How do i grow mushrooms

Learn How To Grow Mushrooms

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The Best Beginner Guide On The Net

We are reliable professionals with years of experience. We are here to show you how easy it is to grow mushrooms on a very low budget. Depending on how serious you want to get into growing a small setup that could produce 2-4 ounces dry a month could be less than 200 US$. There are many other things you can purchase that will drastically increase potency, yield and less harvest time. I will list everything you need to know about growing and also show you what items you will need.

Is It Legal To Grow Hallucinogenic Mushroom's?



The legal status of psilocybin mushrooms varies world-wide. Psilocybin and psilocin are listed as Schedule I drugs. However, psilocybin mushrooms have had numerous medicinal and religious uses in dozens of cultures throughout history and have a drastically lower potential for abuse than other Schedule I drugs. In the US Magic Mushrooms are ILLEGAL BUT..

The legal status of Psilocybe spores is even more ambiguous, as the spores contain neither psilocybin nor psilocin, and hence are not illegal to sell or possess in many jurisdictions, though many urisdictions will prosecute under broader laws prohibiting items that are used in drug manufacture.

A few jurisdictions (such as the US states of California, Georgia and Idaho) have specifically prohibited the sale and possession of psilocybin mushroom spores.

In short if you live in the US you may purchase spores that will grow magic mushrooms accept in California, Georgia and Idaho. You can purchase theses spores online or at local headshops. Spores sold in the US are intended for microscopic use only! This guide is not intended for growing illegal mushrooms but the pictures displayed on this site are of Psilocybe mushrooms and only used as an example.

Check Legal Status

Highly Recommended Books

Here you'll find a selection of recommended books every mushroom cultivator, mushroom hunter and psychonaut should have.
If you order a book from this selection we receives a certain percentage of the sales.

If you have any questions or book suggestions please contact me

Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms
by Paul Stamets
2000-12-01
Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms List Price: $45.00
Our Price: $29.70
Used Price: $26.73
In this manual for utilizing mushrooms through the 21st century, Paul Stamets provides a detailed growth parameters for 25 mushrooms species, mycological landscaping, state-of-the-art production techniques for home and commercial cultivation, plus more. A great book to use along with The Mushroom Cultivator : A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home.

Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World : An Identification Guide
by Paul Stamets, Andrew Weil (Introduction)
1996-10-01
Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World : An Identification Guide List Price: $32.50
Our Price: $21.45
Used Price: $17.27
This book is the best single resource for information about Psilocybin mushrooms. The book starts out with a brief history of the use of these mushrooms, and then moves on to a general review on their nature and habitat. There is an extensive section listing many different kinds of Psilocybe and similar mushrooms with a thorough description and photograph on most of them.

Mushrooms Demystified : A Comprehensive Guide to the Fleshy Fungi
by David Arora
1986-10-01
Mushrooms Demystified : A Comprehensive Guide to the Fleshy Fungi List Price: $39.95
Our Price: $26.37
Used Price: $20.53
Nothing is more elusive and mysterious than the wild mushroom. David Arora celebrates the gathering and study of wild mushrooms with engaging style, wit and simple terminology. Mushrooms Demystified includes descriptions, photographs, and keys to over 2,000 species. There is a Beginner's Checklist of the 70 most distinctive and common mushrooms plus detailed chapters on terminology, classification, habitats, mushroom cookery, mushroom toxins, and the meanings of scientific mushroom names. A must have!

Mushroom Cultivator : A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home
by Paul Stamets, J.S. Chilton
1984-10-01
Mushroom Cultivator : A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home List Price: $34.95
Our Price: $23.07
Used Price: $20.50
Published back in 1983 this book is still seen by many as the standard book on mushroom cultivation. It covers all fields of mushroom cultivation in great detail, including sterile technique, spawn and substrate formulas and preparation(including compost), detailed descriptions and growth parameters for 16 mushroom species:
Agaricus bitorquis, Agaricus brunnescens, Coprinus comatus, Flammulina velutipes, Lentinus edodes, Lepista nuda, Panaeolus cyanescens, Panaeolus subbalteatus, Pleurotus ostreatus (Type Variety), Pleurotus ostreatus (Florida Variety), Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe cyanescens, Psilocybe mexicana, Psilocybe tampanensis, Stropharia rugoso-annulata, Volvariella volvacea
In addition to this a big section about the contaminations of the mushroom culture and a troubleshooting guide.
Now, do you really need this book? If your only goal is to grow a few PF-cakes, you don´t need it. If your interests go beyond that, then this is a must have!

Grow Mushrooms Using The Pf-Tek Method

The PF-Tek was developed and first made public in 1992. This tek made the cultivation of mushrooms at home feasible for complete beginners utilizing commonly available materials. The growing method I'm about to show you is based on the PF-tek but includes a some modifications that were time tested, and are in my opinion superior to any other beginners method. First i will post a few videos for you to watch in-order to get a general idea of just what exactly the Pf-Tek is and what you will need to do.

The PF-TEK sounds complicated can i buy grow kits?

If you wish to go the easy route you can visit our affiliates to purchase all your mushroom growing needs!
Mushbox

mushbox has a variety of grow kits, substrates, and all the parts necessary for building your own customized growing system. The only thing we don't have is the actual mushroom spores or cultures. Link to Mushbox

Buying quality grow kits
Click on the kit to view where to buy!
The Mycozone Ecosystem
Other cultivation equipment


OVERVIEW OF PF-TEK

  • Brown rice powder, vermiculite and water are mixed and loaded into a 1/2 pint jar, which is steam sterilized. The jar is then inoculated by the spore syringe.
  • After the substrate cake in the jar colonizes and begins to show signs of fruiting, the cake is released from the jar and placed into the dual chambered terrarium to fruit.

