Alright guys, I've been giving a lot of mushroom advice, and several people have requested that i start a Guide on how to grow mushrooms. First a little background I've been doing this for awhile, and before i got started i read everything there was to read, it took me months of reading all day. I read all the way back to the old school methods. and it can be very confusing, because there is a lot of conflicting info out there. and also a lot of outdated info. the old "PF Tek" is outdated. I've also used many methods. I've used Rye grain, Wild Bird Seed, Popcorn, coco coir, vermiculite, and supplements such as corn syrup, beer malt, spaghetti water, mineral water and more. i have done both bulk casing grows and cake grows. Today, I'm going to show you the cheapest easiest method for growing as many mushrooms as you want. I've invested over $1k into growing. and don't regret it one bit. There are a lot of bells and whistles you can buy. But, I'm going to stick to the basics. Alright supplies. 1.Pressure Cooker the first thing you will need is a pressure cooker. this is to sterilize your equipment and grow medium. this is the single most important and most expensive thing you will buy. But if you go to small, you will quickly out grow it, or be bottle necked by it. So the bigger you go at the beginning the better. I suggest nothing smaller then a 12Qt and it must be able to reach 15psi. amazon.com 23-quart $80 (this is the biggest bang for your buck) 30-Quart All American $264 (this is a high end pressure cooker) 2. Half Pint canning jars. i would start with a dozen. I find these at the super market, u might be able to find them at Walmart. regular or wide mouth lids, it doesn't matter. as long as the jar doesn't have a shoulder the cake needs to slide out in once piece later. 3. Vermiculite 1bag I get mine at lowes. You'll find it in the gardening section. its like a mineral that is good at retaining water. its pretty much the inert medium that we are going to grow in. 4. Brown Rice Flour This is the nutes. You can find it in health food stores or possibly health section of higher end supermarkets. I've bought it here online "Bob's Red Mill" $17 this should be enough to last you awhile. Or you can make your own. take a bag of brown rice and grind it up in a blender or coffee grinder. I've never done this, but I'm going to do it this way from now on. 5. Tyvek Envelopes You can find these FREE at the US post office. just walk in, and you will see a little booth full of them grab 5 to 6 of them, and walk out. you know you got the right ones if you cant tear them with your hands. they are kind of like paper, but not. they come with blue or red on them with the words "Priority" or "Express" 6. Spore syringes. there are many vendors out there. Sporeworks 4pack for $34 in my opinion this is the best bang for your buck. $8.50 a syringe. you cant beat that. and sporeworks is legit, and professional the catch is you don't get to choose your strains in this deal but mushrooms strains aren't like plant strains. the majority are very similar, with a few exceptions as long as your talking about " Psilocybe cubensis" which is what i recommend you start with. There are other family's of magic mushrooms out there, but they aren't as forgiving and need special skill to grow. some popular "cube" strains are Golden Teacher, B+, Cambodians, and my favorite strain is "Treasure Coast" other good vendors are thehawkseye and spores101. I've also heard good things about Ralphsters. OK, at this point if you have everything above, you don't have enough to complete your grow, but you do have enough to get started. So lets do it! your also going to need 1. a large mixing bowl 2. a measuring cup 3. a large spoon for mixing. 4. aluminum foil When growing mushrooms you are trying to create the conditions and environment for the mushrooms to grow happily. But these conditions are also good for bad things such as bacteria and mold to grow. Which we do not want. so we must take care to be as clean and sterile as possible. But right now at this point, You do not need to worry too much about it, because in a few steps, we are going to sterilize everything. so you going to kill all the bad stuff anyway. so before the pressure cooker step. don't worry about it. after the pressure cooker step, things are sterile so you need to help keep them that way. so for now relax First take your big mixing bowl and measure out 2cups verm and pour it in. then take 1cup of water, and slowly pour it over the verm, wetting as much of it as possible. then mix it well to all the verm is wet evenly, and looks consistent. then measure out 1cup of Brown Rice Flour sprinkle some over the verm, and smear it on with the spoon, and mix it well. then add some more a little at a time. you want to coat the verm with it evenly. keep adding and mixing. and mixing it some more till it looks even, and consistent. You can mix up any amount of this mixture so long as you keep the 2v:1w:1brf ratio the same. you will probably need 6cups verm 3cups water 3cups BRF for a dozen half pint jars. OK, now you have your mix in your bowl. Next start filling your jars all the way to the top. then run your spoon over the rim to level the jars of to the brim. (but don't pack or press the mix in!) you just want to lightly and fluffy fill it to the top. once all your jars are full, making more mix if you need to. take each jar, and tap the bottom of it on the palm of you hand, or gently on a flat surface. this will lightly pack down the mix and give you 1/4th an inch to 1/2 an inch of space at the top. Next, wipe the lip and the space of the jar between the mouth and the mix. to