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The Magic Mushroom Growers Guide

 

Version 3.1

 

Updated 4-10-96

 

Widely acclaimed as the best and most

Comprehensive growing guide for the first

time cultivator anywhere on the web.

You be the judge!

 

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This document may be freely copied and distributed so long as the following

conditions are met:

 

* Any copies of this document must include this notice.

* This document must only be distributed in an unaltered and complete

form.

* This document can not be distributed for profit.

 

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This document provides complete directions for cultivating psilocybin

mushrooms in your home. The strain this guide is intended to help you grow

is Psilocybe cubensis (Amazonian strain) mushrooms. It is the intent of

this document to enable the first time grower to succeed at a minimal cost

and with a minimal amount of effort. This growing guide is the only

reference you will need. After a person has completed the entire cycle

successfully, later generations of mushrooms can be grown with even less

cost and effort. The initial cash outlay will be well under $100 for a

fully automated shroom factory. Subsequent crops can be produced for

several dollars with expected yields of several ounces of dried mushrooms.

 

Table of contents:

 

* What has changed since version 2.9.

* Credits to those who have gone before us.

* Structure of this Document.

* Overview of Procedure and Care.

* Preparation and Colonisation of the Substrate.

* Preparation of the Terrarium.

* The Growing Cycle.

* Drying and Preservation of Mushrooms.

* Dosage and Various Ways to Ingest.

* Obtaining Suitable Spores.

* The Author's First Trip.

* Where to find hard to get stuff

* Index of Adaptations

 

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What has changed since version 2.9

 

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Changes to this document have been numerous since it was first published,

but things are starting to slow down. The goal is to provide the

information the home cultivator needs to know in order for them to adapt

the process to their needs. Most changes now fall into the category of good

ideas submitted by users.

 

Following is a list of changes made to the document.

 

* Version number was changed from 2.9 to 3.1

* several more adaptations suggested by users.

* MMGG had its HTML layout changed to look better in AOL's crippled web

browser.

* MMGG had its HTML syntax changed to eliminate a few of the remaining

complaints by http://www.unipress.com/weblint/

* More information in the 'Hard to Get' section.

* Changed the Drying Section to use Tupperware instead of a zip lock

bag.

* Give details on how to tell if the humidity is too high.

* Give details about how much light is needed.

* Changes in instructions for generating a spore print.

* Radio Shack has discontinued their timer.

* A labour saving adaptation for the settling filter for humidifiers.

 

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Credits to those who have gone before us.

 

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The procedures detailed in this document borrow heavily from past

innovators. In particular, the research done by a company in Seattle

Washington called Psylocybe Fanaticus is instrumental to the viability of

this procedure for the novice cultivator.

 

Psylocybe Fanaticus sells a Technology Report for $10.00 that will provide

the home mushroom cultivator with enough information to succeed the first

time. Indeed, if you ignore the numerous adaptations detailed in this

document, you will end up with a procedure very similar to what they

instruct you to do in their Technology Report. It would not hurt for the

first time cultivator to obtain their Technology Report and read it also.

 

There is one main issue with Psylocybe Fanaticus' Technology Report. The

issue is that Psylocybe Fanaticus's Technology Report is very simple. That

is part of its beauty and the reason the procedures works so well even for

the neophyte.

 

After the user has some experience with the procedure, there are things

that can be done to adapt the procedures to the user's situation. Bare in

mind that the PF Tek Notes were created to enable the first time grower to

succeed. They accomplish this very well! The intent of this document is to

provide some of the ways the authors have successfully adapted the base

procedure to their needs and empower other cultivators to make similar

choices for themselves.

 

Lastly, let us compliment the users of this guide for all the good feedback

they have provided. Many users have offered great ideas for various

sections of this guide. The ideas from users are starting to be found in

every section.

 

Even though we have produced a very flexible and optimised growers guide,

we acknowledge all the creative thinking and hard work that went ahead of

us.

 

Back to table of contents.

 

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Format of this Document.

 

How to use this document.

 

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The procedures detailed in this document are a mixture of mandatory and

optional steps. The core document describes the basic procedure in its

simplest form and at various points there will be possible adaptations that

can be incorporated. In general, the adaptations will summarise what is

required and the benefit to the cultivator in the event the adaptation is

implemented. You should read the entire document before you attempt to

implement the procedures described in it.

 

The first time you use the process you should follow the directions exactly

and resist the temptation to innovate. Innovation without experience is the

primary cause of failure. If you must innovate because you can not find a

particular item or for some other reason, first check with someone that has

experience to make sure your not doing something crazy.

 

It is our intent to provide the first time cultivator with the knowledge to

make informed decisions about the growing process for Magic Mushrooms. The

cultivator can select some adaptations that are felt to be worthwhile and

reject others that don't have sufficient merit for him. It's his choice,

but he is still guaranteed that if he follows the directions he will

produce a crop of mushrooms.