BASIC MATERIALS LIST FOR CULTIVATION

Pressure Cooker

If you plan on growing mushrooms for profit or as a long term hobby it is highly recommended that you purchase a big and safe pressure cooker. You can find pressure cookers locally but they are really hard to find in the right size needed. I got mine on Amazon for a relatively cheap price. You will need a pressure cooker if you ever plan to go bulk and do grains instead of PF jars. Its also a good idea to get one with a pressure gauge and be sure to get one that can handle 15 psi. Dont waste your money and buy a little cooker your best bet is to buy the cheap one on Amazon. Click here for the best one you can buy but it is really expensive!

Presto 1781 23-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner


Price: $84.54 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

All American 921 All-American 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner


$199.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.
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PF SUBSTRATE JAR PREPARATION

Prepare the canning lid by placing it with the rubber sealing edge upwards on a supporting surface and with a sharpened 3 penny nail (held with vise grip pliers), punch 4 holes inside the periphery of the rubber sealing edge.You can use a drill a hole punch or just a regular nail.

When using two piece canning jar lids, the inner lid (with the rubber edges up) rests on the top of the jar and when the lid band is screwed off, the lid remains resting on the jar top. To make the lid and band act as one lid, place pieces of masking tape on the lid attaching the band to the lid. Then, the lid can be adjusted for air ventilation and looseness like an ordinary one piece jar lid.

 

Steam sterilizing PF substrate jars with regular cookware is possible because there is no grain to cook up and the substrate is airy. Other regular jars (other than canning type) or small drinking glasses (with tin foil covering) can be substituted for these canning jars. To insure similar results, make sure the jars or glasses are tapered sided with no shoulder of any kind, and that they have a 1/2 pint (8 ounce - 250 ml) capacity. It is important to note, that jars somewhat larger than 1/2 pint are unreliable for the PF TEK and fail easily. The low form KERR 1/2 pint canning jar is the most versatile (fits into tight spaces et).

A 3 piece vegetable steamer (pot, basket insert & lid) is used for the steam sterilizing stage. Also, the stainless steel vegetable steamers that fold out and stand on the bottom of the pot are good. Anything is good as long as it keeps the jar bottoms off the pot bottom where the high temperature will crack the glass.

Step 1. Place 1/2 cup of vermiculite into a mixing bowl. Place the brown rice powder on top of the vermiculite. Slowly add the water directly onto the brown rice powder, wetting it first. Thoroughly mix the ingredients. The mixture should feel damp and cohesive. More water (or less) can be used if experimenting to improve the fruiting. Mix Each jars substrate individually for loading to insure accurate formula rendering.

A note on water: A recent update is worth mentioning. Water quality is indeed important. I have found out that "natural" water is the water to use. It makes for better cultivation of this mushroom on this simple substrate. Distilled water is good for making spore solutions and syringes and storing spore solution. But for growing, they seem to like the "natural" water such as: swamp, lake, stream, pond,river, ground or any water that is rich in organics. I have heard that "mineral" type drinking water is good and makes a difference. I suppose that water seeping from an organic compost pile would be about the best.


Step 2. Fill the jar very loosely. Leave a 1/2 to 3/4 inch space at the top. Level the substrate. With a tissue or a fingertip, wipe the insides of the jar down to the substrate. Fill the top of the jar with plain dry vermiculite and level it off at the top. This upper layer will protect the wet substrate from air borne contaminants. It acts as a contaminant barrier. This is a Psylocybe Fanaticus original discovery. What this dry vermiculite layer does is protect the wet substrate from airborne contaminants and also absorbs and regulates moisture transpiration and condensation.

In the above photo, the black tape is the depth for the dry vermiculite. The masking tape shows where the pf substrate goes. The top layer of dry vermiculite must be between 1/2" to 2/3" deep to provide protection from contaminants entering from above.

 

Buying presterilized jars
Click on the jars to view where to buy!

I have bought these jars in the past from this same supplier and they never let me down. The jars come to your house in about 5-10 business days.

The best part about buying these jars is they are professionally sterilized and ready for use upon arrival. Right when you get the jars they are ready to inoculate with your choice of spores.

Tamping down

Getting the substrate level correct is very important. A slight tamping down is required. To get an accurate leveling of the substrate, loosely load the 1/2 pint jar and level the top of the mixture with the top of the jar. Screw a cap on the top to hold the mixture in. With one hand, hold the jar and lightly slam the bottom of the jar on the other palm a couple of times to lower the mixture level to around 1/2"-2/3" from the top rim. Further level and adjust the substrate with a fork down to the proper height. Clean the inside of the jar down to the substrate level with your finger tip or a paper towel and fill the jar back to the top with dry vermiculite.

Step 3. Place the lid on the jar with the rubberized edge up (jagged edges of the needle holes down). Screw the lid band on. Place pieces of "professional" grade masking tape (holds on during steaming) over the needle holes. This is to protect the needle holes from contaminant entry.

Step 4. Heat the pot of water to a boil. Put the jars into the pot with the lid bands loose so that the steam can penetrate the jars quickly. The jars can sit in water but make sure boiling water can't slosh into the jars. Turn the heat down and GENTLY steam the jars at the lowest possible boil for an hour in a TIGHTLY covered pot (gas stoves are the easiest to control). A good tight fitting pot lid is essential for successful steaming.

When steaming or pressure canning is performed, the jars must be protected from water dripping down from the underside of the pot lid caused by heavy condensation and drip off during boiling. This water can get into the jars by entering under the jar lids that aren%u2019t tight and soaking the substrate - throwing off the formula and setting up failure. To prevent this, wrap some tin foil around the cap to ward off the water. The tin foil can be removed after steaming (with the tape guarding the needle holes - or the tin foil can be left on until it is inoculation time.)

Be careful to not overheat the jars, this dries the substrate. Drying is evidenced by o.k. spore germination and halted growth. The fungus will spread but stop at a certain point depending on how dry the substrate has become. Generally, any halted growth (with no contamination) is a sign of dried substrate. This is an important concept that will enable diagnosis and correction of problems experienced with drying. The remedy is to increase the water content of the substrate formula in use. After the jars have cooled, tighten the lids and store them in a cool draft free place until ready to inoculate them.

