I have tried several methods to grow mushrooms and have run into problems with
all of them. The Oss & Oeric Method is good but the instructions can be
confusing at times. I have found the "rice cake" method to also be very
fruitless as I could not force any of the jars to actually produce mushrooms.
Eating the mushroomless rice cakes didnt do anything but taste bad. What is
needed is a set of step-by-step instructions that will lead to mushroom
production. Mushrooms are not that hard to grow. You only need to know exactly
what to do and when. I have put together this list of instructions to make the
process a little clearer and more efficient to promote a higher chance of
success. The key to growing is in sterility, patience and meticulousness.
Out of my twelve jars only four were contaminated and Ive killed cacti!
The basic idea is never to leave the jars uncovered for more than an instant.
It is very easy to keep things sterile and grow successfuly if you use your
The whole process is a combination of the rice cake and the Oss & Oeric methods
and takes about six weeks. The main difference from the Oss & Oeric (O&O)
method is that the spores are dropped directly on the rye medium instead of
cultivating them on agar first. The reason for the agar step is to increase
sterility and ensure only one strain of dikaryotic mycellum permeates the rye.
However, with the direct spore method many strains are forced to fight it out
in the rye allowing the strongest to dominate the jar and fruit. I have had no
sterility problems with direct spore innoculation as long as a relatively
sterile commercial spore print is used.
There have been a few changes made to the MGG since the first one. Most are just
simple ways to keep things sterile without having to build a sterile box. All
of the equipment and the print should not cost any more than $100US.
capable of sustaining 15 pounds. Size doesnt matter
as long as you can do all the jars eventually. Canners
which can hold 4 quart sized jars are avaliable at
Caldor/Sears/Ames or any other sizeable housewares
store for about $40US.
12 wide mouthed, quart sized canning jars:
During canning season these
can be found at any grocery store. In the off season
they are harder to find. Check some larger hardware &
Housewares stores or flea markets.
FS Books has good prints. Check High Times for the address.
1200ml whole grain rye:
not animal feed! get it at a health food store.
Rye is better than rice because rice gumms up the sides
of the jars so you cant see whats growing inside it.
1 bag planting soil:
peat moss/pearlite/vermacilite mixure only(no dirt)
large enough to hold all the jars
Transparent/translucent plastic panel:
You can either use plexiglass
or good hardware stores carry panels to cover flourescent
lighting units. These can be cut with scissors easily.
Sandwich sized zip Lock Bags
Heavy duty zircon encrusted tweezers
(Zappa joke. Any tweezers will do :)
xacto knifes work well
lighter, alcohol lamp, etc. (candles burn dirty. Don't use)
Saran wrap & tin foil
1 gallon Distilled water
Water spray bottle
So there it is. There are some good instructions on how to dry mushrooms
without heat at ftp://ftp.hmc.edu/pub/drugs/psychedelics/mushrooms/grow.mushrooms,
although I have not tried it yet [This is an obsolete link. Try
the Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide. -- JF]. Basically you put dry rice on a tray, cover
them with a paper towel, lay one layer of mushrooms on the paper towel, and
cover them with another paper towel. Then keep the whole thing in the fridge
for a while until the rice leeches out all the water. My guess is that you can
just bury them in rice and put them in the fridge. Dosage is 50g wet weight
and 5g dry weight aggording to O&O. A US penny weighs about 2.5g -- build a scale
and weigh them. Its about 2-3 fresh shrooms. Fresh shrooms are more potent
than dried ones since the heat breaks down the goodies. This is why the rice
& fridge method might be better. You can make spore prints on lens cleaning
paper which is sold in any drug store. Just cut a square and leave the cap
on it for a day. Do it on a sterile surface and cover it with something clean
(like a clean drinking glass). Store the print in a zip lock baggie and keep
it cool and dry (don't freeze it though).
- Wash the jars with antibacterial soap. Use a dishwasher too if you have it.
It is not necessary to get real sterile just yet, just be neat.
- To 3 canning jars add 100ml rye and 175ml distilled water. Close the jar
with the lid upside-down. The lids will remain upside down throughout their
use. Keep the dome loose but secure.
- In a clean container mix some soil with distilled water until it is spongy
to the touch and does not leek any water. The soil should be wet but not
liquidy. You want "moist soil" not mud. Mix enough of the soil to loosely
fill a canning jar. Do not pack the soil in, just drop it in the jar till
its full. Screw the lid on loosely but securely.
