You may have seen the mysterious phrase ‘PF Tek’ dotted about the more shroomy corners of the internet. A popular topic on Reddit and other message boards— you’ve probably wondered ‘who are they?’, ‘is it some sort of cool new music trend I should know about?’ and ‘what colour is it?’ etc, etc. Well, never fear, because Wholecelium is here! Here to tell you everything you need to know about how to grow shrooms with PF Tek. But first of all, what the heck is PF Tek?
PF Tek actually stands for Psilocybe Fanaticus Technique. It was developed by Robert ‘Billy’ McPherson, an American fungus fan who went by the name Psylocybe Fanaticas, and shared his eponymous growing instructions with the world. First featured in High Times magazine in 1991, McPherson’s manual has spread across the globe, its simple and accessible method becoming a favourite with anyone mushroom-minded.
The aim of PF Tek is to grow mushrooms from scratch, at home, with a cultivation method that utilises relatively cheap and widely available materials. The most common types of mushroom grown by this method are probably our dear psilocybin shrooms. However, you can also grow the edible lion’s and shaggy mane mushrooms, as well as the uber-cool bioluminescent Panellus stipticus.
OK, so now you know what you can do, it’s time to learn how to. This is our guide on how to grow shrooms with PF tek, based closely on the original instructions from Psilocybe Fanaticas himself.
For this step you will need: vermiculite, brown rice flour, water, a bowl and a spoon.
The ratio you use is 2:1:1. So, that’s two parts vermiculite to one brown rice flour and one part water.
So for example, what you will need for one half pint (240ml) jar is 120ml of vermiculite, 60ml brown rice flour and 60ml of water.
Get your aluminium foil and fold a piece in half. It should cover the top of the jar and down the side a bit. Scrunch the edges to seal the jar tightly, and make a secure lid. If you are using metal lids for your jars, make four holes spaced equally on the surface.
Next, get a second piece of foil, and put it over your foil or metal lid. Shape it so it fits snuggly, but you are still able to lift later for inoculation.
There are two sterilisation methods. The first requires a large cooking pot, you probably have one lying around in the kitchen cupboard. The second is slightly more specialised and calls for a pressure cooker— if you have one. Here we will cover both methods!
(If you stopped at any point to do something else, make sure you re-washed your hands and sterilised the needle again.)
Store your jars in a dark place, with a cosy temperature of between 21 and 27°C, (27°C is ideal if possible!) The warmer the temperature the faster the incubation and growth you will achieve.
Under ideal heat conditions, evidence of growth should appear in 3-5 days. The first clue is white specks on the vermiculite, these fluffy lil’ things are germinating spores. ‘White’ is key— green, pink or black means there has been contamination and an infection has begun. Throw the jar out. Do not try and re-use the jar. Try and work out where you went wrong in your sterilisation technique.
Ideally your mycelium should colonise the jar within 14-28 days. This largely depends on the temperature you incubated at, and the species of your spores.
Once your jar is a mycelium city, it’s time to start pinning. Pins are the beginnings of mushroom growth. Keep jars at around 21°C and expose them to light for around 4-12 hours a day. This can be either artificial or natural light, as long as it is indirect.
Pins can be identified within 5-10 days, however, this is species-based and it could take up to 30 days in some cases. Some people ‘shock’ their mycelium into pinning by wrapping their jar in a plastic bag and placing it in the fridge overnight. Once the pinning has begun you will see the tiny brown heads of baby mushrooms appearing.
The appearance of these tiny mushrooms means it’s time to remove your mycelium cake from its jar.
Fruiting can take place in any container that can be sealed loosely and at least one clear or translucent side. This could be a large tupperware, a plastic bucket with a see-through plastic bag as a lid, an aquarium, etc.
Line your container with 1.5cm of damp vermiculite (alternately you can layer wet paper towels), and birth the cakes by turning the jar upside down and letting them gently slide out.
If you are having trouble removing your cakes, replace the lid and GENTLY tap the underneath of the hand holding the jar with your other hand. DO not damage the tiny shrooms.
If your fruiting container is housing more than one cake, make sure they are at least 2.5cm apart from each other.
Once all your cakes have been born replace the lid of your container.
Ensure your bottom layer remains moist. If it is drying out, dampen it with a misting bottle, avoiding the cake and the little shrooms. Open your container once a day and fan fresh air into it.
Now it all kicks off! Your baby shrooms should start to become real mushrooms over the next 7-10 days. This is your first ‘flush’. When the caps begin to open— it’s harvest time!
Clean your hands and gently twist and pull the mature mushrooms out of the cake. Any smaller mushrooms should also be harvested too— everything must go. As long as they are not rotten they are good to use.
Your initial flush will be your largest, but you can expect more from your cake. After harvest, moisten your cake again and repeat fruiting instructions. You could get up to four flushes from each cake! Once your cake has been exhausted, you can plant it in your garden— you may get outdoor flushes!
Another method used by more seasoned Tek-ers is dunking. This can greatly increase the yield of your later flushes. After harvesting your first flush, submerge your cake in clean water for 12-24 hours. After you dunk, drain and gently pat dry with a fresh paper towel. Return it to its fruiting chamber and continue as before. Repeat this method at each subsequent flush.
So there you have it! All you need to know to do the PF Tek.
However, if this seems like rather a lot of time and effort (success rate on average is 50% ) —we have the answer! Our magic mushroom grow kits give you a bountiful harvest without all the messing around with syringes and gardening materials. Although PF Tek is of course an art— and a triumph for any shroom-fan— if you want an easy way to grow fresh magic mushrooms, Wholecelium is here to help you with our fool-proof kits. Not only are the spores pre-germinated but they come ready in their own fruiting chamber. It’s a no-brainer!