A GUIDE TO GROWING MAGIC MUSHROOMS OUTDOORS
If you grow magic mushrooms, it’s likely that you do so indoors. But have you ever considered growing mycelium outdoors as well? When you grow mushrooms in your backyard or a similar location outdoors, this can have a number of advantages. You could grow a whole year’s supply of shrooms and it will be less costly!
Growing magic mushrooms isn’t particularly difficult, especially if you grow your shrooms with a fully equipped grow kit. But if you want to grow shrooms from spores, there can be a learning curve and it can take a little more work. One of the biggest considerations when you grow mushrooms is to avoid contamination with mould. This is why you want to choose a good spot where you can grow your shrooms without risk. With a suitable outdoor patch in your garden or backyard for growing, you don’t need to worry about this and can look forward to good yields.
If you want to grow magic mushrooms outdoors, you don’t even need to have your own garden. You could find a nice secluded spot in the forest as well. This comes with the benefit that your mushroom spores will be freely spreading in the area, creating a “magic spot” where your shrooms will grow naturally over time!
SOME BASICS ABOUT GROWING MUSHROOMS
As mentioned, growing mushrooms fortunately isn’t rocket science. But if you want to do it right so you can avoid any potential problems that would spoil your harvest, it can be helpful to know some basics about mushroom cultivation. So before we get more into detail for our outdoor mushroom grow, let’s look at some shroom facts first.
Firstly, it is important to know that the part growing out from the substrate—the part with the stem and the cap—is not the actual “mushroom”, but the fruiting body of the organism. The real thing is what grows underneath, called the mycelium. This is the white web, which grows through the substrate. So, if you want to grow mushrooms successfully, what you are really doing is creating an optimal environment for your mycelium to grow.
Whether you’re growing your shrooms indoors or out, you are going to a need a mushroom spawn. The spawn is any type of substrate, such as rye, sawdust, or wood chips, which is colonised with the mycelium.
WHERE DO YOU GET A MUSHROOM SPAWN?
The easiest way to source a mushroom spawn is with a mushroom grow kit. These grow kits normally come with a substrate that’s already fully colonised. You can use the spawn from the kit to colonise any other suitable substrate, such as if you have a bag of wood chips or sawdust that you want to colonise.
Another method is to inoculate a bag of sterile grain or another substrate with a spore syringe. No matter what, when you have a spawn, either from a grow kit or a colonised a bag of substrate, you can always spread the mycelium. And this is what we will be doing for our outdoor mushroom grow. We’ll be getting to this in a moment.
Most grow kits use grain as a mushroom substrate. The reason here is that grain also contains nutrition for the fungus, which makes it an ideal medium. Great for an indoor grow, but not so much for an outdoor mushroom grow. This is because grain is more susceptible to contamination from bacteria and other unwanted pathogens. But you can transfer a grain spawn to sawdust. Sawdust has a lower risk for infection, which makes it better suited for the outdoors. Moreover, if you want to prepare a nice growing patch outdoors, you will need more colonised substrate anyway. So by transferring the grain spawn to sawdust, you are also “multiplying” it for your purposes.
HOW TO TRANSFER YOUR GRAIN MUSHROOM SPAWN INTO SAWDUST
This process is quite easy. In addition to your grain spawn from your grow kit, you will need a bag of sawdust. You can get sawdust in most pet shops. The sawdust will likely not be sterile, so you have to sterilise it first. For this, immerse the sawdust in a bucket of boiling water for about 10 minutes.
After you have sterilised your sawdust, drain the water. Use another bucket and start layering the sawdust with your inoculated grain: Do multiple layers and cover each layer of grain with sawdust, until you have used up the sawdust or have made the desired amount. Now, use a plastic bag or a lid to cover the bucket that contains your layered mix of sawdust and grain. Make sure to open the lid once per day so that oxygen can enter. This way, you can prevent the growth of mould. After several weeks, the sawdust in the bucket will be completely colonised and ready for the outdoors. As a rule, you will need about 1.2kg of colonised sawdust spawn per square metre for your outdoor mushroom patch.
