“Those who think that growing mushrooms can’t be as spiritual an experience as growing cannabis have never watched a handful of Psilocybe cubensis caps emerge from a freshly prepared cake.” That is the overriding tone of this book, as the authors guide you through the surprisingly simple process of growing your own magic mushrooms. The star of this book is the Psilocybe cubensis, which is the most commonly grown psychedelic mushroom.
In a nutshell, you prepare specific food laden media, add the spores and let this incubate in a dark, warm, moist place. Once it is done, you transfer the media to the grow area and turn on the light to let the fruit develop. In a mushroom, the part above the ground is the fruit, while the roots, the mycelium, remain in the media. Once they have fruited, you can eat them fresh, or dry them for later consumption. That sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, yes it is, but before you start planning a grow alongside your African violets, bear in mind that you are dealing with a delicate spore and you have to have some basic equipment on hand to accomplish the deed and that is where the authors of this book really win my praise.
This fun and easy to read book is the collaborative work of two authors: Virginia Haze, a writer and sometime commercial shroom grower and Dr. K. Mandrake, a dedicated home grower who did his doctorate in shrooms. The pair have worked together to perfect the techniques that they describe in this book and these techniques are key. They will take you by the hand and tell you exactly what you need and how to easily make it from stuff you can buy and assemble at home. Then, of course, they teach you how to use it. Things like how to prepare a Ptek cake, which is a simple grow media that has revolutionized home shroom growing the same way that Skunk has revolutionized home cannabis growing. How to build a simple sterile glove box. How to produce a successful culture. For all three of these topics, and many more, the authors give you a description as well as easy-to-follow pictorials so you never have to feel intimidated by the technical aspects of shroom growing.
It is worth noting that the cubensis is only one of a large family of mushrooms that contain psilocybin and other psychedelic compounds. While the ages old spiritual and recreational uses of these are well known, clinical trials into the medical applications have been hampered by their illegality in much of the world. Glimmers of light are peeking through, as researchers realize that their properties are showing great promise for treating depression, anxiety, cluster headaches and other physical and psychological maladies. Surprisingly, the authors only touch on this briefly, but they do go on to extol the benefits of micro-dosing for mood enhancement.
So if you have ever been curious about growing your very own crop of shrooms, this book is a must. I don’t really know why, but this review has given me a lot of trouble as I have started it and walked away twenty times and then, when I was finally on a roll, I deleted it by mistake. I guess the Cannabis Gods were miffed that I was straying out of the fold with a review of a mushroom book. But I was glad I did.