The Ultimate Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home Using the PF Tek Method
10th Mar 2023
The Ultimate Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home Using the PF Tek Method
Are you interested in cultivating your own mushrooms at home? The PF Tek Method is a simple and efficient way to do so using brown rice flour, vermiculite, and 32 oz canning jars. This method, invented by Robert McPherson, is now widely used and is a popular way to cultivate mushrooms at home or indoors. This guide will take you through the entire process of cultivating mushrooms using the PF Tek method, from preparing mushroom jars to inoculation, incubation, and all the way to fruiting your mycelium covered mushroom cakes.
What is the PF Tek Method and What Does "PF" Mean?
The PF Tek Method is a simple and efficient way to grow mushrooms at home using brown rice flour and mason canning jars. Robert and Margaret McPherson introduced the PF Tek method in the 1990s, originally shared under the username "Psilocybe Fanaticus" on the Shroomery.org forums. Thanks to online communities, the method has been refined and widely adopted, making it one of the most accessible ways to grow mushrooms at home today.
So what does "PF" mean? According to Robert McPherson, the "PF" stands for "Psilocybe Fanaticus," which was his username on the Shroomery.org forums where he originally shared the method.
Tools You'll Need
If you're interested in trying out the PF Tek Method for cultivating your own mushrooms, here are the essential tools and materials you'll need:
- 32 oz mason jars or 16-8 oz mason jars without a neck (smaller is preferred for the PF Tek)
- Rye berries (optional, sterilize if used)
- Brown rice flour
- Spore syringe, liquid culture, or spore print
- Pressure cooker (optional)
- Clear plastic container (Shrooms Monotub)
- Sterilized Syringe Needle & Nail
Make sure you have all of these materials on hand before beginning the process.
Now that you have all the necessary mycology tools, let's dive into the step-by-step process of how to cultivate mushrooms using the PF Tek method.
Prepare the Mushroom Jar
The first step in growing mushrooms using the PF Tek Method is to prepare the mushroom jars. Here's how to do it:
- Sterilize the 32 oz mason jars using one of the following methods:
- Boiling water sterilization: Submerge the mushroom jars in a pot of boiling water for at least 60 minutes.
- Microwave sterilization: Heat the canning jars in a microwave for 2-3 minutes or until the contents reach 160°F.
It's important to note that a pressure cooker or autoclave is not necessary for the Original PF Tek method. Instead, the substrate and mushroom jars are sterilized using boiling water. However, some growers favor using a pressure cooker for greater efficiency and sterilization assurance.
- Mix 2 cups of vermiculite, 1 cup of brown rice flour, and 1 cup of water in a mixing bowl to create the 2:1:1 brown rice substrate recipe.
- Fill each wide mouth canning jar with the brown rice substrate, leaving about 1-.5 inch of headspace at the top.
- Cover the top of each glass jar with a double layer of aluminum foil, micropore material or polyfil, and poke four small holes in the top with a sterilized needle or nail.
- Allow the 32oz jars or smaller to cool to room temperature before inoculating them with mushroom spores.
Once the jars are sterile and prepped, the next step is to inoculate them with a spore print, spore syringe, agar or liquid culture. Here's how to do it:
- Sterilize a mushroom spore syringe by wiping the needle with alcohol and then flame sterilizing it until it glows red.
- Remove the aluminum foil, micropore or polyfil covering from the canning jar lids.
- Inject the spore solution into each of the four holes in the top of the jar. Each hole should receive about 1/4 cc from a 10cc or 12 cc spore syringe.
- Replace the aluminum foil or polyfil covering and cover it with a black trash bag or a towel to prevent light from entering the vintage jars.
Incubate the walmart canning jars at around 65-75°F for 10-14 days or until you see mycelium growth.
The Dunk and Roll Method for Fruiting Preparation
If you want to use the dunk and roll method to prepare for fruiting, here's what you need to do:
- Soak each mushroom cake in tap or distilled water for 12-24 hours.
- Sterilize a plastic container with isopropyl alcohol and fill it with vermiculite.
- Roll the soaked mushroom cakes in the vermiculite until they are fully coated.
- Create a mushroom grow chamber by placing moistened perlite at the bottom of a large container.
- Place the substrate cakes into the mushroom bin above the perlite, using a sterile wire rack, canning lids, or foil to keep them off the damp perlite.
- Check the humidity and temperature daily until mushrooms appear, which usually takes about a week.
PF Tek Fruiting
- Maintain proper humidity levels (>80%) by misting the inside of the tub with a mister regularly and ensuring the perlite remains moist.
- Allow for proper (FAE) air ventilation and filtration by fanning the mushroom tub at least once a day, or by using an air pump and airstone to create passive air exchange, FAE.
- Monitor the shotgun fruiting chamber temperature, aiming for 73-80°F.
- Harvest the mushrooms once they have fully matured and the veil underneath the mushroom cap has broken exposing the mushroom gills. Cut the mushrooms at the stem base using a sterile tool, such as scissors, scalpel or a sharp knife.
- Repeat the process with new mushroom substrate and spores to continue growing mushrooms.
PF Tek Done Right
The PF Tek method is a simple and effective way to grow mushrooms at home using readily available materials, such as canning jars, brown rice, and flour. However, just like mushroom growing kit it requires attention to detail and proper sterilization techniques to prevent contamination and ensure optimal fungal growth. By following the steps outlined above, you can master the PF Tek method and enjoy the magic fruits of your labor in the form of delicious, homegrown organic shrooms.
Other Methods to Consider
You can grow mushrooms at home using a variety of methods in addition to the PF Tek method, including the BRF Tek, the Popcorn Tek, the Shoebox Tek, the Uncle Ben Tek, and the Broke Boi Tek. Whatever method you go with, always put safety and sterile techniques first for a successful and fulfilling growing experience.
In conclusion, the PF Tek method is a simple and efficient way to grow mushrooms at home using brown rice flour and mason canning jars. This beginner-friendly technique can help you cultivate your own mushrooms with just a few essential tools and materials. We hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights into the entire process of cultivating mushrooms using the PF Tek method, from preparing the mushroom jars to fruiting the mushroom cakes. Remember to sterilize your tools and monitor your jars daily for any signs of contamination.
If you want to learn more about growing mushrooms using PF Tek, be sure to check out reputable mushroom blogs like Healing Mushrooms and How To Grow Mushrooms. These resources offer valuable tips and insights on this fascinating topic.
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