FINDING A GOOD OUTDOOR SPOT FOR YOUR MUSHROOMS
Magic mushrooms love spots with indirect sunlight. They do love the sun, but then they also don’t want to be exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period. A somewhat shaded area where your mushrooms can still get enough sunlight throughout the day is ideal.
Out in the wild, you can often find mushrooms growing at the border of wooded areas, where grass and shrubs meet. You can look for these types of areas to find a spot.
SLOPES AND SWALES
Natural slopes and swales are also where mushrooms often grow in the wild. These spots normally have a subsurface flow of water, which greatly benefits the growth of the mycelium.
Yet another important factor for your outdoor magic mushroom grow should be accessibility. So a spot that requires a long journey each time you want to visit won’t be of much use. The reason for this is that mushrooms can fruit very fast, sometimes literally overnight. When harvest time comes around, you may want to check on your shrooms daily. If the spot is too far out of your way, you may risk missing a harvest.
BUY MICRODOSE IN THE UK
HOW TO CREATE YOUR MUSHROOM PATCH
When you have finally found a good spot, you want to make it into an optimal growing patch for your magic mushrooms. For this, you will need the following things:
- Your fully colonised sawdust spawn
- Sterile wood chips
- Small shovel (optional)
- Watering can or garden sprayer (optional)
- Straw or hay (optional)
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR PATCH
- Clear the entire spot of debris. With a shovel or your hands, you should also dig as far down until there is nothing but plain earth. By removing all excess dirt and debris from the area, you reduce the risk for contamination and can make sure that your mycelium grows optimally without competition.
- Line the cleared spot with cardboard and place a 5cm-thick layer of sterile wood chips on the cardboard and spread it out evenly.
- Moisten this first layer of wood chips. Use a watering can or a sprayer for this. If you’re preparing your grow spot in your own backyard, you can just use a garden hose.
- Spread the first layer of sawdust spawn evenly on the moist wood chips. For each layer, use about 400g of spawn per square metre.
- Cover this layer of sawdust spawn with another layer of wood chips. The layer should be about 7cm thick.
- Use the hose or the watering can again and moisten this layer. Place another layer of spawn on the moistened wood chips.
- Place a 3cm layer of wood chips on top.
- Once again, moisten the wood chips and cover with another layer of spawn just like before.
- At this point, you should have done 3 layers of wood chips and 3 layers of spawn. Moisten the entire spot once more with some water.
- Put a cardboard layer on top to keep the moisture in.
- If you want an extra layer of protection for your mushroom grow spot, you can cover the bed with straw or hay. However, if you want to do this, you need to use sterilised straw—sterilised with boiling water in a bucket, just as you did before when you sterilised the sawdust. If you use unsterilised straw, there is a good chance that the straw contains all kinds of fungus that may overgrow your mushroom mycelium. This is not what you want.
Now, when you’re done with your outdoor mushroom patch, all you need is some patience. Leave the growing patch undisturbed for at least 6 months. In this time, the mycelium will colonise all the wood chips in your growing location. Sit back, relax, and look forward to an awesome outdoor harvest!
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO PREPARE YOUR OUTDOOR MUSHROOM GROWING PATCH?
Most types of cubensis will fruit in late fall or early winter. Since it will take about 6 months for your growing location to be fully colonised, a good time to make your outdoor patch is likely in early spring, around March in the Northern Hemisphere. But you need to also take into account the time it will take to colonise your sawdust spawn. You want to do this ahead of time before you head out into the wild in spring. A good time to inoculate your sawdust can be in January. If you do it this way, you can plan your outdoor mushroom grow for a fall harvest.
SOME EXTRA TIPS
Most of the time, if you have found a good spot and have brought out your spawn as we explained in our guide, you shouldn’t be required to do anything further. Mother Nature will do the rest and will reward you with plenty of shrooms come harvest time. But there can be times when you want to take some extra care so that your shrooms are guaranteed to grow well. For example, if the season is unusually dry in summer, you may want to water your bed once in the morning and once in the evening.
