How To Grow Magic Mushrooms (page 5)

MMGG - Magic Mushroom Growers Guide

Where To Find Hard To Get Stuff.

Several items used by this guide can be difficult to locate. Currently, this section will be most useful by people in the United States, but most countries will have similar stores.

Brown Rice Flour

1 or 2 pounds of organic brown rice flour will be enough for your first few crops. If you plan on doing things on a big scale you can get a larger amount. Obtain brown rice flour from a reliable source, most supermarket varieties are loaded with preservatives. Be sure the package says organic brown rice flour.

Because it is organic with no preservatives, the brown rice will be open to insect and bacterial attack, especially if it is stored for any amount of time. Always store organic brown rice in a well sealed light proof plastic bag or container, and keep it in a dry cool area that is well sanitized.

1/2 Pint Tapered Wide Mouth Canning Jars

Canning jars are usually available at harvest time (autumn), but they may be hard to find at other times of the year. Try to get the 1/2 pint (about 8 ounces or 250 ml) size canning jars, there are two reasons for doing so. First, the smaller jars will colonize faster (quicker harvest).

Second, in this guide the directions for mixing the substrate (that will go into the jars) are written assuming that 1/2 pint jars are used. You can use 1 pint tapered jars with no problem, but you will have to double the amount of material that would go into a 1/2 pint jar.


A few quarts of vermiculite will be enough for your first few crops. If you plan on doing things on a big scale you can get a larger amount. If possible use the medium or large size (coarse grade vermiculite is best). Fine size vermiculite particles will work, but larger sizes allow the cakes to colonize faster.

Vermiculite is a alumino-silicate clay mineral that is mined and heated to expand the particles. It's sterile, soaks up 3-4 times its volume in water, and attracts nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Vermiculite itself provides no water or nutrients, but will retain the moisture and nutrients you add to the cakes.

Cool Mist Humidifiers

Cool Mist Humidifier

Ultra sonic cool mist humidifiers are best suited to our purpose, but don't worry if you can not find a humidifier that is ultra sonic, you can use other humidifiers.

The big problem to watch out for is heat. If you use a humidifier that is not ultra sonic, make sure it is a 'cool mist' type or has a cool mist setting (some humidifiers have a cool or warm mist option).

It is possible to adapt an inexpensive cool mist humidifier to the task, but medium and higher priced models that have a way to adjust the humidity level and the fan speed are best. The model pictured above has a spout at the top where humidity exits the humidifier. It might be easier to attach the hose to a spout, on a humidifier like this, than it would to another area of the humidifier.

10 cc. Syringes

A feed store would be a good place to look. Some localities have ordinances prohibiting the sale or possession of syringes without a prescription. If this is the case, you can try to find a source that will ship them to you.

Usually, a 10 or 12 cc syringe can be purchased at a feed store for under $2.00. If you don't have any luck at the feed store, you can try a local pharmacy. They usually have syringes, its just a question of convincing them to sell you a suitable one.

Sometimes you can find syringes online. You might have to search to find a syringe suitable for use in growing magic mushrooms, but they usually can be found. Look for a 10 or 12 cc syringe with a needle included. Note 1cc is equal to 1ml (a 10cc syringe is the same size as a 10ml syringe).

Pressure Cooker

Try to get one that is 4 quarts or larger, the larger the better. You can get 3-6 jars (1/2 pint) inside a 4 quart pressure cooker, depending on the shape of the jars and the pressure cooker. Some jars are short and wide others are taller and thin. An eight quart will allow you to sterilize 8-12 jars (1/2 pint) at a time.

Make absolutely sure that you know how to use it, and that all seals, valves, and safety plugs are in working order. For most people this is the most difficult item to obtain. New pressure cookers start at about $40.00 each, high quality models cost more but will last longer. Look in the housewares section of a department store.

Pressure canners will allow you to work with a larger volume of jars, some of them even have built in racks, so a maximum number of jars can be sterilized in one session. But they are more expensive and can be difficult to find. Information is presented in this guide for steam sterilization so you can still get by without a pressure cooker or canner, if necessary.

Fruiting Chamber

Aquariums, camping coolers, and large plastic storage containers are examples of suitable fruiting chambers. When growing in a low light area where you will have to supply additional light, use something with a clear top for a fruiting chamber. Light will not be able to penetrate a dark top.

I use a plastic storage container that measures about 24 inches (width) by 18 inches (tall) by 18 inches (front to back) for 10 cakes. There is more than enough room. Most department stores have a good selection of plastic storage boxes for a reasonable price. Make sure to get something that won't let much air escape, or it will be hard to maintain a high humidity level.


