Growing gourmet and medical mushrooms

Paul Stamets. Growing gourmet and medical mushrooms. - Ten Speed Press, 2000


1. Mushrooms, Civilization and History

2. The Role of Mushrooms in Nature

3.Selecting a Candidate for Cultivation

4. Natural Culture: Creating Mycological Landscapes

5. The Stametsian Model: Permaculture with a Mycological Twist

6. Materials fo rFormulating a Fruiting Substrate

7. Biological Efficiency: An Expression of Yield

8. Home-made vs. Commercial Spawn

9. The Mushroom Life Cycle

10. The Six Vectors of Contamination

11. Mind and Methods for Mushroom Culture

12. Culturing Mushroom Mycelium on Agar Media

13. The Stock Culture Library: A Genetic Bank of Mushroom Strains

14. Evaluating a Mushroom Strain

15. Generating Grain Spawn

16. Creating Sawdust Spawn

17. Growing Gourmet Mushrooms on Enriched Sawdust

18. Cultivating Gourmet Mushrooms on Agricultural Waste Products

19. Cropping Containers

20. Casing: A Topsoil Promoting Mushroom Formation

21. Growth Parameters for Gourmet and Medicinal Mushroom Species

Spawn Run: Colonizing the Substrate

Primordia Formation: The Initiation Strategy

Fruitbody (Mushroom) Development

The Gilled Mushrooms

The Polypore Mushrooms of the Genera Ganoderma, Grifola and Polyporus

The Lion’s Mane of the Genus Hericium

The Wood Ears of the Genus Auricularia

The Morels: Land-Fish Mushrooms of the Genus Morchella

The Morel Life Cycle

22. Maximizing the Substrate’s Potential through Species Sequencing

23. Harvesting, Storing, and Packaging the Crop for Market

24. Mushroom Recipes: Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labors

25. Cultivation problems & Their Solutions: A Troubleshoting guide


I. Description of Environment for a Mushroom Farm

II. Designing and Building A Spawn Laboratory

III. The Growing Room: An Environment for Mushroom Formation & Development

IV. Resource Directory

V. Analyses of Basic Materials Used in Substrate Preparation

VI. Data Conversion Tables





determine the moisture content of any given formula, weigh 100 grams of the grain, dry it out,

and re-weigh the remaining mass. (This can
easily be determined by drying out the moistened grain in an oven for at 300° F. (150° C.)
for 8 hours. The difference in weight is the water
lost, or the percentage moisture.) Now water is
added to achieve atargeted moisture content. Once
cooked, a sample of grain is taken and oven dried.

To check the proposed formula, just take the
mass of the lost water divided by the total mass
of dried grain and the lost water. This will give
you a moisture percentage. Remember, moisture percentage is the mass of water divided by
total mass, lost water included. This is not a ra-

tio of water to dry mass, but a percentage of
water over total mass. (This is a common mis-

take amongst certain schools of Shiitake
growers and wood lot managers.) Once a tar-

geted moisture content is achieved, spawn
growers rely on volumetric scoops customized
to the new formula for ease of handling.

Since grain comes to the consumer with an
inherent moisture content of 8-15%, less water
is added than might be expected to achieve the
right moisture content for spawn production.
Each cultivator may want to adjust the following
proportions of water to grain to best fithis needs.
Keep in mind that one liter (1000 ml.) of water
weighs 1 kilogram (1000 g.). A quart is
almost a liter and for the purposes of the mush-

room cultivator can be used interchangeably.
(The amount of grain within each vessel is specified in the following formulas.A variation of only
5-7% between the two volumes is not statistically
significant.) Gypsum is added to help keep the

kernels separated after sterilization and to provide calcium and sulphur, basic elements
promoting mushroom metabolism. (See Stoller,
1962; Leatham and Stahlman,1989.)
A delicate balance between the mass of grain
and added water must be preserved to promote
the highest quality spawn. As the spawn container is increased in volume, slightly less water

Grain Formulas for Spawn Production
16 oz. Mineral Spring Bottles

100 grams rye (approx. 125 ml.)
150 ml. water
.5 grams gypsum
(60% moisture*)

Gallon or 4 Liter Jars
800 grams rye
600 ml. water
4 grams gypsum
(43% moisture*)

Quart or
Liter Jars
200 grams rye
200 ml. water
1 gram gypsum
(50 % moisture*)
2 1/2 Gallon
10 Liter Jars
2200 grams rye
1500 ml. water

8 grams gypsum
(40% moisture*)

1/2 Gallon or
2 Liter Jars
480 grams rye
400 ml. water
2 grams gypsum
(45 % moisture*)

Standard Spawn
Bags (17.5 x 8.25 x 4.75 inches)

3300 grams rye
1400 ml. water
12 grams gypsum
(38% moisture*)

* These moisture contents are not meant to be taken literally. The natural moisture content inherent within
grain can affect absolute moisture by 15% or more. Properly dried grain should have 8-12% ambient
moisture. With the slightest increase above this level, bacteria proliferate, requiring that the sterilization cycle
be extended.

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