of my TEKs in addition to the videos, and many people had been requesting that I publicly document this one, so here it is (this TEK has not be published on any other forum)...
First some background, why even bother to grow Pan cyans? Many used to consider the species hard to grow, it requires a substrate that is more difficult to find ingredients for, and yields are FAR lower compared to cubensis. So what's the point? I was a skeptic myself, but as I read more and more, my curiosity was peaked. It is well documented that this species can be as much as three times more potent than cubensis, but that alone doesn't really matter -- what difference does it make if one takes a gram of pan cyans or 3g of cubensis? And yet anecdotes consistently suggested that there IS a difference. Some old timers describe this species as "the crown jewel" of psychedelic mushrooms. Some growers will ONLY grow this species. Various comments suggest that this species produces a different type of experience, common in descriptions are: no nausea, pleasant body high, better visuals, no body load, less fear and anxiety, euphoria, smoother and gentler on the mind. I wondered, is there a plausible scientific explanation for this? Aren't the active compounds the same? Well it turns out there are actually dozens if not hundreds of compounds in these mushrooms and they aren't all that well understood yet, in fact it was only recently that scientists even discovered beta carbolines in some species of psychedelic mushrooms (also note that two currently known species of mushroom contain aeruginascin which is associated with anecdotes of euphoria). So it is plausible that the chemistry of this species is just unique enough to give it the positive characteristics that have been attributed to it. After doing a bit of digging I found that researchers documented in 1992 that pan cyans produce serotonin which perhaps contributes to an entourage effect including positive mood (same paper documented 'slight euphoria' in test subjects, but I think their samples were weak in general). The lower mushroom fiber/bulk has benefits as well particularly with regard to comfort and lack of nausea because such a small dose is so potent. All this said, I would still LOVE to see some double blind studies conducted to properly compare species in a careful, dose controlled manner.
Other anecdotes found in published literature corroborate the anecdotes found online. For example see A Novel Experience with Panaeolus A Case Study from Hawaii (Journal of Psychoactive Drugs): "I experienced stimulation which seemed to involve both a psychic and a somatic component resulting in a pleasant sense of wellbeing. No one present expressed any feelings of dysphoria or unpleasant somatic disturbances, and no adverse reactions were observed throughout the evening... When looking out the window some of us perceived moisture and felt as though it were raining, but when David and I went outside later in the evening, we discovered that it was in fact quite dry. We concluded that the robust sound of cicada may have given us the impression of rain and that perhaps we had experienced hallucinatory synesthesia. The ocean was vividly glowing in the distance, the clouds blowing across the sky were magnificent, and the entire setting produced a truly spectacular feeling of being aIive."
I studied most of the TEKs out there for growing this species and looked at all of the videos on YouTube of this species growing out in nature. Pan cyans thrive on massive amounts of fresh/moving air, and wild mushroom hunters report that it pops up often after 3 or 4 back to back days of rain and high humidity. It is often found in wide open, breezy fields. It likes massive humidity and massive air exchange. Growers have devised all sorts of complicated and expensive ways to meet these requirements, sometimes using mini greenhouses, humidistats, ventilation systems, aquarium pumps, bubbler machines, and more. After some experimentation, research, and trial and error, I found a much simpler way that is very effective and requires minimal investment. Here is what I came up with that worked well:
First, I assume you have your grain spawn, as you will need that before doing anything else, so get some spores. Either make or buy a spore syringe or put your spores to agar then to grain, all that is just mushroom 101 and nothing specific to this species so I'll skip all that (I have a vid showing those steps but won't link to it until I know its OK to post such links in this forum).
Possibly important note: I tried four different Pan cyans strains and the most promising was called "Estero" (a Florida strain) it had the most vigorous growth, it was an aggressive colonizer, and perhaps more importantly it produces the thickest/meatiest mushrooms I've seen compared to all pan cyans strains with photos that I've been able to find online - this is important for final yield because this species produces tiny mushrooms compared to other species. But if you are not able to find the Estero strain, don't worry about using another strain, the only one I would suggest avoiding are the Jamaican strains as they are more prone to overgrowing the casing layer and failing to fruit. I would also recommend starting with agar and transferring an isolated strain, but spore syringe direct to mycobag or grain jars can work too.