 

This guide is published as a single document to make printing easy and

simplify acquiring a copy to your local machine. There are several GIF

files that it references in the directory that you found this document. You

need these also. You might want to check and see if there is a file called

MMGG.ZIP or MMGG.TAR in the directory you found this document. If so, you

can just get this one file and it will contain everything you need to

obtain a local copy.

 

If you wish to examine an adaptation, simply click on it. When you're done

looking at it, there will be two links. One back to the table of contents

and one back to where the adaptation is used in the procedure.

 

One last note. A terrarium is required to complete the growing cycle. You

can perform the steps to inoculate the culture jars and over the next few

weeks build your terrarium. It takes time for the cultures to grow and this

should provide you sufficient time to make a suitable terrarium if you are

in a hurry to get started.

 

Back to table of contents.

 

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Overview of the Procedure.

 

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In order to grow mushrooms, a suitable substrate must be inoculated and

colonised by the fungus. This step requires sterility because the substrate

contains no preservatives and can be overrun by any mold or bacteria that

is present. This first step takes place in canning jars prepared in your

home's kitchen. It uses brown rice flour and vermiculite, which are both

readily available. A substrate is prepared, placed in the canning jars and

sterilised with heat. After the jars cool, they are inoculated with a spore

syringe. This phase of the cycle can be completed for less than $25 and

will produce enough substrate to yield many ounces of dried mushrooms.

 

After the substrate is inoculated, you wait until it is colonised

completely by the fungus. Once the substrate is colonised completely by the

fungus, sterility is less of a concern because the fungus is pretty much

able to fight off invaders and the rice cake substrate can be removed from

the jar. This typically takes between two and three weeks to complete. At

this point, the substrate is placed in a terrarium where high humidity is

available to the fungus. While waiting for the substrate to colonise

completely, no effort is required.

 

The terrarium is kept at around 90% humidity and the carbon dioxide that is

produced by the fungus is constantly eliminated. Within a week of being

placed in the terrarium, the rice cakes will start growing mushrooms.

Within several weeks of being placed in the terrarium, the cultivator will

have numerous mature mushrooms ready for consumption. The cakes continue to

produce mushrooms until either the nutrients in the rice cake are used up

or the moisture in the rice cake is depleted. Depending on how the

cultivator chooses to implement the terrarium, more or less attention is

required at this phase in the cycle. With the fully automated terrarium

setup described later in this document, attention is only required every

few days. Mostly, this involves picking mature mushrooms and adding water

to the humidifier used in the setup.

 

It is very likely that the mushrooms will be produced faster than they can

be consumed by the home cultivator once the cropping phase of the cycle

starts. It is fairly easy to dry the mushrooms and preserve them for many

months. In fact, some people prefer the dried mushrooms to their fresh

counterpart. Being the master of understatement, let me state that they do

not taste as good as mushrooms available in the grocery store.

 

Occasionally, a sterile spore print from a mature mushroom needs to be

generated if the cycle is to continue. This is used to produce a spore

syringe to inoculate new culture jars. It is a little bit of effort and

requires very careful, sterile procedures to be successful generating a

spore print. Of course, this can be circumvented by simply ordering a new

spore syringe. A 10 cc. spore syringe should be sufficient to inoculate a

dozen jars of substrate. It is the cultivator's choice which path to follow

for successive generations.

 

Back to table of contents.

 

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Preparation of the Substrate.

 

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Mushrooms are grown on a substrate of nutrients. Just as a common house

plant is grown in a pot of soil, mushrooms can be grown on a cake of

substrate material. The big difference is that the substrate must be free

of competing bacteria and moulds in order for the process to be successful.

Any contamination of the substrate will result in failure of the process.

Materials needed:

 

* 1/2 pint canning jars Adaptation-1

* Vermiculite (from any garden department. K-Mart, Target, etc.) Where

to find

* Brown Rice flour Adaptation-22 (from a health food store --- No

Preservatives!) Where to find

* Large pot with lid Adaptation-2

* Measuring cups

* Mixing bowl

* Hammer and small nail

* Spore Syringe (Where to get a spore syringe)

 

The canning jars need to be tapered. This means that the opening of the jar

is wider than the body of the jar. This is important because the fully

colonised rice cake needs to be removed intact from the jar. You simply

want the cake to slide out when the time is right. If you use a jar that is

not in the following list, check to make sure the box says it is a tapered

jar. The following jars are acceptable:

 

* Ball 1/2 pint jelly jars.

* Kerr wide mouth 1/2 pint canning jars.

* Ball regular mouth 1/2 pint canning jars.