8 quarts of perlite is more than enough for a single fruiting chamber, it can be reused for years. When dirty, it can be cleaned by soaking it in hydrogen peroxide mixed with water for an hour or two. You can also add some hydrogen peroxide to perlite in the growing chamber to help it stay clean a bit longer.

By the time your cakes have stopped producing mushrooms, the perlite might start smelling bad. If you want to reuse it, put it in a baking pan and cook it at 350 degrees in your oven until it is dry. Let it cool, and it's ready to be used again.

Perlite is a silicon-rich volcanic rock. It's mined and heated to expand the particles. It will soak up water. For our purposes, perlite is soaked with water, drained with a colander, and placed at the bottom of the fruiting chamber to raise and keep the humidity inside high.

Most people prefer coarse because it is easier to work with, but medium or fine perlite will do the job. If you only have vermiculate available, you can use it in place of perlite in the fruiting chamber.

back to preparation of the substrate.
back to using an ultra sonic humidifier.
table of contents.

Bulk Substrate Growing.

This section is for the grower that has some experience and desires to cultivate a large crop of mushrooms. It is intended for someone that has already grown several crops using the PF Tek procedure detailed earlier in this document.

This section assumes a certain amount of experience and expertise. Please do not attempt this technique without first gaining the experience; you will most likely fail if you do so.

The procedure detailed earlier in this document is the best one known for making it possible for a first time cultivator to succeed. But it is very inefficient and the culture jars take a significant amount of time to manufacture and colonize. If you desire to grow a large quantity of mushrooms, you will find it is not practical for your needs.

The following procedure is an adaptation of the traditional mushroom cultivation techniques. It assumes you have some experience and don't need to be warned about this and that.

The following description of the bulk growing procedure should be sufficient for an educated person to follow. There are many fine books on the subject of growing mushrooms, and rather than compete with them, I suggest you get mushroom cultivator if you know how to grow on a small scale but start having difficulties bulk growing.

The movie let's grow mushrooms! is suggested for someone who has problems following directions in this guide or would like an alternative introduction to growing mushrooms. It covers the brown rice method presented in this guide, as well as growing on grain, straw, manure, or sawdust and wood chips.

There has been such a demand for instructions to accomplish growing on a bulk substrate, the author has decided to help. But the following process has not been 'idiot proofed' yet.

You will need to use common sense and adapt as issues arise. Please note that this process depends on sterile procedures being in place. If you fail, it will most likely be because you introduced contaminates.

Materials needed:

Step 1: Note that a pressure cooker is necessary for several reasons. First, bulk grain is more difficult to sterilize. Secondly, in order to get the grain to absorb as much water as possible, pressure is required. You will need a large pressure cooker or canner to accommodate the 1 quart canning jars.

The exact size of the pressure cooker or canner will depend on the size of the canning jars you are using (they come in different sizes). In most cases, a pressure cooker or pressure canner with a 20 quart capacity (or larger) will be required.

The first step in the process is to generate several spawn jars. Place 2/3 cup of rye in each canning jar. Add 3/4 cup of water to each jar. Loosely screw on the caps and sterilize the jars in the pressure cooker. 45 minutes at 15 PSI is usually good.

As the rye cooks, it will expand and all of the water should soak into the rye. Let the jars cool to room temperature. The rye should be loose and break apart if you rotate the jars. That is the main reason rye is used instead of some other grain. This will be important later.

Step 2:
At this point you need mycelium to inoculate the grain. You will need a clean food processor and set of blades for it. If you can remove the section of the food processor that holds the foods, remove it (and the knives) and sterilize them in the pressure cooker, this is best.

If not, place the section of the food processor that holds the foods (and the knives) and put the in the dish washer with lots of soap and hot water. Don't open the pressure cooker or dish washer until you are ready to use the food processor.

If you are using a mushroom, perform the following steps. Sterilize 1/4 cup of water. Let it cool. Put the water and the mushroom into the food processor and turn the mixture into a slurry.

Don't mix the slurry more than you need to. You are creating small fragments of mycelium by chopping up the mushroom. The more you chop it up, the more damage you do to the small pieces of mycelium.

Open each spawn jar and place 4 or 5 cc's of the prepared slurry in the jar. Close the lid and rotate the jar so the rye kernels tumble and mix inside the jar. The idea is to get as many kernels as possible to have mycelium fragments on them. Loosen the lid and place the jars in a warm, dark location.

There are several reasons why tissue from a mushroom is preferred over spores for the inoculation of the spawn jars.

  • Mycelium does not need to germinate. It starts growing immediately.
  • Normally only some of the tissue in a spore inoculation is capable of fruiting. All tissue that come from a fruit body are capable of fruiting.
  • Since every mushroom grown on the bulk substrate is of identical genetic origin, they will be very close in potency.

If you are using a 100% colonized culture jar, perform the following steps. First, the culture jar should have been 100% colonized for at least a week. This lets the mycelium grow into the cake and results in more of it being available for the inoculation.

