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Shroom Wizard's Grow Guide

Our very own Shroom Wizard's grow guide, not the best method for the complete newbie though, due to the rather lax sterile work recommendations.

Well, after twenty-seven years of cultivating psychoactive mushrooms indoors and investigating dozens of different techniques, I have finally reached what I call a God given method for the untrained cultivator. This method is the easiest to start for the first timer and supplies required for the whole process, start to harvest, costs under $20 (provided you already have a spore print). There is no humidifier or aquarium to buy. There are no elaborate or complicated setups required. It can easily be concealed in a closet or in a dresser drawer, and best of all, it produces as much fruit (mushrooms) by weight, as any of the other methods I've tried. I recommend that the inexperienced grower read this guide at least two times before beginning, just so they will fully understand the process. You should understand exactly what you are going to be doing and why you are doing it each step of the way. Nothing is more frustrating than to get into the middle of your project and run into problems. I do not encourage any one to actually try any of the methods in this guide to grow psychotropical mushrooms, for to do so would be breaking the law, and I do not desire to have anyone do that. I give you this information for the pure sake of knowledge and also because it is your Constitutional right to be informed on any subject you wish. Again, children - do not try this at home (he-he).

In this section I will just give a brief description of the growing process before I get into the details of it. First off: Sterilization - Sterilization is a very important part of mushroom cultivation, but not as important as most people think. What I mean by that is the fact that there are billions of foreign contaminate spores floating around in the air where you are now. If some of these spores get into your culture jars they can easily kill your young plants. If we just use some common sense techniques we can easily block out 90% of these foreign spores, that means the ultra sterile complicated methods (inoculating hoods, etc.) only block out the last 10% of the contaminates. I don't mind the 10% odds of my having contaminated cultures. With those odds I will lose approx. 1.2 jars per dozen, not too bad. Even with the complicated setups I lose that many cultures, so I've decided to bypass the complicated process, thus simplicity. In my process, a mixture of organic brown rice flour, vermiculite and later are mixed in a bowl and spooned into twelve 1/2 pint mason jars (15 minutes work). These jars are placed in a covered pot of boiling water until sterile (about 45 minutes). After they have cooled they are inoculated with spores (20 minutes work). At this time the jars are just placed on a shelf in a closet or in a drawer and left alone for 3 weeks. When this time period is up the jars are opened and the contents are mixed with potting soil in a tray, similar to a Rubbermaid or Tupperware breadbox, and left alone for another week. Soon the entire surface of the soil will be covered with dozens of mushrooms in various stages of growth. At this time in the process all that is needed now is a once a day misting (with a hand sprayer), to keep the soil moist, and the picking of all matured mushrooms. It is a very easy process to grow mushrooms using this method. Most books and manuals dedicated to mushroom cultivation are based on laboratory processes, are very complicated and not easily understood by the inexperienced mycologist. It is for this reason I have decided to write this guide. Hopefully it will help shed some of the fears new growers may have about not "knowing enough" to be successful. I recommend that when you are successful in cultivating of your crops that you take one of your mature mushrooms and make another sporeprint with it to replace the one that you used. This way you can always start a new crop whenever you desire or if you pass this guide on to someone else they will have the seeds required to try this cultivation process themselves. Full directions will be given at the end of this book on how to make your own sporeprints. Good Luck !!

Organic Brown Rice Flour
This flour can be found in most any health food store and some larger grocery stores even carry it. It usually comes in a two pound bag and costs under $3.00. Make sure that the bag has the words "Organically Produced" on it, this is very important. A two pound bag will be sufficient to make about three dozen (36) culture jars.
This is a product that can be found almost anywhere garden supplies are sold. I buy mine at either a K-Mart or Wallmart garden department and a huge bag costs under $4.00. Its purpose is to retain moisture and help keep the soil from becoming too tightly compacted.
Hand Spray Bottle
I buy mine at K-Mart in the health and beauty section. Make sure it has an adjustable nozzle so you can spray a fine mist with it. These cost less than $1.00 each (buy 2).
Canning Jars
You will need to purchase a case (one dozen) of 1/2 pint canning jars which are also called jelly jars. These can be found in about every major grocery store and cost around $4.00 a dozen. Make sure they are "wide mouth", meaning the top of the jar is larger than the bottom of the jar, this is so the contents will simply slide out of the jar when ready. <1/2 pint = 8 ounces>
Plastic Trays
These can be purchased in K-Mart or Walmart also and are about the size of a standard shoebox with a snap on lid. I purchase mine in the K-mart kitchen storage utensil area. They are called Modular Storage Containers made by Aero Housewares (stock #3515). They are 13" x 7-1/2" x 6"high and come in packs of five for $4.89.
Potting Soil
This is just a small bag of potting soil which can be purchased also at (you guessed it) the K-Mart or Walmart garden section for $1.00 or less. This is the same type of dirt you would plant most house plants in.

