PF tek is possibly the simplest and most effective approach to grow magic mushrooms at home. Find out what it is and how to do it right here. Growing magic mushrooms at home without a grow kit may appear to be extremely difficult. In some ways, it is. However, while growing shrooms at home is an adventure, it is one that anyone willing to put in the work may undertake.
There are various techniques for growing mushrooms at home, each having advantages and disadvantages. The PF tek, on the other hand, is possibly the most well-known. This approach has been around for a little more than 30 years and has helped numerous mycologists. Allow us to break things down for you.
Robert “Billy” McPherson invented the Psilocybe fanaticus technique (PF tek) in 1991. It explains how to grow Psilocybe cubensis (magic mushrooms) at home without the use of specialized equipment. It was the first, and many consider it the greatest, method for relatively simple home growing. That is not to imply that a PF tek isn’t challenging, but it is open to everybody, regardless of skill level.
Psilocybe fanaticus was Robert McPherson’s nickname, and it was also the name given to the strain of Psilocybe cubensis that he developed. This strain has also been dubbed PF Classic.
The term “psilocybe fanaticus technique” is abbreviated as “PF Tek.” It was made available on www.fanaticus.com in 1992. Although the PF tek was designed to aid in the cultivation of Psilocybe cubensis, it is also a fantastic way for newbies to get started with sterile substrates and spawn generation, comparable to the broke boi tek.
The time required to complete the PF Tek method from start to finish can vary depending on several factors, including:
Type of mushroom: Different types of mushrooms have different growth rates and cycles, which can affect the time required.
Environmental conditions: The temperature, humidity, light, and ventilation conditions in the growing environment can impact the growth rate of the mushrooms.
Sterilization time: The time required for sterilizing the BRF cakes can vary depending on the size of the cakes and the equipment used.
In general, the entire PF Tek process can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks or more, from start to finish. This includes:
Preparation of the BRF cakes: 2 days.
Inoculation of the BRF cakes: 1 day.
Colonization of the BRF cakes: 2-4 weeks
Fruiting of the mushrooms: 1-3 weeks
Harvesting of the mushrooms: 1-2 days
It’s important to note that this is just an estimate and that the actual time may vary depending on the specific conditions and variables involved.
The PF tek employs brown rice flour and vermiculite as a substrate because brown rice contains no endospores, making it simple for mycelium to colonize. These items are sterilized before being infected with cubensis spores. If all goes well, the cakes, as they are known, should eventually colonize. They can be opened and “fruited” once they have been fully (or nearly totally) colonized, at which point magic mushrooms will begin to sprout from them.
In this method, we will create enough substrate to fill 6 mason jars 3/4 full. The PF Tek is measured as a 2:1:1 ratio. 2 tbsp vermiculite: 1 part brown rice flour to 1 part water. In this guide, we’ll be measuring quantities with mason jars.
They will spend the most of their lives inside some form of casing until the cakes are fully colonised. Prior to inoculation, the cakes and casing are sterile. This means that the spores and mycelium produced should be the only living organisms inside, providing them the best chance of survival. If other fungus or bacteria get in, they may outcompete the cubensis mycelium, resulting in a pot of mould.
The container in which the cakes are stored must be autoclavable (pressure cooked) and completely sealed. However, it must also allow for the exchange of air. Growers used to frequently utilize jars with metal covers. These can be tightly sealed, and the lids can be perforated to make small holes that can be closed with micropore tape. This layer prevents spores and bacteria from entering, yet allows for air exchange.
Although jars are an alternative, we recommend utilizing polypropylene (PP) filter boxes. These are plastic pots with top-mounted filters that allow for air exchange. They completely seal and can survive autoclaving.
Another consideration when selecting a container is its shape; it should be somewhat narrower at the base than at the top. This means that when the cake is fully populated and ready for fruiting, it will be simple to slide it out without inflicting any damage. Furthermore, colonisation is more efficient when small containers (250-500ml) are used. Larger than this, and colonizing may take too long, or may halt before completion.
An autoclave is used in this process. Although not absolutely necessary (in fact, one of the reasons PF Tech is so popular is that it technically does not require one), if you can obtain a pressure cooker, the entire operation will be much more likely to work.
Because each pressure cooker is slightly different, you must combine the instructions provided here with the specific needs of your chosen cooker. However, they all work in essentially the same way.
You should have your spore syringe or liquid culture ready to go when you begin the PF tek process. If you bought them, this should be no problem. If you’re manufacturing your own spore syringe or liquid culture, make sure this step is finished before proceeding.
We’ll say it again and again, but hygiene is critical when producing magic mushrooms. When handling anything that will come into contact with your cakes, always clean yourself and your surroundings! Don’t cut corners or hope for the best because you can end up paying for it later.
Other fungus and bacteria can grow considerably faster than mycelium, and thus outcompete it. As a result, your mushrooms require a hygienic atmosphere in order to flourish.
In the sections that follow, we’ll go over exactly what you’ll need for each stage of the PF tek process. The measurements given will yield 8 cakes. If you wish to make a different quantity, simply change the ratios. Also, the rest of the tutorial will presume you’re using filter boxes, but the instructions will still apply if you’re using jars.
3. With a spoon, distribute the brown rice flour throughout the mixture. Make sure the brown rice flour completely covers the vermiculite.
4. Fill the boxes to 1cm below the brim. It is critical to do this loosely so that the substrate remains airy, as this will aid in the growth of the mycelium. Check for any remnants at the brim, as this could lead to contamination later on.
