Posted by Cathy S. on November 10, 2015
Some think inoculation is a complicated process, but you don't need a hood or any fancy equipment for inoculation of jars. Just have a little respect for the task and the level of cleanliness it requires. Really much more time and care is spent preparing the jars themselves than actually inoculating them.
Start by choosing a work surface where you feel comfortable working, a kitchen counter or table works well. The most important thing is that it is a clean area free of dirt, dust and direct air flow from a vent. It also won't hurt to take a shower and put on clean clothes.
Read through and understand the directions before you start inoculations. It is important not to be in a rush, but to work quickly and mindfully. Take time to look at how the jars are handled in the photos, trying not to spend too much time lingering with your arms and hands over the uncovered jars. Do not touch ANYTHING that is going to into the jar; this includes the end of the needle, the luer lock hub on the needle, and the syringe.
While novice growers should follow each step above, some of the steps are optional. I have inoculated jars without wiping down the surface with a disinfectant, just wet paper towels, and then give the surface time to dry. I have even gone without gloves with good results. It is more important that you are careful about not touching surfaces and to work quickly.
After you have some experience and success, don't get too comfortable or sloppy. For example, don't inoculate jars after turning over the compost pile or working in the garden without a shower. You cannot get away with inoculate outside or in a room that is dirty. Always work carefully in sanitary conditions, and you will have a variety of mushrooms growing within a month!