DISCLAIMER. Cultivating psilocybin mushrooms raises complex legal concerns, which vary by location. We don’t encourage this activity in areas where it may be illegal. Our primary focus is to offer responsible harm reduction advice to enhance safety. Our goal is to provide a guide that promotes a secure environment for those interested in growing psilocybin mushrooms where it is permitted by the law.
If you live in a place where you are legally allowed to practice a little magic at home, and you have always dreamed of being a wizard, we’ve got news for you, Harry! We’re here to be your personal Hogwarts. This is the only guide you’ll ever need to start growing psilocybin mushrooms. Buckle up and grab your wand, it’s time for a lesson in responsible herbology.
What Are Magic Mushrooms?
You probably know that magic mushrooms are called psilocybin mushrooms… But what does that really mean? The name ‘psilocybin mushrooms’ refers to a Psilocybes family, which all evolved to produce the psilocybin compound as a deterrent for insects. It’s hard to focus on your beetley little lunch when the world is streaming rainbows!
Did you know that psilocybin, as a psychedelic compound, is completely passive by itself? The psychoactive effects actually kick in when psilocybin digests into psilocin in a consumer’s stomach, and although all members of the psilocybe family contain psilocybin, their effects vary widely. Not all of them are capable of producing vivid hallucinations.
Before You Start Growing Magic Mushrooms at Home
When you’re considering growing psilocybin, it isn’t enough to want a good time. First, find out if it’s legally permissible to grow these mushrooms in your country or particular state! And even if you find out that it’s perfectly okay, we can’t stress enough how important it is to grow magic mushrooms responsibly. No, really. The more you read, the better. Don’t wait until you’ve got yourself a full greenhouse in your apartment already! Fairy rings of mushrooms can be a dangerous place for unwary travelers; remember that.
Second, keep in mind that mushrooms take time and attention. Some species are easy to grow, and others are accessible by experts only! Since you are going to be putting time and effort into cultivating your own psychedelic mushrooms, it is also very important to know what sort of psychedelic you desire. Research species available for purchase according to their ease of growth and psychical effects.
When people start growing psilocybin shrooms, many choose to start with Golden Teachers. Their ease of growth is nicely coupled with a mellow experience that rarely leaves its users disturbed. More ‘confident’ growers might want to check out the cheekily-named Penis Envy mushroom, sought after for their… potency. Though they are a shy species, requiring much attention to rise to their full size, they are quite worth the trouble, according to the general opinion.
How to Grow Psychedelic Mushrooms at Home?
There are two commonly accepted methods for growing magic mushrooms. Burgeoning growers typically either purchase a premade mushroom grow kit, which eliminates many of growing error-prone processes, or follow the popular PF Tek method, a low-cost and reliable DIY option.
PF Tek Method
The PF Tek method, originally created by jazz musician Robert McPherson, deviates from other indoor mushroom cultivation methods by adding vermiculite to a grain-based substrate to mimic natural conditions and give the mycelia more space to grow. This is widely recognized as the most DIY-friendly way to grow magic mushrooms. You will have to get your hands on some supplies pre-Tek, such as a pressure cooker, soil, canning jar, spore syringe, a pair of gloves, etc.
Growing Shrooms From Kit
If you’re buying a mushroom grow kit, nearly everything you’ll need to cultivate at home will be provided. Many kits even come with pre-sterilized equipment and substrate for your magic shrooms to grow!
What We Need to Grow Psilocybin Mushrooms (the PF Tek Method)?
The PF Tek method is cheap, straightforward, and rewarding! In less than six weeks (where people can legally do so), Tek lets them chew on sweet, sweet transcendentalism. Here’s everything you need to know about the PF Tek Method.