- Place the 3 rye jars and the soil jar into the canner. If you can fit
more than 4 jars in there go ahead, it will save you time. Just remember
to prepare 1 jar of soil for every 3-4 jars of rye. Follow the directions
for the canner to sterilize the jars at 15 pounds for one full hour. If you
can, it is a good idea to let the steam build up a bit before closing the
pressure valve. It is not necessary to use distilled water in the canner.
- When its done let the canner cool to room temperature. When it is safe to
handle you can remove the jars and let them cool seperately. JARS MUST
BE COOLED TO ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE CONTINUING. Store the soil jar some
where clean and tighten the lid. Lightly shake the rye jars to loosen the
- Repeat steps 2-5 until all the jars are done. You should have 1 jar of
sterile soil for each 3-4 jars of sterile rye.
- Heres the tricky part. Most people complain about contamination but if you
use this method to innoculate the jars you wont find it a problem. I used
this procedure with my last batch of 12 jars and NONE of them were
contaminated! The trick is to open the jar lids as little as possible for
as short a period of time as possible. Also, try not to stand over the jars
when they are briefly cracked open.
- Take a shower. Clean off a desk or table and sponge it with antibacterial
soap. Spray it with lysol. Screw off the domes but leave the lids on.
Wash your hands again with antibacterial soap.
- Ready the spore print. DO NOT TAKE IT OUT OF THE BAG!!! Flame the scraper
and the tweezers until they glow then let them cool. The tweezers are
used to hold open the bag while the scraper collects spores. The spore
print never leaves its bag though. Don't spray lysol near open flames!
- When a visible clump of spores have been scraped off quickly carry them
on the scraper to a jar. Anything you can see is thousands of spores. It
doesnt take much. Crack open the jar just enough for the scraper to
enter and drop in the spores. Close the lid and screw on the dome firmly.
The lid should have only been cracked open for about 2 seconds; not
enough to contaminate it. When all the jars are innoculated shake them
until all the rye is loose and the spores are distributed. Loosen the
- Place the rye jars in the styro-cooler, close the lid and wait. It takes
about 1-2 weeks for the mycellum (fuzz) to permeate the jars. Small clumps
of white fuzz will appear in the jars. When the growth is about 50% permeated
shake the jars and let the fuzz grow again. I have found the Ott & Oss ratio
of rye to water to be far too dry and take twice as long as 100ml to 175ml.
This also uses less rye so the jars are permeated faster. It usually takes
ten days. If, at any point, you see any non-white fuzz or non-rye gunk in
the jar then it is contaminated. Dump it out. Theres no hope for it and it
is not healthy to ingest. It could be fatal or worse. Be merciless. Thats
why you did 12 jars, so you could sacrifice a few if necessary. Regular
room temperature is fine for the whole growth cycle but don't keep them next
to heaters or air conditioning. Although several sources suggest keeping the
temperature at 85 degrees (f) room temperature is fine.
- When all the jars are ready take them out of the cooler. At this point you
need to get 1.5-2 inches of the sterile soil onto the rye. This is called
"casing". There are two ways to do this without sacrificing sterility:
- You can turn the cooler sideways, cover the inside and the opening with
saran wrap, and cut two holes in the saran wrap over the opening to make
a sterile work box. You can then transfer the soil to each jar in the box
using the holes for your antibacterial soap washed hands. Wash the spoon
you use to transfer the soil after every jar so that contaminates don't
transfer from jar to jar.
- Close the rye jar lid tightly. Wash the outside of the lid with
antibacterial soap and Lysol. Do the same with a soil jar. Take the
dome part off of the jars but leave the lids on. Turn the soil jar
upside down holding the lid on and place it on top of the rye jar.
the lids should be facing against each other. Spray the area with
Lysol then carefully slide the two lids away letting some soil fall
through into the rye jar. Be careful not to let too much fall in.
It may not be necessary to slide the lids all the way off to get the
dirt to fall in. Slide the lids back on when the rye is covered.
- Cut the plastic panel to fit over the cooler. Wash and lysol the panel.