When harvest time comes around, make sure that you check on your mushrooms frequently, preferably every day. This way, you won’t miss out on some sprouted magic! Likewise, if you are harvesting your magic mushrooms, look out for anything else that might be growing alongside with them. No matter how careful you planned everything, there is always a risk that invasive species may grow as well. Needless to say, you don’t want to consume those!
How to Grow Magic Mushrooms [All You Need to Know]
Psychedelic mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms or shrooms, are surprisingly easy to grow. All you need is some basic equipment, a substrate, some spores, and a little patience.
In this beginner’s guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about how to grow magic mushrooms at home. Before you know it, you’ll have a bountiful harvest on your hands.
How to Grow Psilocybin Mushrooms
Magic mushrooms are fungi containing the psychoactive compound psilocybin. This chemical acts on serotonin receptors in the brain to produce effects (commonly known as a trip).
Humans have used psilocybin mushrooms for thousands of years, and experts regard them as having a good safety profile. However, the Controlled Substances Act classifies them as a Schedule 1 Substance, and they are illegal in most places.
The situation is slowly changing as researchers learn more about the therapeutic potential of these mushrooms. But although they have now been decriminalized in several US cities, mushrooms are still challenging to come by. Therefore, more and more people are wondering about how to grow mushrooms at home.
Growing Magic Mushrooms
Magic mushrooms grow naturally in many different regions of the world. Therefore, if you live in the right place, you may be lucky enough to find some in the wild. However, for those without experience, it is easy to misidentify mushrooms – a potentially lethal mistake.
The best way to stay safe is to grow magic mushrooms at home or buy from a reputable source. Due to their current legal status, the latter may not be an option. It is, however, possible to purchase spores as these do not contain the active compound psilocybin.
That said, please note that growing shrooms is also illegal and readers choose to do so at their own discretion. This guide is for informational purposes only.
Where Do Magic Mushrooms Grow?
If you’re wondering, “where do shrooms grow?” the answer might be “closer than you think.”
Certain species, such as Psilocybe semilanceata, are widespread across North America and Europe. They also grow in many other regions of the world. Another species, Psilocybe cubensis, is prolific in tropical climates. P. cubensis is also one of the easiest types of mushrooms to grow at home.
If you plan on searching for mushrooms in the wild, your best bet may be to try densely forested areas close to water. Mushrooms require nutrients and moisture to grow, and these habitats provide both. Some species also grow in fields and grassland.
Before harvesting mushrooms, ensure you can positively identify them. Several species look similar to magic mushrooms but are actually poisonous. They can cause adverse reactions ranging from mild sickness to death. If you are unsure about whether a mushroom is safe, leave it alone.
How to Grow Magic Mushrooms at Home
Growing magic mushrooms at home is relatively simple. However, it does require good attention to hygiene and some patience. You will also need a few pieces of equipment, although most of them are easy to find.
The most challenging aspect is getting hold of a spore syringe. It is essential to purchase this piece of kit from a reputable supplier. Otherwise, you could end up with contaminated spores, misidentified strains, or in some cases, just water.
What Do You Need to Grow Mushrooms?
One of the easiest ways to cultivate mushrooms is by using a mushroom grow kit. They usually include a spore syringe, substrate, and grow bag – theoretically, everything you need. Some kits even have the mycelium (the main body of the fungus) ready to go. All you do is add water.
The problem with growing mushrooms from a kit is that you never know what you’re going to get.
Starting from scratch is more effort but produces more consistent results. It also reduces the risk of contamination and is a fantastic learning experience.
Homemade Magic Mushroom Grow Kits with Spores
Rather than purchasing a complete grow kit, you can make your own magic mushroom growing kit with spores from a syringe and some other essential items.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 12 cc spore syringe
For the substrate:
- ⅔ cup vermiculite per jar + extra
- ¼ cup drinking water per jar
- ¼ cup organic brown rice flour per jar
- 12 shoulderless ½ pint jars
- Hammer and small nail
- Mixing bowl
- Heavy-duty tin foil
- Large pot with a tight-fitting lid
- Small towel
- Micropore tape
- 50–115L clear plastic storage box
- Drill with ¼-inch bit
- Spray bottle
- Rubbing alcohol
- Torch lighter
- Air sanitizer
- Latex gloves, surgical mask, still-air box (optional)
Prepare the jars:
- Disinfect the hammer and nail and use them to punch four evenly-spaced holes around the lid’s circumference.