 

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Step 1:

Prepare the tops of the culture jars so that they can be in place, on the

jars when inoculating the jars with the spore syringe. Part of the reason

this system works so well in the non-sterile kitchen environment is the

fact that the sterilised substrate is never exposed to air born

contaminates. Get a small nail and use the hammer to poke 4 holes in the

lid of each canning jar. See the following figure:

[Picture of Culture Jar]

 

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Step 2:

Decide in how many jars you are going to initiate cultures. The average

terrarium that is built will hold 6 rice cakes but you may have some jars

destroyed by contamination and some jars colonise quicker than others. It

is unlikely that every jar you prepare will be ready to be placed in the

terrarium at the same time. The rice flour and vermiculite are cheap enough

that it makes sense to do a dozen jars.

 

For each 1/2 pint jar mix 2/3 cup vermiculite and 1/4 cup brown rice flour

in a mixing bowl. Adaptation-23 when these ingredients are well mixed, add

1/4 cup of water for each 1/2 pint jar you plan to prepare. If you are

using 1 pint jars you need to double the recipe. Mix all of this stuff up

well. This mixture is the substrate material that the fungus will consume

and use for growth.

 

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Step 3:

The next step is to fill each jar with substrate material. Adaptation-20

The material should be pressed gently together so that it will hold its

shape if and when it is removed from the jar. The more tightly the material

is pressed together, the slower the fungus will colonised the jar. Do not

pack the substrate too tightly. Adaptation-3 Fill each jar to within 1/2

inch of the top with substrate material. If you run out of substrate

material, either mix up enough for one more 1/2 pint jar or cannibalise a

jar to fill up the rest of the jars. This is important because you need to

make sure the substrate is high enough in the jars for the spore syringe to

inject spores into it.

 

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Step 4:

The top 1/2 inch of the glass on each culture jar needs to be cleaned. No

substrate material can be left on the glass above the compressed cake.

First wipe it with your finger to get the bulk of the material off of it

and then do a thorough job with a moistened paper towel. The glass needs to

be spotless. The reason this is necessary is that bacteria and mold can use

any material left there as a wick to infect the main substrate body.

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Step 5:

Next, fill the top 1/2 inch of the each culture jar with vermiculite. This

layer is pure, simple, dry vermiculite. Nothing else. Fill the jar level

with the glass edge. This layer is a break through pioneered by Psylocybe

Fanaticus. What this layer does is insulate the sterilised substrate from

any air borne contamination. This layer gets sterilised with the substrate

later and air borne moulds and bacteria can not (usually) get through it to

contaminate the substrate. At the same time, it allows some gas exchange to

occur. The fungus needs oxygen and gasses can filter through the

vermiculite.

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Step 6:

Now, place the jar lids in place. Normally, the jar lids have a rubber seal

that is placed in contact with the glass of the jar. Traditionally the

rubber seal is not placed in contact with the glass. It was placed on the

upper side of the lid. The reason was that people thought it would make too

tight of a seal. This does not seem to be an issue. If you wish to follow

tradition, place the rubber on the upper side of the lid. Screw the lid

down tight. Note that you need to have the four holes poked in the lid in

Step 1. Otherwise you can have real problems when you heat these jars up!

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Step 7:

Next, place a piece of tin foil over the top of each jar and crumple it

around the sides of the jar. This is to keep water drops from going in the

four holes in the lid while the jar is being sterilised. If you poked your

holes in the lid such that the sharp edges are pointing up, be careful not

to rip or puncture the tin foil. If you need to, you can add a second or

even a third piece of tin foil to make sure water will not drip into the

holes in the lid.

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Step 8:

Now the culture jars need to be sterilised. Place the jars in a large

kitchen pot and add water so that water comes half way up the side of the

jars. Bring the water to a slow boil and place the lid on the pot. From the

time the water starts to boil, the jars need 1 hour to be sterilised. Water

should not be bubbling and splashing all over the place. The jars should

not be floating around in the water. The substrate in the culture jars has

the right amount of water in it already. You do not want water leaking into

the jars and changing the ratio.

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Step 9:

Take the jars out of the hot water and set on a table or counter to cool.

The jars need to be at or close to room temperature in order to inoculate.

The spores will be killed if the jars are not cool enough when they are

inoculated. It will take several hours to cool sufficiently. You may hear

sounds as the jars cool. This is normal.

 

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Step 10:

Now comes the good part. Inoculation of the culture jars. Assuming you have

a viable, sterile spore syringe, you are now in a position to inoculate the

cultures and start the first phase of the growing cycle. The needle of the

spore syringe must be sterile. If your fingers or anything other than the

lid or contents of the culture jars comes in contact with it, assume it is

no longer sterile. If there is any doubt about its condition, use a

cigarette lighter to heat the entire needle. Heat it until it glows red.

Let it cool for a few minutes and squirt some of the solution out of the

syringe.

 

Shake the syringe. Make sure the spores are mixed well within the syringe.

This can be accomplished more easily if you pull the plunger back on the

syringe to get a little air into the syringe.

 

Remove the tin foil from each culture jar as you prepare to inoculate it.

