Magic mushroom cultivation
has come a long way since its early days when the first publications were
introduced. Pioneers like Paul Stamets and the McKenna brothers brought forth
the first step by step instructions and introduced us to this new world of home
grown magic. These early methods of cultivation were somewhat complicated to the
beginner; many people that attempted these techniques either failed or gave up.
For many years the focus remained on perfecting these tedious methods and for a
long time there seemed to be a lack of interest in coming up with alternatives.
Thankfully times have changed. For several years it seemed that the hobby would only collect a small number of very skilled and persistent cultivators. But that changed back in 1991 when a revolutionary technique was introduced by a company called Psylocybe Fanaticus Yes they do spell the first part of their name wrong for some strange reason, it should be Psilocybe. Many of the newer companies out there these days have forgotten that PF revolutionized and revitalized magic mushroom cultivation, and sadly they like to put PF down. The cultivation tek on this site resembles the PF Tek in its basics, but does have a style of its own. But it must be stated that PF has brought many of us a long way since they first started shop.
Alien�s Shroom Tek is a
unique method with a highly nutritional substrate by using vermiculite as a base
and adding whole brown rice, quinoa, ground finch & flax seed, and spring
water. The secret is in the vermiculite and the whole grains. When mycelium is
cultured in just grain, the mycelium turns into a mass with little air space.
But when grown with vermiculite and whole grains, the mycelial threads stretch
across space. The important thing about this tek is that it copies nature.
Instead of the usual cloning of mushroom tissue and growing mushrooms from that,
a mass spore inoculation is employed directly to the fruiting substrate. That
way, the genotype remains complete. Senescence (mutating and ceased fruiting) is
no longer a problem. The spores insure a never-ending succession of fungus, with
all the power of the spore�s reproductive ability intact.
1. Whole brown rice,
vermiculite, ground finch & flax seed, rye berries, and distilled water are mixed and
loaded into a 1/2 pint jars which is then pressure cooked to sterilize the
substrate. The jars of sterilized substrate are then inoculated with the spore
2. After the substrate cake in the jar
colonizes and begins to show signs of fruiting, the cake is released from the
jar, broken up and placed into a small container, cased, then put into the
perlite terrarium to fruit.
3. Mushrooms are harvested and stored with
Basic Materials Needed
Substrate jar preparation and culturing (Stage one) (Domestic products - supermarket - department - drugstore - hardware store)
1. Measuring cups and
Substrate jar incubation with the "Alien Incubator" (Optional)
1. Medium size plastic
storage box with lid (Rubbermaid, etc)
Mushroom growing (Stage two) Pet shop - Hardware store
1.10 gallon aquarium, bag of perlite, cheap spring water, and a bottle
of hydrogen peroxide.
Prepare the canning lid by placing it with the rubber sealing edge upwards on a supporting surface and with a sharpened 3 penny nail (held with vise grip pliers), punch 4 holes inside the periphery of the rubber sealing edge. Make sure that the holes are not too close to the edge of the lid. About �" (2 cm) in from the edge is sufficient.
Alien Substrate Formula
This is a unique substrate which has the most highly and balanced nutritional content ever composed in a spawn substrate. This formula produces a very airy, spongy and evenly wet substrate which colonizes very quickly and is very easy to work with when casing. I have found through tests done with several of the more popular substrates that this substrate produces a slightly more potent mushroom, averaging about 10-15% more in potency.
Important Note : Do not substitute for anything in this recipe. The 2 grains (Quinoa and Brown Rice) must be whole and not ground or powdered. The formula presented below will produce this awesome substrate, but if its altered it may be a disaster. Please follow the instructions very closely.
Alien Substrate Formula
Mycelial (Vegetative) Growth
I incubate my jars by using a plastic storage tub filled to about 2 inches of h2o2 water (1/8-1/4 cup peroxide per 1 gallon of water). I put one of those submersible fish tank heaters in and set it at 80 degrees. I use one of those small stick on thermometers sold for fish tanks and stick it on the outside of the large tub right where the water is to regulate temperature. I then get a smaller tub with a lid, punch air holes around the container right under where the lid overhangs so water cannot drip in. Put the jars in the smaller tub, close the lid and sit this in the warm water. I cover the main tub with its lid and have some air holes in this also.
Water will condensate on the lid in the large tub and drip
down on the smaller one but no water should get inside the smaller tub. This
will regulate itself and provide the perfect environment for the mycelium to
colonize in the jars.