Prepare the substrate:
- Mix ⅔ cup vermiculite and ¼ cup water per jar in a mixing bowl.
- Disinfect the strainer and remove the excess water.
- Add ¼ cup brown rice flour per jar and combine.
Fill the jars:
- Loosely pack the substrate into the jars to around half-inch below the rims.
- Sterilize the exposed glass with rubbing alcohol, then top off with dry vermiculite.
Steam to sterilize:
- Screw the jar lids on tightly and cover securely with foil.
- Ensure that no water or condensation can enter the jar through the holes.
- Place the towel in the base of the pan and arrange the jars on top.
- Add water to around halfway up the jars and bring to a slow boil.
- Steam for 75–90 minutes, adding more hot water if the pan boils dry.
- Keep the jars upright throughout.
- Allow to cool to room temperature for several hours or overnight.
Prepare the spore syringe:
- Use the lighter to heat the syringe’s needle until red hot.
- Allow to cool and wipe with rubbing alcohol, taking care not to touch it.
- Pull back the plunger slightly and shake well.
- Reduce the risk of contamination by wearing latex gloves and a surgical mask, especially if the syringe requires assembly.
- Remove the foil from a jar and insert the syringe as far as possible through one of the holes.
- With the needle against the jar’s side, inject around ¼ cc of the spore solution.
- Repeat for each of the holes, cleaning the needle with alcohol between each one.
- Cover the holes with micropore tape.
- Repeat for remaining jars.
Play the waiting game:
- Place the jars in a clean area where they won’t be disturbed.
- Keep at room temperature (70–80-degrees Fahrenheit) and out of direct sunlight.
- After 7–14 days, white mycelium should start to appear.
- After 3–4 weeks, at least half of the jars should have successful colonies or ‘cakes.’ At this stage, wait an additional seven days to strengthen the mycelium.
- If any jars show signs of contamination, dispose of them carefully. Do this outdoors using secure bags, without removing the lids.
Prepare the fruiting chamber:
- Drill ¼-inch holes approximately two inches apart all over the plastic storage container, including its base and lid.
- Place the box on four stable objects to allow airflow underneath.
- Cover with a towel to retain moisture.
- Put the perlite in a strainer and soak it with water by running under the cold tap.
- Allow to drain thoroughly, then spread over the base of the chamber.
- Repeat the process until you have a 4–5-inch layer of perlite covering the base.
Rehydrate the cakes:
- Remove the substrate cakes from the jars, taking care not to damage them.
- Rinse the cakes under the cold tap to remove loose vermiculite.
- Fill your cooking pot with lukewarm water and put the cakes inside.
- Use another pot or a plate to keep them under the water’s surface.
- Leave at room temperature for 24 hours while the cakes rehydrate.
Roll the cakes:
- Remove the cakes from the water and put them on a disinfected surface.
- Fill the mixing bowl with dry vermiculite and roll the cakes to coat.
- Place the cakes in the fruiting chamber, set upon foil squares big enough to stop them touching the perlite.
- Space them evenly and mist with the spray bottle.
- Fan with the lid before closing.
Wait for fruiting to begin:
- Mist the chamber four times a day, but do not soak the cakes in water.
- Fan with the lid six times a day to improve air circulation.
- Some growers use lights set on a 12-hour cycle, but ambient lighting during the day is sufficient.
- Wait for mushrooms to appear.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Magic Mushrooms?
How long do shrooms take to grow? This can vary according to the variety and conditions.
Keep a close eye on your mycelium cakes, and you should soon start to see them appearing as white bumps, which then sprout into ‘pins.’ The mushrooms should be ready to harvest 5–12 days after this. It is best to pick them before the veil breaks, revealing the gills.
Hopefully this guide on “how long does it take to grow mushrooms indoors” (~1–2 months) has been helpful. Remember, however – it is the responsibility of the reader to know and understand all rules and regulations regarding the cultivation of mushrooms in their specific state or region.