PRESSURE CANNER USE

PF jars and water bottles can be quickly sterilized with a pressure canner. For proper and safe use of the pressure canner, always refer to the manual that comes with it. If the canner is used and has no manual , try to get one from the manufacturer before using it. Pressure canners can be dangerous if used incorrectly.

Sterilization times


  • 1/2 pint PF substrate jars - 12 p.s.i. for 20 minutes(better: 45-60 minutes)
  • Water bottles - 12 p.s.i. for 55 minutes
  • Syringes and needles - 12 p.s.i. for 10 minutes

INOCULATION OF THE PF SUBSTRATE JARS

  Any jar to be inoculated must be cool to the touch before proceeding. Make sure the lid is tight. Shake the syringe well and remove the tape from the syringe needle guard. This shaking of the syringe is important as to redistribute the spores in the water. Take off the tape covering the needle holes. Remove the needle guard and insert the needle through the lid hole. Tilt the syringe body back towards the center of the lid with the needle tip touching the glass. This distributes the spore water down the side of the jar, giving a good inoculation down the side of the substrate cake. Inoculate a few drops down each needle hole. As the syringe plunger is pressed, observe the needle tip against the inside of the glass. As soon as water appears around the needle tip, release the syringe plunger pressure. In between each hole inoculation, shake the syringe a little to keep the spores distributed. Use 1 cc per jar. This will allow the syringe to inoculate 10 jars. More spore solution per jar can be used (speeds colonization), but fewer jars can be inoculated . If the syringe needle plugs up as it is inserted into the substrate, draw the needle back a little and it will unplug.

In the above photo on the right, the needle tip can be seen resting against the inside surface of the jar. Then, when the solution is injected, it will run down the side of glass, giving an even inoculation. It is also important to add, that the vermiculite in this jar photo is very course. This makes the needle more visible for the demo. This type of vermiculite is best avoided.  Some people prefer to use more course vermiculite because it will make the substrate more airy helping with breathability which can help increase yield and also reduce wait time. Vermiculite comes in fine, medium and course the best vermiculite for growing mushrooms is medium but you can use any vermiculite size you find just that some have better results.

ALCOHOL FLAMING TECHNIQUE

If the syringe needle is touched, flame the needle to sterilize it. An alcohol flame is a clean flame whereas a butain cigarette lighter leaves behind an undesirable soot residue. To produce a short burning alcohol flame, place a tequila shotglass upside down. Using an eyedropper, put a few drops of denatured alcohol fuel (hardware store) on the hollow bottom of the glass and touch it with a match or lighter. The blue flame will cleanly and safely sterilize small stainless steel tools. Heat the needle in the flame for a few seconds to resterilize it. There might be a few "pops" of boiling water spurt out of the needle, but the spores within the syringe are safe. If there is some left over spore solution, replace the needle guard and store the syringe for later use. Resterilize the needle immediately before re-use. Store the syringe in a dark, cool place.

INOCULATION OF PF JARS WITHOUT THE LIDS

This technique can also be used if canning jars are not available (1/2 pint wide mouth canning jars are perfect and should be used at all cost). If regular drinking glasses are to be used - use regular tapered sided drinking glasses (8 ounce - 250ml)

Jars can be inoculated without using a lid with holes punched. Before trying this technique, inoculate with the punched lid first. That will show how it works without any problems (almost fail proof).

The only precaution to observe is to disturb the dry top vermiculite layer as little as possible, especially when removing the needle after the inoculation. The underlying substrate must not be exposed to the air. Carefully move any disturbed vermiculite back into place. If using a drinking glass or alternate container, cover the mouth with tin foil. Replace the tin foil cover after inoculation.

 

INCUBATION OF INOCULATED JARS


  After inoculation of the jars, tighten the lid bands and retape the needle holes. Place the jars in a safe place out of direct sunlight. Indirect light is all that is required. If the temperature is kept around 70 degrees, germination will begin within 3 to 5 days. Germinating spores appear as small white fuzzy spots, quickly growing and spreading with cottony white growth and strandy "rhizomorphs". Any room temperature is O.K. If it gets cold indoors, over head light shinning down on the tops of the jars is a perfect heating technique for this culturing stage. A clamping type light with a reflector works well for this. If this is done, keep the temperature around 70 degrees (don't overheat the jars - monitor the temperature with a thermometer). A warm overall house temperature is fine. But in the overall view, cool temperatures are never a problem. The rule is to not overh
THE CANNING JAR LID (loose or tight)

There are two choices with the lids during incubation - tight or loose. With a very high moisture content (good for fruiting), a tight lid can cause water to collect in the bottom of the jar. This is to be avoided. If it happens, the lid should be kept on loose during incubation. Tape the canning jar lid to the band to make the lid act as a one piece lid for raising and lowering. If the substrate is on the dry side, a tight lid will preserve the moisture content. It is all a matter of the balance between the water needs of the mycelium, the size of the jar, the available air space in the jar and the type of vermiculite used. Only by simple experimenting and comparison can the right balance be found for a given set of conditions. Take notes and go with what fruits the best.

After the substrate turns white with the mycelium (2 or 3 weeks after inoculation), the jars are left to sit in indirect light. The mycelium will continue to infiltrate the substrate until it gets enough food to trigger the fruiting cycle. In less than a week to a few weeks after surface colonization of the cake, tiny white "pin" like structures begin to appear. This is called pinning. This is the beginning of the fruiting cycle. Soon after that, within the week, small round fungus growths appear that soon begin to turn yellow.

Lastly, "primordia" start to grow. These are tiny worm like structures with tiny reddish heads. These are the first mushrooms.

