Growing Mushrooms is a fun and rewarding pastime. To ensure success you need a few necessary tools . There are people out there that insist that you can avoid using these tools but if you do you'll be met with nothing but failure and quickly give up on the hobby.
1. A Pressure Cooker
This is the first tool you'll definitely need if you want to grow mushrooms from spores or mushroom cultures. Use the pressure cookers to completely sterilise your starting material. As we are creating the perfect medium for fungi to grow we must be careful not to introduce competition in the form of mold and bacteria.
In my personal experience the All-American Pressure Cookers are number one in terms of quality and build. They have a metal-on-metal seal meaning that you'll never have to replace those difficult to source rubber gaskets that seal other less-quality Pressure Cookers.
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It may seem a bit large but once you really get growing you'll be wishing you had a bigger one!
2. Quality Jars
Number 2 on the list of tools you'll need to get growing are a set of quality jars. Many professional mushroom growers use custom-made plastic bags to grow their mushrooms but these bags are a one time use and are just a bit harder to learn the basics with.
I would recommend the sturdy Mason jars made by Ball. They are solidly build and if treated with care will last you years and years, helping you to produce tons of fresh mushrooms. They come in a handful of different sizes but I would recommend the quart size.
3. A still air box (glove box)
A glove box or a still air box is another tool necessary for mushroom cultivation. Simply put, a glove box is a still air environment where you will do your sterile work. It keeps your work clean and away from any contamination (mold and bacteria) lurking in your environment. There are some amateur mushroom growers who simply clean a small room extremely well and get away with it, but for those of us that want to really succeed building a glove box is easy and cheap.
4. Cleaning agents
Keeping the area you're working in sterile is your number one priority when cultivating mushrooms. That's why I'd recommend a good cleaning agent to give everything a wipe down before working. Both Lysol and Oust are commonly used in hobby mushroom growing and even watering down methylated spirits to 80% and using that to clean surfaces works well. You can find everything you need at your local grocery store.
5. Disposable Gloves
The last tool you'll need to complete the list is a box of disposable gloves. You can find these at any grocery store (see link below for reference) and they are very affordable. Don't forget to use them! They'll keep your work space from becoming un-sterile and keep your precious mushroom jars from becoming contaminated from your hands.
Now all you need is some mushroom spores or a live culture. You can find almost any mushroom species by doing a quick google search for them. If you want to do some more in-depth reading on Mushroom Cultivation I would highly recommend the book listed below.
Happy mushroom growing!
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