Insert the needle of the syringe as far as it will go into a hole in the

lid of the culture jar and get the needle to press against the glass.

Examine the next figure for a simple diagram of how things should look.

Inject 1/4 cc of solution at a site under each hole in the lid.

Adaptation-4 A total of 1 cc of solution for each jar. Adaptation-5

[Inoculation]

 

A 10 cc spore syringe is sufficient to inoculate a dozen jars if you inject

slightly less than 1 cc in each jar.

 

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Step 11:

This is the easy part. Put the culture jars in a dark place and wait. The

fungus will first appear as little splotches of white fuzzy stuff at the

inoculation sites. Adaptation-6

 

[Picture of Culture Jar 5 days after inoculation]

[Picture of Culture Jar 10 days after inoculation]

[Picture of Culture Jar 20 days after inoculation]

 

As the time goes by, the fungus will spread throughout the jar. Eventually,

the entire surface of the glass will be covered with fungus. Typically, the

bottom of the jar is the last area to be colonised. Be on the look out for

any contamination.

 

Any odd colours that might appear are contamination and the jar must be

thrown out. Do not take any chances. If you think the jar might be

contaminated, throw it out!. Some moulds and bacteria produce toxins that

can kill you. Just because a mushroom is growing on the opposite side of

the cake from the contamination does not mean you are safe. The mycelium

network carries nutrients and moisture to the mushrooms from far away and

can easily pick up the toxins and bring them to the mushroom. The fact that

you are using this guide means you are not an experienced mycologist. You

do not know which moulds and bacteria are deadly. Do not take a chance.

 

The one exception to the previous statements is the mycelium will some

times change from a bright white to a very pale yellow if it has water

droplets touching it on the side of the glass. It is very unusual for any

area that is colonised by the mushroom fungus to become infected while in

the jar. The uncolonized areas of the substrate are usually significantly

more prone to infection.

 

The above pictures show a typical germination and colonisation cycle. If

your spores are old, or the temperature is not optimum, or you did not mix

the substrate very accurately you can easily add a week to the above time

frames.

 

The cake must stay in the jar until the entire surface area is covered with

mycelium. As the substrate gets more colonised, the growth slows down. This

is a result of CO2 building up and less oxygen being available for the

fungus to consume. Adaptation-7

 

The cakes can not be taken out of the jars while there is still uncolonized

substrate. Adaptation-8

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Step 12:

Once a rice cake is fully colonised, it can be taken out of the culture

jar. Adaptation-9 At this point, there are no areas on the substrate that

can easily be infected by competitor moulds and bacteria. Once the mycelium

is established, it can usually prevent other organisms from gaining a foot

hold and destroying the rice cake.

 

Adaptation-10 Unscrew and remove the lid from the canning jars. Scrape all

the loose vermiculite on the top of the substrate into the garbage. Take

care not to gouge into the substrate material as this can leave areas open

to infection. You do not need to get all the vermiculite off of the cake.

In fact, the only reason to remove any of it is to keep the terrarium neat

and orderly. Turn the jar up side down and slam it onto a table top. The

rice cake should slide out of the jar. The rice cakes will typically shrink

a little during the colonisation phase of the process and will come out of

the jars easily with a little tapping on a table top.

 

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Step 13:

The rice cakes need to be placed into the terrarium. It is assumed that you

have a fully functional and checked out terrarium setup at this point. This

document contains all the information you need to prepare a terrarium.

Preparation of the terrarium.

 

You can handle the cakes but remember that the less you handle them and the

more gently you handle them, the better off they will be. Also, you should

wash your hands thoroughly and be sure to rinse with water just as

thoroughly to remove any soap before touching the cakes.

 

If you have disposable sterile gloves available, it isn't a bad idea to use

them. You can get away without using them, but they are a good idea.

Contamination is the mycophile's worst enemy.

 

Back to table of contents.

The Growing Cycle.

Construction of the Terrarium.

 

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Construction of the Terrarium.

 

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The main purpose of the terrarium is to provide the high humidity required

for mushroom development. The rice cakes will live inside the terrarium

during the cropping phase of the growing cycle.

 

There are three different setups described in this document. The first two

are based on work done by Psylocybe Fanaticus. They work, and you will get

some mushrooms, but they require a lot of attention and your production

will be very limited compared to the third option. I strongly encourage you

to choose the one that uses the ultra-sonic humidifier to keep humidity up.

It requires very limited maintenance and works very well.

 

All three of the terrarium setups require the same growing chamber. The

difference is the strategy for keeping the humidity high inside of the

growing chamber. If you want, you can start with one of the simpler

versions and switch to a different setup later if you are unhappy with it.

Note that if you start with the ultra-sonic humidifier version, we don't

expect that you will want to switch to one of the other two.

 

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Basic Growing Chamber.

