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Uncle Ben’s Rice Tek: Low-Budget Shroom Cultivation
5 min

Uncle Ben’s Rice Tek: Low-Budget Shroom Cultivation

5 min

Cultivating magic mushrooms at home can be an arduous procedure. However, with Uncle Ben's tek, it becomes very easy and accessible. Find out all about it below.

Uncle Ben’s tek is a very cheap and very accessible magic mushroom cultivation method that can work for anyone. It removes the need for most of the equipment necessary for other methods, but still produces reliable and bountiful results.

Credit goes out to the reddit user Shroomscout for originally publishing this tek in an accessible and clear way.

Interested? Here’s how to do it.

What is Uncle Ben's rice tek?

What is Uncle Ben's rice tek?

Uncle Ben’s rice tek follows the same general principles as PF tek, but uses ready-to-eat bags of rice to make the whole process much, much easier. Basically, these rice bags come pre-sterilised, which means that they are similar to jars of substrate that are ready to be inoculated.

When performing the PF tek at home, getting to this stage takes many hours, and requires sterilisation and a pressure cooker. Pre-steamed bags of rice, such as Uncle Ben’s, do away with all of this.

All you need to do is inoculate the rice as it comes, wait for it to become colonised, and then open it and fruit it. It really is that easy. From start to finish, the whole process can take under six weeks.

Even though this tek is very straightforward, it is not immune to contamination. While contamination rates tend to be low, it is still a possibility. You can make your life easier by using a laminar flow hood, or at the very least a still air box. These pieces of equipment greatly reduce the chances of contamination.

Advantages and disadvantages of Uncle Ben’s rice tek

The main advantage of Uncle Ben’s tek is that it is very fast and easy, and removes most of the necessary steps regarding sterilisation. In terms of drawbacks, there are few that relate to the final harvest. However, as this method does away with many of the usual steps, those who choose to use it will not learn anywhere near as much as they would if they chose another technique, such as PF tek.

What type of rice do you need?

What type of rice do you need?

Any pre-steamed rice that comes ready to eat should work for this method. Although, saying that, you should only use plain, brown rice. Other types, such as basmati or long grain don’t contain the correct balance of nutrients for mycelium. And flavoured rice, or rice that has other ingredients, will probably throw the grow off.

Despite the name, any brand will do. In fact, some cheaper brands that contain a little less moisture are thought to be better. Indeed, Uncle Ben’s can be too moist, which can lead to contamination problems.

How to grow shrooms using Uncle Ben’s rice tek

How to grow shrooms using Uncle Ben’s rice tek

If this method sounds attractive to you, you’re not alone! The rest of the article will focus on exactly how to carry out Uncle Ben’s tek so you can begin growing magic mushrooms at home!

Supplies

Setup and inoculation (steps)

Sterilise the needle of your spore syringe with a flame
Step 1

Wipe down the outside of the rice bags with isopropyl alcohol
Step 2

Now, cut off a corner of the rice bag
Step 3

Inject 0.5ml of mushroom spores
Step 4

  1. Sterilise the needle of your spore syringe with a flame.
  2. Wipe down the outside of the rice bags with isopropyl alcohol.
  3. Now, cut off a corner of the rice bag. Quickly cover this with micropore tape. Ensure that the corner remains open (beneath the tape) so that air can move in and out of the bag. This air exchange allows your growing mycelium to respire.
  4. Inject 0.5ml of mushroom spores through the centre of the rice bag. Immediately cover the hole with micropore tape.

Incubation

Once the bag is inoculated, it should be stored somewhere dry (such as a cupboard) at a temperature between 23 and 28°C. Higher than this, and the mycelium will struggle to grow; lower than this, and it will take a very long time or stall entirely. The longer it takes to grow, the higher the chance of it being outcompeted by other fungi or bacteria.

If you choose to use liquid culture instead of a spore syringe, then this will colonise more quickly and powerfully, as you are injecting living mycelium. While this makes life much easier, you should still aim to incubate the bags at an appropriate temperature.

Not only is the temperature important, but so is stability. Fluctuations in temperature will also reduce the speed at which the mycelium develops. You can use heat mats or small heaters to maintain adequate temperatures.

When around 20–30% of the bag has been colonised, you’ll need to break the contents up to help the mycelium grow more quickly. This distributes it throughout the bag, and will greatly increase the rate at which colonisation takes place. Most rice bags should have transparent bottoms through which you’ll be able to see the progress of the mycelium’s growth (it looks like white cotton wool).

