The psilocybin mushroom, commonly referred to as the “magic mushroom” or “shrooms,” grows readily in the wild and is frequently sought after by mushroom hunters. In fact, some people view mushroom hunting as somewhat of a recreational activity. However, not everyone wants to take the time to look for these mushrooms in the wild. Additionally, it takes a certain amount of skill, experience and expertise in order to distinguish safe magic mushrooms from the many potentially poisonous “look-alike” mushroom species. As such, some people turn to growing magic mushrooms on their own.
The Natural Habitat of the Magic Mushroom
There are a number of different species that make up the category of psilocybin or “magic mushrooms.” As such, not all magic mushrooms grow in the same area, or under the same growing conditions. Depending on the species you are hunting, you’ll find them growing in a variety of different areas. For example, while the popular “wavy-cap” magic mushroom prefers to grow in wood chips or in dune grasses along the Pacific Northwest coast, you’ll frequently find “liberty cap” mushrooms in fields and grassy meadows. Just as is the case with all growing things, magic mushrooms have particular growing needs. They generally fruit during specific times of the year, which is one of the many clues that mushroom hunters use in order to make sure they are finding the correct species.
How to Grow Magic Mushrooms
There are actually a variety of different ways in which one can grow magic mushrooms. These methods vary according to complexity, difficulty and cost. Many people choose to stick to an easier method when they first start growing magic mushrooms, gradually advancing to one of the more difficult but cost-efficient methods.
The Easy Method
When the novice individual decides that he or she wants to learn how to grow shrooms, they often first turn to the easier methods, regardless of the cost. There are actually kits available that provide the growing substrate, mycelium and instructions that explain how to grow magic mushrooms. When using one of these kits, the person growing the mushrooms simply needs to unpack the box, follow the instructions, place the mushrooms in an appropriate climate, and wait. Within a matter of weeks, there will be mushrooms ready for consumptions. However, it’s important to note that these kits are not legal in many countries. Although these kits make it quite easy to grow your own magic mushrooms, it’s probably the most expensive way of doing so.
The Intermediate Method
Those who have a bit more mushroom growing experience might choose to purchase their own magic mushroom spores. These spores can then be planted in a ready-made growing substrate, thus eliminating the work of creating one’s own substrate. However, when using this method it’s necessary for the person to go through the work of incubating the spore-laden substrate.
The Advanced Method
People who have extensive mushroom growing experience often choose to conduct the entire process themselves. Although this method can be quite time-consuming and tedious, at least at the beginning of the process, it can definitely be the least expensive way to grow magic mushrooms. Magic mushrooms grow in a particular type of substrate, so it’s necessary to make something appropriate if you’re not planning on using a ready-made growing material. Once you’re prepared your growing substrate, you can use it with purchased mushroom spores.
The rice cake method is one of the most popular ways to grow magic mushrooms. In order to use this method, you’ll need a pressure cooker, some quart sized canning jars, some brown rice and some distilled water. Before starting the process, it’s important to properly prepare the area in which you will be working. The area should be cleaned carefully, to eliminate as many contaminants as possible. After you’ve finished cleaning, turn off any fans, heat vents or air conditioners, so that the air can settle in the room. This will reduce the amount of air-borne contaminants, such as mold spores. This step is important because these types of materials can contaminate and ruin the rice cakes.
Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup of distilled water and 1/4 cup of brown rice into each of the quart jars. You can fill as many quart jars as can be fit comfortably into the pressure cooker without jamming or stacking them. Once the jars have been filled with rice and water, place the lids on rubber side up. You can then very loosely screw on the lid bands.
Insert the rack in the pressure cooker then place the jars onto the rack. Fill the pressure cooker with the appropriate amount of distilled water. For example, you would need to add approximately three quarts of water to a seventeen-quart pressure cooker. Seal the cooker according to the directions. Place over high heat, making sure the cooker builds up to fifteen pounds of pressure. Once it has reached that level, maintain the pressure for one hour. If the pressure starts to rise, reduce the heat so that the proper level can be maintained. After one hour, turn the stove off and let the cooker and the jars cool down until they are almost room temperature. Letting the jars cool properly will help prevent jar breakage.
Before removing the jars and opening them, once again make sure the room is clean and that there aren’t any fans, heat vents or air conditioners moving the air and potential airborne contaminants around.
There are of course different recipes for making the growing medium. Some growers prefer to make what is referred to as a “PF cake.” To make this style of growing medium, you would use approximately 1/4 cup of brown rice flour, 1/2 cup of vermiculite and approximately 4 tablespoons of flour. Whichever method you use, it’s extremely important to follow the recipe and processes exactly.