Taking Psilocybin magic mushrooms you have grown yourself feels extra magical. And the truth is mushrooms are not difficult to grow. You can do it with a setup created from everyday materials.
There are many methods for growing magic mushrooms. Most people start with PF-Tek, a technique embraced by online mycology communities for its high success rate and low cost for having the perfect trip.
Want to know how to do it? Check out our guide below.
The investigated topic in this article is still not part of well known established science, there is still a serious lack of research and studies to be done, all that is mentioned here is not an advice nor should encourage the usage of any illegal substances. This content should not be regarded as medical advice and should be regarded as an informative tool for harm reduction and educating on psychedelic substances.
Is Growing Psilocybin Psychedelic Mushrooms Legal?
Before deciding whether to grow magic mushrooms on your own, we strongly recommend that you become familiar with the legal implications of growing and possessing Psilocybin mushrooms in your country.
Growing psychedelic mushrooms is illegal in most places. However, as psychedelic lawmakers and activists around the world push decriminalization, some laws are changing, as individual states, cities, and countries are opening up to psychedelics.
PF Tek Recipe- Best for Beginners Growing Psychedelic Mushrooms
“PF-Tek” is a “technique” named after its creator “Psylocybe Fanaticus,” the online moniker of Robert McPherson, who shared the method online in 1992.
PF-Tek is generally regarded as the best way for first-time growers to learn the basics of cultivation. Instead of requiring expensive mycology equipment, PF-Tek is done by filling mason jars with a sterilized substrate (think potting soil for mushrooms), inoculating them with mushroom spores, and later put into a fruiting chamber (a mushroom greenhouse) made from common materials.
Most supplies can be bought at a local grocery store, hardware store, or garden center. The exception is psilocybin mushroom spores. But spores can be legally purchased online in most parts of the world because they don’t contain psilocybin.
Here’s what you will need:
- Isopropyl Alcohol – to spray and wide down everything
- Paper Towel – always good to have nearby
- Rubber Gloves (optional) – wash and cover your hands, clean gloves with ISO often during the process.
- Hydrogen Peroxide/H202 (optional) – another powerful cleaner
- Facemask (optional) – we all have these now, so why not? Also, brushing your teeth is a good idea
- Mason Jars with Lids – ensure they do not narrow at the top; half-pint or 250ml are the common choices
- Aluminum Foil – enough to cover all your jar lids
- Hammer and Nail or Drill – for making holes in mason jar lids
- Brown Rice Flour – found at health food stores, or grind your own from whole brown rice
- Vermiculite – a common soil amendment found at garden centers
- Distilled Water – must be free of contamination or chlorine
- Large Bowl or Bucket – for mixing the substrate
- Measuring Cups – ratios for PF-Tek substrate are below
- Large Pot – to steam your mason jars
- Extra Mason Jar Rings – to keep your jars off the bottom of the pot
- Pressure Cooker (optional) – pressure cooker is ideal but not needed for PF-Tek
- Spore Syringe – obtained online, also called liquid culture
- Lighter – any type will do
- Still Air Box (optional) – large tote converted into a clean space to work; more instructions are below
PF Tek Fruiting Chamber
- Large Plastic Storage Box – a tote that will hold all your cakes; it’s nice if it is clear so you can watch your fungi fruit!
- Perlite – a volcanic mineral used as a soil amendment, found at garden centers
- Spray Bottle – with a mist setting
- Drill – with bits to make holes in the plastic container
PF Tek Instructions for Growing Magic Mushrooms
Below you will find our complete guide on how to grow psychedelic mushrooms using the PF Tek method.
Please note that in this guide we will be growing Psilocybe Cubensis mushrooms but the guide should work for most psychedelic species with small adjustments.
Be Clean and Organized
Throughout every step of this process, cleanliness is essential! Take a shower, wash your hands, and wear clean clothes. Always disinfect your work surface and your tools. The air is full of billions of contaminants, so pick an area you have cleaned well and where you will not be disturbed.
