The Basics of Magic Mushroom Cultivation
Getting started growing mushrooms is easier than you think. Of course, you can order grow kits to get a taste of cultivation, but if you are more DIY inclined or are thinking about producing larger amounts of shrooms, here are a few key videos to help you get started.
Mushroom Life Cycle
Before diving into cultivation, learning the mushroom life cycle will help you understand how long it takes to grow mushrooms and put the steps of magic mushroom cultivation in perspective.
Fungi are not plants and have unique reproductive cycles; they need different environments and food sources than what we might assume. Fungi are far stranger than we could imagine; with a theory, mushroom spores could have even arrived from space!
Check out this fun introduction from the master growers at Fungi Academy to get a handle on the world of fungal growth and reproduction.https://www.youtube.com/embed/a8_SezuW5Ns?feature=oembed
The Best PF Tek Video for Beginner Mushroom Cultivation
For many aspiring mycologists, PF-Tek is the starting point. PF-Tek was created in the 90s by Robert McPherson, who used the name Psyocybe Fanaticus in the online forum where PF-Tek became popular.
PF-Tek is a tried and tested method for growing magic mushrooms. This video is an excellent walkthrough with clear and concise instruction. If you are a visual learner, this two-part series is a great companion to our guide to PF-Tek.
In the first video, Freshcap Mushrooms walks through preparing growing jars and a simple substrate (which is like the soil mushrooms grow in) for inoculation with mushroom spores. (think planting mushroom “seeds”) The jars are then set aside to allow the mycelium to grow.
In the second video, watch how a fruiting chamber (which is like a greenhouse for mushrooms) is created, and then mushrooms grow and are harvested.
All of this can be built from materials easily purchased from local department stores and garden centers. Freshcap Mushrooms focuses on oyster mushroom cultivation in this series but uses the same PF-Tek technique initially created for growing psychedelic shrooms.
Cheap and Easy Still Air Box for Inoculation
When growing mushrooms, cleanliness and protecting your mushroom babies from contamination are essential every step of the way. This video shows you how to make a still air box to do mycology work in a controlled environment.
Professional mushroom labs invest in expensive equipment to ensure their air is filtered and their labs sterile. This is because the air is filled with billions of microbes, many of which like to grow in the same environments as mushrooms.
When these competing microbes contaminate mushroom growth, it can cause many problems. This is why a cheap and easy still airbox is a popular choice for many amateur mycologists.
A Mushroom Contamination Guide
Contamination is a constant battle for mushroom growers. Even with a perfect workflow, it’s surprising how resilient nature can be is surprising. When contamination pops up, it’s often obvious, with weird colours or smells. Other times it’s sneaky and can look very similar to mushroom mycelium.
This video is from Philly Golden Teacher, a classic and essential character to get to know on mushroom growing Youtube. The video covers a few common types of contamination, what they might be caused by, and how to prevent contamination with best practices for cleaning and inoculation. https://www.youtube.com/embed/EAsRH4OfQuA?feature=oembed
DIY Mushroom Incubator
An incubator is great to make sure the colonization of your substrate or cultures is speedy. Incubators are not necessary, but they are also pretty cheap and easy to make. Here is a walkthrough of the “dub tub” from Willy’s World, worthwhile watching if you are looking for a free Youtube resource on mushroom cultivation.
A dub tub uses water, an aquarium heater, and plastic tubs to create a DIY incubator. Willy walks you through all the supplies, costs, calibration of the temperature, and assembly in this video.https://www.youtube.com/embed/lZinu-YOmFg?feature=oembed
Advanced Mushroom Cultivation Techniques
Seeking bigger yields than PF-Tek provides? Want to start learning lab techniques like creating your own liquid culture or even working with agar plates? We have compiled some resources to get you started with more advanced mushroom cultivation techniques.
Learn to Grow Magic Mushrooms in Monotubs
PF-Tek is great to start growing magic mushrooms, but if you are serious about producing more significant amounts of mushrooms, it’s time to graduate to the monotub. With monotubs, you can create a much larger yield in a small space without too much investment. Watch Shroomer Boomerguide you through the whole process.
A monotub is similar to the fruiting chamber from PF-Tek, but with grain spawn and extra nutrients. This method takes a bit more skill, as more vectors for contamination can arise. But mastering and scaling monotubs can create an impressive bounty of shrooms.https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pm1FgFFzQd4?feature=oembed
A Grain Spawn Recipe
If you are stepping up your production, you will need to learn how to make grain spawn. It’s possible to buy pre-sterilized grain spawn online at Sporeslab. But to expand your operation, learning to produce grain spawn yourself is an important step.
You can use this grain to fill monotubs or inoculate more grains to multiply your supply of grain spawn. Here we have Freshcap mushrooms again with a complete walkthrough of grain prep, how to create mushroom jar lids, sterilization, and inoculation.https://www.youtube.com/embed/nQ1uDfsT4yI?feature=oembed
Magic Mushroom Liquid Culture
To step up mushroom production, you will need access to liquid culture. You can buy spore syringes you buy online from shops like Ralphsters or Mushly that are fairly simple to make at home. This will allow you to have an independent production loop for as long as you like. Renegade Mushrooms details a thorough walkthrough of liquid culture in this video.
To make liquid culture there is a specific recipe and you will need to prepare some new jars for easy inoculation. This project does require ordering a few specialty mycology items online, but the investment is well worth it to further your own operation.https://www.youtube.com/embed/NvGWP_jFZmo?feature=oembed
DIY Mushroom Dehydrator
If you have reached a scale where your dehydrator is no longer powerful enough for your mushroom harvests, or if you just want to build your own, this is a helpful video from
With a few tools, a bit of investment in materials and time, you can have a modular drying rack. This is a great system because it uses airflow, not heat, to dehydrate mushrooms, so you don’t need to worry about what temperature to dry mushrooms at. Many believe that prolonged exposure to heat, even at low levels, can degrade psilocybin found in magic mushrooms. https://www.youtube.com/embed/npaH2j2ma34?feature=oembed
Learn the Basics of Agar
Before the modern age of liquid culture, agar was the typical way to germinate spores and inoculate substrate for mycologists. While liquid culture is preferred by many, agar is still a powerful mycological skill. Agar is great for testing out liquid culture and cloning samples of new genetics and opens up a world of possibilities in mycology.
At first, agar can seem intimidating and only fit for professionals in laboratories. However, you can certainly learn to do it at home, and this playlist from Philly Golden Teacher is comprehensive. This will require sourcing some specialty supplies that can be done from SporesLab. If you are serious about cultivation, agar is an amazing skill to learn that opens up many solutions.https://www.youtube.com/embed/7pqJxFpsE84?feature=oembed
Laminar Flow Hood
One of the greatest inventions you can make to combat contamination is a laminar flow hood. This essentially filters the air around your workspace, so when you inoculate jars, spawn, or work with agar, far fewer contamination issues arise.
Laminar flow hoods can be expensive, but buying the materials and building a very functional one at home is possible. This project will require some tools and a bit of carpentry. To see if you are up for the task, check out Happy Mushroom’s two-part walkthrough. The first video provides technical specs to help you decide on the size you need, what fans to choose from, and what filters will work best.https://www.youtube.com/embed/UyFuUGD8fBU?feature=oembed
The second video will walk you through assembling your laminar flow hood for cheap in a couple of hours.