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






and market niches—in their overall system
Growing the Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus

ostreatus, on straw is less expensive than
growing on sterilized sawdust. In contrast,
Shiitake, Lentinula edodes, which barely pro-

duces on wheat straw is best grown on

wood-based substrates.* When both straw and
sawdust are difficult to acquire, alternative substrates are called for. Mini-trials are
encouraged before substantial resources are
dedicated to any commercial enterprise. I en-

courage readers to formulate new blends of
components which could lead to a breakthrough in gourmet and medicinal mushroom

Alternative Fruiting

Here is a basic wood-free formula for the cultivation of wood-decomposing mushrooms. A

nitrogen supplement, in this case rice bran, is

added to boost yields.As discussed, the substrate
must be heat-treated by any one of a number of
methods to affect sufficient sterilization.

Alternative Fruiting Formulas
100 lbs. (45.5 kg.) ground corn cobs, peanut
shells, chopped roughage from sugar cane bagasse, tea leaves, coffee banana, saguaro
cactus, straw, etc.
10 lbs. (4.6 kg.) rice bran or approximately
2.5 lbs extracted soybean oil
4 lbs. (1.8 kg.) gypsum (calcium sulfate)
1 lb. (.45 kg.) calcium carbonate
100-140 lbs. (45-64 kg.) water or as required.
The amount of calcium carbonate can be al-

tered to effectively raise pH, offsetting any

inherent acidity. The components are mixed in
dry form and wetted until a 70-75% moisture
content is achieved. The mixture is loaded into

bags and immediately heat-treated. Should the
bags sit overnight, and not autoclaved, con-

taminants proliferates making the mixture

unsuitable for mushroom cultivation.
The methods described here for the cultiva-

tion of mushrooms indoors on straw can be
extrapolated for cultivating mushrooms on
chopped cornstalks, sugar cane bagasse, and
many other agricultural waste products. In con-

which should be
trast to wood
agristerilized, I believe most
cultural by-products are better pasteurized using

steam or hot water baths. Pasteurization typically occurs between 140-180° F. (60-82° C.) at
atmospheric pressure (1 psi). Sterilization is by
definition, above the boiling point of water,
>212°F. (100° C.), and above atmospheric pressure, i.e. >1 psi. A hybrid treatment, which I call
atmospheric sterilization or "super-pasteurization" calls for the exposure of substrates to
prolonged, elevated temperatures exceeding
190°F. (88° C.) for at least 12 hours. (See Figure
137.) In any case, a carefully balanced aerobic
environment must prevail throughout the incubation process or competitors will flourish.

Readily available, inexpensive, needing
only a quick run through a shredder (and

sometimes not even this), wheat straw is ideal
for both the home and commercial cultivator.
Straw is a "forgiving" substrate for the small

to mid-size cultivator, accepting a limited
number of contaminants and selectively favoring mushroom mycelium. Growing on
straw is far less expensive than growing on
sawdust. Many cottage growers enter the
gourmet mushroom industry by first cultivating Oyster mushrooms on straw. Wheat, rye,
patents have been awarded in the cultivation of
Shiitake on composted, wood-free substrates.
Although fruitful, wood-based substrates are still
preferred by most Shiitake cultivators.

* Several

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