How To Grow Magic Mushrooms With Liquid Culture (2024)

Using a liquid culture to grow magic mushrooms makes the initial stages significantly easier. Find out exactly what a liquid culture is, and how to use one to inoculate all sorts of different substrates and achieve high-quality harvests.

Growing magic mushrooms at home is quite the undertaking, but it’s exceedingly rewarding too! There are many ways to go about it, and everyone has their preferences. However, using a liquid culture instead of a spore solution is generally considered to be a good decision!

With that in mind, this article details what a liquid culture is, and how to use one to grow shrooms.

What is a liquid culture?

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A liquid culture is a very fast and reliable way to inoculate a substrate with Psilocybe mycelium. With a spore syringe, activated spores are sprayed onto a substrate, where they begin to form mycelium and then grow. With a liquid culture, on the other hand, the mycelium is already formed, so the first and highly challenging aspect is already completed.

A liquid culture allows you to deliver fully formed mycelium directly to the substrate, where it can immediately take hold and develop. Not only does this significantly speed up the process, but it makes the mycelium much more robust and reduces the chances of it being outcompeted by some more aggressive fungi or bacteria.

How do you make a liquid culture?

Liquid cultures are bred in a solution of water and sugar, providing all of the nutrients that Psilocybe mycelium needs to begin growing. Often, the sugar is sourced from honey, which provides a rich and healthy source of food for your mycelium.

To make a liquid culture, you can just inject spores into this solution and allow them to begin growing. Alternatively, a better option is to develop mycelium on agar first, and then add this to a nutrient-rich solution. Of course, as with all things to do with mushroom cultivation: everything must be sterile!

For a full guide on the process, check out our dedicated article on making a liquid culture at home.

Related articleWhat Is Liquid Culture, And How Do You Make It?

Why use a liquid culture?

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced grower, liquid cultures offer perhaps the most reliable way to get a magic mushroom grow going. Of course, you could choose to use a fully colonised magic mushroom grow kit, but if you want to grow from scratch, then you can’t really beat a liquid culture.

A liquid culture can be used in pretty much the same way as a spore syringe. It can be used to inoculate the PF tek (brown rice flour and vermiculite), grain spawn, and even bags of pre-cooked rice! All that really differs is that the development of the mycelium on the substrate will be faster and less susceptible to competition.

If you’re feeling lazy or just want to get started quickly, you can buy syringes that are preloaded with liquid culture. This method really makes the whole cultivation process faster and avoids the one drawback of using a liquid culture: that you have to make it.

If you choose to make one at home, then creating the right environment for one to thrive takes a little work and time, and can become contaminated. However, the beauty of a liquid culture is that once you have one, you can successfully inoculate many different substrates and achieve many high-quality flushes!

How to grow magic mushrooms with liquid culture

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If you fancy growing mushrooms with a liquid culture, you need to know how to use it. The good news is that doing so is no more difficult than using a spore syringe, and the process is basically the same. The following sections will outline how to grow magic magic mushrooms using a liquid culture syringe.

Equipment

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  • Liquid culture syringe
  • Spawn bag with substrate or PF tek cakes
  • Still air box (SAB) or laminar flow hood
  • Disinfectant/isopropyl alcohol
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Flame source
  • Sterile gloves
  • Micropore tape (optional)

You can buy premade spawn bags that are ready to be inoculated, or you can make your own grain spawn or PF tek cakes at home.

Sterile Gloves

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Prepare your grow

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Before you start inoculating anything, you need to sterilise the area and all equipment. This means wiping down the surfaces with disinfectant or isopropyl alcohol. Also wipe down the insides of your SAB.

99% Isopropyl Alcohol 1 litre

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Then, use disinfectant wipes to clean the outsides of any jars or spawn bags that you will soon be using.

Once the area and equipment is clean, wash your hands thoroughly and put on a pair of sterile gloves.

Inoculate your spawn

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You’re almost ready to inoculate your cakes or spawn. But first, you need to sterilise your syringe needle. This step should be done only just before inoculation. To sterilise the needle, hold it in a flame until it is red hot. Let it cool before progressing. Before using a flame, ensure that all alcohol is far away. These liquids are highly flammable and can ignite or explode on contact with a flame.

