***** Mixing Bowl
Fairly large, plastic or metal mixing bowl for mixing up your substrate in. Something with a lid is best, so you can cover the contents of the bowl if necessary. Mixing Bowls can be purchased in the housewares section of most stores.
***** Mixing Spoon
A long, sturdy kitchen spoon for mixing up the substrate after it has been put in the mixing bowl. A plastic or metal spoon is preferable to a wooden spoon. Mixing Spoons can be purchased in the housewares section of most stores.
***** Measuring Cups
A set of measuring cups that includes 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup sizes. These are for measuring out the amount of substrate ingredients. Measuring cups can be purchased in the housewares section of most stores.
***** Organic Brown Rice Flour
The brown rice flour is food for the mushrooms, it must be organic (not have preservatives in it). That's why you should get brown rice or brown rice flour from a reliable source, most supermarket varieties are loaded with preservatives. Be sure the package says organic brown rice flour.
To make your own brown rice powder, place some regular organic brown rice in a coffee grinder and grind it to the same size as you would coffee. Homemade brown rice powder is as good as the brown rice flour you would buy, if you start with organic brown rice.
Vermiculite is a soft, spongy volcanic gravel used in potting soil. It is sold in various sizes of particles, if possible use large size vermiculite (coarse grade is best), it will allow the cakes to colonize faster than small or medium vermiculite.
A gallon sized bag of vermiculite is all that is needed to start with, it will last for several crops of mushroom. You will be able to purchase a gallon sized bag for under $30.00 at most hardware stores. If not, look in any of the well stocked garden centers in your area.
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.
***** Electric Drill or Hammer and Nail
For drilling holes in the metal jar lids a drill is best, but if no drill is available a hammer and nail will do. The drill bit or nail should be about 2 mm (3/32") thick.
***** 1/2 Pint Tapered Wide Mouth Canning Jars
Both 1/2 pint and 1 pint wide mouth canning jars are common. If possible, 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, the directions for mixing the substrate (next section of this guide) that will go into the jars are written assuming that 1/2 pint jars are used. You can use 1 pint jars like these with no problem, but you will have to double the amount of material that would go into a 1/2 pint jar.
***** Aluminum Foil
Enough to make a 6" by 6" (15cm by 15cm) square for each jar. Available at all grocery stores.
***** Rubbing Alcohol
Have some 50% (or higher) rubbing alcohol (also called isopropyl alcohol), or something similar for sterilization purposes. Available at all drug stores.
***** 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. 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.
Equipment For Inoculation
***** Psilocybe cubensis Spores
The first time magic mushroom grower should get a strain of Psilocybe cubensis that is easy to cultivate. As one gains growing experience, more exotic, harder to grow types can be tried. Psilocybe cubensis spores can be hard to find in the USA. If you know someone who grows mushrooms, ask them.
***** Pair Of Dishwashing Gloves
Preferably new and unused dishwashing gloves, they can be found in the housewares section of any department or grocery store.
Equipment For Fruiting And Harvesting
***** Fruiting Chamber
Aquariums, camping coolers, and large plastic (rubbermaid) 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. If the chamber has a dark top, light will not be able to penetrate to the mushrooms below.
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 collander, 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.
***** Plastic Colander
A plastic colander is for draining water out of the perlite in the fruiting chamber. Plastic colanders are probably best for this purpose because aluminum will get scratched up. Suitable substitutes include a piece of screen or cloth, or anything that will hold perlite but let water drain out.
***** Dust Mask (optional)
Perlite is puffed volcanic glass. When you work with perlite, it tends to be dusty, creating a cloud of glass dust that can be harmful to the lungs, especially if you are asthmatic or have any kind of breathing problem.
Disposable dust masks can be found in hardware stores, often in the Paint section. They are very inexpensive. They can also be used to prevent breathing our germ filled air all over our your cakes and terrariums when working with them.