Also, be sure to get all your supplies before starting the process. Organize your space with all the tools you will need before starting each step. Cleaning everything but then having to run to the hardware store for some forgotten item will contaminate you and your space. Taking an extra moment for organization will save you many headaches.
Prepare the Jar Lids
Once you have the full list of supplies, you can start prepping the materials.
The first step is to prepare the jar lids with several holes. This is needed because later on in the PF-Tek process, you will shoot mushroom spores into jars with your spore syringe. Injecting the spores must be done without removing the lid of the jar, hence the holes.
Make holes with a power drill or use a hammer and nail to punch holes. Make 3 or 4 holes in your jar lids your spore syringe will fit through.
Preparing the PF-Tek Substrate Recipe
In this step, you will prepare the “substrate” that will be the food, water, and home of your mushrooms. The substrate is a mixture of brown rice flour, distilled water, and vermiculite.
Brown rice flour is the food for mushrooms, while vermiculite creates air pockets and acts as a kind of skeleton for mushroom mycelium, which is like the mushroom’s roots. Mushrooms, like plants and humans, also need water to grow.
Assuming you are using half-pint or 250ml mason jars, the recipe is something like:
- 1/2 or roughly 120 ml vermiculite
- ⅙ cup or approximately 40 mils of brown rice flour
- ¼ cup or 60 ml of distilled water
Using the exact measurements is not as important as getting all the material completely saturated with water but without excess dripping. Mushrooms need water, but too much pooling in the bottom of your jars will cause the shrooms to “suffocate.”
To begin, use the recipe above to calculate the amount of vermiculite, brown rice flour, and water you need for the number of jars you will fill.
In a clean mixing bowl or bucket, add your vermiculite. Pour the water and mix well. Be sure to check if water is pooling at the bottom of your container. Pooling is a sign your mix is too wet. If this happens, pour off the excess water.
Once your vermiculite is saturated (but not too saturated), add the brown rice flour. Mix this with vermiculite and water, being sure to break up any clumps.
With your substrate prepared fill your clean mason jars, but not to the top to leave some air in the jar. Leave a couple of centimeters or an inch to allow an air pocket. Also, do not compress the substrate in the jars because mushroom mycelium needs air and space to grow.
Before adding the jar lids, clean the rim. Particles can compromise the seal and are access points for contamination to get inside your jar.
Sterilize the Substrate
In this step, you will sterilize your substrate with steam. The heat destroys any fungi or bacteria that are inside your jars and substrate. Sterilization gives your mushrooms optimal growing conditions free from the competition of other organisms that like to grow in similar environments to fungi.
A common misconception is that you need a pressure cooker to sterilize mushroom substrate. While more advanced mycology techniques require a pressure cooker, PF Tek was created with the beginner in mind. However, if you do have one, you can sterilize your jars at 15 psi for 45 minutes.
To steam sterilize your mushrooms without a pressure cooker, place a large pot on your stove. Fill the bottom with several inches of water. Line the bottom with something to keep your jars from touching the bottom. A popular choice is the rings from mason jar lids. This will protect your jars from breaking.
Before putting your jars inside the pot, wrap the lids with tinfoil. This will prevent water from entering the holes you made earlier.
Cover the pot and steam for an hour and a half. Be sure to keep an eye on the water level, as it might need a top-up.
Inoculate with Liquid Culture
After the jars have cooled down, you are ready to inoculate them. By now, you have created the ideal food, water, and shelter for psychedelic fungi. This is sealed inside a fully sterilized environment with no competition and your mushrooms can have an easy and comfortable life.
While inoculating, it pays to work efficiently and be very clean. This is a moment where it is possible to undo your hard work of sterilizing your substrate by introducing contamination. Do not remove the lids from your jars and take extra measures to make yourself and your environment as clean as possible.
