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




spawn is gravity fed or hand broadcasted onto
the straw as it is being ferried away. Foot activated switches are helpful in controlling the
off-loading of the substrate from the Phase II
box with the conveyor.
When spawn is placed directly upon the surface of pasteurized straw, mixing is strongly

advised. Cement and soil mixers, specially
adapted funnels, ribbon blenders, and
"Archimedes screws" suffice. If the spawn is
laid upon straw and not mixed through, growth
layers form resulting in uneven colonization.
The advantage of removing the straw and in-

oculating by hand is that the process can be
interrupted and recurrent cleaning can occur.
By intermittently disinfecting, cross-contamination can be prevented. With automated,
continuous ioop systems, the likelihood that
contamination can travel throughout the facility unchecked is greater. Special attention to
detailed disinfection is necessary with these

systems to prevent disastrous results should
pasteurization be incomplete. Once spawn has
been sown throughout the straw, the inoculated
substrate is placed directly into the "fruiting"

containers, usually columns, trays, or bags.
Each container must be vented so the myceHum can respire as it colonizes the substrate.

Alternative Methods for
Rendering Straw & other
Bulk Substrates for
MushroOm Cultivation
Several inexpensive, alternative methods
can be used for treating straw (and other bulk
materials) that do not involve heat treatment.
The first three are chemical; the last is biologi-

cal. Surely other alternative methods will be
developed as imaginative entrepreneurs experiment. By sequencing a substrate through a


combination of biological and chemical treat-

ments, heat pasteurization can be entirely
avoided. Small pilot-scale experimentation is
strongly encouraged before cultivators attempt
these techniques commercially. The future use
of such methods is promising.

The Hydrated Lime Bath Method
Hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) is ex-

tremely alkaline and water soluble. By
immersing straw into water baths high in hydrated lime, competitor fungi and bacteria are

largely rendered inactive from the drastic
change in pH. The preparation is quite simple.
Two to four lbs. of lime is added for every 50

gallons of water. (Since a gallon of water
weighs 8.3 lbs. this ratio is equivalent to 2-4
lbs. lime /415 lbs.water or about .5-1.0%) The
pH of the water skyrockets to 9.5 or higher.
Once dissolved, chopped straw is immersed

into this highly alkaline bath. Under these
caustic conditions, pH-sensitive microorgan-

isms soon die. Subsequent to an overnight
soaking, the water is drained and discarded.
(Note that this highly alkaline water kills many
plants and should be prevented from entering
any sensitive ecosystem or watershed.) The
straw is then drained and inoculated using standard methods. It is not unusual for the straw to
achieve a pH of 8.5 or higher after soaking.
Oyster mushroom mycelia can tolerate this alkaline environment better than most
competitors. After three or four days of initial
growth, pH slowly falls as the mycelium races

through the straw, secreting acids and enzymes. One week after inoculation the straw
should be fully colonized. If colonization is not

complete within 7-10 days, competitors usually arise. Optimizing the parameters for the
species being cultivated greatly influences the
success or failure of this simple method. Please

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