Want to learn how to grow shrooms? It’s not terribly difficult to grow shrooms, but you do need to know what you’re doing. We’re here to answer questions on growing shrooms, particularly for first-timers who have no experience with the magic mushroom growing process.
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Steps to growing shrooms
Here are the basic stages of growing shrooms:
You’ll start by hydrating a food source, like grain, rice, manure, popcorn kernels, etc., in a mason jar or unicorn bag, then sterilizing it. This kills all competing organisms so the shrooms can have maximum growth potential.
Add spores or a living sample of mushrooms to the food source, which will then produce clones.
3. Allow for Germination
Germination lets the inoculation spread and work its magic. The added spores will become a network of mushroom “roots” that will sprout into mushrooms.
4. Make a Fruit Block
Once the shrooms have colonized, you’ll break up the inoculated food source and blend it with a substrate like sphagnum, vermiculite, or coco coir to give it water and structure. Seal this in a plastic bin.
5. Colonize the Fruit Block
Mycelium will then spread into the substrate, establishing what’s known as a fruit block — a structure in which the mycelium joins the substrate and the food source.
When the shrooms have fully colonized the fruit block, you’ll notice the formation of pins (technically called “primordia”). This is a sign that it’s time to introduce fruiting conditions, which will help those pins turn into mushrooms.
Finally comes the fruiting stage, in which the young mushrooms feed on high oxygen and humidity levels to grow. If they don’t receive enough oxygen, the shrooms will develop growth defects and pathogens and could become duds. If they don’t receive enough humidity, they will dry out.
The Best Way to Start
The easiest and most surefire way to grow your own shrooms is by using certain materials:
- Psychedelic mushroom spores or living mycelium
- Brown rice cups (Minute Rice)
- Coco coir growing medium
- Liquid culture or spore syringe
- Micropore Tape
- 6-quart Sterilite Totes
- Latex gloves
- Rubbing alcohol
- Spray bottles
- Misting spray bottle
- Air spray disinfectant
- N95 mask
- Alcohol lamp or butane torch
- Distilled water
- 5-gallon painters bucket with lid
The biggest thing to avoid will be contamination, which you’ll be able to spot from funky, sour odors or unpleasant-looking deposits or colors on the mushrooms or rice. The best way to avoid contamination is to touch the shrooms as little as possible.
The Time Commitment
You can take care of all prep and inoculation in an afternoon. Colonization will take about one to two months, and fruits will take a month or less after that. So you’re looking at around one to three months for a full growth cycle.
Start by picking out a growing area that’s away from moving air. Seal off vents and turn off the AC and central air. Choose a room without carpets, as carpets trap contaminants. Wipe down everything — this area needs a seriously deep clean to avoid contamination.
Once you’ve cleaned the room, clean your body. Scrub your hands, arms, and face, and put on fresh clothes. Put on an N95 mask and then enter the room.
Take the rice cups, spore syringe, torch, rubbing alcohol, latex gloves, paper towels, and micropore tape. Wipe everything down with rubbing alcohol and line it up on a table.
Shake the spore syringe thoroughly for several minutes to break up all spore clumps. Sterilize the spore needle with a flame until it’s red hot. When it has cooled down, pierce the middle of the plastic covering on the rice cup and squirt about 0.5 to 1 cc of spore solution. Poke 12 additional holes in the covering for airflow, all within ¼” of the first hole. Cover all of these holes with micropore tape.
Do this for each cup. Sterilize the needle each time.
Place the rice cups in your Sterilite plastic box tote and seal the lid. Store these around 65º F, gently wiggling the box side-to-side once a week or so to agitate.
After two to eight weeks, the rice will be colonized and will solidify into a single mass.
It’s time to make your shroom substrate, which you can learn how to do by watching this video.
Birthing will take about an hour. Clean your work area again and sanitize a spoon using rubbing alcohol. Break the seal of a rice cup and break the consolidated rice up. Add a bit of your substrate into the cup and mix it together.
Gently compress the mixture and add one more layer of substrate to form a barrier between the rice and the open air.
It’s time to introduce your shrooms to fruiting conditions. To create them, sterilize your Sterilite plastic box and spray the inside with a fine mist of distilled water. Place the cups upside-down on the bottom of the box, which allows a bit of air exchange.
A bit of light is all you need — diffused window light or fluorescent bulbs do the trick. The cups need fluctuations in light and temperature to create condensation and humidity.
You don’t have to touch the box again unless it completely dries up, in which case you simply need to mist it again. Don’t touch the cups or mist them again otherwise.
Mushrooms will start to form small knots, called “pins,” where water droplets condense. Fruits will be ready for harvest once the caps form, indicating the mushrooms are about to release spores.
To harvest your shrooms, wait till the veil breaks that connects the cap to the stem. Simply twist and pull your mushroom off its substrate. You can also use a knife for this. Discard any remaining substrate that’s still attached to your shrooms.
You can either dry your shrooms in a food dehydrator (use a low temperature) or eat them immediately. If you do dry them, store them with a desiccant pack in a dark, cool place — don’t freeze or refrigerate them.
Note that you can grow many different types of mushrooms, from Psilocybe Cyanoscens to Flying Saucers and Blue Meanies. Enjoy learning the different types of shrooms and perfecting your growing techniques!