 

Materials needed:

 

* Styrofoam Cooler Adaptation-11

* Wire Mesh (1/4 or 1/2 inch is ideal)

* Plexi Glass (a 24 by 24 inch piece of window insulation or fluorescent

light diffuser) Optional if using an ultra sonic humidifier.

* Silicon Glue

* Humidity Gauge Adaptation-12

 

The cooler needs to have a very tight fitting cover. The idea is to seal in

humidity, and the looser the lid is, the more difficult this is. Except for

the cooler, everything you need can be found at your neighbourhood building

supply store. Below are diagrams detailing the various components of the

terrarium. There is no way to predict the dimensions of the cooler that you

will use. You will need to use some common sense as we walk you through the

steps to build your terrarium.

 

[Picture of terrarium]

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[Picture of terrarium]

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The purpose of the wire mesh is to hold the rice cakes off the bottom of

the cooler where moisture will collect. The easiest thing to do is cut a

piece of wire mesh an inch wider and an inch longer than the dimensions of

the bottom of the cooler. Then, use a pair of pliers to bend a 1/2 inch

ridge all the way around the piece of wire mesh. The piece of mesh will be

held up by the bent ridge. Often times, when mushrooms are growing, space

above them is at a premium. Try not to raise the wire mesh more than a 1/2

inch above the bottom of the cooler. Doing that simply wastes valuable

space.

 

Next, if you are going to use the hand sprayer method of adding humidity, a

drip shield needs to be installed. If you are using a fish tank bubblier or

an ultra sonic humidifier, it is optional but still a good idea. As

moisture condenses inside the terrarium, this protects the rice cakes from

being 'rained' upon. Any moisture that forms on the lid of the cooler can

drip and will be stopped by the drip shield from hitting the rice cakes.

Any moisture that forms on the bottom side of the drip shield will form

beads and run down to the side of the terrarium where it can drip

harmlessly. If you use a piece of plexi-glass that is textured on one side,

put the textured side pointing up. You want a smooth surface on the bottom

side of the drip shield so that moisture can easily run down to the side of

the terrarium.

 

The drip shield is held up by several bolts sticking through the side of

the cooler. Depending on what size canning jars you use and the height of

your wire mesh, you will need to figure out where to put them. You want the

drip shield to be at as steep of angle as possible to make water run down

it easily, but you want it high enough that your mushrooms have room to

grow without touching the drip shield. The drip shield needs to fit well.

You need a small gap on the edges to let air circulate, but keep it small.

About 1/4 inch is good. In other words, the drip shield should fit pretty

well to the inside of the cooler, but it is not supposed to be air tight.

Also remember when shaping the drip shield that you can not go to the very

top of the cooler because the lid will recess into the cooler a little

ways.

 

If you are using a Styrofoam cooler, you should use washers on the bolts on

both the inside and outside of the cooler. This will allow you to tighten

the nuts on the bolts snugly to keep the bolts from tearing up the cooler

as you move the drip shield during normal maintenance.

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Next, the top of the cooler needs to be modified to allow light to enter

the terrarium. Psilocybe Cubensis is a phototropic mushroom. It needs light

to initiate pinning and to tell the mushrooms which way is up. You should

have some plexi-glass left over from the drip shield that can be used for

this purpose. Cut a hole in the top of cooler. Cut a piece of plexi-glass a

little bit bigger than the hole in the cooler lid. Run a bead of silicon

glue all the way around the hole in the cooler top. Position the

plexi-glass over the hole and let the glue setup. See the following

diagram:

[Picture of terrarium]

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That is it. The basic grow chamber is done. Now you need to decide which

method you are going to use to keep the humidity high and the CO2

concentration low while the mushrooms are growing.

 

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Method 1: Hand Spraying.

 

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This is the original method that Psylocybe Fanaticus recommended for the

home cultivator to grow mushrooms. It is the least expensive. It is the

most labour intensive and forces you to conform to a demanding schedule. The

only thing you need in addition to the basic growing chamber is a spray

bottle that can put out a fine mist.

 

The procedure is this: At least four times a day the terrarium needs to

have humidity injected into it via the spray bottle. At least twice a day

the CO2 that has built up needs to be eliminated. Once a day you need to

eliminate water from the bottom of the terrarium that has condensed and

formed there.

 

Once a day, you need to remove the standing water from the bottom of the

terrarium. You can use a turkey baster to suck the water out, or you can

gently remove each cake and turn the terrarium up side down to drain the

water out. If you remove the cakes, be very gentle. Any place you touch the

cakes will not fruit. You should pick up the cakes in the same place every

time.

 

Twice a day, the CO2 that has accumulated in the chamber needs to be

removed. One method is to remove the drip shield and fan the inside of the

cooler with the cover for 10 or 15 seconds. Another method that works well

is to have a hair dryer next to the cooler and use it. Simply lower it into

the terrarium with the exhaust jet pointing up and out of the terrarium and

turn it on. It will suck all the existing CO2 out of the chamber. Be sure

not to hit the rice cakes with the hot exhaust air. It will damage them. If

your hair dryer has a 'cool' setting, use that instead of 'hot'.

