Choose and prepare substrate for magic mushrooms
STEP 2. Day 1. Choose substrate for magic mushrooms and pre-cooking preparation
At this step, you've already prepared a liquid spore syringe. While it is languishing in a syringe (minimum for 24 hours) and waiting for inoculation, it's time to take care of the substrate for future psilocybin mushrooms.
What does magic mushroom mycelium like to eat?
There are many options for substrate.
One of the most nutritious substrates is manure substrate — horse, cow, elephant poo with hay or straw.
Sufficiently nutritious is grain substrate — wheat, oats, barley, popcorn, brown rice or a substrate based on brown rice flour, rye, wild bird seeds, popcorn corn, corn, millet, sorghum etc. Grain substrates are used for spawn.
Less nutritious or non-nutritive option — hay, straw, sawdust and a mixture of coconut coir, peat and vermiculite — are more often used as secondary substrate for casing layer, spawn run or spawning to bulk.
Which substrate to choose?
Very often beginners choose substrate based on the brown rice flour (BRF) for PF-tek. Another option is grain substrate (wheat, oats, corn, rye and other). It's easy to prepare and it's nutritious enough. Subsequent sterilization requires little effort. There is less chance of contamination for grain substrate compared to manure substrate.
Advanced growers like to work with manure substrate. Such substrate is more difficult to prepare, the risk of contamination is higher, but the harvest is higher too! The content of psychoactive штпкувшутеы (psilocin and psilocybin) in mushrooms will also be higher because of the higher nutrient content of such substrate. Some species of psilocybin mushrooms required only manure substrates.
We suggest you to start psilocybin mushrooms growing with grain substrate. That's why we describe it in our guide.
You can buy ready for inoculation sterile grain for mushroom spawn, so that skip next steps and move on Inoculation section. Such option can save your time greatly and money for expensive pressure cooker, jars and lids accessories. It's a great option if you just want to try mushroom cultivation with ease.
Shroomok's choice on Amazon:
What kind of grain is suitable for growing psilocybin mushrooms?
You can use any kind of whole pure wheat, oats, barley, rye, brown rice, popcorn, corn, wild bird seeds, millet, sorghum. It can be either expensive grain for sprouting from supermarket (check healthy food store) or coarse grains suitable for food for animals (can be bought at the market or in a pet store) or on Amazon.
Let's take a look!
🌾 Whole wheat berries.
Shroomok's Choice on Amazon: Hard Red Winter Wheat Berries, 5 lbs - $14.99
🌾 Whole oat with husk.
Shroomok's Choice on Amazon: Organic Whole Oat Grain Seeds (With Husk Intact), 2 Lb - $17.23
🌾 Brown rice.
Shroomok's Choice on Amazon: Brown Rice 5 lb - $7.04
🌾 Millet or Bird seeds.
Shroomok's Choice on Amazon:
Bird Red Millet, 2/10/20 lb - $5.61
🔴 Grain should be whole, organic, untreated with chemicals and unmilled! Rolled and peeled grain is not suitable, because such grain don't have the fiber top layer, which performs a protective function and prevents substrate acidification and contamination.
How to calculate how much grain is needed?
With one liquid spore syringe you can inoculate 3-5 jars with substrate or even 10-15 jars (each jar 500-700 ml).
Accordingly, you need from 1 liter to 3-4 liters of dry grain. In the future it will be subjected to soaking, cooking, adding vermiculite and the volume of ready substrate will increase by about 25-35%, depending on the type of cereal crop.
In practice, our calculation is following. One liter of dry wheat or oats after soaking, cooking and adding vermiculite turns into 1.4-1.5 liters of ready substrate. Since the jars should not be filled to the top, but for 2/3 of the volume, we divide the substrate between 4 jars of 500 ml or 3 jars of 700 ml.
Total: 1 liter of dry grain = 4 jars * 500 ml = 3 jars * 700 ml.
For each jar we spend about 1-1.5 ml of liquid spore. Thus, 5 ml of liquid spore is distributed to 3-5 jars.
So, calculate how much grain you need based on how much liquid spore you are going to inoculate.
We'll talk about choosing and preparation spawn jars later, in Step 4 - Jars for substrate
First phase of substrate preparation
1️⃣ First, you need to wash the grain thoroughly several times. Grain should be clean, without husks. Don't mix different types of cereals. Each grain need different time for cooking. If you mix it up, it will cook unevenly: one will over boiled, the other will undercooked.
2️⃣ Fill the grain with water. Can be tap water or clean filtered drinking water.
3️⃣ Leave the grain to soak for 12-24 hours at room temperature. It is convenient to leave it overnight to continue cooking in the morning or for a day until the next evening. Some growers even leave it for 2 days and everything is fine too.
Why is soaking grain necessary?
First, the grain is saturated with the necessary moisture and cook faster.
Secondly, during soaking period magic mushroom competitors are activated. Particularly different types of bacteria, which multiply by simple cell division. All their viable cells and endospores are activated during the soaking period and will become vulnerable during sterilization. This will make it easier to get rid of them in their awakened active state.
12-24 hours after soaking you can smell a sweet yeasty odor and notice the appearance of fermentation bubbles - this is normal, don't worry. The bacteria living in the substrate have awakened.
Let's move on the next step — STEP 3. Day 2. Cooking the substrate ▶️