This is the complete equipment list for cultivating mushrooms in your own home, the total cost is under $20.00 and you should have no problem locating any of the items. Everything else you will need can usually be found around the house and is listed below:

Small Knife
This can be any small sharp knife that has a pointed end on the blade. It will be used to scrape the spores from the sporeprint into the jars.
This will be used to sterilize the work area. Lysol spray is excellent for this task but bleach is 1/10 of the price.
This can be tap water, distilled water, drinking water, spring water or filtered water. The only water we can't use is water that has been softened using a salt water softener or saltwater itself.
Large Pot with Lid
This just needs to be what it sounds like, a large pot with a lid on it. The larger the better but as long as it is high enough to put the lid on with the jelly jars inside it is fine. This will be used to boil (sterilize) the jars in.
This is the first, and most important step in the process. What we will be doing here is mixing the substrate, which is the nutritional food for your plant, and putting it into individual jars. These jars are then boiled in a covered pot of water to sterilize and kill any germs or spores that may have gotten inside. After being removed from the boiling pot and allowed to cool down, these jars are then opened and some spores are scraped inside from the sporeprint and the lid is replaced. This is all there is to it.

Step 1
Remove the jars from the box they were purchased in, wash them in warm soapy water, rinse well and dry. In a large mixing bowl measure one cup of "organic" brown rice flour and three cups of vermiculite. Mix these two ingredients together with a large spoon until they are well combined, then add one cup of water and continue mixing until everything is equally combined. Spoon this mixture equally into six of your canning jars and put the lids on them (the rubber seal can be facing up or down). Repeat this procedure for the other six jars.
Step 2
Right before you place your jars into the pot you will need to loosen the lids slightly to prevent the jars from cracking during the boiling cycle. Place as many jars as will fit into the pot (standing up) without forcing. Slowly add water to the pot until the level comes up half-way on the jars. Place the pot on a burner and bring it slowly to a boil using medium high heat. Put the lid on the pot, reduce heat to medium to keep a low boil going and leave it alone for 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes are up remove the pot from the heat and "leave the lid on" until the pot is warm to the touch without burning your hand (do not be tempted to peek under the lid). When warm to the touch you can remove the lid and quickly remove each jar and tighten the lid down immediately, this is to keep invading spores from entering the jars through the loose lids. If you could not fit all twelve jars in the pot at one time, you can now repeat this process as many times as it takes to get all of your jars sterilized.
Step 3
Once you have all of your jars sterilized and allowed to cool down to room temperature (just sit them on a shelf overnight) it is time to place the spores inside. This is the point in the process where you just use common sence when it comes to being sterile. Since the air is full of millions of spores all around you and it is almost impossible to get rid of them, the next best thing you can do is to kill them. Find a small room that is fairly clean, a kitchen is fine, where you will be wanting to do your transfer of spores. Turn off all fans, heaters and air conditioners so the air in the room is sitting still. On a clean counter or table place the following items: 1 - small pointed knife, a cigarette lighter, a spray bottle filled with a 50/50 mixture of water and bleach, the 12 sterilized substrate jars you prepared earlier and the sporeprint you will be using. Wash and dry your hands.
Step 4
Adjust the nozzle on the bleach/water spray bottle to a fine mist and spray the air in the room to kill any airborne bacteria and spores. After the mist has settled it is time to inoculate (plant seeds) the jars. While you are doing this it is a good idea to either hold your breath or tie a scarf over your mouth and nose so you don't breathe germs into the jars while the lids are off (about 15 seconds each). Making slow moves, to keep from causing a breeze, you can now take the lid off of the first jar and lie it upside down on top of one of the other jars, open the sporeprint and hold it at a sharp angle over the open jar and with the tip of the knife scrape a small amount of spores on top of the substrate in the jar, replace and tighten the lid. Breathe. Repeat this process until you have inoculated all twelve jars. As far as how many spores to use, if you can see any spores fall into the jar, that is sufficient. It usually takes an area of sporeprint about the size of a match head to inoculate each jar.
Step 5
Place the twelve jars on a shelf in a closet or in a dresser drawer and leave them alone for three weeks. You can look in on them if you wish from time to time to check their progress but "never" take off, or even loosen the lid. The progress you are looking for is a pure white mold growing on the surface of the substrate in the jar. This is the mycelium (mushroom plant) which will one day put out lots of fruits we call mushrooms. If any color of mold is noticed growing in the jars other than the snow white color of the mycelium, that jar is contaminated and must be destroyed. All that means is you have to dump the jar out, wash it over and use it again. The jars you purchased can be used dozens of times, over and over. These jars of mycelium will grow in almost any temperature in your house as long as it is comfortable for you, usually that is somewhere in the high 60's to the high 70's. This white mycelium will first start growing on the top surface of the substrate and then begin working its way down the sides of the jar. When it has grown to a point that it is touching the bottom of the jar in at least one place it is time to case the jars, which forces the mycelium to fruit.
In this phase of the process we will be going over how to introduce the mature mycelium to soil in preparation for fruiting. It is a very easy process and the sterility is not of great importance anymore because the mycelium in your jars is mature at this point and is fairly strong and capable of fighting off most invading spores and bacteria on its own.