Colonizing the substrate at 80 degrees F.
is the ideal temperature for several reasons. First, the mycelium will grow
faster and the substrate will be colonized in the shortest amount of time.
Secondly, when the cakes are removed from the jars, shocking the cakes with a
temperature drop, lower CO2 levels, and light enhances initiation of fruiting.
If you plan to have your terrarium at normal room
temperature, then colonizing at 80 degrees will help you initiate a massive
flush of mushrooms when you place your cakes in the terrarium.
You can't go wrong by using a casing method for fruiting
your mushrooms. Casing your substrate will give you more than double the yield
as compared to fruiting from just a cake. Humidity requirements are a bit lower
ranging from 80-90% and you don't have to worry about the cakes falling over or
bumping the sensitive mycelium formed on the cake.
Note: Make sure the lime is "lime flour". The back of the package
will state that it consists of 97% CaC03 and the magnesium content should be
around 2%. This is very important; you want to avoid magnesium as much as
possible. Dolomite lime is bad, it has high levels of magnesium and this
Take a 50/50 mix of Schultz Peat Moss and the same brand of
vermiculite normally sold at Wal-Mart. I add a touch of lime flour, which can be
purchased at your local nursery or garden center. Add a tablespoon per 4 cups of
this 50/50 mix. Wet this mix to the point where you can just barely squeeze out
a few drips of water (they call this field capacity) then spread this out on a
cookie sheet and bake at 170 for a little over an hour. Cover the cookie sheet
with aluminum foil before baking. Store this pasteurized casing mixture in
plastic freezer bags, I mist the inside of the bags with bleach water then wipe
out before putting the mixture in.
Just take your fully colonized cakes or jars of substrate,
dump out into a clean bowl and crumble into small pieces about the size of
marbles. Be sure to use sterile conditions, the transfer box is not needed but
clean hands and a bit of Lysol sprayed in the air is recommended. The mycelium
is pretty defensive against contams at this point, but it never hurts to be
safe. Put a 1/2 inch layer of damp pasteurized vermiculite (pasteurize like the
casing substrate) on the bottom of a suitable container, you can use milk jugs
cut down to about 3 inches tall and cover the outside with foil so light cant
get in. If light gets in then it screws up the shrooms and they try to grow
against the sides of the container under the casing. Sprinkle the
substrate chunks onto this layer to about 3/4 - 1 inch deep, then cover with
approx. 3/4 - 1 inch of the casing mixture previously prepared. Mist the casing
with a fine mist of spring water, 3-5 blasts should do fine. Take a fork, wipe
it with an alcohol pad and work the casing layer a bit to form little mountains
and valleys. This makes the casing transpire and breathe which is what you want
so it doesn't choke the mycelium.
See: Casing Teks
Originally this idea came from a setup that was presented to
me by a good friend of mine. At the time, he was using a sonic humidifier for
his setup, and then later decided it was not the way to go. You will see a few
people out there really pumping these cool mists, sonic, and other humidifier
methods, but I will try to tell you this is not the way to go. If you set them
up properly they will work fine, but they can be harder to get tweaked in and
are less forgiving. There have been plenty of critics to put down the perlite
method and many, I mean many that stand behind it. I have researched it
thoroughly and I found that the ones that did not get good results strayed away
from or didn't get the correct instructions. Just follow these instructions to
the tee and you will be fine.
First off you want to make a lid for the tank. This lid will
have a hole on one end for the air tubing, then a few bigger holes (I use 1 inch
holes) on the other end for the exhaust. I am not going to go into a lot of
detail on how to make it, but I will give you the general idea.
Cut your Plexiglas so that it just fits into the step in the
rim of the tank. If there is no inner plastic step, make the lid slightly bigger
so it sets flat on the top of the tank. Use the 1x2's to make a frame, this
keeps the lid from warping. You want the wood on the top, so it doesn't rot
inside where its wet. Use little screws and drill small holes in the lid to
mount the frame. On one end in the back corner, drill a small hole to run the
air pump tube through. On the opposite end drill 3 1 inch holes equally spaced
across the lid and cover with coffee filter. This is the exhaust. You want to
run your air tubing down to the bottom where it will rest on the perlite, this
is so the air pumped in pushes the stale bottom heavy air out and to the top on
the other side of the tank.