get all the "nutes" off the glass. this prevents contaminates from following the trail of nutes down into your jar. Now fill the jar up to the top again, but this time with dry verm. Dry verm is an inert nute-less substance. so even if contams land on it. they wont grow. So this layer actually works as a filter. do this for all your jars. OK, next step. take the jar lids and set them aside, you wont need them right now. then place an entire tyvek envelope over your jar. Then press down on the envelope with the jar ring. i usually spin it backwards till it "pops" into place, then spin it forward and screw it down tight. you want about an inch all around the rim of the jar so that jar band is holding the envelope down. next cut your jar off/out of the envelope. this will give you a double layer of tyvek. do this for all your jars. should take about 2 envelopes or less to do about a dozen jars. Next cap all the jars with foil. tear about a 5 inch strip of foil, and tear it in half. then place it over the jar, and press it down with your hands to form a cap. this is to keep any excess moisture out of the jar while its in the pressure cooker. to protect the "moisture content" alright, next place your jars in your pressure cooker, and put enough water in it so that the water is a quarter the way up, to half way up the jars. make sure that you have that little metal tray thing at the bottom to keep from burning the bottom of the jars. if you don't I've heard of ppl putting dishrags at the bottom. if you have a large pressure cooker, it is OK to stack them up if they fit that way. but i wouldn't lay them over on their side. seal the pressure cooker, and make sure your using the right pressure weight so that your cooker is set to 15psi. turn the heat up high. once your pressure cooker hisses/rattles for the first time. set a timer for 90min. at this point you can turn down the heat to med/low if u leave it hissing constantly, you will run out of water, and burn your jars, and possibly ruin your pressure cooker. so turn the heat down, and u want it to hiss/rattle every 15 to 20 seconds or so. when the 90min is up turn off the heat, and u can let it sit and de-pressurize/cool off over night. If for some reason you are in a hurry. you can take the pressure weight off to let the steam out. once all the steam has escaped you can open it up. but be careful everything is very hot. use a dishrag or oven mitt to remove the jars one by one. and place them somewhere where they can cool off for at least 12 hours. OK. at this point your jars are sterile, and as long as you leave the foil on, they will stay that way. Leave the foil on till your ready to use them. I would wait 12 to 24 hours from pressure cooking them before attempting to inoculate them with spores. If you jump the gun, the inside will still be hot, and kill your spores. also i would use them withing a week or two. after about 3 or 4 weeks, the moisture content may drop and the jars will run out of moisture half way though colonization, and stall. Alright now you have your jars and your spore syringes, Lets Noc that shit up! Additional supplies (some of these are optimal, but the more of them you have, the more successful you will be.) 1. Rubbing alcohol 2. Cotton Balls 3. Lighter 4. Lysol or oust 5. Rubber Gloves (optional) 6. Face mask (optional) 7. Paper bandage tape (band-aid isle at walmart) or any tape since tyvek is breathable. get a small room, like a small bedroom, study, or maybe even a bathroom. if your using a bathroom you can get a large glass cutting board and place it on the sink to make a larger counter space. alright, start by wiping down your work area with alcohol, i usually use napkins or paper towels soaked in alcohol. then lay out your supplies. (jars, spore syringe, lighter cotton balls, Rubbing alcohol, tape) close all vents and turn off all fans and spray the entire ceiling with Lysol and close the door sealing the room. Then go take a good hot shower, brush your teeth, and mouthwash. put on clean clothes. by this time (30-45min) the room and Lysol has had time to settle. put on the face mask and gloves if you have them. and enter the room. next wipe down your gloves/hands with alcohol and give them a minute to dry. take the foil off the jar, crumple it up, and throw it aside. you don't need it anymore, its served its purpose. then take your spore syringe, and shake the SHIT out of it. you want the spores to be evenly distributed in the syringe, or you will end up injecting only water, and nothing will grow in some jars. take the cap off the needle and flame the entire needle for a few seconds, then wipe the needle with a alcohol soaked cotton ball, to cool it off. next stick the needle all the way in though the double tyvek layer at an angle. you want the needle pressed against the glass then CAREFULLY apply pressure on the plunger. as soon as you see droplets come out and get absorbed into the mix stop. you want to put about 1/4th a cc per injection site. Place a piece of tape over the needle hole. Shake, flame, and wipe the syringe, again. and inject the opposite side of the jar furthest from the first injection point. you can inject each jar 2 to 4 times per jar. its hard to inject very little in when you first get started. and you need 1/4th a cc per injection site and most syringes have 10cc's so you may want to conserve fluid by injecting only 2 sites per jar, and when your done use the left over fluid to inject 2 more sites on each jar till u run out. (did that make any sense?) having 4 sites will make them finish faster. OK, at this point all your jars are noc'ed up (inoculated) now what? you need to put them