DO NOT SKIP THESE STEPS
Proper sterilization will make or break your grow. Your mushrooms are competing for the resources available in your kit. Introducing contaminants during the inoculation phase is unlikely to yield healthy, edible mushrooms.
In the introduction, we told you to gather a small list of sterilization supplies. Now is the time to use them.
We recommend starting your grow in a small closet or unused bathroom – anywhere where circulation can be limited and contaminants won’t be introduced accidentally by activity. The key with mushrooms is patience and planning. Having a dedicated space where your mushrooms won’t be disturbed is also paramount for growing success.
Step One: Cover all vents and window seals with plastic and tape, shut off fans and AC to the space, and seal any extraneous exits. Fewer ingresses means fewer chances for contamination.
Step Two: Don your protective gear – mask and gloves, please! A 2012 study identified humans as significant contributors for indoor bacteria, and a distinct indoor air signature of bacteria was demonstrated to be associated with human skin, hair, and nostrils – these bacteria are all potential mushroom saboteurs, and your mushrooms will do better without them.
Step Three: Mist everything with the 70% alcohol solution. Spray your grow space with the alcohol – shelves, knobs, plastic, even the air in the space and yourself. Sanitize as much space as possible. (Grower’s note: 70% alcohol is preferred for mushroom grows – it will kill bacteria and other contaminants without harming the mycelium or spores. Higher concentrations of alcohol will kill your mycelium.)
The most basic clean room setup is all about diligence. Sanitize on your way in. Be mindful of what you might be introducing to your grow. Keep your clean room as segregated from activity as possible. The ideal grow space has little light (and no direct light on your grow), minimal air movement, and the ability to be sealed to the outside. Do not allow pets or children to enter the grow space prior to your first flush.