Author Topic: HOW TO GROW MAGIC MUSHROOMS  (Read 336 times)


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« on: February 15, 2017, 10:15:41 pm »
       H O W    T O    G R O W    M A G I C    M U S H R O O M S

This is the rather sketchy instruction sheet for growing magic mushrooms
(Psilocybe cubensis) from spores that is provided with spore prints sold
by the HOMESTEAD BOOK COMPANY which advertises in High Times.


                           SPORE INSTRUCTIONS

We recommend that you consult a reputable book before attempting to culture
your mushroom spores.  GROWING WILD MUSHROOMS by Bob Harris is especially
recommended. Other books that should provide you with information

For best results we recommend the malt-agar medium and compost included in
the HOMESTEAD MUSHROOM KITS. However, if you wish to try cultivating your
spores without the mushroomkit, please follow these very basic instructions.

Using sterile technique and a sterile inoculating loop, smear a very small,
almost invisible amount of spores onto a prepared petri dish or other
enclosed container containing malt extract agar media, etc.. Leave at room
temperature or warmer in an enclosed area for three to five days at which
time mycelial growth should be evident. The mycelium will be pure white
fluffy strands, which might stain in light blue. Mold or contamination can be
identified as off-white, green, or blue-green with age. Bacteria will form a
film on surface of agar and look wet compared to moist agar. Remove any
contamination immediately with the agar knife.

After the mycelium has covered the agar surface, cut into sections about 1/2
square inch or larger and place into the sterile grain in a test tube or jar
which has been pressure cooked at 15 lbs. pressure for 30 to 60 minutes. Use
cotton or insulation to cover the mouth of jars or tubes, then cover with
aluminum foil to keep sterile. The grain should be incubated at room
temperature to 85 degrees F. for five to ten days or until it is completely
grown through by the mycelium. Mushrooms can be transferred to compost at
this point for highest yield.

Mycelium can be cased right in the jars or removed and placed in another
container. Using another container with drainage is preferable. Use a mixture
of 1 to 1 to 1/2 of peat moss, vermiculite, and lime (not lime flour!), or
sterile loam for casing. Casing should be sterilized in the pressure cooker
to prevent contamination by bugs. Casing layer should be kept moist but not
saturated with water. Air humidity should be 80 to 100, temperature 70 to 80
degrees F. Lowering temperature 10 to 20 degrees at night is beneficial.
Fruiting should occur at 10 to 14 days and continue for about two weeks.
After about 30 to 40 days another flush should occur. Mushrooms are picked
before the cap is completely open and any aborts or diseased specimens should
be removed

The procedures for growing Psilocybe cyanescens differ slightly from
Ps. cubensis. To induce fruiting, the temperature must be reduced to
45 to 55 degrees F. Some people use an old refrigerator. It will not fruit
on grain, but must be transferred to a wood bark mulch, especially conifer.


              The following recipes are excerpted from

                      by O.T.Oss and O.N.OERIC.

      (These should fill in the gaps in the previous instructions.)


A recipe for Malt Extract Agar (MEA) follows.

 To 1 liter of gently boiling water add a previously weighed and
 mixed powder containing:

   20.0 grams malt or malt extract (may be powder or syrup)
    5.0 grams or 5 milliters cornsteep liquor (optional)
   25.0 grams agar
    0.1 gram  Potassium phosphate dibasic (K2HPO4)
    0.1 gram  Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) (powdered oyster shell may be used)

 Bring the liter of water to a boil and add the other ingredients.
 Gently boil for 10 minutes or until the solution is clear. Take care
 not to let the solution boil over. Add enough water to return the
 total volume of the solution to 1 liter. Pour the solution while
 still hot into petri plates, baby food jars, or slant culture tubes.
 Use just enough to cover the bottom of a plate or baby food jar to a
 depth of about 1/4 inch; if using tubes, fill about 1/4 full. Pour
 the medium, put the covers on the plates. The solution may be allowed
 to cool or sterilized immediately.

 Once one has prepared an agar medium and poured it into the petri
 plates, baby food jars or other suitable receptacles, it is necessary
 to sterilize the medium in the receptacles in order to kill the
 spores of bacteria, yeasts, and other molds which get into the medium
 from the air. This can be done via the following procedure: If a
 laboratory autoclave is not available, a standard home cooking or
 canning pressure cooker can be used. Place a small amount of water in
 the bottom of the cooker (tap water will do) so that the bottom is
 covered. Place the receptacles containing the medium into the
 pressure cooker. Note: if using pre-sterilized plastic plates, pour
 the medium into the plates AFTER sterilizing; DO NOT AUTOCLAVE

 It does not matter whether the medium is still hot and liquid or
 whether it has been allowed to cool and solidify, since the heat of
 the sterilization process will reliquify the medium anyway. If baby
 food jars or culture tubes are used, BE CERTAIN THAT THE LIDS ARE
 LEFT LOOSE, NOT SCREWED DOWN TIGHT, when they are being sterilized.

         Now ... Follow the pressure cooking/sterilization
         procedure used below for mason jars.

