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Psilocybin Mushroom Handbook: Easy Indoor & Outdoor Cultivation
by L.G. Nicholas and Kerry Ogamé
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Book Reviews
Reviewed by FunGal, 6/18/2009

The Psilocybin Mushroom Handbook is an excellent resource for those interested in indoor and outdoor psychoactive mushroom cultivation; it appears to be the most elaborate and thorough text on the subject since Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide, written by Oss and Oeric. Although this 1976 classic is still reliable, there have been many advances in the realms of Psilocybe mushroom cultivation, necessitating an updated manual. This new, 2006 publication complements the methods described by Oss and Oeric, and includes overviews on more recent methods, including the PF Tek and outdoor cultivation approaches for Psilocybe species not even known to exist three decades ago.

Oss and Oeric were pseudonyms for Dennis and Terence McKenna, and the authors of this tome follow in the McKenna brothers’ footsteps, similarly choosing to write from the shadows. (Mycophiles are clued in to this pseudonymous approach since “karyogamy” [= Kerry Ogamé], a term listed in the book’s glossary, refers to the process when two fungal nuclei fuse during sexual reproduction, which must occur for mushroom fruit body to develop.) The depth of the current authors’ knowledge makes me wonder who L.G. Nicholas and Kerry Ogamé actually are? In any case, it’s obvious from reading their elaborate instructions that the authors are passionate about the topic; they are well-qualified and clearly have a diverse background and experience using these techniques. They even describe improvements to current methodologies.

It felt good to open the book and immediately read:

The material offered in this book is presented as information that should be available to the public. The Publisher does not advocate breaking the law. However, we urge readers to support the secure passage of fair and sane drug legislation.

This statement sets the stage for what is about to be described.

The book touches on all aspects of growing Psilocybe mushrooms. In addition to the chapters on various cultivation methods and their associated techniques, this handbook also contains information on the history of psychoactive mushroom cultivation, their biology, chemistry, physiological effects, and mushroom ingestion techniques. It also provides appendices including a glossary, details on building your own equipment, web resources for supplies, and references. And let’s not forget the 32 pages of color photos in the center of the book, many of which give a good visual representation to what is described in the text.

At present, details on outdoor Psilocybe mushroom cultivation are limited. In this chapter, the authors note what species are best to experiment with outdoors, explain protocols, and give tips on controlling beds in an outdoor setting. This was my favorite section of the book because it provides information on creating and restoring outdoor beds, as well as preparing beds for winter dormancy.

The term “easy” in the title is a little misleading. Nevertheless, this book takes a good stab at explaining this difficult topic to the general reader. A few parts of the book might be either dry or overwhelming to the non-scientist; however, the science behind commercial mushroom production in general can be tedious as well. Potential buyers and readers of the book should be aware beforehand that there are no simple approaches to growing these mushrooms. Many of the processes are detailed and require persistence through trial and error, as well as a long list of materials and supplies.

It’s a commitment to read the entire book from front cover to back, but I would recommend this time investment to those interested in cultivation of psychoactive mushrooms. Compared to some other resources available, this book is well-organized, descriptive, full of good photos, tips, and improvements, making it a valuable reference guide for any psychedelically inclined mycophile. It definitely spawned my enthusiasm for the topic.

Originally Published In : The Entheogen Review

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