Step 1
The supplies you need to get together for this step are, the potting soil, the vermiculite (you should have a lot left over), a spray bottle of plain water, a large mixing bowl, a large spoon, your plastic trays and the substrate jars with the mycelium growing in them. Make sure you have all of these supplies in one place before you begin the next step.
Step 2
In the mixing bowl, add 1-1/2 cups of potting soil and 1-1/2 cups of vermiculite. Mix these ingredients together using the large spoon until they are well combined. Using the spray bottle of plain water, lightly spray the mixture and mix with the large spoon several times until the mixture is moistened to field capacity, meaning that if you take a handful of this mixture in your hand and squeeze it into a ball it will hold its shape but no water will drip out. We want the mixture moist but not saturated.
Step 3
Pour the soil/vermiculite/water mixture into one of the trays and spread it level on the bottom. Remove the lids from three of your substrate/mycelium jars and dump the contents on top of the soil mixture on the bottom of the tray. Using freshly washed hands, crumble the mycelium/substrate cakes into small pieces (about the size of marbles) and spread them out into an even layer on top of the soil/vermiculite layer.
Step 4
Put 3 cups of plain potting soil into the mixing bowl. Using the spray water bottle and the large spoon, spray and mix back and forth until your soil as reached the field capacity stage(as described in step 2). Pour this into the tray on top of the crumbled mycelium/substrate cakes and spread level with the spoon. What you should have now is a three layer sandwich. Bottom layer being soil/vermiculite, center layer being crumbled up mycelium/substrate cakes and top layer being plain soil. Put the lid on the tray and repeat this process with your other jars and trays until you have all of your jars cased.
Step 5
Place these filled and covered trays in a closet or drawer and leave them alone for seven days at room temperature. They do not require any light during this time, but if they do get light it is alright, its just not necessary.
This is the last and final phase of the cultivation process, it is also the easiest and most fun because it is the actual growing and picking of the mushrooms themselves. We have now waited five or six weeks to get to this point and I know that everyone is excited about finally being able to see the fruits of their labor.

Step 1
It is now time to remove the lids from your trays and let the plants breathe some fresh air. By now you should have a white fungi (mold) growing across the surface of the soil. This is your mature mycelium looking for a place to have its babies. Remove the lids from your trays and put them away, we will no longer need them until it is time to reuse the trays for another crop.
Step 2
Using your spray bottle of water, saturate the surface of the soil with 10 to 12 good pumps of water. You want the soil to be fairly wet, but not to the point that your plants will be sitting in still water. The layer on the bottom of your tray (soil/vermiculite) should be able to absorb most over watering and release it back into the soil as needed.
Step 3
Continue watering the surface once or twice daily as needed. It will not take very long to be able to know when your trays need watering, when the surface is dry, it needs more water. They seem to need more water during the cold months because of the dry air in your home produced by your heater. If you have to miss a day of watering your trays for some reason, you can just lie the lid back on top of the tray, leaving about a one inch gap so air can circulate, right after you water it. This will allow your mycelium to breathe but at the same time reduce evaporation.
Step 4
Within a short time of removing your lids, one day to one week, you should have several mushrooms popping up out of each tray. When these mushrooms start to open up and break the veil under the cap, they are ready for harvest. Just reach in and grasp the stem as close to the soil as possible and give a twist, it will pop right out.
Step 5
This is not a step, just a reminder to keep spraying, and keep harvesting, until the tray no longer is producing shrooms (one to two months). When your mycelium finally quits producing you can dump out your tray, wash it and reuse it over and over.
I believe everyone who cultivates mushrooms should make sporeprints, for their own private use in growing future crops and also to pass onto others who are willing to try their hand at the growing process. Take a clean washcloth and spread it out in a place it will not be disturbed for 24 hours, I just put mine on my dresser top. Now take a 3 x 5 index card and lie it on top of the washcloth. Take a "fresh" mushroom that has a fully opened cap and cut the stem off of it as close to the cap as possible. Lie the cap, gills facing down, on top of the index card and cover with an inverted bowl or cup. Leave this alone for 24 hours (48 hours if you want an excellent print). As the mushroom cap dries it will drop its spores onto the index card. When the waiting time is over you can remove the inverted bowl or cup and slowly pick up the mushroom cap. What you should see is a beautiful sporeprint on the index card where the mushroom cap was, I like to think of this as God's fingerprint because it resembles one. Fold the index card in half, enclosing the sporeprint, and put tape around the edges to seal. This will prevent any foreign spores from entering your print and also prevent any of your spores from getting out. At this time I should mention that I place my shroom cap on one side of the index card so that when I fold it in half I won't be folding the actual sporeprint itself. A print made this way will last for many years without any refrigeration, I place mine between the pages of a book, that way only I know the best books to read.

Well, that is my method. It is really easier to do than most people think. If you have any questions about this procedure, feel free to e-mail them to me at: shroom_wizard@yahoo.com

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