After the medium has been sterilized and the pressure cooker cooled
to room temperature, remove the lid and carefully remove the
receptacles containing the medium.  Place the receptacles inside a
pre-sterilized inoculating hood, or on a clean, smooth table top
which has been wiped down with Lysol or similar strong disinfectant.
As the receptacles cool further, the medium will solidify.  When the
receptacles have cooled completely to room temperature, and the
medium is fully solidified, they are ready to be inoculated.


 To prepare the rye grain medium, begin with a clean, widemouth quart
 mason  jar with a dome and ring lid. Add the following ingredients
 to the jar in these proportions:

     112.0 grams          whole rye grains
       2.0 grams          Calcium carbonate (CaCO3)
       0.2 gram           Potassium phosphate (K2HPO4)  (optional)
    160-180 milliliters   tap or distilled water

 The potassium phosphate, if unavailable, can be omitted. The calcium
 carbonate need not be of great purity: powdered oyster shell,
 powdered limestone, or powdered chalk is suitable.

 When the ingredients have been added to each jar in the proper
 proportions, the lids should be screwed LOOSELY onto the jars,
 jars will not seal during sterilization.

 Now the jars containing the rye can be sterilized. Barely cover the
 bottom of the pressure cooker with tap water. Place the jars in the
 cooker, MAKING SURE THE LIDS ARE LOOSE. If one's pressure cooker is
 large enough to permit, jars can be stacked in two tiers without
 difficulty. Seal the lid of the pressure cooker, but leave the
 stopcock open until a head of steam begins to vent from the stopcock.
 Then close the stopcock, and bring to  15-20 lbs. pressure. Reduce
 heat when this pressure is reached so that pressure is maintained but
 does not increase. This is about medium heat on an electric stove.
 Sterilize at this pressure for one hour. Remove from the heat and
 allow the pressure to return to zero before removing the lid from
 the pressure cooker.

 Remove each jar and tighten the lid down finger tight. One will note
 on removing the jars that the rye has absorbed the water and swelled
 to several times its previous volume. After shaking, leave the lids
 tightened until the jars have cooled.Place the jars into a
 pre-sterilized inoculating hood (if available) or onto the clean,
 disinfected working surface. Then let the jars cool for at least two
 hours or to room temperature.

  When the jars have cooled completely to room temperature, and are no
 longer warm to the touch, they are ready to be inoculated.


 A variety of types of casing soils have been found to effectively
 promote fruiting of magic mushrooms. We have found the following
 mixture to be one of the best:

   7.5 liters    peat moss
   3.5 liters    fine vermiculite
   4.0 liters    washed fine sand
   2.9 liters    calcium carbonate (finely crushed oyster shell)

 If you wish you may sterilize casing soil before use at 15-20 lbs.
 pressure for 30 minutes. It can be sterilized dry, or wetted first.
 Casing soil can be stored indefinitely in a large glass jar, or in a
 polyethylene bag. If a glass jar is used it can be sterilized with
 the casing soil in it.


 When one or more of the inoculated jars of rye have been completely
 permeated by mycelium, one can move on to the next step: casing. In
 the method outlined here casing consists of removing the dome and
 band lid of the jar, and covering the surface of the permeated rye
 with about 1/2 to 3/4 inch (1/2 cup for quart jars) of sterilized
 soil. The soil cannot be applied dry, but should be wetted slightly
 using chlorine-free tap or distilled water. Once in the jar the soil
 should be shaken level and wetted a bit more with a fine mist
 sprayer. A fine mist spray must be used to avoid sealing the surface
 of the casing soil. Use the following rule of thumb: spray the casing
 soil just enough so that the soil is moistened throughout, but no
 water passes through the soil into the mycelium. In other words,
 moisten thoroughly, BUT DO NOT SATURATE, the soil.


                   This procedure is from the book

                      MAGIC MUSHROOM CULTIVATION

                      by  Steven H. Pollock, M.D.


                  The Simplest Technique from Scratch

The simplest cultivation technique for growing magic mushrooms from spores
requires very little in the way of supplies. All that is needed is some
manure, vermiculite, water, canning jars, a pressure cooker, and of course
spores. This technique works well for San Isidro (Psilocybe cubensis) and
other mushrooms which grow on dung in nature, especially Panaeolus

The selection of manure is very important. Slightly aged manure should be
used. If the manure is too fresh, it is messy to work with. But if it is
too old, it is less suitable as a growth medium. Because of its porous
texture, horse manure is preferable to cattle manure but manure from other
herbivorous mammals, such as sheep and even elephants, can be used for
growing mushrooms. Composted manure is excellent. If the manure is
gathered directly from a stall in a stable after breaking down for over a
year, however, it is sometimes unsuitable for this method. Do not use
commercially packaged manure either. After commercial processing, it is
usually more like dirt than real manure. Sometimes farms will sell cow
manure that has been largely separated from dirt by a machine and placed
in a huge pile, where it begins to compost. This is ideal!