The PF Tek method is very similar to your run-of-the-mill mushrooming method, with one key difference: vermiculite. Normally used in agriculture and construction, this cheap hydrous phyllosilicate mineral makes magic mushrooms feel right at home. Some other components of the kit usually include:
- Spore Syringe for Inoculation
- Organic Brown Rice Flour
- Medium/Fine Vermiculite
- Fresh Water
The equipment needed for growing magic mushrooms at home is the same as growing any mushroom at home. If you’re already a shroom genius, you’re in luck. You will need:
- Jars or Glass Tupperware for Growing
- Hammer and Small Nail
- Measuring Cup
- Bowl for Mixing
- Aluminum Foil
- Large Cooking Pot (with tight lid!)
- Small Towel, or Paper Towels
- Micropore Tape
- Storage Box for Fruiting
- Spray Bottle
When performing a DIY operation, it’s essential to keep your equipment and ingredients clean. You don’t want any mold where it doesn’t belong!
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Butane/Propane Lighter
- Surface Disinfectant
- Air Sanitizer
- Mask & Gloves (Optional)
Growing Psychedelic Mushrooms: Terms & Definitions
You want to use the proper lingo and understand all those shroom enthusiasts? Here’s how to talk mushrooms.
- Substrate – The medium in which the mycelium grows. This medium will serve as its food source.
- Mycelium – Did you know that the mushroom is just the sexual reproduction structure of a more complicated organism? Mycelium is the scientific term for the living network of threads formed by fungal organisms.
- Cake – Once your mycelium has taken over its substrate, it will be one fuzzy, coherent block… or, ‘cake’. These little guys will be what you put into your fruiting chamber to produce mushrooms.
- Inoculation – The process of introducing the fungus to its growing environment, typically by placing spores in the substrate.
- Sterilization – The process of killing all life forms in a substrate, typically to prepare it for the growth of a desired organism. This is typically done through heat.
- Pasteurization – A technique invented by 19th-century scientist Louis Pasteur to kill most life forms by gradually heating them over time.
- Incubation – The period required for mycelium to grow prior to producing mushrooms.
- Fruiting chamber – The container used to stimulate mycelium networks to grow mushrooms.
- Shocking or Force Fruiting – Disturbing the mycelium to stress it into producing fruiting bodies.
- Pinning – What we call the first appearance of tiny fruiting bodies.
What Types of Shrooms Should We Grow?
Want some recommendations? Here are the species a cultured grower should know. Another reminder: if you intend to take any psychoactive mushrooms, make sure to do so responsibly, in accordance with the law of your country and your medical condition.
- The Golden Teacher (Psilocybe cubensis) mushroom is a great start for any novice mushroom enthusiast. It has earned its name. In addition to being easy to grow and high in yield, the effects of this mushroom are gentle and broad. Consumers often report synaesthesia, visual, textural, and euphoric effects.
- The B+ mushroom, also known as the Psilocybe cubensis, is one of the most popular strains of psilocybe, known for its high productivity. Although it adapts well to all sorts of climates, it actually originates from a cold region and should be grown in cooler locations.
- How could we make this list without mentioning the big man himself? Penis Envy Mushrooms are cherished by growers for their high concentrations of psilocin and psilocybin, contributing to intense, visual, euphoric, and revealing experiences. They leave very few spores and are notoriously difficult to cultivate.
- Mexican Mushrooms (Psilocybe mexicana) aren’t just mushrooms born in Mexico! This psychedelic strain is popular because of its high yield and ease of cultivation. You can even get a few batches from a single culture in optimal conditions.
- McKennaii is a strain every shroom specialist should know about. Want to know why? It was created artificially – in a lab! The McKennaii is a very, very easy, and very potent mushroom to cultivate, earning its name after one of history’s biggest defenders of magic mushroom cultivation and consumption, Terence McKenna.
How to Grow Magic Mushrooms Step-By-Step
You’ve got your equipment cleaned and ready. You’ve got a species you’re growing. Let’s make some planting happen!
Step 1: Preparation
Prepare the jars or boxes in which you will be growing psychedelic mushrooms. Sanitize them with alcohol, then poke four small holes through each lid, evenly spaced.