Now, move everything beneath your SAB or flow hood to reduce the chance of contamination during inoculation.

Once cool, take your spawn or cakes and push the needle through the injection ports. Inject around 5cc (ml) of solution into your bag/jar. If it doesn’t have a self-healing injection port, quickly cover with another layer of micropore tape.

You now need to leave your spawn in a warm, dark place while it colonises. This should take around 1–2 weeks and happens most efficiently at 28ºC. Within days of injecting the liquid culture, you should see mycelium growing within the bag (it is white and looks like cotton wool). If you see something growing that isn’t mycelium, then your grow is contaminated and you should throw it away.

Colonising your spawn

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Once your spawn is colonised, it should be used to inoculate a larger substrate from which you will harvest your mushrooms. If you’re using the PF tek method, then you can also begin fruiting immediately (more on this below).

Casing and trays

This is a quick and simple way to cause grain spawn to fruit. Open the bag and lay the spawn out on a tray. You can break it up to spread it out, but don’t spread it too thinly. Then, cover this with some kind of casing.

A mix of coco coir and vermiculite can work well. The main point of a casing is to trap moisture in the substrate so it doesn’t dry out. Soon, as it’s exposed to the air, the mycelium below will begin forming hyphae and start developing into mushrooms.

You should spray the casing twice daily with water from a misting bottle, and keep it between 23–28ºC. If you notice it drying out, don’t hesitate—spray it to keep it wet!

Bulk substrate

If you’re feeling patient, then you can use your grain spawn to colonise a bulk substrate, and eventually harvest a huge amount of magic mushrooms.

A bulk substrate can take various forms, but one of the easiest is the monotub technique. With this tek, you use the grain spawn to colonise yet another, larger substrate, where it continues to grow and eventually produces large flushes of magic mushrooms.

Ready-to-fruit substrate

Alternatively, if using the PF tek, you can begin fruiting right away in a shotgun fruiting chamber (SGFC).

These containers maintain a high level of humidity, and you place your cakes inside and wait for them to begin fruiting.

What are the optimal conditions for mycelium and magic mushrooms?

Depending on what method you're using, exactly how you look after your mycelium will differ slightly. However, there are two main factors that never change: heat and humidity!

Mycelium loves an ambient temperature of around 28ºC and relative humidity (RH) of 95–100%. The jars or spawn bags should easily maintain this high humidity, so all you need to do is keep the temperature right. Heat mats and small heaters aren’t ideal. Rather, for best results, you should aim to keep the ambient temperature of the space at the correct level.

When fruiting, mushrooms like a temperature of between 21–25ºC and, ideally, an equally high RH as above, though they can deal with a little fluctuation.

Basically, you should strive to keep your grow warm and wet at all points!

Fruiting and harvesting

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To fruit your mushrooms, you need to open up the bags and expose them to air; this triggers the production of mushrooms. However, check the specifics of your growing method before doing this. For instance, with a PF tek, you need to dunk them in cold water for 24 hours first.

Once exposed to air, hyphae should soon begin to form. These are dense clusters of mycelium that go on to develop into mushrooms. Once they appear, you can just allow your mushrooms to grow for a few days, maintaining the temperature and humidity.

You need to harvest the mushrooms before the veils drop. This is when the membrane on the underside of the caps splits and releases spores. If spores make contact with the mycelium beneath, then it will stop producing new mushrooms, and you don’t want this. To harvest your mushrooms, hold them at the base and gently twist and pull.

You can usually repeat this process five or even six times until you no longer get new flushes.

Let loose with liquid culture!

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If you want to grow shrooms at home, using a liquid culture will make your life easier, and your harvests larger!

If you decide to make one, then it’s a new process that you’ll have to learn, but it isn’t that hard. And if you buy one somewhere, then you’re just making your life significantly easier. Still, making liquid culture is good fun, so give it a try.

For all of your magic mushroom growing needs, head over to the Zamnesia store where we have everything you need to start cultivating.

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How To Grow Magic Mushrooms With Liquid Culture (2024)
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