After manure is selected, the next step is to pour some vermiculite (about
1/4 to 1/3 cup) into a wide mouth canning jar. Then add some manure. You
should not overdo it. Add enough o cover the vermiculite with a layer of
about 1 to 1-1/2 inch manure. The amount is not critical. For instance, it
is not necessary to cover all the vermiculite. The purpose of the
vermiculite is to hold moisture and to keep the manure from burning into
the bottom if the jar when it is steam sterilized in the pressure cooker.
The manure layer need not have uniform thickness. In fact, it is best to
use relatively small broken pieces of manure with irregular shapes in
order to provide plenty of surface area for growing mycelia. Besides,
relatively large intact pieces of manure tend to be more resistant to
complete sterilization in the pressure cooker.

After the manure layer is in place, squirt it well with water from a spray
bottle. It is desirable to start with plenty of water so as to produce an
environment with adequate moisture for the spores to germinate. Pressure
cooking tends to dry out the manure unless there is sufficient water. If
water cannot be easily seen accumulating at the bottom of the jar in the
vermiculite layer after spraying, then add about 1/8 cup water (more or
less as deemed necessary). Too much water, however, can cause the manure
to undergo dissolution into a muddy consistency during sterilization. This
is not desirable. An advantage of uncomposted horse manure is that it is
rather resistant to dissolution during sterilization. It should not take
much effort to get the knack of how much water to use. Prepare as many
jars as desired, the more the better. Other glass containers, such as
Erlenmeyer flasks, may be used in lieu of canning jars for this method of
starting spores, but canning jars are convenient and practical.

After enough water has been added, place the dome of each canning jar lid
upside down over the mouth of each jar so that the rubber seal faces up
and screw on the band of each lid. Leave it loose because the object is to
allow pressure on the inside of the jar to equilibrate with that in the
pressure cooker. If flasks or other glass containers are being used,
cotton plugs can be employed with aluminum foil as an outer wrapping. A 22
quart pressure cooker holds 7 quart canning jars. A large pressure cooker
with room for two layers of quart jars allows for greater production.

Place the jars on a bottom rack in the pressure cooker and add water.
Usually about three quarts of water is sufficient for a 22 quart cooker.
One way to be sure enough water has been added is to fill the pressure
cooker until the jars start to tip over from floating and then to scoop
out some water with a small cup to prevent this. Pressure cookers that do
not require a rubber gasket are a better buy, but either type will work
fine. Be sure to use a little vaseline to obtain a good seal with either
type. Then pressure cook the jars at 15 lbs. pressure for a full hour from
the time the pressure has reached 15 lbs. After the steam sterilization is
completed, allow the pressure cooker and contents to cool. Open the
pressure lock to release any excess residual pressure and remove the jars.
Screw the lids tight until ready to begin spore inoculation.

To prepare for spore inoculation, heat the end of a wire loop or probe,
dull knife, or any other suitable object in the flame of an alcohol lamp
or gas burner on a stove until it begins to glow. Then carefully set it
down being sure to keep the end from touching anything. It is best to lay
down the wire loop or equivalent object at the edge of a counter so that
the heat sterilized end is not near any surface. Carefully unfold a spore
print if it is folded. Then lift off the lid of the jar to be inoculated,
removing both the band and inverted dome together. As soon as the two
piece lid is off, turn it over so that the dome will not fall out and set
it down. Pick up the unfolded spore print and hold it at an acute angle
over the jar with one hand. The spore print should be facing the jar. With
the other hand take the loop and scrape off some spores, letting them fall
into the jar. Gentle tapping of the spore print with the loop insures that
lots of spores will fall into the jar. Do not overdo the tapping as it is
not good to cause air currents. Then put the lid back on the jar with the
rubber seal of the dome still facing up. Do not screw the band too tight
since it is necessary to let oxygen diffuse into the jar and carbon
dioxide out.

Many jars can be started from one large spore print. During the entire
inoculating procedure, it is important to work in a draft-free area.
Therefore keep doors and windows closed and do not run heating or air
conditioning for at least several hours before making the spore
inoculations. It is also important to control breathing when inoculating
the jars, since breathing over the open jars may contaminate them. It is
not really necessary in most cases to wear a mask, but it may make a
difference for some enthusiasts.

In anywhere from three days to a couple of weeks, depending on the age of
the spore print, white mycelia would be noticeable on each jar at
multiple sites on the manure. San Isidro mycelia are more fluffy than
mycelia from Panaeolus. If contaminants start to grow, they will usually
be some other color, most often green. Since manure is a natural substrate
for the mushroom species being grown, ordinarily growth of mushroom
mycelia rather than contaminants will be favored. San Isidro mycelia will
frequently complete growth and commence to form mushrooms within a month
but may take up to six weeks or rarely longer. Panaeolus species are
slower to make mushrooms in small containers. Furthermore, when mushrooms
are grown in small containers such as quart jars, they tend to be much
smaller than when grown in larger containers or on compost outdoors.
Therefore magic mushroom growers might reasonably wish to use mycelia in
the quart jars as "spawn" for larger containers or compost beds. It is
advisable to refrain from using such spawn for large scale cultivation
projects until after it has been observed to make mushrooms.