Before injecting your jars with spores, be sure to sterilize the tip of your syringe. Take a lighter and hold the flame to the tip of your needle until it gets red hot. Be careful not to melt the plastic of your syringe.
While your needle is still hot, you can remove the tinfoil hat from your jar and inject a small amount of liquid culture into the holes in your jar lids. Inject every hole with not much more than one ml of liquid from the syringe.
Some people use a “still air box” for this step. This is a large plastic box with two holes big enough to put your arms through. This box, jars, person, and the working surface are cleaned thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol. The box is placed over the jars, and all spores are injected while protected from airborne contaminants.
Cover the lids with tinfoil once the jars are inoculated and move to the incubation phase.
Incubate and Colonize
Now that the jars are inoculated, it will take time for the substrate to be fully colonized by the mycelium. Colonization can take a couple of weeks and is best done in a warm dark place. Within a few days, you may start to see the first white threads of mycelium starting to grow.
The best temperature for incubation will depend on what strain you are growing. The typical recommendation is 70° Fahrenheit or 21° Celcius. Higher than 80° F or 26° C is suggested to be more rapid colonization and may be more optimal as Cubensis mushrooms are from tropical climates.
Try not to move around your jars too much. Let the mushrooms work undisturbed. When the entire jar is colonized, there will be no visible substrate, only white mycelium. Once this stage is reached, it is good to give the jars a couple more days to ensure the mycelium has reached the center of the jars.
Building a Shotgun Fruiting Chamber
While you wait for your jars to be colonized, you can build the fruiting chamber with ideal conditions for mushrooms to grow. The type we use is typically called a “Shotgun Fruiting Chamber.” The name is because all the holes look like a shotgun blasted the plastic.
To make your own Shotgun Fruiting Chamber, take your large, ideally clear tote with a lid and drill holes into it. Next, you need to drill holes all over the walls of the chamber box and its cover. These can be every few inches or 3-5 cm with a ¼-inch drill. To prevent plastic from cracking drill a pilot holes with a small drill bit before using the larger ¼ inch. Be sure to mark out the pattern of your holes with a sharpie before drilling, and do not drill several inches from the bottom of the chamber.
The holes will allow for airflow, but water is also needed to create a humid environment for the mushroom cakes to produce “fruits” – actual mushrooms!
To ensure that the chamber stays humid, you will need to mist the sides of your chamber with a spray bottle several times per day. You also need to add soaked perlite to ensure you don’t have to spray the chamber constantly to maintain humidity.
Perlite is a treated mineral that has lots of tiny holes in it and can hold water. Simply add 4-5 inches or 7-10 cm of perlite to the chamber. Like with the vermiculite, mix with water until it is hydrated, but without pools. Mushrooms like humidity, but pooling can cause contamination issues.
To keep an eye on the temperature and humidity, investing in a small temperature and humidity monitor from a garden center can help keep the humidity as high as possible, ideally at 100%.
Dunking the Cakes
When the jars are fully colonized by mycelium, the substrate inside the jars will become like solid “cakes.” This means the mycelium is now one solid mass you can pop out of the jar and place inside your fruiting chamber. Removing the cakes from your jars is called “birthing.”
First, open the jars and smell the mycelium. It should be earthy and somewhat sweet. If you detect rotten odors, a stinky slime, or odd colors, your cake is contaminated and should be discarded immediately.
If your cakes pass inspection, tap and shake the jar until the cake comes out. You may need to use a knife to loosen the edges. Don’t worry about damaging the mycelium, as it is now very strong and vigorous. At this step, the cakes are more resistant to contamination, as all the substrate is colonized by mycelium’s powerful defenses.
Next, you will stimulate the fruiting process by mimicking the heavy rain that makes mushrooms appear in nature. This is called “dunking” your cakes by filling a bowl with water and soaking the cakes overnight.
You can add your dunked, hydrated cakes when your chamber is ready. Ensure the chamber is clean and humid. Space out the cakes so that the mushrooms soon popping out of them have room to grow.