 

THE BIRTHDAY CAKE

This photo is of a 1/2 pint PF substrate jar about 23 days after inoculation. The primordia have appeared and it is now time to birth the cake. Wait until you see this, and the fruiting will be maximized. The fruiting is fairly relative to the primordia that appear.

The best time to remove the fungus cake from the jar is when the primordia (tiny worm like structures with reddish heads) appear on the cake while still in the jar. Be careful not to damage them in handling. The rule is to handle with care.

Remove the lid. With a clean fork, scrape away the majority of the dry top vermiculite layer. There will probably be seen some wispy mycelium here and there in the top layer. Place an old jar lid over the jar mouth and turn the jar upside down. Lightly slam the jar down on a table cushioned with a magazine. The fungus cake will slide out onto the old jar cap (BIRTHDAY). The jar cap functions as a base for the cake. When handling the fungus cake, be careful as not to squeeze and bruise it. Bruising results in a bluish mark. This fungus is resilient and can tolerate a certain amount of handling, but handle it as least as possible. The aroma is distinctly mushroomy, very pleasant.

As soon as the fungus cake comes out of the jar, daub the cake with a piece of loose tissue paper to soak up any water droplets that may have deposited on the cake as it comes out of the jar. Immediately after the birthday, place the cakes into the dual chambered terrarium for the fruiting cycle.

Important Note!

Many times people will never see primordia start to grow. Generally it will take about a month for the cakes to fully colonize. When the cakes are fully 100% colonized you should wait about a week or two longer to let the mycelium to consolidate the jar. Consolidating is a very important step and if skipped it is likely that you will fail. Consolidation is important because the mycelium needs to absorb the rest of the nutrients in the middle of the jar. If you were to birth the cake and cut it in half chances are it would be uncolonized which would greatly reduce the yield or lead to contamination. When the cake is 100% colonized handling the cake is okay while wearing gloves as long as you aren't being ruff with it. The reason you can touch the cakes while it is fully colonized is because the mycelium has already colonized the nutrients and fends off contaminates just be sure to not damage any primordia while handling and dont touch it to often. The less you move and touch the cakes the faster and stronger they will grow. They are best to be left alone to fruit unless misting or fanning.

This is the cake a few days after the birthday. This is a healthy fruiting start. Some of these primordia will abort, but most will go on to full developement.

Some of the first mushrooms to form are "aborts" (convoluted caps, gnarly stems and stunted growth), and ironically they are primo in magic alkaloids. They are even more powerful in magic than the stately beauties that will soon dominate the cake. The tiny "baby mushroom" aborts are likewise good. After witnessing the growth of the fungus, recognition of these aborts is easy. As long as the aborts are healthy and pure, they are primo. Also, another form of mutants will manifest, blobs of fungus with little or no cap, also good for harvesting. And along with these mutants, appear the perfect specimens, the sporocarps.

It has been reported that Psilocybe cubensis is a "weak" mushroom. PF and others have seen this to be not necessarily so. It all depends on how it is grown, on what medium and how it is harvested and preserved.

The secret to potent mushrooms is in their age when picked. It has been scientifically proven that the small immature specimens are significantly more potent than the larger mature specimens. Over half of the small primordia that first form will abort (cease growing, convolute and deform). Pick these before their heads turn black. A pointed knife blade works well for removing these high potency primodia. These are among the most potent. The abortive mushrooms are also high potency. Harvest them when they are young and before their heads turn black. When the fruitbodies are normal, harvest them before the veil under the cap breaks. The mushrooms will be smaller and their heads will be roundish. It is important to note that the mushroom cakes pictured in this book are all mostly well matured. While these mature specimens are beautiful and perfect, they are not as potent as the diminutive specimens. The mature specimens are good for spore collecting and showcasing but are weak in psychedelic potency.

Grow them on brown rice, harvest them when they are young and cool dry them with desiccant. When this is done, they are an entheogen of the highest order.

TIME SCALE OF THE MUSHROOMS

  • Spore inoculation to spore germination - within a week, at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spore germination to complete colonization of the cake - about 2 to 3 weeks can be longer.
  • Colonization to fruiting cycle start - within 2-4 weeks. 


The fruiting cycle lasts about 2 weeks. After the initial flush, the mycelium cake begins to turn blue and no more mushrooms form. If the cake is thoroughly cleaned of aborts and stray fungus blobs after the initial fruiting and given the PF double ended cake casing tek, fruiting can be doubled or even tripled. All in all, the process takes from 4 - 6 weeks from spore inoculation to fruiting.

CONTAMINANT SOURCE IDENTIFICATION

Contaminant invaders appear in various colors from pastels to black. If they appear, the culture is doomed. Bacteria contamination is detectable through the top dry vermiculite layer as a sour foul odor within two days after inoculation (and no spore germination). If the jar is bacteria contaminated, be careful in cleaning it. Keep a safe distance from the contaminated substrate. Don't inhale the bacteria and wash after touching it. Bacteria can be dangerous.

Control jar technique

After the jars are steam sterilized, let them cool, tighten the lids and let them sit uninoculated for several days. Watch for any colored growths or changes in the appearance of the substrate. The tell tale rancid odor of bacteria can be easily detected by loosening the jar lid and checking for the odor. If there is contamination at this stage, the sterilization technique needs to be checked. Most likely it will be a to short sterilization time. If there is a problem at this stage, lengthen the sterilization time. If the jars remain clean and unchanged, they are ready for spore syringe inoculation. If contamination occurs after inoculation, the syringe was contaminated or the dry vermiculite layer was breached during inoculation.

