Stuff to buy for growing
Pre-growing preparation tour. Shopping lists. How to start magic mushrooms growing?
What are the main stages of the magic mushrooms life cycle?
Remember! The whole process of cultivation psilocybin mushrooms is divided into 2 main stages:
1️⃣ Colonization period (first 2-4 weeks). It is vegetative phase when mycelium of psilocybin mushrooms is formed. This mycelium grab the nutrient substrate in the jars or spawn bags.
For this phase we need to prepare liquid spore syringe, spawn substrate, bags or jars for spawn substrate, make substrate sterilization, substrate inoculation, make mushroom cakes and cover them with casing layer, make an incubator and control the necessary microclimate conditions for this period: no light at all, temperature +27+30°C or 80-86°F, low humidity (30-55%).
2️⃣ Fruiting and harvesting period (next 6-8 weeks after colonization period). It is a phase of pinhead and primordia formation, mushrooms fruit bodies growth and harvesting.
For this phase, we need to prepare a growbox (aka fruiting chamber), reduce temperature to +21+23°C or 70-74°F, provide lighting, high humidity (90-99%) and ventilation.
At first, it will be enough to prepare all stuff for the first stage — colonization period. If you succeed in it, then proceed for the second phase.
Newbie cultivators often don't know about the separation of these two stages of mushroom cultivation and confused the conditions (most often temperature conditions). In the next sections we'll discuss step by step all details, differences and possible mistakes for each period.
Where do you start your magic mushroom cultivation? Alternatives and costs
❇️ Option 1 — "grow kit and no worries". Ready to use basic and simple growbox and/or grow kit for beginners with everything you need to start can be found online. The price is about $100-$200. Also you'll need to buy some stuff for convenience and to shop at the pharmacy.
Delivery within 3-5 days if shop is located in your country. About 2-3 weeks for delivery from other countries.
Fully automated grow box made specifically for growing mushrooms costs from 500$ and more.
❇️ Option 2 — "DIY". It is not difficult at all. Everything is easy, fun and exciting! You can assemble your incubator and fruiting chamber (growbox) by your own. This constructor is real to make 3, or even 5 times cheaper. Besides, you don't need to buy everything at once. You just need time, passion and patience.
Our total cost was $130 for the whole process described in this guide.
But your first growing can be organized much cheaper. You can spend no more than 50$-100$ for EVERYTHING you need. We'll show you how you can save money for the first time.
All costs were 130$ for the whole growing process described in this guide, including equipment for the grow box, spore prints of various strains and additional tools for our convenience.
As a result, it turned into 1 kg 883 g of raw harvest (details about yield by strains and by flushes in Growing Stats section) and about a hundred spore prints. But the most important were emotions gained from 10 weeks of an exciting GROWING trip!
Let's move step by step and make a list of everything you need to start your own cultivation process.
List of required items for colonization period
For the first stage of growing process you need to prepare:
2️⃣ Cardboard box, pasted inside with air-bubble wrap (for heat retention). It will be our incubator in the future. It's dead easy!
The air-bubble wrap is glued with double-sided tape.
3️⃣ Jars with lids for spawn substrate or spawn bags. Polypropylene jars with polypropylene lids, glass screw jars with metal twist-off lids or Mason jars. The volume of jars from 250 ml to 1 liter. About the features, preparation, advantages and disadvantages of each type of jars we'll talk in detail in the Jars for spawn substrate section.
Attention! Polypropylene is NOT an ordinary food plastic. Food PE withstand temperatures up to +100°C (212°F), polypropylene can withstand temperatures up to +140°C (284°F). We need jars that can withstand temperatures from +120°C (248°F). Glass jars can easily withstand up to +200°C (390°F).
The easiest way to prepare polypropylene and glass spawn jars.
Mason jars with inoculation port and breathing filter.
Mason jars or glass screw jars with syringe filters (Luer lock) and self-healing injection ports (also known as bottle stoppers).
Jars alternative is polypropylene heat-resistant spawn bags.
4️⃣ Heater for incubator to keep the temperature in the incubator +27°...+30°C or 80-86°F for the first 2 weeks. But it depends on the season of the year and temperature conditions in your home. So, during the hot season you can do without it, but during the cold season you'll need additional heating.
You can use shoe drying spirals.
Any mat heater (silicone mat heater, heat mat for terrarium, floor mat heater, plant and seed warming mat, hydroponic heating pad for indoor seedling and germination), animals bed heater, any household heater or any heating element, сorner near radiator or even your cat.
5️⃣ Whole pure dry grain that is suitable for food for people and animals. You can use organic grain or grain for sprouting.
