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10 tips for Newbie Growers

Some pointers for success in mushrooms cultivation.

I just wanted to give some pointers that I've learned (and use) from my trials and tribulations in mushrooms cultivation. There is literally thousands and thousands of written pages on this subject, do a net search, check the Grow/Find section here on the Shroomery, go to your library. The information is there, you just have to look for it. I also highly recommend buying Paul Stamets' book "The Mushroom Cultivator", it has everything (and more) that you'll need to make your growing successful. I recommend however trying to grow using the PF tek,  first and then go back and read the book to understand it, if you read the book first you'll be more apt to "experiment" on your first try, which can lead to a bad growing experience. For your first time, stick to the TEK and follow it letter by letter, then do some research and learn what's going on...

1. RTFM - Read The Fucking Manual - AKA FOLLOW YOUR TEK.

90% of newbie growers have problems because they don't follow the TEK EXACTLY, and improvise. If you are looking for a positive (and rewarding) growing experience, don't think, just follow directions. The PF TEK (Psilocybe Fanaticus -http://www.fanaticus.com) is the preferred TEK for first time growers. If you FOLLOW THE TEK, you are almost guaranteed results.


2. STERILITY = GODLY. Sterilization and cleanliness are important factors in growing. Your environment should be as clean and sterile as possible. When sterilizing your substrate in a Pressure Cooker or by boiling, make sure that you sterilize for at least 45 minutes @ 15psi (if pressure cooking) or an hour (if boiling). Some Pressure Cookers don't reach 15psi (my PCooker is rated at 12PSI), so you need to adjust your sterlization time accordingly, the formula is a proportional (example if you have a PCooker rated at 30PSI, you would only need to sterilize for 22.5 minutes, or if you have a 7.5PSI PCooker you would need to sterilize for 90 minutes etc...). The cleaner you and your surroundings, the better chance you have. When working with equipment for cultivation or during any phase of preparation I like to wear a face mask to prevent breathing on things.

3. Rye Grain. If you are using Rye Grain, make sure to soak your Rye Grain for 12-24 hours at room temperature before sterilization. Lots of nasty endospores, bacteria, virii, competing fungii and a host of other Bad Stuff(tm) are just waiting to destroy your wonderful mushrooms. Allowing the rye to soak at room temperature allows all of the endospores and other organisms to germinate and become suceptible to sterilization. If you use rye and are having problems with contaminiation, try soaking your rye.

4. Water Content of substrate/casing. This is a tricky subject, but the general rule of thumb is better too dry than too wet (of course "just right" is our goal). It depends on which substrate you are using (Birdseed, Rye, BRF (brown rice flour) etc.) but in general you want your substrate MOIST. Moist, not wet. To get an idea of what moist is, take a cup of Vermiculite emtpy it into a bowl and start adding water a little at a time and mix it up. When you think it's moist grab a handful and squeeze it. If water pours out of your hands, it's too wet. If a drop or two of water drips out, it's pretty close, make a mental note of the consistency and feel of the verm, this is most useful for casing.

5. Temperature. A lot of times I hear newbies say things like "I made some jars a week ago and nothing is happening". What they usually fail to mention is that they are heating their jars at 100 degrees (f) or at 60 degrees (f). The optimal temperature for Mycelial Growth (for p. cubensis) is 75 to 81 degrees (f), anything more or less will slow down mycelial growth (and possible kill if you overheat).

6. PATIENCE - Patience is the biggest trait that most people lack, I lack it as well, however growing mushrooms takes TIME. Ideally a first time grower could in theory see their first flush of mushrooms in 3 weeks, realisticly expect 5-6 weeks.

7. Spore suppliers. A lot of people ask where they should get their spores from. TO answer that question I suggest you check out the Shroomery Sponsors . If a spore supplier is listed there, they are reputable.

8. If in doubt, ASK. The Shroomery has a virtual expert community at your disposal, if you are unsure about any part of the process, don't do what you "think should work", ask someone. Improvisation is a good way to lose a batch of mushrooms (trust me on this one), stick to the TEK (and make sure you understand the whole process) before attempting.

9. If all else fails. If you just don't have a White Thumb (tm) and are plagued by contamination, you can order pre-sterilized substrate filled jars from several sponsors. The price is steep, but if you can't grow and have some extra cash, I'd recommend buying a jar or two and ordering a syringe. If you buy two jars and one syringe, I'd recommend using more spore solution (4ccs/jar) and saving 2ccs for later use, this won't guarantee success, but you'll tip the scales in your favor. This is a last resort. If you follow the directions in your TEK, with a little luck you'll be greeted by several flushes of happy mushrooms!

10. Read more.  Simple. 

Good Luck!

~ by sutec, modified by Anno

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