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






servation. If the leak is due to a puncture, the
hole is covered with plastic packaging tape. If
the seal is imperfect, the bag is returned to the
First Assistant for a second try at heat sealing.
Once each bag has been properly sealed and assured of proper labelling, thorough shaking is
in order. Using a combination of agitation and
rotation, the sawdust spawn is mixed through
the supplemented sawdust. The sawdust spawn
has a lighter color than the supplemented sawdust and hence it is easy to see when the spawn
has been evenly dispersed.

The Second Assistant gently slams the

sealed, domed bag on a tabletop to close any
open spaces, and increase the density of the
mass. (In shaking, the mixture becomes quite
loose.) The bag is positioned on a wire shelf
where daily observations are made for the next
few weeks. The bags are kept at least a fingerbreadth apart These newly inoculated,
incubating bags must not touch one another
Now that the duties of the three laboratory
personnel are clearly defined, working in concert becomes the foremost priority. A wellorganized laboratory team achieves a furious
pace. Conversation is kept to a minimum. (The
person doing the inoculations can't talk anyhow, except between sets of inoculations, lest
his breath spread bacteria. Wearing a filter
mask reduces this risk.) However, times arise
when one or more of the three-person production flows is interrupted. During these
down-times, counter-tops should be vacuumed
and wiped clean with alcohol. Garbage can be
consolidated. Finally, one's hands are washed
prior to any more inoculation activity. The pace
during the inoculation process should be both
rhythmic and fast. Inoculations are purposely
interrupted after every 50 or so bags so peri-

odic cleaning can occur. Depending on the
equipment, design of the facility, and experi-

ence of the laboratory personnel, better ways of

organizing the labor during inoculations will
naturally evolve. However, this method works
well. Hundreds of bags can be inoculated during a single shift. Greater efficiency is realized
if two or more sealers are employed simultaneously.
After inoculation, each bag can be shaken by

hand. Larger farms place the bags onto a grav-

ity conveyor leading to a multiple bag,
automatic shaking machine. As the crew's per-

formance improves with experience, block
production soars into the thousands per shift. With
each bag yielding $ 10-50 + U.S., every doubling
of production over a baseline level, realizes proprofits for the owners.

Once shaken the inoculated bags are placed
on open wire shelves and spaced about 1 inch
apart for incubation. Bags contacting one another are likely to contaminate with black pin
or other thermophilic molds.

Incubation of the
Production Blocks
The first two weeks of incubation after inoculation are the most critical. If the
supplemented sawdust is not fully colonized
during that time period, contamination usually
arises soon thereafter. Within several days of
inoculation, out-gassing of volatile by-products causes a distinctly noticeable fragrance.
As soon as the laboratory is entered, the atmosphere imparts a unique "odor signature?' The
smell is generally described as sweet, pleasant,
and refreshing.
The incubation room should be maintained
750 (24° C.) and have an ambient humidity
between 30-50%. Since the internal temperatures of the incubating blocks are often 20° F.
higher than ambient air temperatures, keeping

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