NON-GERMINATION OF SPORES

  • The spore solution was not inoculated deep enough down into the jar. Instead of running down the side of the jar and inoculating the substrate cake, the solution was absorbed by the non-nutritive top vermiculite layer. To avoid this from happening, make sure that the spore solution flows down along the sides of the substrate cake by inserting the syringe needle so that the tip is below the non-nutritive upper vermiculite layer.
  • The substrate jars were not allowed to cool down after sterilization, killing the spores. Inoculate only when the jar feels cool to the touch.
  • There is evidence now that syringe boxes can be exposed to killing heat during transit (a very rare occurrence). The possibilities are such as over heated airplane cargo holds during intense heat waves or a superheated mail truck parked all day in the sun. Another possibility is that on arriving at the mail box, the syringe package was allowed to sit inside a broiling sun heated mail box, killing the spores.
  • Spore syringes can survive freezing, but extreme low temperatures are probably destructive to the spores.

The Shotgun Terrarium

The Shotgun Terrarium is an easy to make and easy to maintain fruiting chamber. It has no moving parts, needs no electricity and does away with  shields and other complications.

 

How does it work?

The principle behind the shotgun terrarium is that of using perlite to increase air humidity. This is by no means an innovation as before the shotgun terrarium was developed it was already used. Here is a closeup picture of a piece of perlite. Notice how perlite is covered with ridges and bumps. Once you wet your perlite, this increases the surface area of water exposed to the air thus dramatically increasing evaporation rates over the same volume of water on its own. More evaporation means higher humidity.

Building a Shotgun Terrarium

You will need:

  • A transparent/translucent plastic storage container. The lid does not have to be transparent but if you have the choice, go with the transparent top. Mushrooms grow towards the light and if they get no light at the top they will grow sideways.
  • Electric drill with a 1/4 inch drill bit
  • Perlite. Enough to fill 3-5 inches of the bottom of the container.
  • Pasta strainer or similar.

Step 1 - Drill the holes

Drill holes in all six sides of the container. Space them out evenly, with about two inches between holes. Now you know why it is called a shotgun terrarium :D


Step 2 - Prepare your perlite

Fill your strainer with perlite and wash it thoroughly under the tap. This both cleans the perlite of any dust and covers all the surfaces with water. Drain the perlite well.



Step 3 - Place perlite in the fruiting chamber

Fill up your terrarium with the moist perlite. It should fill 3 to 5 inches of the bottom of the container. Spread it out evenly, keeping it as light and fluffy as possible. Your fruiting chamber is now ready.



Step 4 - Put your cakes into the fruiting chamber

It is now time to put your fully colonized cakes into the terrarium and put the lid on. Do not place them directly on the perlite. Use old jar lids or pieces of tin foil as coasters to avoid direct contact.
Now, all you have to do is open up the lid twice a day and fan some fresh air into the fruiting chamber. You can use the actual lid of the terrarium as long as you keep it clean. We do this to introduce extra fresh air into the chamber.
While a lot of fresh air gets in through the holes you can never really have enough fresh air (as long as the humidity stays in the high 90%s) as it is a very important pinning trigger and also hinders the growth of contaminant molds.  Before fanning (30 seconds is enough) give the cakes a good thorough mist with your water mister to keep them nice and hydrated.

Extra Tips & Tricks

  • Use a hygrometer  to measure the humidity inside your fruiting chamber. It should be as close to 100% as possible. If on its own this terrarium does not achieve over 95% relative humidity, tape up some of the holes to slow down air exchange and that should increase your humidity levels.
  • Expose your terrarium to light for at least a few hours each day. Light shows the mushrooms which way to grow and ensures even and prolific pinning (if all other conditions are correct). Indirect sunlight is good (avoid direct sunlight) or if you can't have it, use a compact fluorescent (energy saving bulb) or standard fluorescent bulb that gives off light in the daylight range. The packaging will say something like daylight or white light or 6000K (somewhere around that number).  Good results have been obtained with a 12 hour on 12 hour off cycle. Stay away from incandescent (regular) lightbulbs as they do not emmit the right kind of light and produce a lot of heat
  • Keep your terrarium slightly elevated. Use a couple of bricks or something to elevate the terrarium off the floor. This keeps it away from the dust and muck on the floor and more importantly lets air go through the holes you have drilled on the bottom.

SPRAYING PROCEDURE

First, before placing the cakes into the terrarium, spray all the inside surfaces of the terrarium, including the spray shield and lid. Insert the fungus cakes and put the spray shield and lid in place. Then, slightly lift up the lid and insert the nozzle of the water spray bottle in between the lid and the top of the aquarium and vigorously spray downwards into the middle of the shield. After about 5 seconds of spraying, immediately withdraw the sprayer nozzle and let down the lid to seal the swirling mist inside the terrarium. Come back after a few minutes and give it another spraying if desired and a third if the terrarium is to be left untended until the evening. To maintain a high humidity try to spray 2 times a day, and the more the better. Compensate for a lack of spraying during the day by spraying several times in the evening. Make sure that all the inside surfaces of the terrarium are foggy or dripping with water. This in itself helps generate humidity.

It has been seen that mushrooms will grow in a properly set up dual chambered terrarium, with only one good spraying a day - and even less than that!

Each time the terrarium is sprayed, the fungus should be ventilated. To ventilate, take off the lid, and while holding the spray shield vertically, fan the chamber with a piece of cardboard, and then spray as above. Also, the water that collects in the bottom of the terrarium must be siphoned out (prevents bacteria buildup). This can be easily done using a rubber bulb battery filler (auto parts store) or a rubber bulb type enema bottle.

Expose the terrarium to normal room light (indirect sunlight). A small low wattage fluorescent plant light will make the phototropic mushrooms grow upwards. Leave it on all the time if desired.

HEATING

The main rule is to not heat the dual chambered terrarium. Any direct heating works against the humidification and adds a drying influence. Do not use heating cables, heat pads or blankets. Don't shine light directly down into the terrarium. Keep any plant grow light (low wattage only) a safe distance from the terrarium. These fungi grow well at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. PF has even seen them growing perfectly at temperatures cooler than 60 degrees. They grow slowly when they are cool. When warm or at heated room temperature, they grow very fast. Strive for a growing temperature between 65 and the upper 80's. A too hot terrarium will result in lots of spreading mycelium, but no fruiting.

