Please pardon this node's title. This is what you get when you cross noding what you know with a nodeshell rescue.
Indeed, if you're growing them in your dishwasher, you're using a rather inefficient growing environment and you're wasting a perfectly good dishwasher. In this writeup, I'll tell you how to make a cheap and easy mushroom growing chamber that is filtered, ventilated, humidified, and lit, and fully automated. This is a none-too-fancy terrarium for amateur cultivation, and I'm assuming that you already know how to colonize some substrate and other basic tasks of mycology. If not, see the links at the bottom.
You'll need the following supplies:
- A large plastic bin (think Rubbermaid) with a tight fitting lid. As big as will fit your growing operation.
- A smaller plastic bin. Just big enough to hold the next item...
- An air pump for a fish tank
- Some plastic tubing for a fish tank, at least a couple feet
- Some filter disks (I recommend ordering from www.micronmagick.com)
- A basic timer for electric appliances. No need to spend much money on this.
- A small night-light, I recommend an Indiglo or Lime light type.
- A small bag of perlite. (white gravelly stuff that you'll find in garden stores)
- A few foil baking pans
- an extension cord with at least 2 female ends you can plug into
- A bottle of hydrogen peroxide solution
- duct tape
- plastic cement (maybe you'll need it, maybe not)
First, cut your filter disks into a couple squares, about 2x2 inches. Yeah, you got like 25 disks if you ordered from micronmagick.com and we're only using one or two of them here. But these disks have all sorts of useful applications in our hobby, so don't feel bad--they won't go to waste.
Now we're going to cut some holes. Make one in the lid of your small bin such that one of your filter squares can cover it up. This is your intake. Make another one for exhaust on a side of the big bin, just a couple inches from the bottom. Now cut/drill a hole for your plastic tubing in your big bin. I recommend doing it about halfway up, but that doesn't really matter. Now make a similar hole on your small bin, wherever it's convenient. This one should be big enough for both the plastic tubing and the air pump's power cord. Or you can make a seperate hole for the cord, it's up to you. Now cut a couple small slits in the lid of the big bin such that the prongs of the night light can poke up through to the outside
Use duct tape to seal the filters over the large holes tightly. Connect the tubing to the air pump and thread it through the hole in the small bin and into the large bin. Just leave an inch or two inside the large bin, so you'll have more slack to move the bins around. Seal the tubing in place with duct tape, and if that doesn't hold it well enough, plastic cement it to the bin where necessary. Give the pump's power cord the same treatment.
Now fill one of your baking pans with 2-3 inches of perlite, then fill with water up to half the height of the perlite. This will be a basic humidifier. Add a couple capfulls of hydrogen peroxide to the water. This will promote sterility in the chamber. (If mold should form on the surface of a casing, a good thing to try is lightly spraying some dilluted H2O2 on it.) Just set this baking pan in the large bin and you should be good to go. You'll have to refill it from time to time. You can vary the humidity a bit by playing around with the amount of water in the pan. Mycellium colonization should be done at 95% or greater humidity, and fruiting at about 85%. I get by without having to take those rules too seriously, but if you want to be more precise, get a good ($$) hygrometer and perhaps use an ultrasonic or cool-mist humidifier instead of the perlite.
Now, if I haven't forgotten anything, it's time to plug all this stuff in. Put the night-light through the lid where you cut holes for it and attach it to the extension cord on the outside. Plug in the pump to another spot on the extension cord, and plug the cord into the timer. How long or how often it should be on is up to you. Mine comes on for about 45 minutes, twice a day. Of course this depends on the speed of the pump and on just what and how much you have growing in there. The light needs only be bright enough to see the cakes/casings, and it only needs to be on for five minutes a day (though more won't hurt), so don't worry about that at all.
Congrats, you now have a cheap and easy fully-automated fruiting chamber. The rest of the foil pans will come in handy for holding casings, but use the space in the chamber however fits your growing style. This chamber is suitable for some types of legal edible mushrooms as well as Psilocybe cubensis psychedelic shrooms. Of course I'm not responsible for any legal issues stemming from the use of this information.
Psilocybe cubensis / mexicana
Magic Mushroom Growers Guide
Psychedelic Guide: Mushrooms