Birth the cake, and place it in the food processor. Turn it into little pieces smaller than a pea. Dump the sterilized rye into the food processor and turn it on just long enough to mix things up well. Place the contents of the food processor back into the jar and cover it loosely.

The cleaner your environment the more likely you will get through this stage without introducing contaminates. This is the most likely place to induce failure.

Step 3:
Loosen the lid and place the jars in a warm, dark location. In 3 or 4 days you should see isolated spots with white mycelium growing. Check the spawn jars periodically. When you see large areas of aggressive growth, tumble the rye to mix things up.

Rotate the jar enough to thoroughly mix the kernels. The idea of mixing the rye is to get kernels with mycelium growing on them scattered throughout the jar. Ideally, no kernel should be too far from a kernel with mycelium growing on it.

Repeat this process every 3 or 4 days when the mycelium growth has been aggressive for a while. Once there is mycelium growing within 1/2 inch of every other location no further mixing is needed. At this point just let the mycelium expand outwards until it is every where.

Step 4:
Once every kernel has mycelium growing on it, leave the jar sit undisturbed for a week. The idea is to let the mycelium grow as fast as possible.

Step 5:
Sterilize more jars filled with rye and water. Let the jars cool.

Step 6:
Most food processors have a plastic blade that comes with them for the purpose of mixing things instead of cutting things. Use this if possible. Make sure your food processor and blade are clean. Empty the contents of a colonized spawn jar into the food processor.

Turn it on until the rye kernels are all broken apart. Add some of the freshly cooked rye to the food processor. Depending upon your confidence and the sterility of your environment you can add anywhere from 4 to 20 times the amount of grain in your spawn jar. The less you add, the less likely you will have problems with contamination.

The more you add, the faster you can create substrate. Initially, you should stay on the low side. Turn on the food processor and mix the freshly cooked rye with the colonized rye from the spawn jar.

Place this material in a container that can be loosely covered. This material should be treated exactly as the earlier spawn jars were treated except you should see quicker growth of the mycelium patches.

The amount of spawn you have can be compounded again and again until you have enough to inoculate massive substrates.

Step 7:
Once you have sufficient spawn colonized and available for your substrate, lay it out in a deep cake pan to a depth of 1.5 inches. Attempt to keep the surface even.

If you have a very clean environment, you can perform a mass expansion and lay out the uncolonized grain instead of waiting for it to colonize in the jar. This will save several days and a little effort, but in general it is not worth the risk.

Cover the pan with a sheet of plastic wrap. Do not seal it absolutely tight, but make sure that very little air is exchanged. Note that some air does need to be exchanged to keep the CO2 level from getting too high. But air exchange increases the likelihood of contamination. Keep it to a minimum.

This is one of the big benefits to bulk substrate growing. Whatever grain is not used to prepare a substrate can be used as spawn for new jars.

When you get to this point in the process, you can easily be preparing a new bulk substrate every couple of days. You just make sure you never use all of the colonized grain as substrate. You hold back some to use as spawn for the next set of jars.

Step 8:
Wait a few days until the freshly laid out substrate is showing aggressive growth. Laying out the grain breaks up the mycelium networks, and it takes several days for the mycelium to recover.

Step 9:
Casing the substrate is the next step. Various recipes are available but the simplest one consists of course ground vermiculite and water. Course ground vermiculite is a requirement because the fine ground vermiculite packs too tightly and seals the substrate.

Soak the vermiculite in water. Wring it out, but leave it fairly damp. Later versions of this guide will have exact measurements but for the moment, you will need to adapt. If any of you think you have an optimum mixture, please post it in the alt.drugs.psychedelics and rec.drugs.psychedelic newsgroups.

Lay out the casing material to a depth of 3/4 of an inch. Try to keep it smooth because this will result in the mycelium poking through everywhere at the same time. Cover with plastic wrap and wait. Typically, it will be about a week for the mycelium to break through the surface of the casing.

Step 10:
Initiate fruiting. Take the plastic off of the pan and place it in your terrarium. Make sure you have the temperature at about 75 F. Have some indirect light available.

As pins start to develop, use a hand sprayer to mist the casing and keep it moist. But be careful. Do not saturate it to the point of being wet and having water drops that will not soak into the vermiculite.

Step 11:
After the first flush, you can get a smaller second and third flush if you let the substrate rest for a while. There are a lot of factors affecting this.

One particularly important factor is how much of the first flush's moisture came from the substrate and how much came from the casing. If you can mist your casing several times a day, it will help the longevity of your substrate.

table of contents.

Mushroom Related
Books About Mushrooms
More Mushroom Articles
Various Mushrooms Links



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Obtaining Items
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