How to Grow Medical Mushrooms At Home
Medical mushroom and Magic mushrooms are fungi containing the psychoactive compound psilocybin. This chemical acts on serotonin receptors in the brain to produce effects (commonly known as a trip).
Humans have used psilocybin mushrooms for thousands of years, and experts regard them as having a good safety profile. However, the Controlled Substances Act classifies them as a Schedule 1 Substance, and they are illegal in most places.
The situation is slowly changing as researchers learn more about the therapeutic potential of these mushrooms. But although they have now been decriminalized in several cities, mushrooms are still challenging to come by. Therefore, more and more people are wondering about how to grow mushrooms at home.
Growing Parameter of Medical Mushroom
The parameters outlined here are based on our experiences over many years of cultivation. Each mushroom species thrives on a limited range of substrates. However, strains within a species are even more specific in their habitat requirements, temperature preferences, and their flushing intervals.
Most species can be obtained from a number of culture libraries such as the American Type Culture Collection.
To remain competitive, cultivators must continuously search out and develop new strains from wild stocks. Although specific temperature parameters are outlined in this section, some strains will perform better outside of these prescribed limits. In general, rapid cycling strains prefer higher temperatures. The cold-weather strains require a longer gestation period before fruiting. The cultivator must customize initiation strategies to each strain, a process fine-tuned with experience.
Of the many factors already described for producing successful crops,
the misapplication of only one can result in poor fruiting or absolute
failure. Each grower is strongly encouraged to conduct mini-trials before
attempting to grow mushrooms commercially. Optimization of yields is
realized only if the grower becomes keenly sensitive to and satisfies the
unique needs of each mushroom strain.
How to Grow Medical Mushrooms at Home
Growing medical mushrooms at home is relatively simple. However, it does require good attention to hygiene and some patience. You will also need a few pieces of equipment.
The most challenging aspect is getting hold of a spore syringe.
It is essential to purchase this piece of kit from a reputable supplier. Otherwise, you could end up with contaminated spores, misidentified strains, or in some cases, just water.
Requirements to Grow Medical Mushrooms?
One of the easiest ways to cultivate mushrooms is by using a mushroom grow kit. They usually include a spore syringe, substrate, and grow bag – theoretically, everything you need. Some kits even have the mycelium (the main body of the fungus) ready to go. All you do is add water.♠♥
The problem with growing mushrooms from a kit is that you never know what you’re going to get.
Homemade Medical Mushroom Grow Kits with Spores
Rather than purchasing a complete grow kit, you can make your own medical mushroom growing kit with spores from a syringe and some other essential items.
- 12 cc spore syringe
For the substrate:
- ⅔ cup vermiculite per jar + extra
- ¼ cup drinking water per jar
- ¼ cup organic brown rice flour per jar
- 12 shoulderless ½ pint jars
- Hammer and small nail
- Mixing bowl
- Heavy-duty tin foil
- Large pot with a tight-fitting lid
- Small towel
- Micropore tape
- 50–115L clear plastic storage box
- Drill with ¼-inch bit
- Spray bottle
- Rubbing alcohol
- Torch lighter
- Air sanitizer
- Latex gloves, surgical mask, still-air box (optional)
Prepare the jars:
Disinfect the hammer and nail and use them to punch four evenly-spaced holes around the lid’s circumference.
Prepare the substrate:
Mix ⅔ cup vermiculite and ¼ cup water per jar in a mixing bowl.
Disinfect the strainer and remove the excess water.
Add ¼ cup brown rice flour per jar and combine.
Fill the jars:
Loosely pack the substrate into the jars to around half-inch below the rims.
Sterilize the exposed glass with rubbing alcohol, then top off with dry vermiculite.
Steam to sterilize:
Screw the jar lids on tightly and cover securely with foil.
Ensure that no water or condensation can enter the jar through the holes.
Place the towel in the base of the pan and arrange the jars on top.
Add water to around halfway up the jars and bring to a slow boil.
Steam for 75–90 minutes, adding more hot water if the pan boils dry.
Keep the jars upright throughout.
Allow to cool to room temperature for several hours or overnight.
Prepare the spore syringe:
Use the lighter to heat the syringe’s needle until red hot.
Allow to cool and wipe with rubbing alcohol, taking care not to touch it.
Pull back the plunger slightly and shake well.
Reduce the risk of contamination by wearing latex gloves and a surgical mask, especially if the syringe requires assembly.