 

In order to create humidity in the terrarium a spray bottle that is capable

of generating a fine mist is used. There are a lot of different products

for use in the kitchen that have an adjustable spray nozzle, but if you

choose to recycle one of these, make sure it produces a very fine mist.

What ever you use, make sure it is entirely clean of the original

chemicals. Let's make this perfectly clear. Make sure the bottle is clean

and does not contain anything that will damage the fungus. The safest thing

to do is go to the hardware store and buy a high quality spray bottle.

These typically produce a finer mist than most kitchen type spray bottles.

The problem is that you would not be using a spray bottle if you had a

little extra cash so we are telling you that you can use a kitchen spray

bottle if you are careful. In order to create the necessary humid

environment in the terrarium, the nozzle is slipped under the cover of the

cooler and sprayed at the center of the top side of the drip shield. See

the following diagram:

 

[Picture of hand spraying]

 

After spraying for 5 seconds, pull the spray nozzle out of the cooler and

let the lid quickly close, sealing in the vapor. The small water drops will

dramatically raise the humidity of the chamber. The rice cakes can not ever

be sprayed directly. The mycelium is very fragile and doing that will

damage it. The terrarium needs to be sprayed at least 4 times a day. More

is better.

 

This setup and procedure will work and is very inexpensive, but that is the

only good I have to say about it. You become a slave to your terrarium. If

you miss a couple sessions, your fungus will most definitely suffer because

of it. Also, you can only support a few growing mushrooms at a time using

this procedure. The mushrooms pull a lot of humidity out of the air and

this method doesn't provide much excess.

 

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Method 2: Using a Fish Tank Bubblier.

 

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The basic portion of this system was originally pioneered by Psylocybe

Fanaticus There are several improvements and adaptations in this section

that were not included in the original method. The idea is to create

humidity by bubbling air through water. A small fish tank air pump and

bubbling stone are used to accomplish this.

 

This method is inexpensive and allows the terrarium to exist without your

constant attention. It's major limitation is that depending on how it is

implemented, it can only raise the humidity by 15% over ambient. The

minimum acceptable amount of humidity needed by the fungus is 85%. If

ambient humidity is going to be less than 70% during the growing cycle, you

will experience problems even with a fully optimised setup. If you have

more than a few mushrooms growing, it is possible this system will fail to

keep the humidity high enough. You still need to hand spray the terrarium

occasionally to boost the humidity above what the bubblier can do. Several

times a day is sufficient.

 

All of the materials needed can be obtained at any pet store or pet

department in a department store.

 

Materials needed:

* suitable container for water

* Fish Tank Bubblier

* 3 feet of 1/4 inch air line for fish tanks

* bubblier stone

* optional submersible 50 watt fish tank heater Adaptation-13

* optional Angel Hair or plastic steel wool Adaptation-14

 

The basic strategy is to place a container of water inside the terrarium

and slowly bubble air through the water. A hole should be cut in the drip

shield to allow the container to stick up through it. The top of the

container should be above the drip shield to protect the fungus from water

droplets that will get produced. There are several ways the system can be

implemented. If the air pump is setup outside the terrarium with just an

air line going into the terrarium, the humidity will be raised less than

10% over ambient. The one benefit to this setup is the fact that air is

constantly being exchanged and the home cultivator does not need to

eliminate CO2 every day. A small hole can be put at the base of the

terrarium to let CO2 and water escape. The hole should be just big enough

that water does not bead up and plug the hole. A 3/8 inch hole will

accomplish this nicely. Note that a small, snug hole needs to be drilled in

the side of the cooler to allow the air line to get inside the cooler. You

can not just loop it over the side of the cooler and slam the lid on it.

You will not get enough humidity if the lid does not fit tightly. See the

following diagram:

 

[Picture of bubblier setup]

 

A second method to implement this strategy is to put the air pump inside

the terrarium. This way the same air is constantly recirculated, constantly

increasing its humidity. This can increase the humidity to close to 15%

over ambient. This implementation has several disadvantages. First, the key

to getting the higher humidity is recirculation of the same air over and

over again. This means no hole can be placed at the bottom of the terrarium

to allow water and CO2 to escape. You will need to eliminate CO2 at least

once a day. The second disadvantage is the fact that the air pump generates

some heat and can warm the terrarium by over 10 degrees F. This may or may

not be acceptable. One point needs to be noted. The air pump will create

some vibration. It is best to suspend the air pump from a rubber band to

absorb this vibration. A stiff piece of coat hanger wire can be suspended

from one side of the terrarium to the other and the air pump hung from it.

