Ultimate Guide To Growing Magic Mushrooms In The UK
In recent years, the consumption of magic mushrooms has soared in popularity, largely thanks to many scientific studies revealing the vast health benefits associated with psilocybin consumption.
Potential benefits include antidepressant effects, increased focus, energy, less dependency on medication and enhanced cognition.
By far the safest and most cost-efficient way to get your hands on magic mushrooms is to grow your own.
Growing mushrooms is fun, rewarding and relatively straight forward to do. With the help of this guide, we’ll talk you through the steps needed to grow your very own magic mushrooms at home.
Legality of possessing magic mushrooms in the UK
Many species of mushroom contain psilocybin – the psychedelic substance found in magic mushrooms. However, both fresh and dried psilocybin-containing mushrooms, truffles and inoculated grow kits are currently illegal in the UK.
Although inoculated psilocybin mushroom grow kits are illegal to possess in the UK, it is legal to purchase psilocybin mushroom spores for research purposes.
These can be combined with an (uninoculated) mushroom grow kit to grow psilocybin mushrooms. There are many websites selling both spores and grow kits in the UK, however we recommend these companies.
What you need to grow magic mushrooms at home
Firstly, in order to grow psilocybin mushrooms at home, you’ll need the following equipment.
If you’r buying a grow kit online, many of the items below may be included. Alternatively, most of the items on the list can be purchased from Amazon.
Inoculation jars can either be purchased online or you can use cheap mason jars from Wilkos.
For Phase 1 of the process you will need…
- 10 Sterilised inoculation jars or mason jars with a substrate (or one jar per each cc in your syringe)
- Latex gloves
- Paper towels
- Face Mask
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Mushroom spore syringe
- Hypodermic needles
- A lighter
- Disinfectant spray (e.g., Dettol)
For Phase 2 of the process, you will need…
- A spray bottle
- Fruiting chamber – this can be a clear plastic tub with a lid
- An area that receives indirect sunlight
- Temperature and humidity gauge
- Something to drill holes into your grow box to allow for air
- Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
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We’ve divided the process into 2 phases.
Phase 1 is when you’ll create what’s known as a birthday cake. This is when mycelium has fully colonised your jar around the substrate and is ready for phase 2.
Phase 2 is the process of removing the birthday cake from the jar and moving them to a container where they’ll sprout mushrooms.
This may all sound complicated at first, however, after several read-throughs it will become clear.
Sterilisation is arguably the most important stage of growing mushrooms. Firstly, you need to select a closed off space in your house (e.g. your bathroom).
Then, gather all items needed for phase 1 and put on your face mask. Enter the room and close the door. Spray the room with your disinfectant spray.
Finally, put on your gloves and wipe your jars with the rubbing alcohol using paper towels, making sure to take extra care with the top of the jar.
Using a lighter, heat the metal portion of your hypodermic needle until it glows red – this will sterilise it. Then, shake your syringe to distribute the spores evenly.
Insert the needle into the port and inject one cc into the jar. Repeat the process with each jar, ensuring you sterilize your hypodermic needle each time.
- Leave for at least 15 days
Place your jars in a cardboard box, close the lid, and then place in a dark, warm place. It needs a temperature of roughly 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the first week, try not to check on your mushrooms as they need the dark to grow. After a week you should see a white fuzzy substance in the jars. This is mycelium, the vegetative part of the fungus much like the roots of a plant.
Let the mycelium grow until the jars are 100% colonised by white fluffy mycelium. After you’ve reached this point wait another week and proceed to Phase 2.
In this phase we remove the birthday cakes from their jars so that they can start sprouting mushrooms.
- Birth and soak the birthday cakes
By now your jars should be fully colonised by mycelium and ready to be placed in a fruiting chamber (a clear plastic tub). However, as they have been in an airtight container, they’ll be in need of some water. Soak them for 12-24 hours using the following method.
- Get your sterilised plastic container with lid and some filtered water ready.
- Put on some gloves.
- Remove the lids of your jars.
- Bang a jar against your hand, this should release the cake. Try to touch the cake as little as possible.
- Place the cake in the plastic container and follow the above process for the rest of your cakes.
- Fill your container with filtered water and seal the lid.
- Place the cakes in the fridge and leave for 12-24 hours.
Now your cakes are hydrated the next step is to prepare your chamber.
- Prepare the chamber
Firstly, you’ll need to sterilise the plastic container with bleach and boiled water and be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Fill your spray bottle with 10 parts boiled water to one part hydrogen peroxide.
Sterilize your vermiculite by soaking another solution of 10 to 1 boiling water and hydrogen peroxide. Then, spread a layer on the bottom of your growing chamber. The goal of the vermiculite is to maintain humidity with the assistance of daily sprays.
