If you’re concerned about sterility, a good way to accomplish
this is to purchase a "glove box," an enclosed, semi-sealed
box with holes for gloves to go through and a see-through top. Clean, at least 12" tall and at least 16" wide by 16"
Aquariums, camping coolers, and large plastic [Rubbermaid] storage
containers are examples of suitable fruiting chambers. See Fruiting
and Harvesting for a more complete description.
Another volcanic gravel used in potting soil, perlite is white
and porous. Also can be purchased for about $3.00 at most hardware/garden
For draining water out of the perlite. Suitable substitutes include
a piece of screen or cloth, or anything that will hold perlite
but let water drain out.
Dust mask (optional)
Perlite is puffed volcanic glass. When you work with perlite,
it tends to be dusty, creating a cloud of glass dust that can
be harmful to the lungs, especially if you are asthmatic. Disposable
dust masks can be found in hardware stores, often in the Paint
section. They are very inexpensive. They can also be used to prevent
breathing our germ filled air all over our your cakes and terrariums
when working with them.
Desiccants are chemicals, usually sold in the form of little granular
crystals, that absorb water out of the air. Our Glove Box works
Inoculating your jars is the main step where contamination is
possible, and thus must be done in as clean of an environment
as possible. If the room you’re working in is clean enough,
you can get away with inoculating them in open air. The needle
of the syringe, if not absolutely sterile, can carry bacteria
and spores from other molds into your cake, contaminating and
ruining the cake. Wash your hands and face with antibacterial
soap. Wear clean clothes. Anything in the area of the syringe
and jars could contaminate your cakes if it is not clean. We recommend
using "OUST" to sterilize the air before performing any
Inoculation: Cleanliness Simplified
Begin carefully inoculating your jars one by one with a spore
syringe or culture syringe. It's a good
idea to have a lighter handy as well to sterilize the needle as
you go. Flame the needle until it gets very hot, then carefully
squirt a little bit of spore solution (if you can spare it) to
cool down the needle before sticking it in the cake. Putting a
hot needle into the cake will get burnt-on rice flour all over
the needle. You could also use an alcohol soaked cotton ball or
a nifty alcohol burner.
Once you’re ready to inoculate, shake up the spore syringe
to get as many spores as possible off the sides of the syringe
and into the water. Carefully remove the cap over the syringe
needle and slide the needle into one of the holes in the jar lid.
Shove it all the way in, so that the needle goes into the cake
itself. This is where a lot of people make the mistake of
shooting the spore solution in the top or bottom vermiculite layer
within the jar, and not hitting the actual center layer of
substrate. Gently squeeze out about 1/4 cc of spore solution into
each hole in each jar. That's 1 cc per jar basically.
Be careful that nothing but the jar and substrate touch the needle,
and re-cap it immediately after using it to avoid contaminating
the needle. Wipe the syringe with your cotton ball every time
you come in and out of the jar. Also be careful of using too much spore solution.
With spore syringes it can be easy to accidentally push the plunger
on the syringe too forcefully and dump out way too much solution.
Once each jar is inoculated, it is ready for incubation. There
is no need to put tape over the holes in the lid, because the
dry vermiculite will keep out any contaminants.
Now the jars need to be incubated at about 75-85 degrees F for several
weeks. If you have a room that is constantly kept in this general
range, this is a good place to incubate your jars. If not, you
will need to find some other source of heat to keep them in that
temperature range. Our stand alone incubators work great and
will hold the temps you need to warm your jars. They come with
almost every kit Be careful not to use any heat source that
could cause fires; a heating pad will usually work. A
good investment here is a thermometer that keeps track of highest
and lowest temperatures, so you can see how hot or cold your cakes
are getting. If they get too cold, their growth will slow considerably,
and if they get too hot, they will lose water and eventually die.
(They will usually die if they ever get above 95 degrees F)
If your kit came with an incubator then you will want to first
look for the two plastic chambers that do not have filters on
them. There will only be 1 lid for these 2 containers. Take the
heater and place in the bottom of one chamber and run the cord out
the side. Set the temp to 86 degrees on the heater. Fill the
chamber with enough water so that it completely submerges the
heater in water. Plug in your heater and slide the other plastic
container inside the one with the water. Place your jars and temp
gauge probe into the second chamber and close the top.
The first signs of mycelial growth should appear within 5-7 days.
If none appear within two weeks, something went wrong. (Perhaps
the cake was not cooled completely before inoculation, and the
heat killed the spores, or the spores simply did not make it into
the cake.) This type of mushroom mycelium will always be a brilliant
white fuzz, often growing in ropy strands. This ropy type of growth
is called rhizomorphic growth, and is a sign that the mycelium
will probably fruit very well. Any other color of mold, including
some less brilliantly white molds (cobweb mold, for example, is
white but not so thick, and it does look a lot like cobwebs.),
is a sign of contamination. A contaminated cake will not recover
and, except in very rare instances, will never produce mushrooms.