Shake your grain at about 20 to 30% colonization to speed full colonization. Millet is my preferred grain, but oats and other grains work too.
Go to dollar tree and buy five 13x9x2 foil cake pans, they are 2 for $1 or one for $1 if you get the version with a clear lid (clear lid is nice, you can monitor the growth easily). The foil cake pans look like this:
If you want 30 of them you can find them here. Just under 2" height is fine, don't go over 2", very important. If for some reason you just don't like the idea of your mycelium munching on aluminum, you can also use glass pans, they are way more expensive but they work fine and allow you to see what's happening below the surface too. I've used both and got the same results with both.
GordoTEK Pans Cyans Substrate recipe for five cake pans (9x13x2) - ingredients are measured BY VOLUME not weight and you will use one of your cake pans to measure them:
- Vermiculite: fill a cake pan HALF WAY with vermiculite (approximately 1 inch depth).
- Field aged horse manure: fill one cake pan level to the top (if you can't find a horse owner/stable within a reasonable drive, you can buy this online I found a real nice stable owner that had TONS of it all piled up who was happy to get rid of some, go into google maps and type "horse stable" into the search box). You don't want the fresh stuff, older is better.
- 1/4 cup gypsum (optional)
- Chopped straw (buy it pre-chopped from Tractor supply or chop it yourself to 1 to 3 inch length): fill to top of pan TWICE with only light patting down, not packed (even with pre-chopped straw, you may need to cut some longer pieces down, just use scissors or tear by hand, not a big deal).
- Hot Tap Water: 2500ml (may need less if manure is wet, more if manure is bone dry)
Mix all of the above in a 5 gallon bucket or a tote, mix very thoroughly, grab a handful and squeeze to determine if you have too much or too little water. You want a good amount of dripping when squeezing hard, but not streaming of water. The mix should be a little more wet than what most mushroom growers are used to, all of these ingredients will soak up and retain water so by the time you use it it will not be excessively wet. This species likes higher than average wetness. It might look as if it's almost all straw, this is right, the Pan cyans species is predominantly a GRASS lover, not a dung lover as many once believed.
Load the substrate into mycobags. Now you could sterilize by pressure cooking for 1.5 hours at 17psi (or 2 hours at 15psi) this worked fine for me, but pasteurizing is probably better, see: If you want to minimize the risk of trichoderma contamination it is best to pasteurize not sterilize. You can do this by using any large pot or pressure cooker without sealing it shut (keep the wobble weight off). Put 3 liters of water in the pot so it will not run dry. Use a probe meat thermometer with temp alarm and bring the internal temp of your substrate to 140F (60C) then start a timer for 60 minutes, do not allow the internal substrate temp to exceed 160F (71C). [Note: I am also experimenting with the idea of simply adding boiling hot water to the dry substrate ingredients and spawning as soon as it cools, not sure yet how well that works, will update later, I can say that fresh green grass is likely to grow out of that, haha]
After the substrate cools spawn it as soon as possible. Prepare your grain spawn by shaking it up.
Transfer your substrate into the cake pans, only fill to 3/4 full. This substrate is more prone to contamination than a coir based substrate, if you have a flow hood do this step in front of it, or use a still air box, otherwise you can try an idea I came up with I'll call "the drop cloth method": thoroughly clean and sanitize a table, put your cake pans, grain spawn, isoproply alcohol spray bottle, scissors, and substrate on the table, then throw a thin clear plastic drop cloth over everything. Spray down everything with isopropyl alcohol and then only manipulate things from above though the drop cloth without actually touching anything. It is possible to pick things up, spray the sanitizer, and even operate a pair of scissors through the drop cloth without actually directly touching anything under the drop cloth with your hands! This method seemed to work well for me in testing. If you don't have problems with contamination, you can try doing this in open air too.
Note: An alternative to the above is to add your grain spawn directly to the mycobag after it is cooled and seal the mycobag, shake and let it colonize there for a week before transferring it to your cake pans - I tried this and it worked but cost an extra week of time as it will have to recolonize for another week after you transfer it to the cake pans. I would only recommend this if you are having problems with contamination.
