Mushrooms

The Top 5 Mushroom Grow Kits (That We’ve Vetted & Recommend)

Caine Barlow · August 18th, 2021

Psilocybin is a largely illegal substance and we do not encourage or condone its use where it is against the law. However, we accept that illegal drug use occurs and believe that offering responsible harm reduction information is imperative to keeping people safe. For that reason, this guide is designed to enhance the safety of those who decide to use psilocybin.

Psilocybin is a largely illegal substance and we do not encourage or condone its use where it is against the law. However, we accept that illegal drug use occurs and believe that offering responsible harm reduction information is imperative to keeping people safe. For that reason, this guide is designed to enhance the safety of those who decide to use psilocybin.

Growing magic mushrooms can be a daunting idea for beginners. Part of the problem is that there is certainly no shortage of information on the internet–between Mycotopia, The Shroomery, and a multitude of how-to-grow guides and Teks, growing can quickly become overwhelming and confusing. Add in the fact that there are tons of places to go wrong, and people often give up before they even get started.

Fortunately, a range of mushroom grow kits are now available to help you get around the tedious parts, such as soaking grains, pressure cooking, bag sealing, etc. You just purchase your kit, buy a syringe containing the spores of the mushroom you’d like to grow, and a month to six weeks later you may be harvesting your fresh magic mushrooms.

Growing Magic Mushrooms

As interest in the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin and psilocin mounts, and decriminalization movements continue to gain momentum across the US and around the world, countless people want to know how to forage or grow medicinal mushrooms. That’s especially true given that psilocybin lacks the stigma that LSD gained through the 1960s, is seen as natural, and is known to be very safe.

In principle, growing mushrooms at home is easy. Pioneers such Oss and Oeric (aka Terrance and Dennis McKenna), Professor Fanaticus (inventor of the PF Tek), and a great network of experienced growers on Mycotopia and The Shroomery, have simplified the methods for how to grow magic mushrooms. As a result, it’s possible to purchase most  of the necessary components at your local supermarket, pharmacy, and hardware store.

That said, growing mushrooms requires some tender loving care. To increase the odds of success, mushroom growing kits are a great way to dive straight in without feeling a little like MacGyver!

Before you get going, it’s important to keep in mind that psilocybin remains a scheduled drug in most countries. As such, you should familiarize yourself with the law in your region. In the United States, psilocybin is classified as a Schedule 1 substance. Spores may be legal in your state or country, but the germination of spores, as well as the cultivation and possession of mushrooms, may be illegal.

A History of the Magic Mushroom Grow Kit

People have been cultivating magic mushrooms for quite a while, starting with curious mycologists in the 1970s. Terrance and Dennis McKenna popularized the growing of magic mushrooms in the 70s and 80s with tributes such as the grow kit “mckennaii”. In the early 90s, Robert “Billy” McPherson(aka Professor Fanaticus) pioneered a method of mushroom cultivation called Psylocybe Fanaticus Tek (or PF Tek). He advertised his business “Psylocybe Fanaticus” through High Times magazine, featuring beautiful images of psychedelic mushrooms. The PF Tek initially used organic rye seeds as a cultivation medium, but that was simplified to brown rice flour (BRF) and vermiculite. Through steam sterilization, tyndallization, or pressure cooking, the BRF substrate is sterilized in wide-mouthed canning jars with a layer of dry vermiculite as a filter.

While the PF Tek is still used to grow shrooms, most modern methods of cultivating magic mushrooms are based around spore syringes and spawn bags containing pre-sterilized grain spawn (rye, wheat, or millet) with a self-healing injection port. You inject your spores and then let the mycelium colonize the bag before bulking it out with manure.  The modern cultivation of magic mushrooms has become very sophisticated with specialized growing chambers, timing mechanisms, and even techniques such as hydroponics.

Why start with a mushroom grow kit

Growing mushrooms in pre-cooked rice satchels (Spiderman/Uncle Ben Tek) or on brown rice flour (PF Tek) may seem easy enough. Still, it can be challenging to track down and purchase all the components necessary to grow your mushrooms. While collecting all the individual parts to grow mushrooms may seem trivial, it could require visiting multiple stores that may not have what you are looking for. If you live in an apartment, you don’t need to be cluttering your space with bales of hay or bags of grain.

A kit, on the other hand, streamlines the entire process. A kit comes with exactly what you need for each grow: a grow bag containing sterilized grains, manure, casing, and all the extra components necessary.  If you are growing to start microdosing, you likelky won’t want to grow many mushrooms at a time, so grow kits are perfect–a reasonable amount can be grown in a small storage container. If you are curious about how much you will need for a microdosing regimen, check out Third Wave’s new and improved Microdosing Course. Using a step-by-step science-based protocol, the course will guide you through the basics and help you tailor your routine to meet your personal goals.

From Mycelium to Mushroom Substrate to Fresh Mushrooms

The principle of growing mushrooms is straightforward. You germinate spores on a simple substrate–usually rice flour mixed with vermiculite or grains such as rye, wheat, or millet. The mycelium from the spores colonizes the substrate, and when it is fully colonized it is time to fruit the mushrooms.

Keep in mind that you need to have somewhere clean for the setup. Contamination can happen if you are not careful, resulting in bags full of mold. Purchase good quality spore syringes, and make sure you have a space you can wipe down with alcohol and keep clean during the preparation phase. Always read your documentation a couple of times, and practice the process as best you can.