SYMPTOMS OF LOW HUMIDITY

When the humidity is a bit low, but not low enough to stop fruiting, the mushrooms can have fuzzy white mycelium growing on the tops of the caps. When this occurs, the cap looks like it has a crown of white hair. This is not contamination. This white fuzzy mycelium is perfectly good and does not detract from the mushrooms quality.

Deformed, convoluted, and withering mushrooms and primordia are signs of low humidity. For the best growth, the humidity has to be very high.

This is the terrarium that was used in the perlite and terrarium tests. I found it at a new and used resteraunt supply store in Seattle for $25. This is a covered food display tray.

It works great with perlite (and without) and holds 9 half pint cakes. The one above has 7 cakes. The cakes are post initial flush and the fruitings are secondary fruitings. The fruitbodies that appear late are always superb in form.

To use this terrarium, first spray the insides. Place the cakes in. Hold the cover above the tray and spray a fine mist into the air about 2 feet above the cakes in the tray and immediately lower the cover down onto the tray - trapping mist. Air and mist once a day. But what is so cool about this, is that neglect goes a long way! (set it up and leave it).

It makes a nice coffee table display. If your landlord comes by to inspect, he will see it, look down and say, "hey, nice shrooms, what kind are they"? Then you say, "I got it from a science catalog company and it is a new miniature fungi growing kit and the shrooms are not edible - just wild". (or something absurd like that). Then your landlord will look approvingly around, notice the neatness and tiddyness of your domecile, and leave, little knowing that he just observed the food of the gods.


Dunk and Roll

Explaining the method of dunking your cakes in water and then rolling them in vermiculite to improve your flushes

Why Dunk and Roll?

Mushrooms are basically 90% water. Dunking and rolling will increase your yields dramatically with hardly any work. You are essentially replacing the water lost by the cakes and allowing them to produce more fruits. Normally the water runs out way before the nutrients in the cake do, so as long as you are replenishing the water the substrate will keep on producing fruits for at least a few more flushes.


When Should I Dunk and Roll?

  • Immediately after birthing a cake and before placing it in the fruiting chamber you should always dunk and roll. A lot of water has been lost during the weeks the substrate has been colonizing.
  • Between flushes. Once you have picked all the fruits off the cake or none have been growing for a few days you know your flush is over. Now is the time to dunk again, preparing the substrate for the next flush.


The procedure is divided in two parts:

The Dunk

In this step you will be replacing the water lost by the substrate.

  1.  Rinse off your cakes under the tap, rubbing them softly do dislodge any loose material or bits of mushroom material left over from picking the fruits. Be careful not to break off any pins (little immature mushrooms) as they will be your next crop. Pins will survive the dunk and roll no problem, so no need to take them off. Just be delicate with them.
  2. Submerge the cakes under cold tap water for 12-24h inside a clean container. Try and avoid dunking for much longer than 24h but the closer you get the better as cakes are very dense and need a long time to absorb all the water . You can use the pan you sterilized you cakes in, a clean tupperware container a bucket, whatever is available. You will notice that the cakes actually bob about like corks so you will need to put something heavy ontop to keep them fully submerged. This is important as it seems that the extra bit of water pressure that comes from being totally submerged aids the rehydration process.
  3. There is no need to dunk inside a fridge. As long as your water stays cool (below 40ºF) you will be fine. The cool temperatures of the fridge prevent bacterial bloom while you are dunking (it has nothing to do with cold shocking the mycelium, as this procedure is not required for Psilocybe Cubensis) but unless you are pretty clean your fridge probably harbors a lot of contaminants, so it can be counterproductive. Use ice, running water (can be costly) or the fridge to keep your water below 40ºF.
  4. Once your dunk has finished, re-rinse your cakes under the tap and proceed to...

The Roll

Rolling your cakes increases the water holding capabilities of the cake. It essentially acts as a mini casing layer.

  1. Roll your cakes in dry vermiculite so they are evenly coated with it. You can optionally bake your vermiculite in the oven for an hour at 350ºF if you think it might not be clean (the bag has been opened for a long time for example) but it is not necessary if the vermiculite is out of a new bag.
  2. Place the cakes inside your fruiting chamber (not in direct contact with the perlite, use a circle of foil or an old jar lid as a coaster) and wait for an hour or so.
  3. Mist your cakes thorougly making sure you wet all the vermiculite.
  4. Maintain fruiting conditions as usual.

Extra tips

  • While dunking between flushes is a must, re-rolling between flushes is optional. You will see that the mycelium colonizes the vermiculite slightly so it does not all come off during the succesive dunkings. There is no need to get it all off. Either do not re-roll,  just patch up the bald areas or roll again. Whatever looks best to you.

  • Letting the cake dry out between flushes. By not misting for a few days after the flush has finished and then dunking you are imitating the natural cycle of drying out followed by sudden rehydration. In nature this rehydration will stimulate rapid fruit formation. Also, the drying out protects your cakes from molds during the waiting period as the drier surface is not as prone to contamination.

  • Extra vermiculite reservoir: Put a spoonful of vermiculite on the top of the cake when you place it in the fruiting chamber. Once wetted when you mist, it will act as an extra water reservoir.

  • Try and create a good microclimate. By dunking and rolling all your cakes and packing them close together you will be creating a microclimate among your cakes where humidity is at its max. This is an invaluable aid for good flushes. These pictures show how well dunked and rolled cakes can perform.

  • Cakes like and need a high humidity environment, however it is provided. You need about 95% RH (relative humidity) for cakes to produce optimally. They need more humidity because they do not produce as much RH themselves (as casings and bulk runs do), and because you cannot easily supplement their moisture content (without having some inner reservoir or wet vermiculite on top and bottom). The humidity must be provided either by means of a passive humidification like moist perlite or clay in a sealed terrarium or an active humidification like a setup where fresh moist air is provided by a cool mist or ultrasonic humidifier.