5. Fill the top 1cm of the container with dry vermiculite. This will act as a filter, preventing additional microbes from landing on and contaminating the substrate. Dry vermiculite that does not contain brown rice flour is inert and does not support mould or bacterial growth.
6. Place the lid on the filter box and pierce it four times along the edge of the lid with the nail. When inoculating, the syringe needle will be inserted here. You can cover these holes with micropore tape later, but it’s probably preferable to do so now. Even with micropore tape, pressure cooking will disinfect the contents of the boxes.
7. Take a square of aluminium foil (approx. 12.5×12.5cm) and fold it over the lid. Use elastic bands to hold them tight. This top layer will act as a protective layer after unloading the boxes from the pressure cooker.
8. Fill the pressure cooker halfway with water. To prevent water from entering the boxes and affecting the water content, use as little as feasible. The minimal amount of water required varies each model, but a few millimetres off the base should suffice. Use a rack to lift the boxes off the bottom of the pressure cooker if possible. Filter boxes or jars that come into close contact with the bottom may distort or break.
9. Place the pressure cooker on the stove and close the lid. Heat the pressure cooker slowly, especially if you aren’t using a rack. Don’t turn on the regulator just yet. Instead, vent the pressure cooker for around 10 minutes to ensure that the steam pushes out all of the air. Only until all of the air in the pressure cooker is evacuated can maximum sterilisation be achieved.
10. After venting the pressure cooker for 10 minutes, put the regulator on the steam vent pipe. Slowly build up the pressure to 15 PSI.
11. When 15 PSI is reached, cook the boxes for 45 minutes. Be sure that the pressure never drops below 15 PSI.
12. After 45 minutes, switch off the stove and let the pressure cooker cool down for at least 5 hours. More practical is to let it cool overnight.
When the pressure cooker has cooled and is safe to handle, carefully remove the boxes. Arrange them on a clean surface. A gas burner or torch with a lock mechanism, as well as a spore syringe or liquid culture syringe, should be available. To loosen the spores/mycelium, shake the spore syringe or liquid culture syringe vigorously. To shake, the syringe must contain a little amount of sterile air. If this isn’t already the case, you can get it by sucking in some air while holding the needle in front of a flame.
It should be noted that spores should have been in water for at least 24 hours prior to inoculation, else they may not be active.
14. Loosen up the top layer of aluminium foil so you can easily take it off when you inoculate.
15. Remove the protective cap from the syringe needle and sterilise the needle with a flame until it’s red hot. Let it cool for a few seconds.
16. Remove the top aluminium foil layer from the pot and lay it aside, upside down.
17. Insert the needle about 2.5cm through the holes (and through the micropore tape if you used it), and squirt some liquid into the side of the box. Inoculate each box via all four holes. Use about 1ml spore/liquid culture solution per pot.
18. You can cover the holes with micropore tape if you’re using it. After doing this, put the aluminium foil layer back on top.
19. Write the inoculation date and strain information on the box with the marker.
20. Rep the procedure for each box. To avoid cross-contamination, disinfect the needle after inoculating a box. Also, if you touch anything other than the filter box/substrate, disinfect the needle again.
21. Incubate the inoculated boxes at 21–27°C. This can be done in a warm spot in your house, or through the use of an incubator. Be sure to keep a consistent temperature to avoid condensation and bacterial growth in the boxes.
22. When the cakes have been fully colonized, they can be born. This means they can be removed from their container and placed in a fruiting chamber.
23. Lost water should be replaced to boost yields later on. This can be accomplished by immersing the cakes in cold water for 12-24 hours. Fill a container with fresh (boiled, if you’re concerned about the quality) water and, if required, use weights to keep the cakes from floating. Put the jar containing the cakes in the fridge to keep the water cool. If your fridge is really filthy, this could result in infection.
24. After immersing, re-rinse the cakes and roll them in vermiculite. If you are unsure whether your vermiculite is sterile, you can sterilise it for 1 hour at 180°C in the oven to ensure there are no contaminants left. Covering the cakes in vermiculite improves the cake’s ability to retain moisture.
25. After an hour, place the cakes in the fruiting chamber on top of the aluminum foil pieces and thoroughly spray the cakes. This is to ensure that all of the vermiculite is wet.
26. Fruit the cakes in the fruiting chamber and spray them many times per day. You may also use the fruiting chamber’s lid to fan new air in and old air out. This will aid in the growth of the mushrooms. When mushrooms begin to develop, avoid spraying the cakes and mushrooms directly.
You want to collect magic mushrooms just as their veils are about to fall. The veils are membranes that form on the bottom of the caps and, when broken, release the mushrooms’ spores. If spores are released and land on the cakes, the mycelium will stop growing mushrooms because their reproductive function has been completed. It is possible to predict when the veils will fall, as explained in our devoted post.
Mycelium cakes can generate many flushes (a flush is a single batch of mushrooms). After harvesting one batch, repeat the dipping process (steps 22-25). When cultivating magic mushrooms, the initial flush is usually the smallest, thus getting this process perfect is the key to producing significant yields.
Contamination isn’t as much of a threat at this point, but it’s still a possibility, so don’t be too lax about keeping everything clean!
The PF approach for cultivating magic mushrooms is not easy, but it is the simplest strategy available for individuals who want to produce magic mushrooms from spores. Though it can be difficult at times, anyone who wants to try it can—it’s simply a matter of being cautious.
Before you attempt it, familiarize yourself with the full procedure. It will be much easier to complete the steps if you understand why you are doing them and what use they will serve later. Also, remember to keep things tidy! Contamination is the adversary of magic mushroom growing, and it can attack at any time, even at the end. Don’t squander months of hard effort by failing to wash your hands.