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Azarius Smartshop

Growing mushrooms

Shops selling grow kits:
  • Azarius - Our current Preferred Supplier, buying through the banner on top of the page supports the site.

    They sell your standard mycelium brick, a perlite-rye-vermiculite layer cake (a little light on the rye), fully colonized, with an expected yield around 40-50g dry. Comes with a plastic bag to serve as a poormans hothouse, but I recommend using a germination chamber instead.

    The instructions on the site are clear and simple, however if you don't want mushrooms growing against the sides of the box where you can't get to them without digging up the whole brick, wrap the sides of their transparent box in aluminium foil to keep the light off it (light acts as a trigger for formation of fruiting bodies in the mycelium). Also, you might want to replenish the casing layer with fresh vermiculite after a few flushes.

  • www.magicmushrooms.org
    Unfortunately they no longer sell psilocybe mycelium bricks (they got bought out by the MRCA - Mushroom Research Centre), but they still sell top quality growing supplies and substrates. The below info is left here as historical reference:

    From their website:

    We supply mushroom grow bricks, outdoor grow bags, spore syringes + prints and have the capacity to produce thousands of high quality bricks per month.

    While most of you will know what we mean by spawn brick, we recognize that it is not a common reference. Just to be clear:

    Brick = 1000ml spawn "brick" encased in an aluminum shell. Simply pull of the top and you're ready to g(r)o(w). Each brick comes with instructions and refers your customers to our site for online support.

    • Our laboratory and knowledge base are among the finest in the mycology world.
    • Our selection and prices will be among the most reasonable and diverse you've seen.
    • Our unique display cases are sure to offer a mushrooming array of benefits.
    • Our confidence and sincerity allow us to offer a product exchange guarantee on all products.
    • Our in house mycologists are also happy to talk about special requests for bulk orders (+50 bricks).

    I [HeaDCase] have succesfully used their bricks in the past. With reasonable care a brick can produce upwards of 50g dry mushrooms. Some of the specimens were truly amazing (12g fresh P.Cub. var. Koh Samui, 2' cap, 5' stem). I've visited their lab in Vienna, and let me tell you it's impressive.

    mps reports:

    They sell kits that use live mycelium spawn. These are spawn bricks that are placed in foil containers and then into your incubator, or one that you can buy from their site. Their method appears fairly easy as compared with the standard spore syringe method. They call their live mycelium a 'spawnbrick' and they sell for around 40Euros each. Their incubator sells for around 120Euros and it can hold two spawnbricks. This kit seems easier to use than the MYG Kit because the incubator has a temperature control/monitor and CO2 pump, which promotes the optimal conditions at all times which boost the success of the harvest.

    I have not purchases or tried this kit but it does appear superior to the one I purchased from Mushbox.com.

  • www.mushbox.com

    mps reports:

    They sell an easy to use kit which works off of live mycelium spawn. The live mycelium allows you to entirely skip the inoculation process (no syringes, jars, etc) therefore lessening the chance of contamination as well as the time length to your first flush. This is called the MYG Kit and they sell it for $134.99 (plus $20 for shipping and 7% tax). When you purchase this kit they offer you the MYG Guarantee which is a replacement kit free of charge (but you have to repay the shipping) is your kit happens to fail. However they also state that their kits boast a 98% success rate. This kit will only ship inside Canada and Overseas and not the United States though.

    I ordered one of these kits a few weeks ago so I will be able to write up an unbiased account of how the MYG Kit actually works, as well as provide pictures. I was also thinking this growing account can be used in the "Make Your Own" as the kit is relatively easy to re-manufacture for a slightly advanced cultivator (birdseed to straw to casing soil). It could also be used as a guide for people who purchase the kit from Mushbox.com, or if I find the kit doesn't live up to the hype, a way of deferring people from purchasing an inferior growing kit.

    They do have kits that will ship to the United States and they use Spore Syringes and not Live mycelium. They range between about $60 to $475 and this doesn't include a spore syringe.

  • www.de-sjamaan.nl

    mps reports:

    This is another company that sells a live mycelium kit. This kit does not need an incubator, it is merely to be placed in a stable climate. The kit is called the Stropharia Cubensis Magic Mushroom Growing Kit and it sells for 55 Euros (plus shipping). De-sjamaan.nl will not ship their kit to the United States. This kit would be a great option for someone who doesn't want to spend a lot of money to get interested in mushroom cultivation. They also sell many other items: Spawnbags, Truffle Kits, Spore-Syringes, Spore Prints.

    I have not purchased or tried this kit either, and I would only suggest purchasing it if you are on a tight budget or don't want to spend a lot for whatever reason. However I should note that this kit does not appear to be able to produce the same amount of mushrooms that the Mushbox.com and Magicmushrooms.org kit can.

Next: "Doing it the (not really) hard way: make your own grow kit!"

At the 2006 Entheovision congress in Berlin I had the good fortune to see a "hands on" casing tek seminar. Below is a short summary of what I learned.

  • Step 1. Agar plate
    The point of using agar plates (usually in Petri dishes) is threefold. It helps weed out contaminants, it provides guaranteed clean inoculation tissue for the spawn, and is a safe way to preserve viable strains over long periods. (instructions on making agar plates can be found in abundance on shroomery.org)
    1. Contaminants: After inoculating a dish from a spore print or syringe, with a bit of fresh mushroom (good way to study wild strains under controlled growing conditions) or an old spawn cake, the mycelium will spread over the agar and colonize the dish. Since it is easily observed, any contaminant - mold or other fungus, bacteria, or mites (they seem to love mycelium, they can be recognised by the pattern they chew into it, like moth-eaten lace) - will soon become obvious. A bit (about 1ccm if possible) of healthy mycelium can then be transferred to a new dish, until a healthy culture can be obtained.
    2. Spawn primer: As above, 1ccm pieces of agar are mixed into small cakes of spawn (more about that later)
    3. Mycelium-in-a-can: There's a special elastic tape sold in lab supply shops used to seal Petri dishes. It breathes, but keeps moisture in and contaminants out. Wrapped around the edge of the Petri dish, it can help preserve it for months or years if kept in a cool dark place.
  • Step 2. Spawn cake
    Making and sterilizing spawn cakes is also described on various FAQ pages (see the Links page for some), so I'll be brief. The cakes used in the seminar were made from mixed grain (it looked like a rye/rice mixture), but I assume pure organic rye, rice, or birdseed would work just as well.
  • Step 3. Bulk substrate
    The bulk substrate used in the seminar was straw, depending on the species you are trying to grow you might want to use hardwood chips or wood shavings instead. In any case it is a good idea to wear rubber gloves for this part, as the straw can really irritate your skin and getting it under the fingernails is a PITA. The straw was soaked in a bucket of clean water for a few minutes, squeezed out enough to be moist but not sopping wet, and spread out on a plastic sheet. The spawn cakes were broken up into bits and mixed with the straw (about one pint of spawn to three-four times as much straw). This mixture was then packed into containers (in this case plastic cups, but for a real bulk growing I would use something larger, preferably of clear plastic so I can keep an eye on the mycelium), squeezed and patted down, and covered with half an inch of gardening soil. The cups were covered with a double layer of tinfoil, held in place with a rubber band.

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