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






A dozen or so casing soils have been used
successfully in the commercial cultivation of
mushrooms. They all revolve around a central
calset of components: peat moss, vermiculite,
cium carbonate
(gypsum). Recently, "water crystals," a watercapturing plastic, have been tried as a casing
component with varying results.These crystals
in wacan absorb up to 400 times their weight
ter and do not support contaminants, two
desirable characteristics.
fact that water crystals are not fully biodegradable and can not be easily recovered from the
spent substrate greatly limits their acceptance
by environmentally astute growers. Starchbased water absorb ants tend to clump and must
be added with an aggregate. Cultivators must
weigh in balance these factors when designing
the casing mixture.
For many years, cultivators have used the
following casing formula.

Casing Formula (by volume)

book, calcium carbonate should be excluded.
Typically, this chalk-free mixture gives pH
readings from 5.5-6.5.
Mix the dry components together in a clean
bucket or wheelbarrow. Add water slowly and
evenly. When water can be squeezed out to form

brief rivulets, then proper moisture has probably been achieved. A 75% moisture content is
ideal and can be tested by measuring the moisture lost from a sample dried in a hot oven.
Once wetted, the casing is applied to the top
of a substrate, but only after it has been thoroughly colonized with mycelium. Casing soils
are best used with tray, bag, or outdoor
culture. Although some of the following mushroom species are not absolutely dependent
upon a casing soil, many benefit from
species marked with an"*" are dependent upon
soil microorganisms for fruitbody formation.
Under sterile conditions, the "k" species will
not fruit well, or at all. Typically, a one-inch
layer of casing soil is a placed onto 4-10 inches
of myceliated substrate.

10 units peat moss
unit calcium sulfate (gypsum)
I unit calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate is used to offset the acid-

Agaricus brunnescens* The Button Mushroom
The Warm Weather
Agaricus bitorquis*
Button Mushroom

ity of the peat moss and should be adjusted
according to desired pH levels. Calcium sulfate,

Agrocybe aegerita,

The Black Poplar

The Shaggy Mane
Coprinus comatus
Ganodernia lucidurn, Reishi or Ling Chi

a non-pH affecting salt*, provides
and mineral salts, espe(particle
cially sulphur and calcium, essential elements

alfor mushroom metabolism. Peat moss,

though lacking in nutrition, is resplendent with
mushroom stimulating bacteria and yeasts .The
above-described formula depends greatly on
the starting pH of the peat moss. Generally, the

pH of the resultant mixture is 7.5-8.5 after
make-up. As the mushroom mycelium colo-

nizes the casing layer, pH gradually falls. For
some acid-loving species mentioned in this


pH by 1/2 of a
Gypsum. calcium sulfate, may affect

point. Its pH-altering ability is minor until the
sulphur evolves into sulfuric acid. Calcium and
sulphur are essential elements in mushroom
metabolic processes. If the substrate is lacking in
these essential elements, yields are adversely
affected. Shiitake, in particular. benefits from the
addition of calcium sulfate to sawdust substrates.

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