Growing Your Shrooms with PF Tek
So, looking to grow your own psilocybin mushrooms?
Good choice. Among all the different substances out there today, psilocybin and magic mushrooms have stood strong as a reliable, quality psychedelics. A classic among greats like LSD and mescaline, magic mushrooms are a trip choice you simply cannot go wrong with.
If you’ve looked around for your own source of shrooms, you’ve likely also realized that the street prices per weight can vary - a LOT. While a few lucky psychonauts with mushroom-cultivating friends will probably receive as many doses of psilocybin as they’d like at little to no cost, street prices for newcomers, in contrast, can easily reach upwards of €30 an eighth (1/8 oz).
But this is only one of the many reasons to grow your own shrooms. As your own mushroom cultivator, you are master of your own domain. Your shrooms’ genetics, potency, grow medium, and everything else will be up to you and only you; assuming your mushroom spore sources are reliable, you’ll know exactly what you’re tripping off of each and every time.
Today, we’ll take a quick look at a psilocybin mushroom growing technique (Tek, or TEK) developed by Robert McPherson, better known as Psylocybe Fanaticus. It’s cheap, simple, and gives consistent results. It’s called PF Tek. (Yep, he named the technique after himself: [P]sylocybe [F]anaticus [Tek]nique.)
Now, ready to get down to business? Me too.
First thing’s first: gather up everything you need. A proper PF Tek is unique in its use of vermiculite, brown rice flour, and water as a growing substrate. You can find vermiculite at your local stores; Psylocybe Fanaticus himself also posts links to online sources of vermiculite and other ingredients in his own in-depth explanation on his website. PF Tek is also unique in its use of a pressure cooker, so yes, you’ll need one of these (you can use a canner if you have one, or if you’re desperate, you can just use a big pot with a tight lid). Also, when you’ve finished sprouting a nice layer of mycelium and are ready to fruit your mushrooms, you’ll need an incubator to house them in. Again, local stores will carry these, or you can build your own following PF’s steps at the link above.
You’ll need several jars. A lot of PF Tek tutorials mention canning jars; they work fine, but glass jars will work just as well. Wrap three layers of foil around the tops of the jars and snap those in place with a rubber band, and you’ll be good to go. The larger these jars are, the longer it will take for the mycelium to fully colonize, so PF doesn’t recommend using any that are larger than around half a pint.
And of course, don’t forget your mushroom spores. You can buy spore syringes online, sterilized and ready to go - we carry them here at Zamnesia!
Once you have your hands on everything you need, the next steps are easy.
First you’ll mix the vermiculite, water, and brown rice flour together to make the mushroom growing substrate. Slowly stir water into the vermiculite until it gets to be a soggy consistency. Then add in your BRF (brown rice flour), and aim for a 2 to 7 ratio of BRF to vermiculite, though you don’t have to be perfect (a 2:1:1 ratio of vermiculite to BRF to water is also popular). What you’re doing is coating the wet vermiculite with an even layer of BRF particles.
Fill up your jars up to about a centimeter from the top edge with your newly made substrate. Fill up the last bit with dry vermiculite, to keep out any possible shroom contaminants. If you used canning jars, seal them up now. If you’re using something else like glass, wrap your aluminum foil over the top tight. Time for sterilization.
Start up your pressure cooker with around 2.5 cm of water, and arrange the jars inside. If you have a rack that will keep the jars out of the water at the bottom of the cooker, use it. Wait until a small but steady flow of steam escapes from the cooker (don’t let it heat up too fast or the jars can crack open), then adjust the heat so it stays there, letting it sterilize for 45 minutes.
When this is done, you’ve earned a break. Take out your freshly cooked mushroom substrate cakes let them cool for at least five to six hours, or even until tomorrow.
When you’re good and rested, it’s time to inject the psilocybin mushroom spores. Take your shroom spore syringe and inject each can four times, around the outer edges of the top, using around one to one and a half milliliters of spore suspension per jar. If you used foil, simply remove the top layer and poke the spore syringe through the top (after sterilizing the needle with a flame so the mushroom spore stay contaminant free), then replace the top layer. If you used cans, you’ll need to poke holes in the top beforehand, but otherwise, just fill em up the same way.
Congratulations! What you did is known to mycologists as “inoculation.” Now you’re ready to move on to incubation.
If you don’t have an incubator and can’t find one you can borrow or use, you’ll have to build your own. Scroll up to Psylocybe Fanaticus’ site link; there, you’ll find complete instructions on how to build your own incubator using little more than an aquarium heater and a couple of plastic boxes.
However you obtain your incubator, you’ll then put the inoculated jars inside. Assuming you’re growing P. cubensis mushrooms, a good temperature to incubate the spores at is around 27° Celsius (80° Fahrenheit). (The actual number is around 30°C or 86°F, but PF is taking into account that the jars will sit at a slightly warmer temperature than the air around it.)
In as soon as three days, you’ll see bright white mycelium speckling the outer surfaces of your mushroom jars. Over the course of a week or two, the mycelium will grow and grow until your entire jar is colonized and its surface is completely white. At this point, you can take the jars out of the incubator and let them sit inside at room temperature, and the “pinning” process will start. After another week or so, clusters of mycelium, or pins, will start to show. Shortly after, your first true psilocybin mushrooms will form, as small shrooms with brown heads begin to appear. (When growing with PF-Tek, I always use glass jars to make all of this easier. You can’t see through a metal can, and that causes a lot of problems when you need to keep a visual eye on mycelium and pin growth.)
When you see these cute, mini brown mushrooms in your jar, it means your hard work has paid off. It’s time to start the cakes’ fruiting, which means your psilocybin mushroom harvest will soon come to fruition (get the pun?).
Get a plastic container with a translucent top, like a Rubbermaid storage bin or something similar. Wet a towel and place it along the bottom of the container. Then “birth” your mushroom cakes into the fruiting container, by turning your jars upside down and sliding the cake out, as one piece, onto the bottom surface. Feel free to fruit as many mushroom cakes at once as your fruiting container can hold, as long as you leave about 5 cm between each of them.
Your hard work will fruit over the next couple of weeks. Once a day, take the top lid off of the container to let the old air out. Check the towel at the bottom; if it’s drying out, spray it with a bit of water. But don’t spray the mushroom cakes; in fact, disturb them as little as you can.
First, your cakes will again grow more psilocybin mushroom pins. At this point, your mushrooms will quickly grow to full, flourishing as little as two days, at most several.
Once the mushroom caps start to open, as their edges turn upwards and away from the stipe, they’re ready to pick. Most of the mushrooms will mature at once, in a harvest known as a “flush.” Your shrooms will be ready to eat right from the picking; so, enjoy your first flush!
But you thought you were finished? I said that was only your first flush!
After a week or so, you’ll see a second wave of mushroom pins form on the cakes. Harvest these, and after the same period of time, another will come. Your cakes will end up cultivating up to four flushes, sometimes even more. You’ll be surprised by the amount of shrooms growing from just a milliliter of spore solution.
So the PF Tek psilocybin mushroom growing method is easy to do, affordable for most everyone, and very reliable. As a starting psychedelic, psilocybin is a superb choice - and as a starting technique for growing psilocybin shrooms, you really can’t go wrong when deciding to use PF Tek.
A final note: How should you know which species to grow? If you’re new enough that you need this guide, my advice is to stick with P. cubensis until you have a lot more knowledge under your belt. P. cubensis is the “standard” shroom species; most popular uses of the term “magic mushroom” refer to P. cubensis. The species is potent, reliable, and will serve you well.
Enjoy your PF Tek shroom grows; May you have many flushes!