Instead of the air tube going through the side of the terrarium, the power

cord for the pump goes through the side. Also note that the positioning of

the stiff wire to hold the air pump is not critical. It may be better to

rotate it 90 degrees from what is shown in the following diagram so that it

is easier to remove the drip shield when servicing the terrarium. Also, the

power cord and air tube should have some slack in them so that are not

being pulled on as the pump vibrates. The ideal scenario is to tie wrap

them to the supporting wire. See the following diagram:

 

[Picture of bubblier setup]

 

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Method 3: Using an Ultra Sonic Humidifier.

 

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This is the best method. It will free you from the tyranny of your

terrarium. It will effortlessly produce enough humidity to support as many

mushrooms as you can grow at once. This setup will automatically eliminate

CO2 buildup before it occurs. The only draw back is that ultra sonic

humidifiers cost around $40. A little more for a super nice one, a little

less for a budget version. Just about any ultra sonic humidifier will work.

 

A steam humidifier is not easy to integrate into this terrarium setup.

First, the vapor it emits is too hot and will kill the fungus. The second

reason is they typically run full blast. They do not have a control to

throttle them way back like the ultra sonic humidifiers do.

 

Materials needed:

* Ultra Sonic Humidifier Where to find

* 8 feet of 7/16 inch outer diameter, 5/16 inch inner diameter vinyl

tube

* 1 dozen 3/8 inch inner diameter grommets

* 4 clear 2 liter coke bottles

* 3/8 inch, fine thread bolt

* tube of silicon glue

* pliers

 

First, a small hole needs to be placed in the Basic Growing Chamber to let

water and CO2 escape. It should be at the very bottom of the cooler. It

needs to be big enough that water will not bead up and plug it. 1/2 to 3/4

of an inch is good.

 

This setup uses the ultra sonic humidifier to produce air that is close to

100% in humidity. The air flow out of the humidifier is limited by the fact

that it has to travel through the 7/16 inch vinyl tubing. That is OK,

because we want to limit the amount of air we feed into the terrarium. The

humidifier will generate very humid air, but the air will also have many

suspended water particles in it. Any time one of these water particles

touches another water drop, they will merge. We don't want moisture forming

on the rice cakes, so limiting the number of suspended water drops we allow

into the terrarium is a big step towards this goal.

 

Even so, the air must be dried further. Adaptation-21 The air is passed

through several stages where it is allowed to swirl and condense. Each one

of these stages is comprised of an empty 2 liter coke bottle or some other

suitable container. These stages are connected together using the 7/16 inch

vinyl tubing.

 

Every time a piece of vinyl tubing is used, it needs to be fluted. This

means it is not cut off square, but rather at a very sharp angle. This is

necessary to help moisture that condenses inside the line to drip out once

it reaches the end of the line. Otherwise, it will form a big drop and

eventually plug up the line. At that point you have no humidity entering

the terrarium.

 

Drill a 7/16 inch hole in the center of the exhaust lid for the humidifier.

Insert a grommet. Apply a bead of silicon glue to the slit through which

vapor normally exits. You want to plug this slit up. The only exit for

vapor should be through a piece of vinyl tubing that will be placed inside

this grommet.

 

Remove the labels on the coke bottles. Any large plastic container can be

used but the 2 liter coke bottles are real nice because they allow you to

see inside. Adaptation-24 This is useful to determine if the terrarium is

running correctly later. Also, you will be able to see if moisture that has

collected in the bottle needs to be emptied out of it.

 

Heat up the threads on the 3/8 inch bolt using a propane touch or burner on

a gas stove. A cigarette lighter will work, but it will take a long time.

Hold onto the bolt with the pliers. When the bolt is hot, quickly and

neatly poke two holes in each 2 liter coke bottle. Adaptation-15 See the

following diagram for details:

 

[Picture of ultra-sonic setup]

 

The bolt that is used is deliberately a little smaller than the hole that

needs to be generated. The hot bolt will melt the hole a little bit bigger

than it is when it pokes through the plastic bottle. You may need to insert

the bolt a second time into the hole and let it touch the sides to expand

the diameter of the hole. Some times little chunks of plastic stick to the

side of the hole. Use a sharp knife to clean up the edges and insert a

grommet. Check the fit of the vinyl tubing through the grommet. It should

be very snug and air tight, but it should not collapse the inner diameter

of the tubing very much.

 

Connect a piece of tubing from the humidifier to the first coke bottle.

Flute both ends of each piece of vinyl tubing. Connect the this coke bottle

to the next. Do this until you have all four coke bottles connected. The

picture shows 3 coke bottles because that is what is normally required, but

for now connect in all 4. Now connect the last coke bottle to the

terrarium. You will need to poke a hole in the side and insert the tubing.

