Fruiting and Harvesting Mushrooms

Part 2 : Unit 5 : Fruiting and Harvesting Mushrooms

This is both the most nerve racking and rewarding step of them all. If everything has gone well, your monotub should be incubating for about 10 days now. Using a flashlight, you can peek through the clear plastic to see how the colonization of mycelium is going. Once it has fully covered the entire substrate with a snow-white blanket, jeweled with lots of tiny dewdrops, it’s time for the “fruiting process” to begin.  Basically, this involves gently introducing a flow of fresh air, and bringing on a very slow process of evaporating the moisture on the surface of the mycelium. These conditions spark the fruiting process of the mycelium cake, where tiny knots start forming on the surface of the mycelium. These knots turn to mushroom pins, which in turn, become fully grown mushrooms – all within the space of a few days.

Putting your Monotub into Fruiting Conditions

Items needed
Notes & Tips
Fruiting mushroom pins
Cubensis Mushroom Pinning

Video Tutorial : Fruiting Your Monotub

The video markers above 👆🏼correspond to the the various Steps in this Unit. Click on them to skip to a Step.

Step 1 : Remove the lid from the Monotub and drain any Water from it.

After about 10 days of incubation, try to peek inside the tub without opening it to see if all the surface of the grain / substrate cake is covered in mycelium. If it is, proceed to carefully open the lid, without letting any water droplets from the lid fall onto the mycelium cake. Wipe down the water from the inside of the lid, and place it back on the tub.

Step 2 : Cut out the Air Vents from the Monotub.

Next, use a scalpel to re-cut out the 8 holes in the monotub, by slicing through the gorilla / duct tape. Once cut out, cover these holes once again with a single layer of micropore tape. If the piece of micropore tape is not large enough to cover the entire hole, use a second piece with a small overlap. If you don’t have micropore tape, you can fill the holes with polyfil fibers instead. These will act as air filters, allowing in air, but keeping bugs and contaminants out. These 8 holes should allow for enough FAE inside the tub without the need of opening the lid to let air in.

Step 3 : Avoid Touching, Opening or Moving your Monotub during Incubation.

Pace the tub in an area which has indirect light. In the next week or so, FAE in the tub will start evaporating the water inside it. This evaporation will trigger baby mushroom pinning on the surface of the mycelium. If the sides and lid of the tub become totally dry, spray them with some water using the fine-mist spray, although this should not generally be needed until the first flush. 

Pictures : Freshly Opened Monotubs and Perfect "Mycelium Cake" Surface Conditions.

Harvesting your Magic Mushrooms

Items needed
Notes & Tips

Video Tutorial : Harvesting your First Flush

The video markers above 👆🏼correspond to the the various Steps in this Unit. Click on them to skip to a Step.

Step 1 : Prepare the Monotub (and yourself) for the Harvest.

Put on a pair of gloves, look around inside your tub and bask in the glory of your first flush! Identify the mushrooms which are ready for harvesting and think about how you will access them with minimal damage to their surroundings.  You are looking for mushrooms with veils have opened, or just about to open.
Mushroom veil just about to open
Mushroom Veil Just About To Open

Step 2 : Pick and Harvest Mushrooms

Hold the bottom of the stem of your first mushroom, and gently twist it until it disconnects from the mycelium cake. You can also tip the mushroom over the break it off at the base. You want to create as little damage as possible to the cake when doing this. Place all your mushrooms in a container such that all the caps are on the same side, so that the substrate at the base of each mushroom doesn’t stick to the body of the other mushrooms. Repeat the process once or twice a day for the next 2-3 days, until you have completed the harvest of your first flush.
Twist to pluck mushrooms
Twist To Pluck Mushrooms

Step 2 : Clean off Remaining Substrate or Dirt from Mushroom

Use a cutting board and knife to chop off the substrate-covered base of each mushroom, and gently brush off any substrate residue, until you have a pile of clean mushrooms. Do not wash them as this will reduce their potency!