Wrap each jar with tin foil up to the top of the soil. Remove each lid
and at the same time place a zip lock bag over the opening. The opening
of the bag should cover the opening of the jar. This way air can get in
but it is still covered. The jars can be easily aerated by sliding the
bag up and down over the jar slowly. Jars can be wattered by sticking
the nozzle of the spray bottle in under the edge of the bag. This way
the jar is never uncovered. Place all the bag covered jars in the cooler
and keep the cooler in a clean location. I have found that these bags
and sterilized soil are the key to sterility. The plastic lid really
does not keep that much out. each time you open it all kinds of dust floats
in. I have had NO sterility problems on jars which were bagged and used
sterilized soil. NEVER take the bag off any more than just enough to stick
the nozzle of the spray jar in there. Aerate the jars as described slowly
so dust doesnt get sucked into the jar.
- At this point the jars will need to be sprayed with distilled water daily.
You don't want it to be too wet though. After a week or so you should see
the mycellum begin to clump together at the edges of the jar. They should
clump together even more in the next week as they grow into the soil. Keep
these misted with a fine spray of water. If they grow too thick you should
spray them a little heavier to knock them down. Don't spray the soil too
much as you might invite other molds. In two weeks from casing the mycellum
from the rice cake will have grown through the soil and may start to break
through the top of the soil. If this happens spray the soil a little more
to knock them down. The cooler should get about 12-13 hours of light a day
through the lid. Ambient room light is fine. Keep it out of the direct
sunlight so it doesnt get too hot. Be on the lookout for any mold in the
jars and be prepared to immediately remove them from the cooler. Mold can
be very hard to spot so be meticulous. The most common molds to look
out for are a green mold and a yellowish slime. If a jar is contaminated
carefully check the jars it was sitting next to. They may be contaminated
as well. For this reason it is a good idea to space the jars as far apart
as possible in the cooler. Don't try to salvage contaminated jars; it wont
work. If contamination is found wash off all the outsides jars with
anti-bacterial soap, change the tin foil, and spray the cooler and lid
with lysol before replacing the good jars.
- The first flush of mushrooms should appear in about 2-3 weeks after casing.
each jar will continue to produce mushrooms for 40-60 days. Pinheads start
off as tiny white dots and grow into what looks like miniature mushrooms with
brown heads and thich stalks in a day or two. Shrooms grow from pinheads to
full mushrooms in about a week. When the rim of the cap seperates from the
stalk it is ready to harvest. Use tweezers to grab the base of the stalk and
wiggle it out. It is also a good idea to fill the hole that is left with new
casing soil. This will make the jars fruit longer. Pinheads may form
below the soil near the glass and never break through to the surface. These
can be removed and the hole filled with casing soil. After the first flush
of mushrooms has grown and the block of rye has pulled away from the sides of
the jar O&O advise digging out the casing soil and recasing the whole thing.
Ive never done this but it supposedly makes the jar fruit longer.
There are some changes which you will notice in the jar as it grows. You
should expect these things to happen if the shrooms are healthy. These are
some major changes in order of occurence along with some other random
- After casing ropy runners will appear near the edge of the glass in the
casing soil. These will darken in color into a yellowish brown as they
mature. Don't mistake this for some kind of infection. I think it is
just the color of the nutrients which the runners are carrying throughout
the jar. Runners in the rye will stay white.
- Some pinheads will grow deeper in the jar despite the tin foil wrap.
They seem to have no idea which way is up. Don't worry about it. If you
dig in there trying to remove them youll probably contaminate the jar.
Most likely they'll stop growing and revert back to ordinary mycellum.
- When the mushrooms first grow they will appear to be thick. When they are
ready to open the stalk near the cap will shrink and the cap will get a
little bulbous (fast and bulbous :) This is normal. Your mushrooms are
not wasting away they are supposed to ger thinner.
- I think I have noticed a subtle difference in the way mushrooms respond
to light. They seem to grow taller in the dark and thicker in the light.
I may just be hallucinating though ;)
- There will be a thin line of darkening where the cap meets the veil just
before the veil tears open. I think this is due to bruising. Shrooms
stain blue when bruised. The streaching veil must bruise the edge of the
cap a little.
- Most of the mushrooms grow near the edges of the jar. Some even grow on
the jar itself! If clumps of white mycellum grow on the jar above the
soil leave them alone. Some of the best mushrooms come from them.
- If the mycellum really overgrow the top of the soil I have found it
very successful to just add another inch of casing soil. This may not
be necessary but it works for me.
|Created 9/26/2000 3:07:36|
Modified 9/26/2000 3:16:47
|Leda version 1.4.3|