Remove the foil from a jar and insert the syringe as far as possible through one of the holes.
With the needle against the jar’s side, inject around ¼ cc of the spore solution.
Repeat for each of the holes, cleaning the needle with alcohol between each one.
Cover the holes with micropore tape.
Repeat for remaining jars.
Play the waiting game:
Place the jars in a clean area where they won’t be disturbed.
Keep at room temperature (70–80-degrees Fahrenheit) and out of direct sunlight.
After 7–14 days, white mycelium should start to appear.
After 3–4 weeks, at least half of the jars should have successful colonies or ‘cakes.’ At this stage, wait an additional seven days to strengthen the mycelium.
If any jars show signs of contamination, dispose of them carefully. Do this outdoors using secure bags, without removing the lids.
Prepare the fruiting chamber:
Drill ¼-inch holes approximately two inches apart all over the plastic storage container, including its base and lid.
Place the box on four stable objects to allow airflow underneath.
Cover with a towel to retain moisture.
Put the perlite in a strainer and soak it with water by running under the cold tap.
Allow to drain thoroughly, then spread over the base of the chamber.
Repeat the process until you have a 4–5-inch layer of perlite covering the base.
Rehydrate the cakes:
Remove the substrate cakes from the jars, taking care not to damage them.
Rinse the cakes under the cold tap to remove loose vermiculite.
Fill your cooking pot with lukewarm water and put the cakes inside.
Use another pot or a plate to keep them under the water’s surface.
Leave at room temperature for 24 hours while the cakes rehydrate.
Roll the cakes:
Remove the cakes from the water and put them on a disinfected surface.
Fill the mixing bowl with dry vermiculite and roll the cakes to coat.
Place the cakes in the fruiting chamber, set upon foil squares big enough to stop them touching the perlite.
Space them evenly and mist with the spray bottle.
Fan with the lid before closing.
Wait for fruiting to begin:
Mist the chamber four times a day, but do not soak the cakes in water.
Fan with the lid six times a day to improve air circulation.
Some growers use lights set on a 12-hour cycle, but ambient lighting during the day is sufficient.
Wait for mushrooms to appear.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Magic Mushrooms?
How long do shrooms take to grow? This can vary according to the variety and conditions.
Keep a close eye on your mycelium cakes, and you should soon start to see them appearing as white bumps, which then sprout into ‘pins.’ The mushrooms should be ready to harvest 5–12 days after this. It is best to pick them before the veil breaks, revealing the gills.
Hopefully this guide on “how long does it take to grow mushrooms indoors” (~1–2 months) has been helpful. Remember, however – it is the responsibility of the reader to know and understand all rules and regulations regarding the cultivation of mushrooms in their specific state or region.
Choosing the “best” type of cropping container depends upon a number of variables: the mushroom species, the cultivator, and the equipment/facility at hand. White Button growers typically grow in trays, made of either wood or metal. Facilities designed for growing Button mushrooms (Agaricus species) encounter many difficulties in their attempts to adapt to the cultivation of the so-called exotic mushrooms. For instance, most Oyster mushrooms have evolved on the vertical surfaces of trees, and readily form eccentrically attached stems. Because Oyster mushrooms require healthy exposure to light, the darkened,
dense-packed tray system gives rise to unnatural-looking, trumpetshaped Oyster mushrooms. This is not to say that Oyster strains cannot be grown en masse in trays. However, many Oyster strains perform better, in my opinion, in columns, vertical racks, or bags. After taking into account all the variables, cultivators must decide for themselves the best marriage between the species and the cropping container.
Harvesting, storage and packaging
Mushrooms can be compared to fish in their perishability. Once harvested, they are quick to spoil unless properly cared for. One advantage of growing medicinal mushrooms is that, historically, they have been used in dried form for centuries. In Asia, more shrooms are sold dried than fresh. Asians long ago discovered that the flavor of shroom is actually enhanced in drying. Further, having a readily available supply of dried mushrooms, which can be stored for months at room temperature in airtight containers with no special care, is very convenient for consumers. Because the storage problem is compounded by the lack of refrigeration in many developing countries, dried mushrooms make good sense for both producers and consumers. In the United States, Canada, and Europe, more mushrooms are sold fresh than dried. In these markets, cultivators first supply the needs of the fresh market and then dry the surplus. Dried mushrooms can be sold as is or powdered for soup mixes, spices, or teas.