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Common Mushroom Strains

There are over 200 species of mushroom in the Psilocybe genus, with each possessing significant differences in potency, visual appearance, & growing requirements. By far the most well-researched, commonly-found, and easy-to-cultivate species is Psilocybe Cubensis, and this has led to the identification of several hundred “subspecies” within the ‘Cubensis’ species. These subspecies are commonly referred to as “strains” by those in the mushroom world, however from a microbiology and taxonomy perspective this terminology is not entirely accurate.

Although these strains are all members of the Psilocybe Cubensis species, they can also (just like species) differ significantly in both physical characteristics and in the concentration of psychotropic compounds that are present in fruiting bodies OR mycelium (some strains contain much higher amounts of active compounds in the mycelial stage). Cubensis strains (despite all being the same species) can also differ quite drastically in growing characteristics, for example; how resistant they are to contamination, colonization speed, and overall yield - although these factors are also influenced significantly by how much an individual culture has been isolated and thus how strong the genetics of that individual culture are (more on that in a bit).

Several popular "strains" of Psilocybe Cubensis magic mushroom spores include -  

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We offer a wide variety of mushroom strains, in several different formats. We have spent years curating one of the largest & most refined banks of mushroom cultures in Canada. Due to the genetic isolation we have performed, we can confidently state that our mushroom cultures are fast-colonizing, contamination-resistant, and heavy-yielding.

We are always striving to expand our product offering, and plan to offer rare species such as Psilocybe Tampanensis, Psilocybe Azurescens, Psilocybe Semilanceata, ,Psilocybe Allenii, Psilocybe Natalensis, and Psilocybe Ovoideocystidiata in the future! 

Growing mushrooms will require many of the same supplies and materials regardless of the scale of the project, However at larger scale certain pieces of equipment like a Flow Hood, Electric Sterilizer, and several pieces of laboratory equipment (like Erlenmeyer flasks, Magnetic Spinners, & Petri Dishes) are necessary for maximum cost-effectiveness and yield.

Below we have laid out a complete supply list for both the home/hobby grower, and the commercial grower. 

Home/Hobby Growing

Large Scale Growing

mushroom grow equipment

Colonization Supplies

  • Spawn Container (1L Mason/PP Plastic Jar)

  • Spawn Medium (Organic Rye Grain Berries)

  • Inoculation/Filter Port Mason Jar Lid

  • Programmable Thermostat + Humidistat

  • Disinfectant/Isopropyl Alcohol

  • PPE (gloves, mask, hairnet)

  • High-Absorbancy Paper Towels

Fruiting Supplies

  • Fruiting Container (35L clear plastic tray/tub)

  • Fruiting Dome (the same tray flipped upside down)

  • Fruiting Medium (Vermiculite/Coco-Coir/Peat-Moss/Worm-Castings/CaCO3)

  • Type 14A Autoclavable Bag (for medium sterilization)

  • Hi-loft Polyfil

  • 3mm Contractor Garbage Bags

  • High-Absorbancy Paper Towels

  • Drill & 2.5" Hole-saw Bit

  • Scissors

  • Misting Spray Bottle

  • Programmable Thermostat + Humidistat

  • Disinfectant/Isopropyl Alcohol

  • PPE (gloves, mask, hairnet)

Equipment

  • Stove-top Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot

  • Still-Air-Box (see our tutorial for instruction on building a SAB)(recommended but not essential)

  • Racking (to hold colonization and fruiting containers)

  • Industrial Fans (for drying grain, circulating air, etc)

Colonization Supplies

  • Mushroom Grow Bag (Type 3T 0.2um filtered bag)

  • Spawn Medium (Organic Rye Grain Berries)

  • Liquid Culture Formula

  • Agar Petri Dish Formula

  • Parafilm PM992 Tape

  • Cotton Batting

  • Programmable Thermostat + Humidistat

  • Disinfectant/Isopropyl Alcohol

  • PPE (gloves, mask, hairnet)

  • High-Absorbancy Paper Towels

Fruiting Supplies

  • Fruiting Container (35L clear plastic tray/tub)

  • Fruiting Dome (the same tray flipped upside down)

  • Fruiting Medium (Vermiculite/Coco-Coir/Peat-Moss/Worm-Castings/CaCO3)

  • Type 14A Autoclavable Bag (for medium sterilization)

  • Hi-loft Polyfil

  • 3mm Contractor Garbage Bags

  • High-Absorbancy Paper Towels

  • Drill & 2.5" Hole-saw Bit

  • Scissors

  • Misting Spray Bottle

  • Programmable Thermostat + Humidistat

  • Disinfectant/Isopropyl Alcohol

  • PPE (gloves, mask, hairnet)

Equipment

  • Autoclave or Electric Stereoclave/Sterilizer

  • HEPA filtered Laminar flow hood

  • Racking (to hold colonization and fruiting containers)

  • Industrial Fans (for drying grain, circulating air, etc)

  • Magnetic Stir Plates/Stir Bars/Stir Bar Retriever 

  • 1000mL + 2000mL Erlenmeyer Flasks

  • 100x15mm Petri Dishes

  • Stainless Steel Eberbach Flask (1000mL)