 
  Cakes like and need a high humidity environment, however it is provided. You need about 95% RH (relative humidity) for cakes to produce optimally. They need more humidity because they do not produce as much RH themselves (as casings and bulk runs do), and because you cannot easily supplement their moisture content (without having some inner reservoir or wet vermiculite on top and bottom). The humidity must be provided either by means of a passive humidification like moist perlite or clay in a sealed terrarium or an active humidification like a setup where fresh moist air is provided by a cool mist or ultrasonic humidifier.The appropriate fruiting temperatures forPsilocybe cubensis(TMC) are 74 -78 °F but temperatures as cold as 68 should work out.



When and how should I harvest?


If you have achieved an even pin set, your fruits should all become mature at the same time - meaning you can harvest them at the same time. Generally, if they are becoming mature at different times, this means you didn't have an efficiently colonized substrate or an even pin set. Harvest can occur right after the veil breaks.have an efficiently colonized substrate or an even pin set. Harvest can occur right after the veil breaks.

Fruits reach full maturity when the cap becomes almost convex and begins drop its spores. You should wait this long if you want to make spore prints.
You harvest all the mushrooms and aborts (don't forget to wash your hands thoroughly before that) and place it back into the terrarium. After you have cleaned
all the cake it is suggested that you redunk it and put it back into the terrarium for the second flush, You should be able to get four flushes before the cake stops producing fruit. The reason it is suggested to redunk is because the cake will need to be dehydrated for enough energy to flush again. After the cake has lost energy you should throw it away before it contaminates and messes up your grow area. You can place spent cakes outside in a garden and its possible to get some fruits depending on the environment.

How can I make a spore print?

This is just a short outline. Obviously you will want to wash your hands and work in a clean environment to perform the following steps:
  • take a clean material you want to print on (fresh tin foil, transparency, glass slides....)
  • cut a mature cap off the stem as near to the gills as possible with a clean scalpel or knife
  • place the cap on the printing material gills down
  • cover the cap with a jar or place the printing material in a plastic container (Tupperware...) with lid on.
  • let sit for 12-24 hours at room temperature (most species)
  • pick up the cap, replace the jar and let the print dry for a few hours.  Do not let it dry in open air or contaminates will settle on the print.
  • fold the print and tape the edges or leave it as is and put into a new small plastic zip baggie.
  • label and store in a dark, cold and dry place.

How can I make a syringe?

 

NOTE: These instructions are most effective when performed in the most sterile environment available. The preferred method involves following the steps below while working in a clean glovebox. There are many simple methods of glovebox construction i will list soon.

Materials needed:
Empty sterile syringes
Two quart (or larger) saucepan
One bottle of 70% isopropyl alcohol
Several paper towels
A lighter or alcohol flame
An inoculation loop or equivalent (you can make one with thin wire)
A shot glass


Procedure One: Making a sterile syringe

1. Fill your saucepan halfway with tap or distilled water (use distilled water if your tap water contains higher levels of minerals and chemicals).
2. Boil the water in the saucepan on high for a minimum of ten minutes, this should be adequate to sterilize and cleanse the water of all bacteria and viruses.
3. Take your empty syringe and fill it with the boiling water. Allow it to sit for two minutes with the hot water inside.
4. Purge the hot water from the syringe into a sink, not back into the saucepan.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 two more times. Upon the second time leave the hot water in the syringe.
6. Place the capped syringe in a cool draft-free place, preferably in a clean zip-lock bag
7. Allow it to cool for several hours before proceeding to Procedure Two.


Procedure Two: Transferring print spores into syringe


1. First clean your work area. This may involve wiping down all work surfaces with a diluted bleach solution and spraying the area liberally with a disinfectant such as Lysol.
2. Place the following materials in your glovebox or on the oven lid working surface: The shot glass, the bottle of alcohol, a paper towel, and your print (still in zip-lock baggie). Keep your syringes, inoculation loop, and flame outside the box.
3. Wash hands with antibacterial soap or isopropyl alcohol before proceeding further. If possible, wear latex/nylon gloves.
4. Fold the paper towel up into ? sections and soak a corner of it with the alcohol.
5. With the alcohol soaked towel wipe the interior of the shot glass, sanitizing the surface you are about to use in the transfer. Allow the shot glass to air dry, should only take a few seconds.
6. Remove the needle guard from your sterile syringe and flame sterilize the needle. Also flame-sterilize your inoculation loop, if possible (i.e. it's made out of metal).  Then move the syringe and loop inside the glovebox.  At this point try to avoid letting the sterile instruments touch any other surface.
7. NOTE: it is important at this point to work as smoothly and efficiently as possible to help combat the chances of contaminating molds and bacteria falling into your work area and thereby ruining your syringe.
8. Remove the print from its storage baggie. Unfold it to expose the spores. Lightly begin to scrape, using your inoculation loop, a section of the print off into the shot glass. For a medium sized print it is usually adequate to scrape off a section no larger than 1/5 of the total print.
9. You will have a small noticeable collection of spores in the shot glass. Now expunge no more than half of the water from the syringe into the shot glass, lightly stirring the spores into the solution.
10. Suck the spore water solution into the syringe. You may need to expunge some more water into the shot glass and re-suck to help in capturing all the spores into the syringe.
11. Once you have the spore solution back into the syringe you may notice that the water inside has turned a darker color and/or you may see small clusters of spores floating in the solution. This is good, you have completed the process.
12. Sterilize the needle again, replace the needle guard and place the syringe back into your clean zip-lock bag.
13. Allow the syringe to sit for no less than 12 hours before using it in jar inoculation. This is extremely important, as the spores must be allowed to rehydrate before they can be introduced into the substrate material. Failure to allow this may result is slow or no germination.

 

Sterile techniques

A few tips on how you can avoid contamination by increasing your sterilization procedures

Open air inoculation

This is how I have inoculated my jars for years.  I have never run into any contam problems unless it was a bad source(Syringe, print, LC).  I do this in open air, and it takes me about a minute to do a set of 12 jars.