in a clean dry dark space preferably slightly warmer then room temperature. you can buy a small rubber-maid tote, similar to what you guys use as reservoir. and place them in there. Optimal temperature for incubating jars is 80*-82* you don't want anything hotter then 85* but also they will incubate just fine at 75* just don't go below 70* or they will take longer. I've heard placing them in the little cupboard above the fridge works well, because the fridge generates some heat. Alternatively, you can build an incubator, if you live in colder areas that are below 70* you will need a 1. Large Rubbermaid tote 2. expandable Rubbermaid organizer Like this one i found them at the super market and at lowes 3. a Reptile under tank heating pad. 4. a cookie sheet to stick the pad to 5. a reptile thermostat. Like this one stick the heat mat to the bottom of the cookie sheet then place it upside down heat mat up in the bottom of the tote. then get the cupboard organizers (i use two) and expand them to fill the bottom of the tote, i bent the legs on the center legs, to make up for the cookie sheet being there, that way the shelves are level. then plug in your thermostat, set it to 80*-82* and then plug in the heat mat. place the thermometer probe on top of the shelf where the bottoms of your jars will be. that's it close it up. you may want to give it a dry run and maybe even place a thermometer inside to make sure the thermostat is working properly. For bonus points get a "indoor/outdoor wireless thermometer" usually between $15-$20 dollars at best buy or other places. and place the "outdoor" sensor inside your tote. now you can monitor your temperature from anywhere in your house, with out opening the tote! i place mine on top of the fridge, i can see it from almost everywhere, and can glance at it while raiding the fridge. i find this helps ease the temptation to check the jars every 5 min. jars can take 7 to 10 days to show visible signs of growth. so don't panic if you don't see anything the first 7 days. in fact i recommend you don't even look at them for at least a week. just put them away, and try to forget about them. the longer you wait between checking your jars, the faster they will grow. and they can take 3 weeks or more to finish. so be patient with them. i find that the bottom is always the last to finish colonizing, so i look at the bottom of the jar, and if i don't see all white, they aren't finished. Fruiting Chamber OK, while your waiting 2-4 weeks for your jars to finish, now would be a good time to build your "Fruiting Chamber" almost any tub with clear walls. (or at least the lid) will do, so long as is about just over a foot tall, the long and wide will determine how many cake you can fit in at once. you want about 3 inches between cakes the bigger the tub the more you can grow! i was able to grow in as small a space as a 2-liter bottle for a single cake. OK, so you got your container. Go get some perlite place it in a strainer/colander, and run hot tap water over it, till it is soaked. then tap it shake it a bit till it stops dripping. u want it wet, but not dripping wet, because you don't want standing water at the bottom of your FC. fill up the bottom 3 to 4 inches of your fc with perlite. Next you want to make a hole the size of a quarter just above the perlite line. then you want to get a fist full of "polyfil" and stuff it into that hole. This creates a contam filter that allows co2 to escape and lets fresh air in. mushrooms breath o2 and release co2 and if there isn't a hole the mushrooms will suffocate in the co2, and grow skinny deficient looking mushrooms. also it will help if you get a air pump, and bubble stone in a cup of water in your FC. this will bring a constant flow of o2, help maintain humidity, and create positive pressure to force co2 out. Light Light is the most important the first few weeks of a cakes life right before mushrooms appear. the light is one of the triggers that tells the cake to produce mushrooms. just about any light will do. from a single CFL to LED rope lights to x-mas lights (lol) once the cake is producing mushrooms, light serves mostly as a indicator of what direction to grow in. and a light above the FC will give you uniform pretty mushroom fruits. time period doesn't matter. 12/12 will work fine. but i usually leave mine on 24/0 OK, your jars are solid white and 100% colonized. at this point i write the date on the tyvek lid, and then wait another 7 to 10 days. (seriously) this give the jar a chance to finish colonizing the core of the jar, and to mature. if you birth the jar early, it just going to sit there and finish colonizing anyway. Mushroom fungus doesn't switch to "fruiting" mode till it has conquered everything it can touch. once it has done that. it switches to fruiting mode and begins making mushrooms as a survival mechanism to create spores to save themselves. (what was i saying? OK! lets continue) Birthing and dunking so now your jars are done and its been a week. take all the jars that are finished to your sink. open your jars, they should smell like fresh mushrooms. flip them upside down over your hand above the sink. all the dry verm should pour out. gently tap the jar on your palm till the cake slides out and into your hand. then rinse it with cold water. lightly rub the cake with your fingers getting all the verm off it. then place it in a large Tupperware, or zip-lock bag. do this with all your cakes. then fill your Tupperware with water and push the lid down tight letting the water over flow. you want your cake to be fully submerged underwater for 24 hours. OK, 24 hours have passed. get a bowl, and pour some dry