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Registered: 11/28/01
Posts: 3
Last seen: 22 years, 2 months
nebie needs help!
    #473099 - 11/28/01 11:45 PM (22 years, 3 months ago)

hey all i am new and i wana buy some spores frome that hawk's eye spores place

my questions are
1) how do they send the syringe in the mail?
2) i am useing this method i found--->"OVERVIEW OF PROCESS"

In this section I will just give a brief description of the growing process before I get into the actual 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 literally 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 mycelium. If we just use some common sense during the process of cultivation 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 approximately 1.2 jars per dozen, not too bad. Even with the complicated methods and setups I've tried 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 water are mixed in a bowl and spooned into canning type mason jars (15 minutes work). These jars are placed in a covered pot of boiling water until sterile (about 30 minutes). After they have cooled down they are inoculated with spores (20 minutes work). At this time the jars are just placed under your bed, on a shelf in a closet or in a drawer and left alone for approximately three to four weeks. When this time period is up the jars should be colonized with mycelium (a white mold), they are then opened up and the contents are mixed with potting soil in a tray, similar to a Rubbermaid or Tupperware shoebox, and left alone for another week. Soon most of the surface of the soil will be covered with the white mycelium and possibly dozens of mushrooms in various stages of growth.
At this stage in the process all that is needed now is a once or twice a day misting of water (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 cultivator. 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 spores required to try this cultivation process themselves. Full directions will be given at the end of this guide on how to make your own sporeprints. Good Luck !!


* Organic Brown Rice Flour: This *flour can be found in almost any health food store and some larger upscale grocery stores even carry it. It usually comes in a two-pound bag and costs about $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) half pint culture jars.
* ADDITION May 12, 2000: If you can't find brown rice flour you can substitute it with either soy flour or rye flour as long as it states "Organically Produced" on the package.

* Vermiculite: This is a product that can be found almost anywhere garden supplies are sold. I buy mine at either a K-Mart or Wal-Mart 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. If at all possible I recommend you purchase the "course" vermiculite instead of the fine type.

* 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 or 1 pint canning jars which are also called jelly jars, Kerr jars or Mason jars. These can be found in about every major grocery store and cost around $6.00 to $8.00 a dozen. Make sure they are "wide mouth", meaning the top of the jar is larger than or the same size as the bottom of the jar, this is so the contents will simply slide out of the jar when ready (1/2 pint = 8 ounces and 1 pint = 16 ounces).

*Plastic Trays: These can be purchased in K-Mart or Wal-Mart 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. WalMart also sells a similar tray that is 13.5? x 8? x 4? high made by a company called ?Sterilite? (stock #1852) for $0.88 each. If you can't find these exact brands, any similar sized type will do as long as it has a lid on it.

* Potting Soil: This is just a small bag of potting soil, which can be purchased, also at (you guessed it) the K-Mart or Wal-Mart garden section for $1.00 or less. This is the same type of dirt you would purchase to grow most house plants in. Do not purchase any potting soil that has fertilizers already added to it.

.This is the complete equipment list you will need to buy for cultivating mushrooms in your own home, the total cost is under $20.00 and you should have little problem locating any of these items. Everything else you will need, with the exception of spores, 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 is not required if you are using a spore syringe).
* Bleach: This will be used to sterilize the work area. Lysol spray is excellent for this task but bleach is 1/10 of the price and also it is non-flammable.
* Water: 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 canning jars inside it is fine. This will be used to boil (sterilize) the jars in (This is not needed if you have access to a pressure cooker).


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 fungi, and putting it into the 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. If you are using a spore syringe for your inoculation the lid will not be removed, but instead a hole will be poked in it with a thumbtack or small nail.

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 2-2/3 cups of "organically produced" brown rice flour and eight cups of vermiculite. Mix these two ingredients together with a large spoon until they are well combined, then add 2-2/3 cups of *water and continue mixing until everything is equally combined and there are no dry spots. Spoon this mixture loosely (do not pack tight) into 12 one half pint or 6 one pint canning jars equally. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a paper towel and put the lids on them tight (the rubber seal facing down).

* ADDITION April 23, 2000: This additional step is not necessary, but it will help your crop to produce up to 25% more shrooms. If you take one cup of the water and before you add it to the dry mix in the bowl bring it to a boil in the microwave. When you take it out of the microwave, while it is still hot, immediately stir in one teaspoon of honey (any kind). Then you add the water to the dry mix in the bowl (along with the rest of the water) and stir as directed. What this honey does is add more nutrients and dextrose (sugar) to your substrate which is just more FOOD for the mycelium to consume (meaning more shrooms).

Step 2: Right before you place your jars into the pot or pressure cooker 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 halfway 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 low 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 the pot is warm to the touch, remove the lid, quickly remove each jar and tighten the lids down immediately (see 5/27/00 addition below), 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.
*ADDITION May 27, 2000: If the jars you purchased have the two piece metal lids (disc and ring) you do not need to leave them loose, so go ahead and tighten them down now before boiling. They are called self sealing lids. The lids you must leave loose are the glass or ceramic lids.

Step 3: Once you have all of your jars sterilized and they have been 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 sense 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:
* ADDITION May 12, 2000: It is a good idea to let your jars sit on a shelf for three days if possible (after sterilizing, but before adding the spores) to make sure that all contaminates in the jars were destroyed during the boiling process. After the three days are up ,and if you don't see any mold growing inside your jars, it is a safe sign to proceed with your spore inoculation. This three day wait is not really necessary, but it is better to find out now if your jars are sterile before you add the spores than to find out later and possibly lose your spores to a foreign contaminate.