The fruiting process can take one or two weeks to start. The ideal temperature will vary between strains, but between 60-70° F or 15-20° C will be fine for fruiting. Mushrooms in the wild fruit during the tropical rainy season, usually as the temperature drops with the change of seasons. Your chamber should mimic this but keep in mind the common cultivated magic mushroom Cubensis grows in the tropics, and your space should not get too cold.
To keep your chamber humid several times a day, open the lid, spray the walls, and use the lid as a fan to get more air into the box.
Throughout your grow you may encounter contamination. Even with the most diligent cleaning practices, it can be amazing how resilient bacteria and fungi are. Some contamination can be fuzzy and white, making it difficult to spot in your mycelium. Others will be obvious and colorful. A smell test is often the best way to determine if something is off.
If you encounter contamination, we recommend removing the cake immediately from your chamber. Once contamination sets in, it is tough to get rid of. If you are having consistent contamination problems, it is time to step up your cleanliness and sterilization game.
If there is significant contamination, it is recommended that you start the process from the beginning in order to avoid risks.
If you followed all these directions, you should soon be seeing “pins,” which are the tiny round tops of mushrooms starting to form on your cakes. These can reach maturity in a couple of days and are great fun to watch. Try to give your mushrooms space and not fiddle with them too much.
The time to harvest your mushrooms is just before the “veil” or the part of the mushroom where the cap attaches to the stem opens.
With a gentle twist or a knife or scissors, remove your shrooms from the cakes as gently as possible to not damage the mycelium.
Once you have harvested all the fruits, you can take your cakes and dunk them to get a second, or even sometimes a third “flush” of mushrooms.
How to Dry Mushrooms
Once you have harvested your bounty, you will need to decide whether you will eat your mushrooms fresh or dry them for long-term storage.
Fresh mushrooms can last a couple of weeks in the fridge. They are best kept in a paper bag, like mushrooms from the supermarket. If you keep them in plastic, they may get slimy and start to decompose in their own moisture.
Using a Dehydrator to Dry Mushrooms
If you want to save your shrooms for later or have such a harvest, you cannot take them all; you will need to dry your mush. The best way is with a dehydrator that can be used with fruits. If you need a lower profile or don’t want to invest in a dehydrator, you can simply air dry your mushrooms.
Air Dry Magic Mushrooms
To air-dry mushrooms, find a warm, dry, dark place and place your mushrooms on a paper towel. Ideally, there is airflow, and some people set up a fan to speed up the process. A fan is not necessary, however, and leaving mushrooms in the kitchen cupboard will work fine.
Mushrooms are 90% water, and airdrying can get most of this, but not all. To store mushrooms for many months without more contamination setting in, your fruits must be able to pass a “snap test.” Bend the stems of your mushrooms to see if they snap clean. If they simply bend, they are not 100% dry.
Desiccants for Drying Shrooms
Another method is using desiccants—these are chemicals that absorb water, like the silica packs found in vitamin bottles. Sourcing enough desiccant to dry mushrooms can be done with a quick google. Simply get enough to fill a small container, place your mushrooms inside, and wait.
How to Store Mushrooms
If your mushrooms are completely dry, you can store them for up to a year without significant loss of potency in the right conditions.
Make sure you store your dry magic mushrooms in a cool, dry, and dark environment.
A mason jar with a silica pack is great, a plastic bag in the sock drawer works for many, and if you have a larger harvest, a vacuum sealer is helpful.
There are a few points to remember. As per a study of the stability of psilocybin, mushrooms can be damaged in the freezer and lose potency. Light will also degrade psilocybin along with high heat, and moisture in the mushrooms or the atmosphere can be a vector for contamination. So again, to keep them safe store your shrooms in a cool, dry, and dark environment.
We hope this guide helps you get started on your mushroom journey! With some practice and attention to detail, mastering PF-Tek can be the gateway into the fantastic world of amateur mycology and own crops of fresh shrooms.