Your substrate will be composed of a 2-2-5 ratio of water, rice flour, and vermiculite, respectively. Begin by mixing 2 parts water with 5 parts vermiculite. Drain the excess water in your strainer, and add 2 parts rice flour. Fill your growing containers with this substrate.
When filling your containers, be careful not to pack them too tightly. Fill them up to half an inch of their lids. Sterilize the top of your container, and top them off with a dry layer of vermiculite to insulate the substrate.
Finally, it’s time to steam sterilize your substrate. Lay your towel or paper towels into the large cooking pot, arranging the containers on top of the towel to ensure they don’t touch the base. Cover their lids tightly with aluminum foil. Add tap water up to half the height of your containers, and bring the pot to a slow boil. Let the jars steam in this low-temperature boil for 1:15-1:30 hours.
After steaming, leave your foil-covered jars in the pot for a few hours. Maybe overnight, to be safe!
Step 2: Inoculation
Sanitation sanitation sanitation! Use your lighter to heat the length of your syringe’s needle until it glows red hot. Let it cool, and carefully wipe it down with alcohol. Pull back the syringe’s plunger and shake the syringe evenly to distribute the psilocybe spores.
Inject the spores to inoculate your substrate by removing the foil from the first of your jars and inserting the syringe as far as it goes through one of the holes. Inject ¼ of the spore solution into the side of the container (the needle should touch the glass.) Repeat this for the other 3 holes, and then seal the holes with micropore tape.
Repeat the inoculation procedure for each remaining container, sterilizing your needle between each inoculation.
Step 3: Colonization
The key to this step is patience. Place your inoculated jars somewhere clean and out of the way. Seek a place without direct sunlight, in the temperature range of 70-80°F (21-27°C). White, fluffy mycelium will be visible within a week or two, spreading outward from your inoculations.
Keep an eye out for contamination! No matter how careful you are in sanitation, microbes and molds can be resilient. If you see any strange colors or smells, better safe than sorry! Dispose of the afflicted containers immediately.
Within 3-5 weeks, you will have completely colonized containers.
Step 4: Preparing the Grow Chamber
Take your plastic storage container and drill it full of holes. Seriously! Drill quarter-inch holes two inches apart all over the sides, base, and lid. Set down a towel, and then put this container on four stable objects to allow air to flow beneath it.
Add your perlite to the scene. First, place it in a strainer and run it under the cold tap to soak. Allow it to drain until it stops dripping, and cover the base of your grow chamber with it. Repeat until you have 4-5 inches of perlite.
Step 5: Fruiting
Time for your containers to give birth to your magic mushroom babies! Open your jars and remove the dry, insulating vermiculite layer from each. Handle your substrate cakes gently. Turn each container upside down upon a disinfected surface and tap it until the cake releases.
Once your cakes have been freed, it’s time to give them one last drink of water. Rinse the cakes one at a time under cold running water to remove loose vermiculite. Fill a large container with room-temperature water, and place your cakes beneath the surface of the water. Leave them to rehydrate for 24 hours.
Remove your cakes from the water. Fill your mixing bowl with dry vermiculite, and roll your cakes one by one to fully coat them in vermiculite. This will preserve the cakes’ moisture.
Your next step is to transfer your mushroom cakes to your grow chamber. Cut a tin foil square for each of your cakes, large enough to prevent them from being in contact with the perlite. Space these cakes out evenly inside the grow chamber, gently mist the chamber and fan the chamber briefly before closing them in.
Mist the chamber four times a day, making sure not to soak your cakes. Fan after each misting, and watch for sprouting shrooms.
Step 6: Harvesting
Keep your eyes peeled. Your first mushrooms will appear as tiny white bumps before sprouting into official little ‘pins.’ Psilocybe harvests typically appear 5-12 days after placement in the fruiting chamber.