Cut base of mushroom
Cut Off Substrate From Base

Pictures : Mushrooms Ready for Harvesting

Cubensis ready to harvest
Cubensis Ready To Harvest
Full flush of cubensis
Full Flush Of Cubensis
Chopping magic mushrooms
Chopping Magic Mushrooms

Drying and Storing your Magic Mushrooms

Items needed
Notes & Tips

Video Tutorial : Drying and Storing your Mushrooms

The video markers above 👆🏼correspond to the the various Steps in this Unit. Click on them to skip to a Step.

Step 1 : Dry Mushrooms in Food Dehydrator

Place freshly picked and cleaned mushrooms on the trays of the dehydrator. Very large or chunky mushrooms should be split in two to facilitate drying. Once in, run the dehydrator at temperatures around 95-100 F for between 12-24 hours. 

Step 2 : Verify Mushrooms are Bone Dry

Over the drying period, occasionally inspect the mushrooms by touching and bending them. They are considered “bone dry” when then snap on bending. Once all mushrooms have become bone dry they are ready for long term packaging.

Step 3 : Package and Seal Mushroom Jars

Get an airtight container such as a mason jar. Place 2 silica gel packs in the bottom of the jar. Fill the jar half way with dry magic mushrooms. Place another two silica gel packs mid way through the jar. Fill the jar to the brim with dry mushrooms and add a final two silica packs, making a total of 6. Seal the jar tightly with a regular, unmodified lid. This jar should be stored in a dark, cool and dry place. The dry mushrooms can be kept this way for several years.

Next Unit: Managing additional flushes. Learn how to rehydrate and feed your mycelium cake so that it gives additional (up to 3-4) magic mushroom flushes. Love your cake, and it will love you back.

7 Responses

  1. Hi!!! Thanks for this tutorial!!! One question how much weight can you make out of this same set up? I just bought the same following your instructions… Thanks you so much!

  2. I have a question about a second fruiting. Since there are many more mushrooms left, can you let them grow and pick the second batch after initial harvest? Or should you only harvest the first fruiting and then toss the remaining spores that need more time since they are farther down in the substrate? Thanks in advance.

    1. Good question. I find that for me, this depends whether the growth in the tub is even or not. In tubs with even growth of the mushrooms, where they are mostly the same shape and size, I usually harvest them all, then clean the substrate from remaining undeveloped pins (to avoid the rot), and then re-inject with liquid. Sometimes the tub grows unevenly, and then it’s more of an ongoing process of picking and rehydrating than straight flushes.

  3. Helo,
    Very nice instruction. Thanx. I was just wondering, you say “be careful not to let any water droplets fall on the surface of the mycelium”. If there is a lot of condensation and dropping of huge droplets mycelium… what is the down side of it? How to go about afterwards? I guess a thic layer of mycelium formes instead of fluffy small pins…

    1. Thank you! Water can suffocate mycelium if it pools on top of it, and usually prevents the area covered with water from pinning. Also, pools of water on top of the mycelium may indicate that your CVG substrate was over hydrated, so you can dial your water ratios better next time around.

  4. Hi funguy, so I have made it this far and what an adventure it has been, my compliments to you! I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind? Coming into FAE, the tubs are humid as the walls and lid are all misted up, although not to the point where there was an impending chance of water droplets from the lid falling onto the cake, does the humidity of the tub need to be such that you, can visibly see signs of water droplets on the cake surface for pinning to occur. All of my grown is Tomentose and not Rhizomorphic, every guide seems to be Rhizomorphic growth so i can’t seem to find a baseline comparison.

    Many Thanks

    1. Thank you for the kind words. This is a good question, and your observations are correct. Usually some really fine humidity droplets appear on the mycelium, some classic examples can be found in the various pinning pictures on this page for both rhizomorphic & tomentose growth, you can click on the images to enlarge them and zoom in. I’ll add some image captions as well for better clarity. I was happy to see the followup message saying you had success!

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