verm in it. then get your cakes out of the water, and rinse them one more time. then roll the wet cake in the dry verm. apply a little pressure to get a nice thick layer of verm on the cake. then get some verm on the top and bottom too. remember those jar lids from your jars lids that we didn't need? well now is a good time for them. they make perfect holders for your cake. place your rolled cake on a jar lid. rubber side down. then place those cake and jar lids in your FC making sure the cakes don't touch the perlite. wait 30 to 45min then mist the cakes lightly (with little force) but make sure to get them nice and wet. (if you mist too early or too forcibly the verm will fall off.) also at this time mist all the walls of your FC chamber, and the lid very well. from this point on you want to maintain water droplets on the walls and lid. they are somewhat of a gauge. if they disappear between mistings, they you aren't misting enough. also you need to Fan the fruiting chamber with the lid of the chamber at least 3 times a day for at least 30 seconds. before misting and closing the chamber again. FAE (or fresh air exchange) is very important in all aspects of mushroom growing. you should first see fuzzy white stuff and some times white little fingers begin to poke though the verm layer. shortly after that you will see white little "pins" that begin to have a dark spot on the tip form on the cake. they begin to grow out of the cake like worms. then the cap begins to develop, and starts to open up. there is a thin skin between the cap and the stem this is called the "Veil" once the cap begins to open up the veil begins to tear and pop off the cap. once the veil tears or breaks, you can pick your mushrooms. or, you can wait till the cap opens up a little more. The difference is this. if your growing for potency, the instance the veil begins to tear, you can pick them and they are at the most peak of their potency. I personally don't like to pick them this early, and i have two reasons. 1. i like to collect spores to continue the cycle (I'll get into spore printing later.) and 2. if you let them grow a little more, and allow the caps to fully open, they gain more Weight. more weight means more end numbers and bigger final yield. So if your growing for potency pick when the veil pops. if your growing for weight let them mature a little more. Also, i would like to add that in no way are you "Loosing" potency by letting them mature. its kind of like this. if i had a pitcher of lemon-aid that had 1 cup of sugar. it will never have more sugar then it does right now. but if i add another cup of water to it. sure it may not be as sweet, but 100% of that cup of sugar is still there. none of it was lost. only volume gained. Mushrooms are like that. they stop producing the active ingredient, but continue to grow. OK, so your ready to harvest some mushrooms. pick the ones you know are ready by grabbing them by the base, and gently rocking them till they pop right off. harvest the ready ones, and any that are attached to them. (its hard to not harvest attached mushrooms even if they are not ready) its OK to let mushrooms that are not ready and not attached to ready ones mature a little longer. some times a few of them are a day or two behind. also there are some tiny mushrooms that will never be ready. these are called aborts. and their head will turn black as a sign that they have aborted. if a day or two has passed since you began picking most your mushrooms, go ahead and harvest the rest if they look like they haven't progressed. (on a side note aborts are one of the strongest most potent things you will ever try. its hard to collect them, because sometimes they can be as small as a grain of rice. but if you were to save 2grams of dried aborts and eat them, they would blow your mind. (in a good way) i know i have tried them. and made the mistake of giving them to my GF for her first trip. now she wont ever try them again LOL!) alright you have picked your mushrooms. go ahead and pretend you just birthed your cake, and rinse it under the faucet, and dunk it for 24 hours again. then re roll it in verm, and put it back in your fruiting chamber. each session of picking mushrooms is called a flush. and you can get 3 to 5 flushes per cake. and what about those mushrooms you just picked. well, you can eat them wet if you want. mushrooms are a little over 90% water most of the time, so 2grams of dried mushrooms equal 20grams of fresh ones. But fresh mushrooms don't keep very well and not for long. the best place for them is in a paper bag in the fridge. but i wouldn't keep them longer then a week. Or you could dry them, dried mushrooms will keep almost forever. to dry them place them on some newspaper, and place a small fan to blow over them on Low after about 3 days they should be mostly dry. but its impossible to get them dryer then the air you blow over them. (the humidity of the room their in.) to get them dryer, once you have air dried them place them in a sealed container with some desiccant such as damprid or silica gel. this will literally suck the last of the moisture from them. do not let them touch, make a shelf above the desiccant with some kind of mesh. what i do is get a half gallon jar and damprid (you can find it near the paint section of lowes or home depot) place the damprid at the bottom of the jar, and then a coffee filter to make a bowl above the damprid. then i place the mushrooms in the coffee filter bowl. and seal it, and put it away till its needed. YOU NEVER WANT YOUR MUSHROOMS TO TOUCH THE DESICCANT OR IT WILL BECOME FUSED WITH YOUR MUSHROOMS, AND YOU WILL HAVE TO THROW THEM AWAY.