Use a double outlet air pump sold for aquariums, the double
ones pump a lot more air. You will be running 2 tubes out and to a "T"
fitting that will have a single tube to run into the tank. Get a small
Tupperware box that this pump can fit into with a little room. Drill holes to
run the wiring and tubing out. Remove the bottom from the air pump, the rubber
thing with the little legs. Then put the air pump in the box upside down, this
will make it draw in a lot more air. Make a large cutout in the lid for the box
and tape coffee filter over this. Put the lid on and silicone all around the lid
and any of the drilled holes for the tubing and wiring. You only want the air
coming in through the filter. This air pump will be run all the time, 24 hrs a
day 7 days a week.
You will be using the egg crate as a shelf for the cased
containers to sit above the perlite. Get you some little plastic cup hooks or so
and some water resistant epoxy. I use PC-11, I have tried regular 5 min epoxy,
but it melts over time due to all the moisture. You want to epoxy the hooks in
approx. 6 equally spaces places around the tank, all even; this is what the egg
crate will rest on. You want this to be 3 1/2 inches from the very bottom of the
tank. This makes the egg crate removable so you can manage the perlite and such.
Now you will want to go buy a small temp and humidity gauge to mount on the back glass of the tank. I like the ones sold at reptile supply shops. Mount them in the middle and towards the top of the backside glass on the inside of course.
Get a bag of perlite, some hydrogen peroxide, and a gallon
of cheap spring water. Decide on how much perlite you need to fill the tank to
at least 2 inches or so. Thoroughly rinse out the perlite with tap water
and strain with a kitchen strainer. You want to get rid of the broken down
perlite dust leaving only nice little chunks. Now take your gallon of spring
water and mix in 1/8 to 1/4 cup of peroxide, I prefer a tad under 1/4 cup. Pour
rinsed perlite into the fishtank and slightly level it off. Now pour in some of
the spring water that you treated with peroxide and mix well with the perlite.
Keep adding water and mixing a little at a time until you just start to see some
water puddle up on the bottom, you don't want too much but a little water at the
bottom is no harm. Now level the perlite out and then run your fingers slightly
through it to form slight hills and valleys. This causes the perlite to breathe
off the humidity better.
Now if your room is cold you can sit the tank on a small
heating pad and turn it on low. This will warm the bottom of the tank, warm the
perlite and water, and the heat will transpire throughout the tank. You will get
a tad more humidity this way also, just be sure and monitor the temp; do not let
it go above 80 deg. The best overall temp range is from 72-76, but the mushrooms
can still be grown out of that range a bit, they just will be more productive in
the ranges I give.
You will have to pop the lid at least once a day and wipe
some humidity off the inside surface of the lid. If you don't the moisture
builds to a point where it will drip off the lid and into your casings. Be
careful to tip the lid and let the moisture run down and off to the side. I have
had drips to get into the casing, but never had a problem. I think since the
water has peroxide in it, its pretty contaminant free, but it never hurts to be
safe. Doing this once a day (I do it twice) also gets more fresh air in and also
helps regulate the temperature better. I run my Ozone generator during this
airing for even more added protection.
Once you have grown and harvested some mushrooms, you need
to think about preserving them. They will only keep for a short time in their
fresh state. Sometimes a single mushroom needs to be harvested and it isn't
enough for a dose. Other times, too many mushrooms will be fully grown for a
single dose. Either way, you will be in a situation where you want to preserve
them for later. And, even if this didn't happen, you may find your self in a
situation where you simply don't have the time or inclination to trip. The good
news is that if they are dried correctly, nearly all of the psycho-active
compounds can be preserved for many months.
There are several ways to dry them, but we will only cover
the best way. What ever you do, don't use heat to dry them. Heat is very harmful
to the psycho-active compounds. You will drastically reduce the mushroom's
potency if you use heat to dry them.
Several pounds of calcium chloride can be purchased for a
couple of dollars at any large building supply outlet. It will usually be found
in the paint department because it is used to dry the air in musty closets
before painting and things like that. If possible, get the bulk refill
containers. It will be cheaper than the calcium chloride that comes with the
units to hold it and the moisture pulled from the air. You won't be using the
unit, so don't buy it unless you have to.