Here are the materials needed.  I am sure you can make everything out, the little orange square is a piece of sponge that I cut.



  • To start with, drop your piece of sponge into a container of alcohol.
  • For the next step, simply flame your needle, and insert it into the sponge.
  • Finally, push through your inoculation point, squirt however many cc's you wish to use, and pull the needle back out.

I hate the time it use to take me inoculating jars.  I do this in open air right on my kitchen table.  No need to mess with the tight quarters of a glove box, or building a flow hood.  This process goes very quickly if you have a self healing lid.  If you do not, then I use to just cover up the inoculation hole with a small band-aid.  Instead of pulling the sponge off the top of the lid, along with the needle, just pull the needle out of the sponge, leaving the sponge to cover the whole while you reach for your band-aid or whatever you use.

Making a glovebox

This one is VERY simple. Some people go all out, and by all means go for it and waste your time. But this is a simple poor mans tek.
Buy a clear Sterilite container with a lid (64qt or larger). Cut two holes for arms. You’re finished.
Use alcohol and gloves, wipe the inside down with alcohol to kill any contamination's in the work area. 


I am super sterile with my glove box. It’s only purpose is to have a still air environment. You must clean it beforehand with alcohol, I personally use plenty of Oust surface and air (linen scent J). I also always do all my work in a bathroom that’s been sprayed with Oust before I work. The bathroom because it’s not carpeted – any hard floor room will work, smaller the better.

Place your jars, syringes, lighter/alcohol lamp, cotton swabs, etc. into your glove box. Place the lid on top. Rub an alcohol soaked cotton swab over your jar lids before opening any of them or inoculating.

It’s all about sterile technique.

Laminar Flow Hood

A laminar flow hood is an expensive but extremely effective piece of equipment which makes sterile working procedures in mushroom cultivation easier and reliable.
Laminar flow hoods are what professional mushrooms growers and labs use for sterile work area.

A flow hood consists of a coarse pre-filter, a blower and a very fine filter (the so called HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter which filters particles from the air to a high degree.

This makes the air coming out of the HEPA filter nearly sterile which allows doing transfers in this stream of sterile air without worrying about contaminants entering from the air and contaminating the cultures. If you have the money and are looking to grow mushrooms long term i would definitely purchase or build my own flow hood!

LAMINAR FLOW CABINET, 32" H; 115V
$3,828.00!

Buy Here

As soon as i have the money I'm going to purchase this flow hood. I will never have to worry about contamination again! I will be just like the professionals. even though it costs an arm and a leg its worth it need to be dedicated to this hobby and you should be too its so much fun. You can build your own for much cheaper but its just not the same as a true Laminar flow hood.

Incubation Methods

The optimal temperature for incubation is between 84 and 79. Mycelium is pretty resistant. Only freezing will kill it. Low temps will slow down your growth. A good spot to let jars colonize is on top of your fridge or on a shelf in a warm dark room. You can build a incubator that will keep the temperature between 84 and 79 with a few cheap items purchased online or at a local store.

Tub In Tub Incubator

Materials needed:
2 Stack-able rubber storage containers
One fish tank heater
One fish tank pump (optional)


  • 1. First thing get your bottom tub and put in your heater. I also add a water pump to mix the water that way it heats up much more evenly but it isn't a necessary item. I got the tape from a boat shop and it has been working for some time. Good stuff for underwater.

  • 2. Next put something (I used tall half pints) in each corner of the tub. This will keep the heater and pump safe from being smashed if I put in to many jars or do something stupid.


  • 3. Now be sure to set the heater before you put on the top tub. I attach the top tub with zip ties cause the top tub will want to float.
  • 4. Add the water. I like to add as much water as I can before it starts to spill out
  • 5. If you use the heaters with the external controls set them now to get ready for the jars. Mine use a dial and a sensor that gives the temp inside the chamber rather then the water. It also has a metal bulb rather then a glass one.

 
  • 6. Finished!

Liquid Culture Basic's

Liquid cultures are used to expand mycelium into a liquid solution to inoculate your chosen substrate. Like a multi-spore syringe, except the spores have germinated into a network. Since the spores are already germinated; colonization times are substantially faster and inoculated substrates have an edge over contamination with speed.By using Liquid culture you also don't need to waste all your spores! You can use a few cc's of spore solution and innoculate the liquid culture and use the liquid culture to inoculate the jars. Jars should colonize 5 times faster using good liquid culture.

 

supplies your gonna need:




  • 1 package of small microwavable containers
  • 1 bottle cheap imitation light syrup
  • 1 package cheap plastic wrap
Total cost should be under $5

ok now here's what you do:


  • pour about 200ml's of water (around 5 ounces) into the container.
  • add a teaspoon of light syrup to the water(im sure more could be used to increase results, but this is just what i did)
  • put a peice of plastic wrap over the top of the container, and then put the lid on top of that - like this:



  • microwave the container, with the lid slightly cracked (so the container doesnt melt) for 5 Minutes . when its done nuking, open your microwave and push the lid down so its all sealed in there (carefull, its hot)
  • let cool for a few hours, or untill it is room temperature again, and then lift up the lid slowly, flame sterilize your syringe, and put in 1 - 2cc's of your left over spore solution.
  • toss these guys in your incubator (im using a double tub setup)



  • after a few days you should start to see some myc. growth in the solution. after about a week and a half your container should look like this.



i shake the containers around every few days and let the water sloshing break up the myc. no need for glass chunks.

when your ready to inoculate, just lift up the lid, and poke the needle of your sterile syringe through the plastic wrap and suck up how much ever juice you need.

congratulations...you just spent $5 to turn 2 cc's of spore solution into 200 cc's of spore solution. easy as pie in a microwave too.

Buying presterilized liquid culture

Buy Here