To prepare the spawn substrate you need at least 1-2 liters of dry grain per 1 spore print. In fact, even 10 liters of grain can be inoculated with one spore print, it depends the inoculation method.
For spawn substrate you can use: wheat berry, oats, barley, rye, wild bird seeds, popcorn, corn, brown rice, millet, sorghum.
Details about grain options, peculiarities of substrate preparation and sterilization we'll discuss in Choose and prepare substrate section, Cooking the substrate for psilocybin mushrooms section and Spawn substrate sterilization section. 6️⃣ Drainage. Perlite or vermiculite — at the rate of 1 liter per 2-3 liters of dry grain.
7️⃣ Thermometer and hygrometer. Electronic thermometer with a hygrometer or an ordinary household thermometer to monitor temperature in the incubator and grow box.
More convenient to use electronic external thermometer and hygrometer 2-in-1.
List of required items for fruiting period
For the second stage of growing process you need to prepare:
1️⃣ Plastic container, aquarium or terrarium for making fruiting chamber (aka grow box). The volume should be about 30 liters. You can use plastic boxes of larger (40-80 liters) or smaller sizes (15-20 liters) as well. Bigger volume of the grow box is better. Because, it will accumulate less carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration during mushrooms growing. Bigger grow box can be ventilated rarely and it's easier to control the microclimate conditions. Detailed construction of the fruiting chamber is presented in the DIY Grow Box for Magic mushrooms. Fruiting conditions section.
2️⃣ LED lamp. The lamp light should be weak in the blue range (~435 nm). No need to use powerful lamp. Light is needed only to set the direction of growth for mushroom fruit bodies. A diode strip is also suitable for lighting your grow box. Moreover, natural light is suitable as well, but NOT direct sunlight and only diffused light.
3️⃣ Plastic containers for shoeboxes. Any food flat plastic containers for making mushroom cakes (shoeboxes) and casing. The volume about 700 ml - 1.5 liters can be used.
4️⃣ Coconut peat soil or coconut substrate. One liter is enough for 2-3 liters of spawn grain. It is necessary to have coconut fiber in the compost.
Or you can use pressed coconut fiber bricks. Such one coco block is enough for 5 liters of grain, because the coconut fiber will increase 10 times when soaked in water.
5️⃣ Limestone flour based on calcium carbonate (CaCO3). It is used as a buffer agent to reduce substrate acidity level.
List of required items to buy at the pharmacy
- Face mask — 1-2 items.
- Gloves — 2-3 pairs.
- Medical cap — 1-2 items
- Disposable medical gown (or PE raincoat) — 1 item.
- Sterile syringe (5-10 or 20 ml) — 1 syringe per 1 spore print.
- Antibiotic in pills (chloramphenicol or any analog) — 1 blister. Antibiotic can be substituted with Hydrogen peroxide 3% (H2O2).
- Antibiotic in ampoule (gentamicin or any analog) — 1 ampoule. Antibiotic is not required if you have sterile spore print.
- Sterile water for injection (5-10 ml) — 1 ampoule per 1 spore print.
- Ethyl alcohol (70% or 96%) — 400-500 ml minimum. We recommend to use 70% alcohol.
- Breathable bactericidal patch — minimum 20-30 pcs. For 1 jar you will need 3 patches and 8-10 pcs. for the grow box.
- Cotton disks — 1 pack (50 pcs.)
- Hydrogen peroxide 3% (H2O2) — min. 300-400 ml.
List of required kitchen and household items
- Pressure cooker, autoclave or multicooker.
- Saucepan (the volume about 3 liters).
- Sieve or colander.
- Marker pen.
Useful and helpful, but not necessary stuff
These items will be helpful for cultivation process, but not necessary for the first growing experience.
1️⃣ Aquarium air pump for automatic ventilation and misting. Optional gadget and not necessary to use. Your grow box can be ventilated and misted manually. Details are in the DIY Grow Box for Magic mushrooms and Magic mushrooms fruiting conditions sections.
2️⃣ Humidifier for growbox. Terrarium humidifier allows you to maintain a constant humidity level of the grow box automatically. This gadget is very helpful, but not cheap. You can do without it.
3️⃣ Carbon dioxide sensor (CO2 detector). To control carbon dioxide level in growbox during mushrooms fruiting period. These sensors are also indicate temperature and relative humidity.
4️⃣ Soil pH meter.
5️⃣ Bactericidal lamp (quartz tube). Useful for preparing conditionally clean spore prints from your harvest and for preparing working space for all mycological manipulations. This device can reduce contamination risks greatly, but also optional.