  • Eberbach Blender Base

  • High-Precision Laboratory Scale

  • Stainless Steel Scalpel + Blades

  • Negative Pressure ISO wash bottle

  • Impulse Sealer

  • Stainless Steel Tables (for Lab Clean-bench)

Fungi propagate their genetic code through the dispersion of spores, and are whats called "saphotrophic" organisms (meaning that they survive by consuming nutrients from their environment)(mostly in the form of detritus and decaying material). Therefore they play a crucial role in the health of any ecosystem, as they are the primary decomposers of both plant debris like cellulose/lignin, and dead/decomposing animal tissue. Furthermore, they have extraordinary capacity to recycle/decompose toxic material, from petroleum oils, to nuclear waste.

The benefits which Fungi provide are not limited to the ecosystem level, they can also have significant benefit to the individual. Several edible/gourmet species (Lions Mane and Shiitake in particular) promote increased cognitive, cardiovascular, and mental health, while Psychoactive varieties (Psilocybe Cubensis in particular) have shown remarkable results in the treatment of many psychological and physical conditions, including but not limited to; Depression, Anxiety, Addiction, Alzheimers, PTSD, OCD, Chronic Pain,  

 

These benefits have catalyzed many to learn how to grow mushrooms, and the greatest information repository known to man (the internet) is filled with forum posts and tutorials. Unfortunately many of these tutorials often leave out key parts of the mushroom growing process. Many online “how-to’s” overlook important details, do not explain why certain parts of the process need to be done, and neglect to include important tips that can drastically increase success rates.

Tip #1: Before delving into the process of indoor cultivation, you should first understand the mushroom life cycle under natural conditions.

If mushroom spores are successfully dispersed in an environment with sufficient nutrients and specific environmental conditions, they will germinate, begin to utilize available nutrients, and form what is called “mycelium”. 

 

Mushroom mycelium consists of a mass of branching root-like strands, each strand a single cell thick, called Hyphae. Mycelium can be described as the vegetative portion of a fungus (where all nutrients and energy are put towards growth instead of reproduction). Mushroom mycelium will continue to grow and spread as long as nutrients are available, and as long as the environmental conditions are congruent with this “stage” of the mushroom life cycle. This part of the life cycle (where the mycelium is growing but no mushrooms growing) is often called “spawning” or “colonization” 

 

The next step in the mushroom growing process happens once the mycelium has “colonized” its medium (utilized most of the nutrients available). At this point (under natural conditions) changes in environmental conditions (like temperature, light, & humidity) trigger mycelium to switch from a “colonization” state to a “fruiting” state. It is in this fruiting state that mushrooms grow out of the mycelial mat, and mushrooms will continue to sprout until all available nutrients and moisture in the environment are used, or environmental conditions are changed back to conditions congruent with a colonization state.

Tip #2: When growing mushrooms in an indoor environment certain steps can be taken to increase potency, colonization speed, and yield.

 

Most people will begin growing magic mushrooms with a mushroom spore syringe 

 

Advanced mycologists can clone tissue from exceptionally nice mushrooms by placing a tissue sample in an *agar medium*. This process (called “isolation”) creates a culture that has a narrow (and known-good) genetic profile, which results in faster ‘colonization’ time, higher yield, larger fruiting bodies (mushrooms), and increased potency.

*Agar is a high-nutrient gelatinous medium, the caveat to working with isolations/agar is that a “flow hood” is highly recommended. (a flow hood consists of a HEPA filter enclosed in a box with a fan situated opposite the filter. This allows filtered are to be continually blown over your workspace)*

Further isolation from the initial mushroom tissue sample can be done on agar by selecting especially strong mycelial strands and propagating these onto another agar petri dish. All Spores Lab agar cultures are isolates, and will reliably produce better results than inoculating with a spore syringe (which has significantly more genetic variability)

 

Another way in which yield can be increased when growing mushrooms indoors is through the addition of a high-nutrient & high water-retention “fruiting substrate” when the mycelium has completely colonized its initial medium. Mushrooms will fruit directly out of a spawn medium if given the right conditions, however when the fruiting substrate is added yields are significantly increased. 

 

Typically a fruiting medium/substrate is composed of inputs that provide nutrients (like worm castings), beneficial microorganisms ( like manure/worm castings/frass), and high-water retention ( like vermiculite & peat-moss).

Tip #3: The importance of STERILITY

When you grow mushrooms, you aim to create a perfect environment for fungal growth. Unfortunately this environment is also ideal for bacterial spread, or the spread of other unwanted fungi. Every cubic meter of air (in an unfiltered environment) contains millions of fungal and bacterial spores, and each of these spores can potentially compete with your desired spores/culture if you allow it to.

 

You must take extreme care to clean/disinfect all the surfaces, tools, and body parts that will come into contact, or even come near your mushroom culture. This is also why colonization and fruiting mediums must be sterilized/pasteurized in a pressure cooker and why a Flow hood is so important when growing mushrooms at scale.

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