Here is an overview draft of "MyTek" which you may find useful. The general idea is to give them an environment that simulates as close as possible their natural growing environment. They "germinate" in a warm dark moist almost anaerobic place (like a cow's stomach). Then they continue to "colonize" in a pile of cow shit with more air and light exposure. Then one day when the mycelium colony has consumed enough nutrients, it tries to find more places to grow by producing "fruit" and more spores. The "right" combination of light, temperature and humidity makes it change modes. We harvest them when there is the most mushroom mass which is permeated with magic chemicals that some humans like (a lot ).
Ok, translated into your kitchen/bedroom: the substrate is sterlized to prevent competition from undesirable "germs". The inoculated jars are kept in a warm dark place until they are well colonized. Some people like to loosen the lids or take the tape off the needle hole about halfway through in vitro colonizaton to let some air in. Contamination is not as harmful from now on, but still should be guarded against. Keep it in the jar until it just barely wants to fruit (pinning).
At this point you can either break the cake apart and layer it between vermiculite and soil (in a tray) to retain moisture and open up more surface area for fruits to appear. If you do this, it will take another week (covered and moistened) to recover and finish colonizing, but usually produces more mass of shrooms. People call this "casing" or "sea of shrooms". Spray H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) right on the top casing layer to kill mold. Try not to hit the shrooms with direct spray of water or H2O2. Don't use tap water for anything. After about a week under wraps in the tray they should be ready to explode. Some people do "cold shocking" at this point, but I have not tried that yet. The purpose of that I think is to synchronize the whole colony and produce a larger first "flush". You would take the cover off, continue to spray the soil everyday, and enjoy the beautiful unfolding fruits of your labor of love the way God intended.
Or you can leave the cakes whole and put them in an aquarium and try to maintain high humidity AND fresh air exchange. That is a bit more difficult but if done right can produce even more mass. That is what the original PF tek (developed in a lab) tries to do. The art of growing has evolved, differentiated and matured since then and people are coming up with all kinds of ways to grow different varieties. But you will have to figure out a technique that works in your home, in your climate and with your desires. They all start out pretty well the same: in jars, (except for the bulk substate in a turkey roasting bag idea) and militant avoidance of contamination is critical. Some varieties prefer different substrates, but from what I've read, most will work with ground rice or rye or birdseed mixed with vermiculite to keep it loose. They are much more picky in their fruiting environment. I've only successfully grown 3 kinds, all Cubensis (PF, Gulf Coast and Mexican) and and all behaved pretty well the same except for slight differences in appearance. I have wild Gulf Coast spore prints for sale cheap.
There has been much discussion and experimentation on putting other things like tryptamine precursors into the substrate to increase potency. (I have not proven this to myself yet, but apparently a common grocery store vitamin shelf nutrient called 5-HTP does the trick.) Also taking them on an empty stomach, especially when preceded by Syrian Rue will dramatically increase (or change) the effects.
The key is research, research, planning, experimentation, more research, and eventually standardization for that variety in your world (in that order). Don't spend a lot of money on elaborate equipment to start with: you don't need to. My favorite, cheap way is the Shroom Wizard's Tek, modified by starting the germination in a jar of nutrient rich water. This spring I might try something outside but I don't know what yet. Suggestions anybody? I live in Atlanta.
Do not seek the truth, just stop having opinions.
[This message has been edited by TriGuy (edited January 07, 2000).]