The Fruiting Chamber (Terrarium)
If you didn't purchase a kit then don't worry, many different things
can be used for a fruiting chambers, including camping coolers,
aquariums, and large plastic containers (Rubbermaid brand or similar
containers work great). The fruiting chamber must be at least 6-8"
(15-20cm) tall, and have enough floor space for the cakes to be
arranged with at least 1" (2.5cm) of free space on all sides.
Spread the cakes out as much as possible so that the mushrooms have
room to grow. If the chamber is much too tall or too large, it may
be difficult to keep the humidity high enough. The bottom of the
chamber must be able to contain water, and the lid must be somewhat
airtight in order to keep the humidity inside high. Light must be
able to shine into the terrarium.
Birthing the Cakes
Once a cake is completely covered in white mycelium, wait at least
1-2 more days before taking the cake out of the jar. When you are
ready, and in a fairly clean room, begin transferring the cakes
from their jars onto a clean piece of aluminum foil. Then wash the
jars out really well with warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Let
them dry and then place your cakes back into the jars. Fill the jars
to the lid with cool spring water. Place a piece of saran wrap over
the lids and fasten the tops on. Throw them in the fridge for 24
hours. This is called "dunking". It helps rejuvenate your
cake to help it with future flushes. It is also recommended that you
"dunk" your cake between every flush to ensure maximum
results. After removing the cakes from the jars again into the fruiting chamber
In order to initiate fruiting, three main conditions must be met
for the cakes:
First, they need light. Only a dim light is needed. A fluorescent
lamp or indirect sunlight is plenty of light. Mushrooms do not gain
energy from the light like plants do, but in this particular species
of mushroom light sends a signal to the mycelium that it is time
to produce mushrooms. A source with a wide spectrum of light, especially
containing lots of blue light (daylight and fluorescent plant lights
are very good examples of light with lots of blue) is best, but
a low wattage (15 watts is plenty) incandescent light bulb will
supply enough light.
Second, they need a fairly high humidity. 90-95% humidity is a good
range for fruiting. The best and easiest way to do this is by lining
the bottom of the fruiting chamber with damp perlite. A common mistake
is to get the perlite too wet, and end up with a swamp of water
and perlite that is very difficult to clean up, and will drown the
cakes. Get enough perlite to make at least 1" (2.5 cm) thick
layer on the bottom of the fruiting chamber, and put it into a colander,
strainer, or cloth enclosure that it can’t slip out of. Wet
it thoroughly with normal tap water, and let the water drain out.
Then move the perlite into the fruiting chamber and smooth out the
surface. You now have a layer of damp perlite that the cakes can
be set directly on, and which will keep the humidity in the chamber
high enough for the cakes to fruit. By the time your cakes have
stopped producing mushrooms, the perlite might start getting a little
bit skunky smelling. If you want to reuse it, put it in a baking
pan and cook it at 350 degrees in your oven until it is dry. Let
it cool, and it’s ready to be used again. You can also add
some Hydrogen Peroxide to the wet perlite to help it stay clean
a bit longer.
Lastly, it is a good idea to lower the temperature range a bit,
to about 75-80 degrees F. Like the light, this signals the cakes
to begin fruiting. However, most strains of Psilocybe Cubensis fruit
so easily that lowering the temperature is not absolutely necessary.
Remove your cakes from the jars and place them in your grow
chamber on top of your lids or some foil, but not directly on the
perlite. Make sure you have added enough water to the 1 inch layer
of perlite so that it has absorbed all of the water but there is no
Pinning, Fruiting, and Harvesting
For the first week or two, the cakes will generally not do anything.
Then, very small bumps, called "pins," "pinheads,"
or "primordia" will begin to grow out of the surface of
the cake. These are the beginnings of mushrooms. Many will never
grow any larger. However, some will grow until they are full-grown
mushrooms. A mushroom is ready to be picked when the edge of the
cap tears away from the "stem" (the stem of a mushroom
is called the stipe). Often, there will be a thin veil between the
cap and stipe. If this is present, you can wait until the veil tears
before picking the mushroom.
To pick a mushroom, grasp it near the
base where it is joined to the cake, and gently twist it until it
comes off. Immediately begin the process of preserving it, either
by refrigerating it or by drying it, mushrooms will begin to rot
immediately. Each cake will produce about 1-3 waves or "flushes"
of mushrooms, normally with 2-5 days of dormancy between flushes.
After about a month or so of fruiting, most cakes will be spent,
and will not produce any more mushrooms unless rehydrated by dunking
underwater for 24 hours, see dunk tek at mycotopia.