Add about 1 lb. of grain spawn to each cake pan (which is 3/4 full of substrate at this point), you can just eyeball it, you want to basically cover the entire surface with a thin layer of grain spawn. Mix the grain spawn in evenly distributed throughout (you can mix it right through the drop cloth). There should be about a 1/4 inch space between the cake pan top and the spawned substrate, this is important because we will be adding a thin casing layer later that will go right up to the very top of the pan. After mixing the spawn in, try your best to make the surface even and level, you can gently pat it down but don't pack it down.
Either cover the cake pan with tin foil and poke 6 small holes in the foil with a sharp knife, or use a clear top lid on your cake pan if it came with one. It is much easier to monitor the growth with a clear top.
Let these sit at temps between 70-85F and fully colonize, it should take about 6-7 days at the higher temp if your grain spawn is good, it will take longer at lower temps or if your grain spawn was not fully colonized or you did not use enough of it. I would not recommend taking the tops off until you are confident it is fully colonized or at least 7 days have passed, AND only uncover after you have sterile casing mix ready to immediately apply. It should look like this:
After the substrate is fully colonized, it will look almost completely white, uncover and add your casing layer:
Pans Cyans Casing Layer Recipe:
- 2 quarts peat moss
- 2 quarts vermiculte
- 15g calcium hydroxide (pickling lime) (or 40g calcium carbonate) mixed into
- 1 quart water
Combine ingredients and pressure cook for 30 minutes (simply adding boiling water instead of pressure cooking is probably fine). After it cools add it to the top of each colonized cake pan in a thin smooth even layer - you can use a sanitized rolling pin or pipe to smooth it out if you want. Spray the casing layer down heavily with tap water after it is in place.
Set the cake pans in any location that can act as a "sink/catch" for fog, I recommend a bath tub, a kiddie pool will work, or you can simply throw a plastic tarp or drop cloth ($1 at Dollar Tree in the paint supplies section) over a bunch of boxes or anything else you have laying around to create a makeshift "tub/pool". Make sure whatever room you use has been thoroughly cleaned in advance, scrub the tub or kiddie pool with sanitizer wipes or dilute bleach solution. From this point on, there will be absolutely no cover over your cake pans, completely open for maximum air flow. There is little risk of contamination after casing.
If outside temps are 70F-85F (21C-29C) you can open a window. Some growers like to have additional fans running for more air circulation but I found this to be unnecessary, the humidifier itself creates nice air currents that stream over the surface of the blocks and this is all you need. I did not use electric light, just natural indirect sunlight from the windows in the room, but if your room has no light, you can use 12 hour on, 12 hour off lighting with a simple LED bulb ($1 at the dollar store). You could put the light on a timer but since you will be adding water to a humidifier once a day it's probably just as easy to turn the light on and add the water every morning when you wake up and turn the light off when you go to bed.
Another recommended one is here but it might have to be modified to project forward instead of up (you can easily do that by buying a 3" PVC elbow from any good hardware store, measure your humidifier first to make sure you get the right size).
It's a simple friction fit only, and should fit perfectly on the recommended humidifier. Note: it's a good idea to tie a string around (or use a bungi cord) your humidifier and anchor it if you think it could fall forward, this is something I do now after crushing a pan of fruiting mushrooms, haha.
Set the humidifier at the top edge of your "pool/tub" elevated, so it throws mist out and forward into your tub. It does NOT need to be on the highest setting, a mid range setting may be fine, but you want it to be throwing out some serious fog. If you use a hygrometer near your tub, it's going to go up to about 95% RH (don't leave your hygrometer there too long or it will likely fail). Plug the humidifier into a timer so that it goes on for 30 minutes then off for 30 minutes, around the clock (so it will be on for 12 hours a day total, every day). These timers work fine, are inexpensive and have good reviews, very easy to set:
(push button timer set to alternate on/off every half hour)
You want room temps between 70F to 85F, however if you are growing in a cold climate during the winter and your indoor temps are below 70F, you can still have success (details below toward the end).
At this point, you just need to monitor it a little bit for the first day to make sure you don't have the humidity setting too high or too low. You don't want pools of water forming, just a nice fog/mist over your cake pans. If you get one of the high capacity humidifiers I recommend, you will only need to add water once a day. From that point on, it should be "set it and forget it".
