Depending on how involved you get, growing mushrooms can often be a fairly simple process. Today we offer a wide range of mycelium products, which work simply by adding water!
It is important to know however, that the mushroom spores, mycelium and the mushrooms themselves are extremely vulnerable to contamination. This will have generally catastrophic consequences for the development of the mushrooms themselves.
This is why during the process of handling mycelium, spores and mushrooms it is essential to be mindful of your own personal hygiene, your surroundings and your instruments.
The spores and substrate themselves will make contact with all of these factors during the grow process, so as you decrease the sterility of your workplace, so too the quality and productivity of your grow.
Here are some tips from us to help you keep your mushrooms safe from pesky bacteria:
1. Wash your arms and hands thoroughly with disinfecting soap and wear gloves and mouth mask before you set out to work.
2. Clean your workspace thoroughly with disinfectant, try to use as small a space as possible to minimise the area you need to keep tidy.
3. There is lots of bacteria in the air, so make sure your operation is closed away and free from any draft that could be getting in through a door or window. If necessary, this could involve sealing the space with duct tape or something similar. (You could also use a glove box or laminar flow cabinet.)
4. Be sure to use a pressure cooker, lighter or blowtorch in order to sterilise any metal instruments you may be using in the process. Remember, if you touch something that is no longer sterile, you will always have to clean it to make it sterile again.
5. Make sure the inoculant you are using is sterile. The spores and mycelium are the basis of the process and it is essential that they are kept sterile for at least the beginning stages of the grow.
6. The substrate is the last place at risk of contamination; it serves as the feeding ground for the mycelium and mushrooms. It contains ingredients such as rye, vermiculite, rice flour and straw, all of which contain millions of bacteria. Therefore the substrate should always be sterilised using a pressure cooker or pasteurised.