When you’re ready to harvest them, cut your mushrooms from the base of the stem, close to their cake. Don’t wait until the end of their growth! Psilocybe mushrooms have the highest potency in their adolescence. The best time to harvest is right before the veil breaks. At this stage, they’ll have conical caps and covered gills.
Since psilocybe mushrooms go bad within a few weeks in the fridge, if you plan to microdose for long periods or save them for later, you’ll need to find a way to store them properly. The most effective method is drying, which will keep your shrooms potent for 2-3 years if kept in a cool, dark environment. Freezer storage can also last indefinitely. One simple way to dry your shrooms is just to leave them out on a sheet of paper, maybe by a fan. If a dehydrator is available, put it to use! Psilocybes are well preserved by dehydrators.
Tips for Growing Psilocybin Mushrooms
So, how do you steal the show? Growing psilocybe mushrooms can be tricky work; these tips will help you keep your shrooms happy.
- Psilocybe mushrooms love freshly ground rice flour, but this isn’t often sold in stores. No problem! Use a coffee grinder or even a mortar and pestle to hand-prepare your mushrooms’ munchies.
- Sanitation is key when growing psilocybin mushrooms. Expand that motif outside of just your jars and syringes; a clean, dust-free environment will do as much to protect your psychedelic mushrooms as alcohol swabbing will!
- Check on your mushrooms regularly. Not only will you be able to selectively harvest the mushrooms that are at their ripest (an unbroken veil!), but you will receive the full experience of watching these living organisms create their gifts for you in real time. Have a nibble, and you might even see them grow!
Common Problems Encountered
- The majority of issues encountered in psilocybe cultivation are related to incorrect sterilization. Don’t skimp on this step! Treat all equipment, work surfaces, containers, and gloves with alcohol and heat (if relevant) before any work commences.
- Impatience is no virtue. First-time shroom growers can be in a rush to get at their harvest; it just isn’t worth it! Listen to your organism. Watch them grow. You’ll know when the right time to harvest is (and not just because we told you) (it’s before the veil has broken).
- Every strain of shroom is different, and the wrong environment can quickly lead to failures, such as a reduced crop or lowered psychoactivity. Always check the requirements for each different strain of mushrooms grown. Mushrooms grow in many habitats worldwide, so each one requires special attention.
Benefits of Growing Your Own Psilocybin Mushrooms
There can be tons of positives to cultivating your own psilocybin mushrooms, granted you’re not going straight into legal or health trouble. Growing your own shrooms does more than just provide a cheap source for those interested. Home-grown psilocybin is not only cheaper but safer than buying mushrooms on the street. Having taken care of your shrooms from the very point of their inception, you will know just how clean and healthy they really are.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Magic Mushrooms?
‘Magic mushrooms,’ so-called, are, in fact, an entire family of more than 200 species of fungi. These mushrooms all have different timescales, and it can take 5 to 8 weeks to see your inoculation turn to harvest.
What are the Best Magic Mushroom Strains to Grow For Beginners?
When choosing your starting strain, consider two things: how easy it is to grow and how aggressive the effect is. The Golden Teacher and the Mexican Psilocybe mushroom are both easy to grow and associated with positive effects by most.
Is It Legal to Grow Magic Mushrooms?
Despite increasing research demonstrating the positive benefits of psilocybe mushrooms- even proving their place in humanity’s evolution!- psilocybe mushrooms (and sometimes their spores) are illegal for cultivation, selling, and possession in most countries. In the US, psilocybe remains a controlled, non-recreational, and criminal substance. Do not attempt to grow psychedelic mushrooms if it contradicts your local governing authority.
How Should We Store Magic Mushrooms?
The best way to store magic mushrooms is to keep them in a dark, dry, cool location. While sunlight can slowly denature psilocybin molecules in particular, the flesh of the mushroom is much like any other! Exposure to moisture and warmth will lead the mushroom to rot. Consider freezing or drying on a rack.