Sterilise, Sterilise, Sterilise
I’ve successfully grown mushrooms at home this year. After a few trial and error attempts, I believe I have found an fail-safe method that you can do yourself without any specialist equipment.
I have seen people regularly complain that their effort ends in failure with the substrate going mouldy, so here is a step by step guide to explain how I do it. (I’ll put links to some of the products I use at the end of this blog)
In the area you will be preparing your jars of substrate, before you begin put everything away that you will not need. Sterilise the whole area including all corners and cupboard doors. I use bleach mixed with warm water, and in the areas most likely for bacteria to grow, such as the sink and food prep areas, I use neat bleach and leave it for 10 minutes before rinsing away. Disinfect floors. Keep a bowl filled with warm water and bleach handy. Put the mason jars and lids and the sieve through a cycle in the dishwasher. If you don’t have one, boil in a large pan on the hob for 20 mins.
10 shoulderless mason jars (with a hole in the lid)
Organic Rye Grain (there is a wide range of substrates you can use, but this one has been the most successful for me)
10 ml spore solution and syringe
heavy duty tin foil
10 Mushroom Growing Bags
Pressure Cooker (or large pan)
Tip: you can buy mason jars with ready made holes, or use a sterilised nail and hammer to create one.
Empty around 8 jars of the organic rye grain into a large pan and rinse with water several times until the water runs clear. Then leave to soak overnight.
Boil the rye grain in a large pan on the hob for 20 minutes or until it swells.
Drain using the sieve and allow to dry.
Fill each jar to about 2 inches below the rim with the rye grain, top with a layer of vermiculite (for additional protection against contamination), smear the rim of the jar with sterilising gel and put the lid on.
Tip: If you have put your hands on your face, hair or clothing at any point, clean them in the bowl of bleachy water.
Put the jars in the pressure cooker and fill with water to halfway up the jar. Put the pressure cooker on for 1 hour. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can do the same a large pan with a lid on and leave for 90 minutes
When the jars are completely cooled, using 1 ml per jar of the spore solution, place the syringe through the hole on an angle so it is touching the side of the jar. Inject in 4 equidistant areas in each jar. Use the hob to sterilise the needle between each jar.
Cover the hole and the area where the jar meets the lid with micropore tape.
Your jars of substrate are now ready. You will see white mycelium start to grow between 1 and 2 weeks.
Your jars are ready when they are fully colonated with the white mycelium. This will take around 6–8 weeks.
Take each colonated ‘cake’ out of the jar and fully immerse in cold water for 12 hours until completely soaked.
Prepare each bag filling with a few inches of perlite
Cut out a section of tin foil for your cake to sit on and place each cake in a separate bag. Mist the sides of each bag with the water spray. Roll the top of the bag a couple to times and seal with a peg.
Find a nice home for your cakes to grow in room temperature and away from direct sunlight.
Check on your cakes regularly and mist the sides of the bags every few days to keep the humidity high in the bag. After a few weeks, you will start to see ‘pins’ growing, and maybe some nodules known as ‘philosophers stones’. These are also edible and contain small amounts of psilocybin. This is the first sign of mushroom growth.
When the mushrooms are fully grown, they are ready to harvest. You can eat them fresh if you like or dry them out just by leaving them on some kitchen roll in a warm room.
Tip: if you are storing the dried mushrooms, you want to get them ‘cracker dry’. This can be achieved but putting them on a low oven (50 degrees) with the door open. Store in an air tight container with some silica gel packages
And that’s it!! Have a go and let me know how you get on.
Some useful links:
Organic Rye Grain: https://amzn.to/2J9vuEG
Mushroom Growing Bags: https://www.mushroomkit.co.uk/product-category/mushroom-growing-bags
Spore Syringes: salviaonline.co.uk
Shoulderless Mason Jars: https://amzn.to/2JqulrN