6️⃣ Medical or jewelry pocket scales for weighting mushrooms crop, microdoses and trip doses accurate to the 0.01 gram. Turned out to be very useful (the price is only $4-$5). Household kitchen scale for weighting harvest will be okay as well.
And many other useful gadgets to optimize your growing process and make your mushroom cultivation automated.
The sky is the limit!
Here are some helpful tips and notes for newbie grower.
Where to buy everything you need
Be ready to check flower stores, pet stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, markets and grocery stores with all sorts of household trivia. The vast expanse of the Internet to help you, where you can order online a lot of useful things to start growing. Don't forget to check some stuff you already have at home.
Why is sterility so important for psilocybin mushrooms cultivation?
In the process of psilocybin mushrooms cultivation we are simulating natural conditions. In these conditions there is a fierce competition and fight for the nutrient substrate between psilocybe spores, bacteria, molds and viruses.
It is very easy for psilocybin mushrooms to lose this battle. But we can help them win!
How? By maintaining sterility at all stages of growing process.
Main sources of contamination with bacteria, molds and viruses are:
🔴 Grower himself (hands, hair, breath, snot, saliva).
Solution: gloves, face mask, medical cap and medical gown (or PE raincoat).
🔴 Workspace (microorganisms on surfaces and flying in the air).
Solution: disinfect the space, avoid draughts and ventilation during mycological manipulations, treat all surfaces with alcohol, use a glovebox or still air box (SAB).
🔴 Instruments and tools.
Solution: treatment with alcohol or sterilization.
🔴 Spore print.
Solution: use sterile spore print or antibiotic application.
Solution: use antibiotic or hydrogen peroxide for spawn substrate preparation and thorough substrate sterilization.
How to prepare work space for mycological manipulations?
Let us remind you that in this guide we use only the simplest and most accessible methods to organize growing psilocybin mushrooms at home. Our process was carried out without laboratory equipment, glove box and SAB which are desirable but not necessary. Still, let's say a few words about the ideal conditions for growing psilocybin mushrooms. Such conditions minimize the probability of mold spores, bacteria and viruses entering the substrate during liquid spore syringe preparation, during inoculation, casing process and during spore prints preparation.
Still, let's say a few words about the ideal conditions for growing psilocybin mushrooms. Such conditions minimize the probability of undesirable spores penetration, which leads to substrate contamination.
Laminar flow cabinet or Glove box
Glove box or laminar flow cabinet — a vacuum box, which is used in laboratories to ensure the sterility of the laboratory procedures carried out. The main disadvantages are its high cost, as well as a number of inconveniences arising from working with thin and fragile instruments while wearing thick gloves.
A simpler mobile acrylic glovebox for mycological manipulations.
An alternative option is a DIY sealed glovebox made from a plastic container with a germicidal lamp and gloves. This is a simple and cheap option.
Still air box (SAB)
One more alternative simple option is still air box (SAB) for all mycological manipulation. It's easy to make. SAB is not sealed, it does not eliminate the possibility of contaminants, but it helps greatly reduce the risks of contamination by bacteria and spores flying in the air or live on surfaces.
Moreover, you can use such box as SAB, then use it as a growbox or make a monotube. So, no need to buy additional stuff.
What if there is no glovebox and SAB?
If you don't have such devices and don't want to bother with them for your very first growing experience, then take care about preparation the cleanest space at home, which isn't occupied by molds. Ideal for manipulation is a bedroom and a table thoroughly wiped with alcohol over the entire surface. Kitchen and bathroom are not recommended for mycological manipulations. Such places give more opportunities for further contamination.
Now you need to do the following:
- Clean your room for mycological manipulations.
- Turn off any ventilation or air conditioning, close windows and eliminate drafts.
- Wipe a table with alcohol (70%).
- Prepare your grower outfit: medical cap, face mask, gloves, and a PE raincoat or medical gown.
It's sad and funny that after a while this look became normal on the streets of all cities and countries. Suddenly, covid-19 turned everyone into growers :)
We don't know about the corona virus, but in the case of growing psilocybin mushrooms, this outfit is must have! No doubts, from your hair, from your face, from your clothes, through snot and saliva can fall a lot of "uninvited guests", which won't let the magic mushrooms come into the world.
Keep in mind! You should use your grower outfit at ALL stages of the growing! Just change gloves, if necessary. You can neglect anything, but not a sterility! Hence the first and the most important rule of growing mushrooms is a STERILITY!
For now, we have everything prepared according to the lists above. Bags for our growing trip are packed! It's time to begin exciting journey that will last for the next 10 weeks.
Let's go! STEP 1. Day 1. Liquid spore syringe ▶️
Feel free to ask any questions and leave your comments ⬇️⬇️⬇️