The tubing should be blowing humid air into the part of the terrarium that

is above the drip shield. It should be setup as follows:

 

[Picture of ultra-sonic setup]

 

Checking out the Ultra Sonic Humidifier Setup:

 

Fill the humidifier with water and position the various stages of the coke

bottles between the humidifier and terrarium. At no place should the vinyl

tubing have a low spot for condensation to form and plug up the line.

Condensation will form in the lines but it should run to the end and drip

harmlessly out of the line.

 

Set the humidity level at the minimum setting. This is still more than you

should need. Adaptation-19 After you give it time to stabilize, you should

see that each stage of the coke bottles has less fog in it than the

preceding stage. Usually, 3 bottles is the right amount, but depending on

your humidifier and ambient humidity, it could be more or less. You want

the last coke bottle to just have the slightest hint of fog in it. Add or

delete stages as necessary.

 

The humidity in the terrarium should stabilize at about 90%. The ideal

amount of humidity is as much as you can get without moisture forming on

the rice cakes. Keep in mind that most humidity meters you get at

department stores are not very accurate.

 

Back to table of contents.

 

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The Growing Cycle.

 

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This section is relatively short considering its topic. That is because

when you get to this point you are only needed to make sure the fungus has

the right conditions to thrive.

 

Once you place a fully colonised rice cake in the terrarium it just needs

several things to grow mushrooms. It needs high humidity, temperatures

below 85 degrees F. and a little light. Once the mycelium network has

gained access to enough nutrients the cake can initiate mushrooms if

conditions are right. The initiation of mushrooms requires some light and

temperatures in the mid to upper 70's F. The mushrooms can grow at higher

temperatures, and in fact grow faster at higher temperatures. But the fact

remains that the temperature range is fairly narrow to start new mushrooms.

Normally, it takes about a week for pin heads to form if the rice cake was

removed from the culture jar as soon as it was 100% colonised. It can

happen after just a couple days if the mycelium network is well

established, or it can take several weeks if things aren't just perfect for

the cake.

 

If you keep the terrarium's temperature in the mid to upper 70's F. you

will be constantly initiating new mushrooms (pin heads) while providing a

good environment for the growing mushrooms to mature. This is the simplest

way to grow if you can arrange for this to be the case. Adaptation-16 If

you deviate outside of this temperature range, you will still get a few

mushrooms, but the fungus will initiate new pin heads only occasionally.

You will spend a lot of time waiting for a mushroom to form.

 

The rice cakes need a small amount of light to initiate pin heads.

Mushrooms are not plants and do not need light to grow. However, P.

cubensis is a phototropic mushroom. This means it needs light to trigger a

hormonal response in order to form mushrooms. If you can see the rice

cakes, there is enough light for this to happen. Many mycologists believe

the reason light is important in the growing cycle is because it provides a

reliable clue to the mycelium that it has reached the boundary of the

substrate in which it is growing. In nature, P. cubensis often lives in a

pile of cow manure. Once it has grown through the entire substrate and

reaches the edge, light hits it and provides the mycelium with the

information that if it forms a mushroom there, it can release spores into

the air for distribution. It is not productive to form a mushroom inside

the substrate because the spores can not be distributed in that case. Any

normal spectrum of light that you have available will work. Sun light,

fluorescent or incandescent are all fine and will work. A few minutes of

light a day is sufficient but an hour or two will guarantee that pin heads

form if everything else (temperature, humidity, the mycelium network is

well established, etc.) is right. Be careful not to heat your terrarium too

much if you use artificial light near the terrarium.

 

The rice cakes will have a very bright white appearance when they are first

placed in the terrarium. Soon, they will be coated with a thin layer of

fluffy mycelium. If the cakes refuse to fruit but continue to form more and

more fluffy mycelium this is an indication that the humidity is too high

and needs to be adjusted downward. For people using a humidifier in their

terrarium setup, this is the single biggest cause of failure assuming they

get the rice cakes colonised successfully.

 

When pin heads form, they will look like a short section of a common pin.

Hence, the name. The end of these pin heads will soon grow dark brown. This

is the cap beginning to form. When the rice cakes are fresh, the small

mushrooms will start adding bulk rather than grow longer. They will form

balls the size of a marble. Then, they will start to thin out and grow

long, adding bulk the whole time.

 

You should avoid the temptation to grow the mushrooms as large as possible.

Significantly more psilocybin is produced during the early periods of

growth. By letting the mushroom grow too large you are simply consuming

nutrients and moisture from the rice cake for no purpose. Also, the

mushrooms taste increasingly bad as they get larger. Lastly, the mycelium

network in the cake can only provide so much in the way of nutrients and

water to maturing mushrooms. If you let the mushrooms grow too big, they

will hurt the development of other mushrooms on the cake. The mushrooms

should be picked just as the veil underneath the cap is starting to tear

away from the stalk.

 

On the average, you should expect to get between 4 and 6 average size

mushrooms per 1/2 pint cake. On the average you should expect each cake to

produce 1 mushroom a week but this Only a guide.


        BacK

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