* A small pointed knife (if using a sporeprint)
* A cigarette lighter (if using a sporeprint)
* A push pin thumbtack (if using a spore syringe)
* A roll of tape (if using a spore syringe)
* A spray bottle filled with a 50/50 mixture of water and bleach.
* The sterilized substrate jars you prepared earlier.
* The sporeprint (or spore syringe) you will be using.

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 for a few minutes it is time to inoculate (plant seeds in) the jars. Note: If you are going to inoculate with a spore syringe, skip the rest of Step 4 and go now to Step 4A. 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). Use the cigarette lighter to heat the point of the knife until it is almost red hot and then let it cool back down to room temperature which should take a couple minutes. 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 your sporeprint, 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, immediately 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. Move on to Step 5.
* ADDITION April 23, 2000: It is a good idea to cover your sporeprint with an upside down bowl before spraying the bleach/water in the room. The bleach/water can kill the spores if it is allowed to get on the sporeprint. After you spray the room please wait several minutes before removing the bowl covering the sporeprint, this will give the spray time to settle in the room. It is also a good idea to wear light color clothing since the spraying of the bleach water could possibly put spots on your dark clothing.

Step 4A: This step is only required if you are using a spore syringe for your spore inoculations. First you will need to take the thumbtack and poke a small hole in the center of the first jar lid (without removing the lid from the jar). Carefully stick the syringe needle at an angle into the hole you just made and squirt about 3/4cc of spore solution between the glass side of the jar and the substrate. Remove the syringe needle from the hole and immediately place a piece of tape over the hole to protect your substrate from any foreign contaminates entering your jar through the hole. Continue this process until all of your substrate jars have been inoculated with spore solution.

Step 5: Place the inoculated jars on a shelf in a closet, under your bed or in a dresser drawer and leave them alone for at least 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 white color of the mycelium, that jar is contaminated and *sometimes 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 the mycelium has colonized at least 50% of the jar it is alright to go ahead and case the jars in the trays, which forces the mycelium to fruit. Waiting for your jars to colonize 100% is recommended, but it takes longer and can be bypassed (and I know how anxious you are to see the fruits of your labor).
* ADDITION April 23, 2000: A contaminated jar is not necessarily a lost jar. I recommend that if you see a foreign mold (any color other than white) growing inside your jar, just leave it alone for a while. Most of the time when these two molds meet (your mycelium and the contaminate) your mycelium will kill the contaminate and your jar will survive. If the contaminate takes over and kills the mycelium, then it is time to dump the jar out.


In this phase of the growing 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 is fairly strong and capable of fighting off most invading contaminate spores and bacteria on its own from this point on.

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 one and one half cups of potting soil plus one and one half 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 stir 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 this soil/vermiculite/water mixture into one of the trays and spread it level on the bottom (at least one inch deep). Remove the lids from two or three of your colonized 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 premoistened 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, under your bed or in a dresser drawer and leave them alone for seven days at room temperature. They do not require any light or watering 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 fungi breathe some fresh air. By now you should have some white fungi (mold) growing across the surface of the soil. This is your mature mycelium looking for a place to have its babies (mushrooms). 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. One thing you will notice is that when you spray the water into your tray(s) the mycelium on the surface will go away. This is quite normal and should not cause alarm. Mycelium is supposed to grow underground and that is the reason it goes away.

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 on one end 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 to two weeks, 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 (I recommend cutting the stem about 1/2" above the soil).

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 shrooms you can dump out your tray, wash it and reuse it over and over. Well, that is my method. It is really easier to do than most people think.

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.

1.) 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.

2.) Now take a 3 x 5 index card and put it on a cookie sheet in an oven for 10 minutes that has been preheated to 200 degrees.

3.) Remove the index card from the oven and let it cool down for a few minutes.

4.) Take the index card and lie it on top of the washcloth.

5.) Take a "fresh" mushroom that has a fully opened cap, turn it upside down and cut the stem off as close to the cap as possible.

6.) Lie the cap, gills facing down, on top of one half of the index card and cover with an inverted bowl or cup.

7.) 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.

8.) 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.

9.) 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 (he-he).
A lot of people write to me and ask me the purpose of the washcloth. It is so that a small amount of air can seep under the bowl and help draw the humidity out of the mushroom cap. It is the moisture in the fresh mushroom cap that the spores are stuck to, and as the shroom cap dries out the spores will be released and fall on the index card. After you make your sporeprint, if the mushroom cap still looks fresh and the sporeprint you made is very dark in color, you can place the same mushroom cap on another sterilized index card and leave it there for 48 more hours (using the same process) and hopefully get another dark sporeprint from it.

what strain should i use??

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Registered: 06/17/99
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Re: nebie needs help! [Re: evilknight]
    #473198 - 11/29/01 01:24 AM (22 years, 3 months ago)

Use the PF-Tek the first time (www.fanaticus.com).
The strain is not that important. I heard Ecuadors are good, but it?s really secondary.

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Registered: 10/03/01
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Re: nebie needs help! [Re: Anno]
    #473330 - 11/29/01 06:54 AM (22 years, 3 months ago)

The Golden Teacher strain really worths its name ! Try it, it's a pleasure !

:laugh: Visit and support the Free Spore Ring Europe :laugh:

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Re: nebie needs help! [Re: evilknight]
    #473356 - 11/29/01 08:16 AM (22 years, 3 months ago)

I tried this method back when I was first starting out, but I always ended up with contaminated casing because with this method, there is no mention of sterilizing the casing. You can follow your directions up until the casing section, then I would use the 50/50 casing tech found on this and many other websites.


For your first strain, I would try B+ or any of the Thailand strains. They are both easy to grow and fairly resistant to contamination.

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Re: nebie needs help! [Re: evilknight]
    #473380 - 11/29/01 09:00 AM (22 years, 3 months ago)

how do the spore companyies ship me the syring??

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