HOW DO YOU WORK STERILE WHEN GROWING MUSHROOMS?
Growing mushrooms with a grow kit is really easy and also a lot of fun to do. But it is possible that things can go wrong if your kit becomes contaminated with bacteria or fungi. It is therefore important to always work hygienically. This is especially true if you want to make a spore print yourself. When you get started with growing magic mushrooms it is useful to learn the basics of sterile working to master. You can read all about it in this blog.
Why work sterile when growing mushrooms?
Everything you make yourself is tastier, that's a fact. Carrots from your own garden, a homemade cake, freshly baked bread from the oven, these all taste ten times better than the same products from the supermarket. The carrots taste pure and sweet, the cake is just the way you like it and the bread has a rich, full taste.
Growing magic mushrooms yourself is just as satisfying as maintaining your own vegetable garden. In addition, magic mushrooms already have a magical appearance by nature, making it a unique experience to see how they emerge from the mycelium. And you know how much you will enjoy your home-grown magic mushrooms. But, before that, you will have to handle your grow kit with care. That is why you should know a little more about sterile working if you want to grow magic mushrooms.
Working sterile is important to prevent or at least limit contamination of the substrate. This is necessary because magic mushrooms and the mycelium are very vulnerable to contamination with micro-organisms. To be clear: there is a difference between sterilizing and disinfecting. Disinfecting removes the majority of microbes from surfaces. If you are going to sterilize, make sure you remove them all.
Why is this so important now? Your magic mushrooms grow on a substrate, a medium that is rich in nutrients. This contains everything the mycelium needs to grow. But other fungi and bacteria also see this as a tasty meal and, if you are not careful, can also reproduce on this. Given that magic mushrooms are fungi, these unwanted microbes are therefore competitive. They can certainly endanger your mushroom cultivation. Microbes are also a threat when you start working with spore prints.
The invisible danger of microbes
You cannot see them, hear them or smell them, and yet they are everywhere. It is a well-known statement when we talk about bacteria and fungi. These are always and everywhere, both on you and in your environment, in the air and on your skin. If you want to enjoy a successful mushroom cultivation, you will have to take this into account. Just a single spore that ends up on your grow kit or your spore print can cause an infection with a foreign fungus.
Fortunately, the use of a grow kit ensures that the chance of contamination is very small. Such a grow kit is easy to use and already complete. You don't have to touch the substrate yourself, all you have to do is add water. The magic mushrooms can grow safely in the protective grow kit. If you are careful with this and follow the instructions for use, not much can go wrong. Nevertheless, it is useful to know the principles of sterile working. That is certainly the case if you want to dive deeper into mushroom cultivation and get started with spores, substrates and colonizing a growing medium.
Basics of working sterile with magic mushrooms
Below, you can see the most important steps in sterile working when growing magic mushrooms. Working sterile is not something that you do quickly in between. You can't work a little sterile. Take your time.
- Be as clean as possible yourself: wear clean clothes, wash your arms and hands with disinfecting soap. Wear gloves and a mouth cap and possibly a hairnet.
- Clean the place where you are going to work with disinfectant. This can be the countertop, but also a washbasin.
- Make sure the entire area is clean. Also pay attention to the air supply. Bacteria can enter through windows and doors. Limit drafts by closing windows and doors. If necessary, you could close any gaps with duct tape.
- Sterilize instruments with a lighter or torch. Note that sometimes you have to do this several times after you touch an instrument.
- The mycelium and the magic mushrooms grow in the substrate. This culture medium is a source of bacteria and must be pasteurized or sterilized before it can be used. This has already happened with a grow kit, but if you are going to make substrate yourself, you will have to take care of it yourself.
What do you need for sterile work?
- Latex or nitrile gloves
- Mouth cap
- Disinfecting gel
- Alcohol wipes
- Para film
When growing magic mushrooms, it is important to work sterile. With a magic mushroom grow kit from All in One, Fresh Mushrooms and Mondo Fortunately, little can go wrong. Anyone can grow magic mushrooms at home and enjoy multiple harvests. If you need stuff to work sterile, you can go for the handy and complete Magic Mushroom Startkit. This includes a mouth cap, gloves and a scalpel.