In mushroom cultivation, we are replicating the natural environment in which they live.  Psilocybe cubensis grow on cow dung, a well broken-down substrate consisting of digested plant matter. Fungi live within their food, whereas we digest our food inside us. Fungi excrete enzymes; they are “slobbering” all over their food in order to break it down, and then draw in the nutrients.

Most edible or medicinal fungi are happy growing on rice or grains–we call this phase “spawn”–but have different needs when it comes to fruiting. For fruiting, the rice or grains can be added to a bulk substrate. The bulk substrates can result in large mushrooms due to additional nutrients with the benefit of extra flushes of mushrooms that result in a much better yield than the rice or grains alone. Bulk substrates include coco coir, manure, or straw. These can be obtained from hardware stores or gardening centers. Bulk substrates can be fruited in self-contained containers and kept out of the way, needing minimal light or a grow light on a timer if stored in a cupboard.

Psilocybe cubensis, Golden Teacher or Truffles?

Most magic mushroom grow kits do not contain spores. While spores may be legal in some parts of the world, invariably they are illegal to germinate, as this is then classed as cultivation of a Schedule 1 (or Schedule 9 or Class A substance, depending where you are) drug. When purchasing a kit, that means you will need to purchase the spores separately.

When researching spores, you are going to encounter a long list of varieties.  Given the extensive distribution of the psychedelic mushroom Psilocybe cubensis, there are varieties from many different countries, each with a matching name – Ecuador, Thai, Cambodian, Colombian, Hawaiian, Mazatapec, or Mexican mushrooms.

Be careful not to mix up varieties with species. Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe cyanescens, Psilocybe tampanensis (truffles), and Psilocybe mexicana are examples of species, whereas “Golden Teacher”, “B+”, “PE”, and “Albino PE” are examples of varieties of P. cubensis. Unfortunately, people do inadvertently refer to some species as varieties. Before you order the spores, make sure you are purchasing a species suitable for the methods you are using. If you unknowingly obtain a spore syringe of Psilocybe cyanescens but don’t apply a method suitable to that species, then come fruiting time you may start wondering why your mushrooms are not growing.

There are also many bred varieties of P. cubensis mushrooms, including the varieties “Golden Teacher”, “B+”, “PE”, “Albino PE”, and “Mckennaii”, and grow kit names to match, (e.g., “Grow Kit B”, “Grow Kit Golden Teacher,” etc.).

Where to buy a mushroom growing kit

Many companies sell mushroom grow kits, not just for magic mushrooms but also for a wide range of edible and medicinal fungi. Keep in mind that different mushrooms have different needs–most are perfectly happy growing on grains as spawn, but for bulk grows some prefer compost, others straws, and some hardwood wood chips.

Below we list six companies we feel supply some of the best kits on the market. We recommend choosing a kit with ample documentation from a company that provides good support and is happy to provide advice and feedback if you need it.  You might also check for independent reviews and ask for feedback on sites such as The Shroomery.

Keep in mind that the companies that sell kits generally cannot provide the spores. You will need to source spores or syringes from somewhere else.

#1 Psilobloom

Psilobloom sell a kit called Cultiv8.  They only ship to the United States.  Their kit includes documentation on how to use the kit, and a 1-on-1 Zoom call with their cultivation expert.

  • $US199 for the full kit, with two part guide.
  • $US299 for the full kit, with two part guide and a 1-on-1 Zoom call.

They do not sell spores.

#2 Spores Lab

Spores Lab sell spores, cultures, spawn, and kits (as well as growing supplies and equipment).  They are located in Canada and only ship within Canada.

Their disclaimer says that while the psilocybin molecule is illegal, psilocybe cultures are not. So you can buy for research purposes, but growing is illegal…

Their products Include tutorials, training, and support.

Kits range from $89.99 to $159.99, and they accept cryptocurrency and etransfer (for privacy).  Their website has a reviews page with positive testimonials.

#3 Midwest Grow Kits

Midwest Grow Kits are located in Illinois. They ship across the US and globally. Their kits include video grow guides, and they offer customer service by phone, live chat, or email.

Here’s a quick summary of what they offer:

  • Mega mushroom growing & incubator kit: $137
  • Ultimate mushroom growing & incubator kit: $97
  • Simple kit: $55
  • “Ecosphere”: $209
  • Ecosphere package: $277
  • Monster Monsoon Ecosphere: $409

They do not sell spores, but they recommend Premium Spores.

#4 Ancient Path Naturals

Ancient Path Naturals are located in Maine. They ship across the US and internationally. They sell a variety of kits for edible and medicinal species.

Their grow kit costs $105.16, but you have to purchase your spores separately. They score 5 stars over 21 reviews.

#5 Virgenu 12 Jars Mushroom Growing Kit

Virgenu sells a kit based on the PF Tek that includes all the equipment you need to go from colonization to fruiting. It comes with an air pump, heater, fruiting chamber, lights, and perlite.

Sold on Amazon for $158, the kit rates 4.6 stars on 189 reviews. Like similar products, it provides a kit only, with no spores.

If you do decide to set out on the path to harvesting your own medicine, be sure to refer to our guide on How to Grow Psilocybin Mushrooms and check out Third Wave’s Microdosing Course.

This blog article uses affiliate links. Third Wave receives a small percentage of the product price if you purchase through any affiliate links. Read our ethics and affiliates policy here.

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