My second post:
I've been teaching a small number of beginners how to grow and here are some things I tell them. Do you agree or *scorn* these ideas -- I'd love to hear your thoughts.
- Stay calm, don't fiddle with recipes too much. Most methods worked for someone, so choose one to start and follow it as best you can.
- Mistakes give truly valuable insights for your next attempt. Study what went wrong, ask questions, and do one thing differently next time.
- Don't look for the One True Answer on the internet. There is simply too much opinion out there. Just start and learn as you go. You'll see experts disagree dramatically, and it doesn't help you at first. Real life example "Popcorn is the worst possible medium to spawn into, all mine were disasters" vs "Popcorn is by far the best and most forgiving medium, I have used it literally hundreds of times." So, what do you do? This clash of titans happens online about everything such as fresh air exchange, size of holes, dunking, misting, casing, gypsum, use of microwaves etc etc etc. Take a breath and...
- Do small experiments. Find out for yourself what works in your circumstance. Examples, try both a small monotub and small double tub; try popcorn and rye grain.
- There are so many variables, no one can predict your specific outcomes. Your circumstance is unique, so only you can discover what works. You get grains from a different supplier than other people. They might sterilize substrate for 1/2 hour longer. Mold spores floating around will be different for you than anyone else. There are a hundred other factors at play.
- Over time build up your knowledge of "sterile technique" and how contaminations can, and will, occur
- Understand the life cycle of mycelium. How it grows from spores to hyphae, how it expands into a nutritious substrate, why it realizes it's running out of food and therefore must fruit. This will help you know when to fiddle with your jars or bulk bin, and when to leave it alone and let nature take its course.