Next, place your mason jar lids into the bed of vermiculite, then place a cake on each lid. Spray each cake with your h2O/h2O2 mixture but not too much – make sure a puddle doesn’t form. Leave enough room between each cake, so there’s plenty of room for mushrooms to sprout without crowding.
You may see small mushroom sprouts on your cakes known as pins, this is a good thing as it’s the first stage of sprouting. If you smell any foul odours coming from your mushrooms, it’s possible that your mycelium may have harmful bacteria.
- Step Three
Seal the lid on your growing chamber and leave it in a well-ventilated room with indirect sunlight.
With everything now set up you can leave your mushrooms to sprout.
Over the next 4 weeks, you’ll need to mist your mushrooms twice a day – every morning and every evening. However, this is dependent on humidity. If you’re storing your mushrooms in a room with lower humidity, you’ll need to spray more often.
Harvesting & Storage
Now your mushrooms have sprouted, simply snap them off at the base, place them in an airtight container and store in the fridge. They should stay fresh for 3-15 days.
Keep them in the fridge as you would regular mushrooms. To preserve them for longer, you’ll need to dry them out and place them in an airtight container. A food dehydrator works perfectly for this. Make sure to store them in a cool, dry area.
There are endless ways to consume your mushroom, such as tea, capsules or edibles.
There are many ways to grow mushrooms, but we’ve found the method above works best. After you’ve grown your first batch you can experiment and tweak your methodology as required.
Always be safe with dosages, if in doubt always start with a lower dose.
Growing magic mushrooms at home needn’t be difficult. Here we look into three different growing methods, ranging from the beginner-friendly to the advanced. Whichever one you choose, big, healthy flushes of shrooms aren’t far away!
Magic mushrooms can be hard to come by, only growing naturally in Europe during the autumn and winter. Depending on where you live, they might grow in abundance, or not at all. If you fall into the latter group and want a ready supply of magic mushrooms in your life, then you’ll have to take growing into your own hands.
Growing magic mushrooms at home might sound too good to be true, but it can actually be very simple and accessible to almost everyone. And if you want to get fully involved, there are more complex methods available that provide huge harvests. Below, we’ll take you through three methods of shroom cultivation, from the easiest to the most involved.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: CREATE A STERILE WORKSPACE
Whichever mushroom growing method you opt for, operating within a sterile environment is essential. Despite seeming resilient, mushrooms are actually surprisingly sensitive beings. The environments in which they grow are highly hospitable—not only to Psilocybe mycelium, but all manner of moulds and bacteria.
The substrates on which they grow are prime candidates for contamination, and there are many more aggressive life forms out there that would happily outcompete and colonise your mushroom spores. So keeping things clean gives them the best chance.
How sterile you make your environment depends on space, budget, resources, and how much effort you’re willing to put in. At the very least, you’ll want to wipe surfaces and tools down with isopropyl alcohol and sterilise containers in a pressure cooker or cooking pot.
If you really want to lower the risk of contamination, you can clear out a room and line it with plastic sheeting. You could also employ a powerful tool in the arsenal of cleanliness: a laminar flow hood. These devices filter air, allowing you to inoculate (inject spores into a substrate) in an environment with a continual supply of clean air.
It’s very possible to achieve successful mushroom harvests without going to the more extreme lengths of sterilisation; just do what you’re comfortable with.
METHOD 1: GROW KITS
Magic mushroom grow kits provide a quick and simple way to grow large amounts of shrooms at home. While you still need to be careful with them, they are the method least fraught with challenges.
WHAT YOU NEED
Grow kits tend to come with:
- A fully colonised substrate
- Humidity tent/appropriate container
Some may come with more than this, but not always. Either way, there are a few extra pieces of equipment you’ll need to get a good harvest:
- Latex gloves
- Misting bottle
- (Optional) Heat mat
- (Optional) Heat guard
- (Optional) Hygrometer
OVERVIEW OF THE METHOD
Mushroom grow kits cut out the hardest, riskiest elements of mushroom cultivation. They arrive with a fully colonised substrate, meaning it’s ready to begin fruiting mushrooms immediately, and the main window for contamination has passed.
Though each brand works slightly differently, they follow the same basic steps. Exposing the mycelium to a little air and water triggers the fruiting process. Over the next few weeks, it will be necessary to keep it in a humid environment and allow for air exchange once a day. For the specifics of each brand, Zamnesia will provide manuals.
WHY CHOOSE THIS METHOD?
If you want to obtain a large flush of magic mushrooms in a relatively short period, with relatively little effort, this method is incredible. For the price, yields can be significant, providing you with many memorable trips.