The drying chamber needs to have a space at the bottom for
water to collect. This allows the calcium chloride to function well for extended
periods of time. As it pulls moisture from the air, it drips to the bottom of
the chamber. The calcium chloride is held above the water by a circular section
of the 1/4 inch wire mesh with a wash cloth spread out on it. See the following
diagram for details. The wash cloth keeps the calcium chloride from falling
through the wire mesh but any water that forms can drip through it to the bottom
of the chamber.
The calcium chloride should be spread out evenly. If
you use too large of a Tupperware bowl, you may have to add some structural
strength to the screen in order for it to support the calcium chloride. You can
simply lay a stick or ruler underneath the mesh and use tie wraps to secure the
mesh to it.
Cut another circular section of mesh so that it fits above
the calcium chloride and leaves a nice air gap. The mushrooms will be placed on
this mesh in order to dry them. Make sure the calcium chloride is not touching
the bottom of this screen. There should be an air gap between the top of the
desiccant and the bottom of the screen. You do not want your mushrooms to touch
the calcium chloride while they are drying because some of it will dissolve into
the mushroom if this happens.
That is the entire preparation for preserving your mushrooms
with minimal loss of potency. In order to dry your mushrooms, simply harvest
them and place them on the wire screen. Close the Tupperware container so it is
airtight. The mushrooms will shrink and shrivel over the next couple of days.
After about three days, they will be fairly hard and contain very little
moisture. If you are not pushed for space inside the drying chamber, you may was
well leave them there for five or six days to thoroughly dry them.
The reason this system works so well to dry the mushrooms is
the calcium chloride is a good desiccant. It has a very strong affinity for
moisture and can pull almost all the moisture out of the air. Eventually
however, liquid will start to collect in the bottom of the drying chamber.
Mushrooms are 92% water by weight. This moisture has to go somewhere when the
mushrooms are dried, and it will eventually find its way to the bottom of the
When moisture starts to collect in the drying chamber you can simply drain it out and continue to use the old desiccant. The chamber will continue to work as long as there is sufficient calcium chloride in it. You should be careful not to contaminate the sides of the container or the top screen with residue from the desiccant. You do not want your mushrooms to touch the residue. For one thing, it tastes terrible, but in addition to this, the mushrooms will not dry completely. The residue will attract moisture. Whenever you empty the moisture, it is best to wash the Tupperware container completely.
The best way to store your cracker dry mushrooms is to seal
them in 1/2 pint canning jars with 1 packet of desiccant and 1 packet of oxygen
absorber. You can get these storage chemicals very cheap on-line, at the paint
section in the hardware store, wally world, and most large grocery strores. **Put the packets in the jars as described
below**. You can cut circles of cheesecloth or muslin (dia of the jar) to put
between the shrooms and chemical packs if you desire.
** May I use oxygen absorbers and desiccants in the same
A. As set forth by the two major manufacturers of oxygen
absorbers, YES, but like everything else we do there is a technique that
must be followed to insure proper results. This is very simple and will be very
simple for all of us to understand. Step 1: Place the desiccant into the bottom
of the empty container. Step 2: Place the food into the container
directly over the desiccant. Step 3: Place the oxygen absorber on top of
the food. Step 4: seal the container normally.
For those of you that want to advance to a little harder but more rewarding level of cultivation, then welcome to the Panaeolus species. Most spore providers will carry either the Panaeolus Cyanescens or the Panaeolus Tropicalis; Tropicalis is a strain right out of Florida. I will give just a brief description of the substrate and casing methods, but the majority of the procedures are the same as outlined above. After following the above (Alien's Shroom Tek) you should have a good idea of how things work.
The Panaeolus is somewhat more finicky to grow and are very small, but the fruits produced are much more potent and deliver a cleaner trip than the Cubensis. From my experience it seems that the trick to getting this species to fruit successfully is in using some sort of compost or dung in the process. You can still use the standard methods to grow out the mycelium as usual, but when it comes to fruiting there are a few things that change. Some people suggest to use straw, but I have found this to be an unpredictable disaster at times. Just use a well pasteurized dung or compost either in the initial substrate or mixed together with a colonized basic substrate (Alien's Substrate, PF, etc.) right before casing.
Dung Substrate Formula
4 cups horse manure or compost (dung
You will want the manure or compost to be dry, otherwise the water ratios will be slightly too wet. If it is wet, then you may try to adjust the water levels down some in the mixture. You can also bake the wet manure or compost in an oven at 200 deg. until it dries out. I personally prefer to do this just to make sure I get this sterilized well.