Some of the pinheads will begin to grow, then suddenly stop before
they become full-grown mushrooms. These are known as aborts (aborted
mushrooms). Aborts are just as good for eating as full-grown mushrooms,
but they must be picked before they begin to rot. A mushroom that
has mold growing on it or which has black goo in the center of the
stem is rotten and is not safe to eat. It is often difficult for
beginners to identify an aborted mushroom before it begins to decompose.
Early warning signs include a halt in growth of the mushroom, and
a greenish tinge around the dark colored tip of the primordia that
will eventually become the cap of the mushroom. Always completely
remove aborts from the cake, even if they are too rotten to eat,
because they can get moldy and cause the cake to get infected.
If you will be consuming your mushrooms fairly soon after picking
them, you can keep them in your refrigerator, in a paper bag. Don’t
use a plastic bag to store fresh mushrooms, this will cause them
to mold. Fresh mushrooms are reportedly stronger than dried ones,
but can be more difficult to dose. Also, Cubensis is a particularly
nasty tasting species of mushroom, especially when fresh. Many people
prefer to dry their mushrooms before consuming simply because drying
will kill some of the bad flavor. It should also be noted that some
people like the taste of Cubensis, and that the flavor of Cubensis
can vary depending on which strain was used and under what conditions
it was grown.
The best way to preserve mushrooms is to dry them as soon as possible
after picking. It is very important when drying that the mushrooms
never be exposed to heat. Psilocybin and Psilocin, the main active
chemicals in Psilocybe mushrooms, are heat-sensitive chemicals that
will break down if exposed to heat. You can get away with drying
them in the sun, but expect some loss in potency. Another common
method of drying is to put the mushrooms in an enclosed container,
like a covered bowl, that also contains some desiccant. While drying
mushrooms using desiccant will dry them very thoroughly, it will
also take a very long time, giving the mushrooms more time to decompose.
Another way to dry mushrooms is with the use of moving air.
Triple Helix's Glove Box's do just that. It is a beautiful
multi-tasking tool that allows you to perform sterile work as well
as a large chamber to dry your babies when harvested.
Drying Techniques Talked about at
The best overall method for drying mushrooms is to first dry them
using moving air, then, if necessary, put them into a desiccant
chamber to remove the last little bit of moisture that remains in
the mushrooms. You want your mushrooms to be bone dry and brittle.
If they feel flexible, they are probably not totally dry. Store
the dried mushrooms in a sealed container, away from heat and light.
You can make sure that they stay dry by putting some desiccant into
the storage container with them. The little desiccant packets that
come in vitamin bottles will work to some extent. You can also make
your own desiccant packets by wrapping up about a teaspoon of desiccant
granules in a paper towel and securing the packet with rubber bands
SETTING UP THE WHITE RABBIT
First you will need to clean and sterilize
everything that you received in your package with warm soapy water
and a little alcohol or light bleach solution.
Put the submersible heater down in the bottom of the largest chamber
that you received that doesn't have any holes in it. It should be
the clear plastic tub. Position the heater in the middle of the
chamber, fill about 1/3 with water and a cap full of household
bleach and set to desired temperature. NOTE: this heater is
submersible. It can be completely underwater with the cord running
out of the side. Do not drill any holes!
Now you will want to slide your grow chamber on top of your
incubator. This is the chamber with the small hole drilled in the
side. Set it right on top so that it floats right on top of the
water in the incubator. The temp gauge itself reads the temp and the
little gauge on the wire can read inside the box when the regular
gauge is outside the box.
The humidifier has an intake and an outtake. The hose leading from
the air pump should be leading into the intake of the humidifier.
That is the hose with the little blue ball on it. (water diffuser)
This means that the air pump is blowing air into the humidifier. The
outtake hose on the humidifier should be connected with the hose
that goes to the grow chamber. Fill the humidifier with spring water
and screw on the top. You will want to refill this humidifier when
it gets low. Adding a cap full of peroxide to the humidifier will
help fight contams.
The hose that comes from your humidifier into the chamber is to
provide moist clean air to your grow chamber. Simply attach the hose
to the rod if it is not already attached for you. You can position
however you like inside the chamber. The suction cups for the tube
is in the humidifier for packaging purposes. Use some good, strong
tape and make sure not to cover any of the holes on the rod.
Your timer is digital and very easy to use. Simply follow the
instructions on the back. We recommend that you use these techniques
when using the White Rabbit with the timer.
Cake method = 2 inch *wetted layer
of perlite at the bottom of the White Rabbit. run for 1 hour every
Casing techniques = No perlite. Timer set at 15-30 minute intervals
every 3 hours
*Add enough spring water to the perlite to where it is completely
absorbed and there is a little water left over.
Back to top
Show me all the Mushroom Cultivation