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




riences, using a nutrition particle already encapsulated by mushroom mycelium is more
successful. The ultimate solution may be a hybrid between liquid inoculum and grain spawn:
a semi-solid slurry millimeters in diameter
which would maximally carry water, nutrients,
and mycelium.

Matching the Spawn with
the Substrate: Critical
Choices on the Mycelial Path
Once spawn has been created, the cultivator
arrives at a critical crossroad in the mushroom
cultivation process. Several paths can be pursued for the growing of mushrooms, depending
on the species and base materials. Some of these
paths are intrinsically unproblematic; others are
not. Success is measured by the following cri-

teria: speed and quality of colonization, crop
yield, and resistance to disease.
The first step can be the most critical. When
trying to match a mushroom strain with an
available substrate, I place a small sample of the
substrate into the agar media formula. Upon ex-

posure, the mushroom mycelium generates
enzymes and acids to break down the proposed
food source. Once acclimated, the mycelium
carries a genetic memory of the end substrate

to which it


destined. With Shiitake,

Enokitake, Maitake, and Reishi, I acquaint the
mushroom mycelium with the host substrate by
introducing to the media a 1-2 gram sample of
the sawdust directly into the liquid fermentation
vessels. This liquid inoculum is then used to
generate grain spawn. I am convinced that this
method empowers the mushroom mycelium.
Grain spawn can be used for direct inoculation into pasteurized straw, into sterilized
sawdust, or into enriched sawdust. If growing
Oyster mushrooms, the recommended path is

to inoculate straw with grain spawn. If one

wants to create plug spawn for the inoculation
of stumps and logs, the best path is to go from

grain spawn to sterilized sawdust, and once
grown-out, to sterilized wooden dowels. For the
rapid, high-yield methods of growing Shiitake,

Enokitake, Maitake, Kuritake and others indoors on sterilized substrates, I recommend the
following path: going from grain spawn to ster-

ilized sawdust to enriched sawdust. Each

transfer step results in an expansion of mycehal mass, usually by a factor of 5-10 and takes
a week to two weeks to fully colonize.
The tracks recommended in the previous
paragraph are the result of thousands of hours

of experience. More direct methods can be
used, but not without their risks. For instance,
one can use grain spawn of Shiitake to inoculate enriched sawdust, skipping the
above-described intermediate step of sawdust.
However, several events are observed subsequent to inoculation. First, there are noticeably

fewer points of inoculation than if sawdust
spawn was used. As a result, recovery is slower
and colonization is not as even. ("Leap off' is

faster from sawdust spawn than from grain

spawn. The mycelium has already acclimated
to the sawdust substrate.) Most importantly, a
marked increase in temperature occurs soon
after inoculation, known by mushroom cultiva-

tors as thermogenesis. (See page 55). By
enriching the substrate with grain spawn, increasing its nitrogen content, biochemical
reactions are accelerated, and correspondingly
two main by-products: heat and carbon dioxide.
Should internal temperatures exceed 1000 F.
(38° C.) in the core of each bag, latent contami-

nants, especially thermophilic bacteria and
black pin molds (Aspergillus, Rhizopus, and
Mucor) spring forth, contaminating each and
every bag. These same bags, incubated at 75 F.
(24 C.) would otherwise be successfully cob-

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