Thursday, 22 January 2009

Growing Mushrooms - making substrate jars and spore syringes

One thing you should know 'verm' is a technical term for vermiculite, lol. This substrate can be used to grow all kinds of mycaelium. If you want to grow Shitakes just substitute the verm with sawdust, you know the kind of stuff you put in rabbit hutches. I've been told that this technique or 'tek' can be used to grow Psilocybe Cubensis, widely known as magic mushrooms. I wouldnt advise this though as thats illegal in ... well pretty much everywhere but if you want to grow some tastey organic mushrooms to go with your fry up , just follow these instructions.

Oh and one more thing, to do the inoculations you will need a spore syringe, just google spore syringe and you'll prolly get what your looking for. Alternatively, buy the mushroom you want to buy from the supermarket , make sure its not a closed cup. Take your shrooms home and sterilize a glass with boiling water and sodium metabisulphate (available from all brewers shops) then drop the shroom gills down into the glass cover with foil and leave it for 3 days or so. Then you will need to boil some water fill up a cup and cover with foil, then chill this in the fridge. Find a 10ml syringe (available from some printer shops to refill ink cartridges) sterilize this in the same way as the glass, you may want to add a little cool water to the sterilizing solution so as not to damage the plastic syringe. Fill the syringe with the chilled sterile water , then remove the shroom from the covered cup and squirt in the sterile water, you may need to scratch the spores from the base of the cup, when all the spores are floating around draw the solution up into the syringe.

Ta-Da home made spore syringe, it sounds complicate dbut when you do it once you'll be able to do it again no probs. Now on the the cake making method.

PF-Tek “Cakes”

Step 1

· Mix together 2 cups of verm to one cup of water in a bowl until all the verm is hydrated and you get a little water collecting tin the bottom of the bowl

· Now add the rice flour bit by bit to get a nice even covering on the verm

· You want this mix to be as fluffy as possible, this is your substrate

Step 2

· Fill 6 large tumblers loosely with the substrate mixture

· Then you need to wipe round the lip of the tumbler to remove any traces of substrate that could be a springboard for any bacteria attempting to infiltrate your colony

· Once the lip is clean add a layer of dry verm and level off

· Now you need to make the lids, tear off an adequately sized strip of foil ( Bacofoil is strongly recommended due its toughness ) the fold this in two to double its strength and tightly fold it over the top of you tumbler

· The double layer will remain on until birthing, to inoculate the tumbler safely you will need to add another singe ply of foil to each glass

Step 3

· To sterilize the tumblers you will need a large pan with a fairly tight fitting lid and a means of getting the glasses out of the water and away from the direct heat on the bottom of the pan ( use whatever you have to hand, I use round steel vegetable steaming platform )

· Some people fold a towel up and cover it in water and put their glasses on top of it, and its just not a real good method

· Give the tumblers 60-90 minutes on full boil for a real good sterilization

Step 4

· Once the glasses have cooled place them in a makeshift glove box

· Shake up your spore syringe vigorously ( drawing a little air in aids this ), then flame sterilize the tip of the needle

· Inside the glove box remove the single ply layer of foil the tumbler and inoculate the substrate at 4 equidistant points, your aim to squirt a uniform amount of solution down the side of the glass with each inoculation

· After inoculating one tumbler replace the foil lid and flame sterilize your needle to avoid cross contamination

· Repeat step 4 actions 3 ~ 4 until all your glasses have been inoculated

Step 5

· Place your inoculated tumblers into your state of the art incubator · Check on the development every few days

· Upon 100% colonization leave the glasses to consolidate for 1 week, the consolidation period is where the Mycelium digests its food and prepares to flush

Once you have a consolidated cake you will need to construct some sort of fruiting chamber known as a terrarium, I'll get onto that in another post. Have fun


  1. Didnt say how much rice flower... Also if air is needed to mix up spores in syringe then boil water in a kettle then suck in steam from pour spout for sterilized air...

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