Mycology is a fun and rewarding hobby which can often be done in the background of your life. Whilst you’re going off to work (earning the money to fund your ever growing passion for the mushlife) or down the pub having a few, your mycology project is forming those precious links and cultivating in the safety of that otherwise useless dark cupboard under the stairs.
It can be overwhelming to start off knowing nothing and entering forums, blogs or even websites such as ours to find information, but being met with contrasting advice and opinions. Mycology is an ever-growing, changing science. We only know about an estimated 10% of mycelium and fungi, so our knowledge is constantly evolving and changing with new discoveries. This is why we call your projects “experiments”.
Every time you give a kit a go, you’re exploring your own micro-climate and experiment. As scary as this may sound, it’s an easily attainable and rewarding project for those willing to give it a go. We’re here to make your life easy, and give you an understanding of what is needed to start your own home project.
We have so many kits available on our website it can be just as confusing as those forums. Go to one person and they may recommend a monotub for a beginner, go to another and they may suggest a Dutch kit. If you have no idea what either of these kits are or any idea how to go about using them, we’d strongly recommend against picking these for your first project.
As a beginner, you need something that will teach you about the process of mycelium so you can better understand it if you wish to take this hobby further. You need something simple, that you’re less likely to make mistakes with. Mistakes are normal in the hobby, and should be made as what else are we to learn from?
Mycology is a series of mistakes which has led us to many discoveries about spores, growing mediums and contamination. Although mistakes can be beneficial, we don’t want to subject beginners to this off putting feeling of not being able to get it right. Mistakes also take time, time that we don’t want our customers to waste when they’re wanting an end product as soon as possible. That’s why we’d recommend our inject and forget bags for those of you looking to start your first project.
Inject and Forget Bags
These bags are incredibly easy to use. They are filled with sterilized substrate containing a special formula to ensure your project goes well. There is a filter patch on the side so your project can breathe without having to expose it to contaminants, as well as a self-healing injection port. This kit requires no fanning, misting or opening of the bag pre-harvest, so your chances of contaminating your project are incredibly slim. Paired with a gourmet mushroom syringe (Lion’s mane is my personal favourite) and this kit will be unstoppable. Boasting multiple flushes, you’ll be inundated with mushrooms.
Is That It?
The inject and forget kits do not work alone. They, like the other kits we provide, require a constant heat source of around 26-27c. We don’t recommend using any kit without a heat mat unless you can ensure the temperatures will stay above 25 c and below 30 c consistently. Without a consistent temperature source, your mycelium will not feel safe enough to start reaching out and making those connections to begin the cultivation process. Remember, it’s all a game of survival for the mycelium to ensure it can spread its genes (spores), so it doesn’t mind hibernating until those conditions present themselves.
We also recommend a bag sealer for each bag you’re working with. To get to your first harvest, the seal of your bag will have be opened, leaving it susceptible to contaminants. Therefore, to prevent this from getting in the way of the following flushes your bag will produce, you need to seal up the edge of your bag to keep those nasties out!
Remember to keep your project in the dark, otherwise the mycelium won’t cooperate! Your project needs complete darkness to cultivate. Once it’s fully cultivated, you can then move it into the light. Full cultivation will typically take 2-4 weeks to occur. If this is taking longer, please reach out to us as something may need to be changed within your set-up. Please remember that even if your project has been delayed, as long as it isn’t contaminated it should be fruitful yet!
Contamination- Why is it so scary?
Contamination is often the death of your bag. Within our bags lies the perfect environment for microorganisms. Although it’s intended for mycelium, the bacteria doesn’t see why it can’t join in on the fun. Bacteria isn’t acting maliciously, much like its fungi counterpart it wants to live and reproduce. Whilst we can assure you our bags are sterilized completely prior to you beginning your project, often bacteria (or even unwanted fungus) can sneak in if the bag isn’t injected properly.
Once contamination enters the bag, whether this is at the beginning of your project or after your first harvest, not much can be done. Because the conditions are so perfect, the bacteria will most likely take over your bag. Unfortunately, bacteria is often faster at reproducing, so the chances your bag will defend itself are slim to none.
This all sounds rather scary, so why even bother if my bags are going to get contaminated?
Well, if you follow the guidance correctly, contamination is incredibly unlikely to occur. That’s what makes the Inject and Forget bags so great! The point of injection is the closest you’ll come to the possibility of contaminating your bag. You just have to make sure you’re doing it right.
- Wash your hands! Wipe the injection port with the provided alcohol wipe. Do not wipe or heat the already sterilized needle as contamination may occur. Do not wipe the air filter as it will damage its integrity.
- Inject the bag with your chosen spores.
- Give the bag 4 seconds to allow for the self-healing injection port to close and then mix until the substrate is a similar consistency.
- Lie the bag on its side (so the air filter is either facing you or away from you when looking at it straight-on) on the heat source.
- Pull up the corners of the bag like a crisp packet (but don’t open the bag!) to allow for air to circulate through the air filter.
- Leave in a dark place and check in every 7 days until fully colonized.
- Move into fruiting conditions until the bags ready to harvest.
The only other time contamination is likely to occur is when you come to harvest your project. To prevent this, make sure to wash your hands before going in to retrieve your mushrooms. You can use one of our handy bag sealers to keep your project sealed from contaminants or pesky flies.
Please refer to the product description of your chosen bag for a more in depth explanation; 1lb inject and forget, 2lb inject and forget, 4lb inject and forget with oxygen release agent, 4lb inject and forget light bag.
Does it matter what size bag I go for?
The size of your bag determines the yield of your project as well as the size of the syringe, bag sealer and incubation chamber/heat mat you will need. This may sound complicated, but it’s as easy as following this handy table below:
|Bag Size||Recommended Syringe Size||Bag Sealer Size||Heat Mat Size||Incubation Chamber Size||Size of Yield When Wet(Over Multiple Harvests)|
|1lb Bag||2.5ml||Small||7w||40L or 60L||50-75g|
|2lb Bag||10ml||Small||7w||40L or 60L||100-250g|
|4lb Bag||20ml||Large||20w||60L Only||350-750g|
What Spores Can I Use?
We sell so many different kinds of spores here, most of which are intended for study purposes only. We recommend using gourmet mushroom syringes (Lions mane, Reishi, Blue Oyster, etc.) for our kits. Our other spores must not be used within our kits as if grown they produce psilocybin. This process is illegal within the UK so we discourage the use of our spores for this. We cannot be held liable for the actions of our customers, but we recommend you follow the laws within your country. We intend for these spores to be viewed from under the microscope only for scientific research.
Have any Questions?
It can be incredibly confusing when you first start exploring this hobby, but we’re here to simplify things for you! If you need to get in touch or have any questions, please email us on [email protected] or call us on 08009949404.
Alternatively, we post helpful tips and tricks frequently on our social media channels which could help you out! Follow us on @shinyspores to keep up with the latest!
You’ve got this!