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perature, with an occasional misting
with water to keep the sand moist but not soaking wet.
After about a month in the terrarium, the ergot begins to sprout. In
the case of ergot, sprout means to grow a bunch of the little mushrooms
mentioned before. They grow towards the light, starting out short and
fat, and becoming increasingly thin as they grow. The heads of these
mushrooms will be covered with what appear to be warts when they are
ripe. Misting with water must be continued during the sprouting of the
ergot to keep it growing.
When the mushrooms sprouting from a particular grain of ergot are
ripe, they should be harvested. The individual grains will not all sprout
or ripen at the same time, so this is a harvest one-grain-at-a-time
operation. The ripe grain is carefully scooped out of the sand with a
spoon, and the sand is then dilute-bleach-water-misted away to leave the
bare grain covered with mushrooms. Care must be taken when handling
the sprouted ergot, as rough handling will cause the ripe heads of the
mushrooms to explode and spew forth their load of spores.
From this point onward, best results are going to be had using
sterile-culture technique. The next objective is to remove the spores
from the heads of the mushrooms growing out of the ergot, and put
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them into a sterile culture medium made from diluted malt extract,
where they will grow for a week or so producing a culture broth
loaded with germinated spores which can be sprayed onto the
blooming heads of rye, yielding a heavy infection rate of ergot in your
patch of rye.
I have some helpful observations to share on the matter of home
sterile-culture technique, based upon my own experiences. It has been
my observation that keeping one's cultures free from contamination by
freeloading wild germs is often considerably more difficult in the
kitchen than it is in a biology lab. The typical university lab is
supplied with filtered air from the central heating and air conditioning
unit. The amount of dust particles and animal dander floating in the
air is much smaller than usually seen in the home. This is especially
true if your housekeeping is bad, like mine. The threat from wild
contamination is most severe if you live in a warm, moist area, like the
eastern half of the US in the summer. When doing home cultures, the
sterile transfers should be done in an air-conditioned room with an
effective air filter.
To begin the sterile culture portion of ergot farming, a series of
2000 ml conical flasks are filled about one inch deep with nutrient
broth made by diluting malt extract with 5 volumes of water. Malt
extract is found at stores and outlets catering to the home brewer. It
comes in cans, and is a very thick liquid. Avoid the crystalline version of
malt extract. The tops of the conical flasks are loosely plugged with
cotton, and then sterilized in a pressure cooker at 15 Ibs. pressure for a
little over l/2 hour.
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to see inside. Adaptation-24 This is useful to determine if the terrarium
is running correctly later. Also, you will be able to see if moisture that
has collected in the bottle needs to be emptied out of it.
Heat up the threads on the 3/8 inch bolt using a propane touch or
burner on a gas stove. A cigarette lighter will work, but it will take a
long time. Hold onto the bolt with the pliers. When the bolt is hot,
quickly and neatly poke two holes in each 2 liter coke bottle.
Adaptation-15 See the following diagram for details:
The bolt that is used is deliberately a little smaller than the hole that
needs to be generated. The hot bolt will melt the hole a little bit bigger
than it is when it pokes through the plastic bottle. You may need to
insert the bolt a second time into the hole and let it touch the sides to
expand the diameter of the hole. Some times little chunks of plastic
stick to the side of the hole. Use a sharp knife to clean up the edges
and insert a grommet. Check the fit of the vinyl tubing through the
grommet. It should be very snug and air tight, but it should not
collapse the inner diameter of the tubing very much.
Connect a piece of tubing from the humidifier to the first coke bottle.
Flute both ends of each piece of vinyl tubing. Connect the this coke
bottle to the next. Do this until you have all four coke bottles
connected. The picture shows 3 coke bottles because that is what is
normally required, but for now connect in all 4. Now connect the last
coke bottle to the terrarium. You will need to poke a hole in the side
and insert the tubing. The tubing should be blowing humid air into the
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How To Grow Magic Mushrooms The Magic Mushroom Growers Guide (page 2)
part of the terrarium that is above the drip shield. It should be setup as
Checking out the Ultra Sonic Humidifier
Fill the humidifier with water and position the various stages of the
coke bottles between the humidifier and terrarium. At no place should
the vinyl tubing have a low spot for condensation to form and plug up
the line. Condensation will form in the lines but it should run to the
end and drip harmlessly out of the line.
Set the humidity level at the minimum setting. This is still more than
you should need. Adaptation-19 After you give it time to stabilize, you
should see that each stage of the coke bottles has less fog in it than the
preceding stage. Usually, 3 bottles is the right amount, but depending
on your humidifier and ambient humidity, it could be more or less.
You want the last coke bottle to just have the slightest hint of fog in it.
Add or delete stages as necessary.
The humidity in the terrarium should stabilize at about 90%. The ideal
amount of humidity is as much as you can get without moisture
forming on the rice cakes. Keep in mind that most humidity meters
you get at department stores are not very accurate.
(23 of 29) 5/1/2002 6:54:17 PM
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droplets that are released into the
(31 of 39) 5/1/2002 6:54:26 PM
How To Grow Magic Mushrooms The Magic Mushroom Growers Guide (page 4)
terrarium. Because the humidifier is turned on and off the humidity in
the growing chamber will rise and fall. There is starting to be some
evidence that this helps stimulate fruiting.
This document used to recommend using a timer that gives control on
a minute by minute basis. These timers are becoming increasingly
difficult to locate and more expensive. To accommodate this, there
has been a strategy shift on this adaptation. Find a timer that lets you
limit the 'On' cycle to 15 minutes. Intermatic makes two version that
sell for under $15. They are model numbers SB811C and TB811C.
They are available in the electrical section of Home Building centers.
You may also find them in the hardware section of a department
Since the shortest amount of time the timer can switch on is 15
minutes, it is important to make sure the cakes do not get water
droplets forming on them in this much time. In general, the
condensation filter chambers should be set up identically to the
normal humidified chamber setup. You just may not need as many
filter stages since the humidifier will not be running steady.
The other parameter you need to set is how tight to seal the chamber.
You need to make sure the chamber's humidity does not drop too far
during the 'Off' cycle of the timer. Typically, the 'Off' cycle is at least
an 1.25 hours. (On the Intermatic timers, this corresponds to every
third switch being up.) Ideally, you want the humidity to fall to 85%
by the end of the cycle. (If your chamber seals tightly, you may be
able to go every fourth or fifth switch).
There are several advantages to using a timer.
l Less drying stages are needed for the humidifier. The output
can be piped more directly into the terrarium.
l The humidity in the chamber will be moving up and down
which seems to stimulate fruiting.
l Water consumption by the humidifier is automatically reduced
making unattended operation more possible.
(32 of 39) 5/1/2002 6:54:26 PM
How To Grow Magic Mushrooms The Magic Mushroom Growers Guide (page 4)
Cost and availability are the major disadvantages.
Back to Building Terrarium with ultra-sonic humidifier.
table of contents.
Adaptation-22: Use of a Home Made Brown Rice Flour
This idea is from: AN165023@anon.penet.fi
Rather than use brown rice flour available at a health food store, you
can grind your own from long grain brown rice. Simply put the dried
rice into a coffee grinder or a blender and let it chew the rice into a
chunky flour. You will need to increase the water from 1/4 cup per
1/2 pint jar by 1 and 1/2 tablespoons. The chunky home ground flour
absorbs a little more water than the normal flour.
Cost is one benefit, but that is not the reason this adaptation is useful.
Using home ground flour will speed the colonizat