There are no real downsides to this option. The only reason to opt for another method would be out of a desire to perform the process in its entirety, from inoculation through to harvest. If you can master an involved method, then you can basically supply yourself with magic mushrooms forever. But for many, a grow kit is a perfect option.
METHOD 2: PF TEK
The PF tek is perhaps the simplest form of true mushroom cultivation. Requiring nothing particularly technical, it can nevertheless allow you to achieve big yields at home while maintaining a large degree of involvement in the process.
WHAT YOU NEED
The PF tek requires a significant amount of equipment. However, all of it is available from non-specialist sources (except mushroom spores) and shouldn’t cost too much. For a full list of equipment, consult our detailed guide to preparing a PF tek. Otherwise, here are some of the essentials:
- Mushroom spores: Either buy a spore syringe or source your own
- Pressure cooker: Not essential, but reduces the risk of contamination significantly
- Jars: This is where you will put your substrate, and where the mycelium will colonise
- Brown rice flour: This is the substrate on which your mycelium will grow
- Vermiculite: This organic substance maintains correct humidity and aeration in your brown rice flour substrate
- Large plastic box with lid: This will become a fruiting chamber for the final stages
OVERVIEW OF THE METHOD
- Create your substrate: Mix together vermiculite and brown rice flour, and load into jars.
- Sterilise: Using either a pressure cooker or a cooking pot, heat your jars and substrate to the point that they are fully sterilised.
- Inoculate: Inject spores into your jars.
- Colonisation: Now, leave the jars in a suitable place and allow the spores to colonise.
- Pinning: Exposing your fully colonised jars to light and cooler temperatures will cause the mycelium to form pins, which are young mushrooms.
- Fruiting: Remove the cakes from the jars, put them in the fruiting chamber, and maintain a good environment. Pins will grow into fully mature magic mushrooms.
WHY CHOOSE THIS METHOD?
For those who want to try cultivating magic mushrooms from scratch, this is potentially the easiest and most reliable method. With good results, it offers a forgiving and satisfying introduction to the process.
However, it’s slow and requires patience, and can easily go wrong. While it’s worth exercising patience if you’re serious about developing cultivation skills, for those who just want a quick route to a flush of high-quality mushrooms, a grow kit may be more suitable.
METHOD 3: SPAWN & BULK SUBSTRATE
If you’re after huge yields of magic mushrooms, this method will deliver! Hardly more complex than the PF tek, bulk grows allow veritable forests of magic mushrooms to be produced.
WHAT YOU NEED
Now, for a bulk grow, you need some kind of spawn. Spawn is a general name given to a body of mycelium that will then go on to colonise the bulk substrate. Rather than inoculating this single, large substrate, the best method is to inoculate a smaller one and then add this mycelium to the larger one.
You may use a broken-up cake from a PF tek, an agar solution, or a liquid culture. The choice is yours.
Once you have spawn, there are a few essential things you need for a bulk grow:
- Large box, similar to a fruiting chamber
- Half a brick of coco coir
- 5l coarse vermiculite
- 3.75l cow manure
- 1.75–2l water
- Hydrated lime
There is a much longer list of necessary equipment, which you can see on our dedicated guide to growing magic mushrooms in bulk.
OVERVIEW OF THE METHOD
The process for a bulk grow is very simple. Or rather, the extra steps are very simple. After creating your spawn, all you really need to do is add this to the substrate of your bulk grow, maintain conditions until it’s fully colonised, then let it fruit.
First, you will cover the box in an opaque bin bag while it colonises. Once it’s fully colonised, you can remove this and begin misting it, triggering the fruiting stage. Then, just look after it, and watch as incredibly large flushes of mushrooms appear.
WHY CHOOSE THIS METHOD?
There’s only really one reason to choose this method over the others: yield. As the name “bulk” suggests, this method has been developed exclusively to grow huge amounts of magic mushrooms. And it works!
If you have the patience, space, and resources to commit to this method, you can provide yourself with an almost infinite supply of magic mushrooms.
GROWING MAGIC MUSHROOMS: A METHOD TO SUIT EVERYONE
As you can see, there’s a way to grow magic mushrooms at home whatever your level of commitment or ability.
A grow kit allows you to quickly harvest a decent flush of magic mushrooms with minimal effort. The PF tek is perfect for novice cultivators who want to try growing magic mushrooms at home without a grow kit. If successful, it offers very good results and is an invaluable step in learning to grow magic from scratch. Bulk grows are best suited to those who have grown before, know a little about what they’re doing, and are after something really impressive.
Whichever method you choose, you’ll get something out of it—not least of all the magic mushrooms themselves—and next time, you can always step it up a level.