Judging 20–30% will be a matter of rough estimation, as you can’t see all the contents. After breaking it up, don’t worry if you see purple/blue bruising in the bag. This isn’t contamination; it’s just the oxidation of psilocybin from the damaged mycelium.

You can now leave the bags to finish colonising.

Fruiting

Fruiting

Once your bags are fully colonised (you’ll have to judge this by looking through the transparent bottom), you are ready to begin fruiting them, and producing your first mushrooms!

There are a couple of ways to do this. But either way, you’ll want to reduce the temperature to between 21 and 23°C.

Fruit from the bags

The simplest method is just to open the bags from the top and let the mushrooms grow from there. Another benefit of these bags is that they also work as makeshift fruiting chambers/humidity tents. Just ensure you mist them with water at least once a day to keep the humidity high.

You should place them in a fruiting chamber to help control their environment, otherwise they might dry out.

Soon, you should see hyphae growing. These are clusters of dense mycelium from which the first pins (small mushrooms) will appear. These can then grow very rapidly into mature mushrooms.

Bulk grow

Alternatively, you can empty all of your bags of mycelium into a single large monotub with more (sterilised) substrate, such as coco coir/vermiculite/gypsum mix. You will then mix the mycelium-rice in with the substrate. The substrate in the monotub, or shotgun fruiting chamber (SGFC), will then rapidly become fully colonised and begin fruiting mushrooms.

This method takes a little longer, but will produce many grams/ounces of magic mushrooms if it goes successfully.

For either method, a stable temperature and a very high humidity (around 95%) is best to get bountiful results. Mushrooms respire as they grow, and so it’s important to allow for air exchange every day. You can do this by taking the lid off of the fruiting chamber and fanning new air in once or twice a day. Use a hygrometer and thermometer to monitor the environment.

Harvest and spray for the next flush

Harvest and spray for the next flush

You should harvest magic mushrooms just before the veil drops. The veil is the thin membrane on mushrooms that grows on their undersides and covers their gills. As mushrooms mature, the veil will grow and eventually split, releasing spores. If spores are released onto the mycelium below, it will stop producing more mushrooms. We have a dedicated article on learning exactly when to harvest magic mushrooms, so you can master this crucial stage.

Harvest correctly, and you should achieve multiple flushes of mushrooms. A flush can be thought of as a batch. Mushrooms tend to grow together in groups. If you harvest one group, another will grow in its place until the mycelium becomes exhausted.

After harvesting an entire flush, you need to soak the mycelium in cold water. Depending on how you’re fruiting, you can do this by spraying very heavily, or by dunking. To dunk, you should leave the mycelium and substrate submerged in (clean) cold water for 24 hours. After this, remove it, and it should be ready to fruit new mushrooms.

If you can’t dunk, just soak it as much as you can with cold water from a misting bottle.

Repeat these harvesting and dunking steps until you see no more growth.

Shroomshop

Zamnesia's Shroomshop offers an extensive selection of mushroom cultivation supplies, including spore prints, liquid cultures, grow kits, and much more.

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How long does Uncle Ben’s tek take?

How long does Uncle Ben’s tek take?

The answer to this totally depends on how you choose to grow, and the conditions in which you grow.

The fastest option is to use a liquid culture, and fruit straight from the bags. If you opt for this route, and keep your bags in the optimal conditions, you could see your first mushrooms growing in a matter of weeks.

If you use a spore syringe, then this will probably add a week or two onto the colonisation time. And if you go for a bulk grow, you can expect to add an additional week or two.

Temperature also plays a deciding factor in the world of mushroom cultivation. If you can’t get the environment to a stable and warm temperature, then colonisation can eke on for months and months, and the final yield can be disappointing. If you choose to grow magic mushrooms, invest in a heat source!

Uncle Ben’s tek: The simplest route to home cultivation

Uncle Ben’s tek: The simplest route to home cultivation

This method is really simple, and pretty easy compared to other methods of home mushroom cultivation. As mentioned, the only serious drawback is that you don’t learn about the fairly extreme sterilisation practices that are necessary for other teks. But if you’re happy not to, and just want to get growing, then there’s little to say against this method.

If you choose Uncle Ben’s tek, you must still endeavour to keep things clean (contamination is still possible) and focus most of your energy on maintaining the best possible environment for your mushrooms to grow.

Max Sargent
Max Sargent
Max has been writing for over a decade, and has come into cannabis and psychedelic journalism in the last few years. Writing for companies such as Zamnesia, Royal Queen Seeds, Cannaconnection, Gorilla Seeds, MushMagic and more, he has experience in a broad spectrum of the industry.
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