You should see pins in 6-7 days. If at any time the substrate looks dry you can spray it with water. After it begins fruiting, you can harvest the mushrooms as they mature, this species sort of goes into almost "continuous fruiting mode" with wave after wave of mushrooms. You should get pretty thick carpets of mushrooms using this TEK, some flushes will be thicker than others:
(Note in the top left is a glass pan just to show you that they work fine too)
With flush after flush, a single grow could produce a lifetime supply for some people. A good strain can produce a crop that is strong enough to hold up a cell phone.
These can be harvested by cutting at the base with a sharp knife OR by gently twisting and pulling them out but there will usually be pins for the next crop all over the surface so try to avoid damaging those (I prefer using a long sharp knife). Note all the pins at the surface in this pic:
After a harvest pour 1 cup of water as evenly as possible over the entire surface of the pan. It’s going to look like an excessive amount of water, but it’s not. At any given time, if it looked a little dry I would also spray the surface with a spray bottle of tap water (dollar store spray bottle is fine). The rumors that spraying water directly onto pins will kill them or cause them to abort have been debunked (by me). I have sprayed around, and even directly on pins just to see what would happen, and it didn't cause any problems, I have also directly sprayed the mushroom fruit bodies to see what would happen, it didn't make any difference. Remember how much this species loves rain.
Dry in a dehydrator, homogenize by blending, and pack into 00 capsules as shown in my bulk mushroom grow video. Store in a sealed glass jar, at room temp, in a dark place. These are typically 3 times as potent as cubensis, so take 1/3 less. A single capsule (0.5g) is a good starter/test dose to get a feel for the species. A sensitive person might have 2 hours of closed eye visuals on such a dose. One gram (two capsules) could be considered a high dose for some people similar to a 3 gram trip with cubensis. 2-3 grams could be very unpleasant for many people - you have been warned! Use moderation, homogenize your dose, and only increment in small (half gram) steps after trying lower doses first.
Q: Should I line the cake pans?
A: NO, do not line them, it's actually good that the mycelium eats through it very slowly, this ensures the cake pans will not take on excess water, the water literally drips right through the pan, it's perfect. I considered poking some pinpoint holes in the pans, but that might leave it vulnerable before full colonization, then I found that after full colonization, the pans become porous on their own with the help of the mycelium - this turns out to be ideal. If for some reason you just don't like the idea of your mycelium munching on aluminum, you can also use glass pans, they are more expensive but they work fine.
Q: What if I don't have an available tub/pool/tarp/space for this?
A: The alternative is to use a mini greenhouse and pipe the moisture in from the top (you can use pvc pipe or flex tubing connected to your humidifier to do this). It costs more and is harder to setup, but it may be the best option for someone that doesn't have an otherwise suitable location to use for the grow.
Q: So did I think there was a difference between this species and cubes when all was said and done?
A: I want to avoid tainting other people's experiences by setting expectations. I will just say this much, I DO believe there is a difference. Perhaps this was just due to my OWN preconceptions? I don't want to overhype it, since there is not much scientific investigation into this matter yet. But I can tell you this, I doubt I'll use cubes again! With the pan cyans the visuals were outstanding and the body high was wonderful, that's all I'll say. Be very careful about the dosing, easy to overdo it. Use a gem scale. If you go over about 2 grams the experience can actually be quite overwhelming and negative for some people.
Q: Can I grow these in a cold room (winter grow in cold climates)?
A: I experimented with a cold room grow at 60F to 65F, by putting a short/long tote (the kind that is designed to fit under a bed) with water in it and an aquarium heater in the water set to the low 80s F, with the cake pans sitting on top of that tote (as shown below). The surface of the mushroom block is pretty close to ambient temps (60F to 65F) but the bottom (top of tote with water) is around 75F. I wasn't sure if it would fruit in those conditions, but much to my delight this actually works well:
For the spawn run, I stuck the cake pans on a short shelf, covered the whole shelf with a clear plastic drop cloth (you could use a blanket or tarp) and put a heater at the bottom to keep the temp around 77F using a thermostatic switch but you could also put a small container of water at the bottom with an aquarium heater in it to provide enough heat for the small space too (aquarium heaters are inexpensive, effective, and don't require a separate thermostatic switch).