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






cycling strains prefer higher temperatures. The
cold weather strains require a longer gestation
period before fruiting. The cultivator must cus-

tomize initiation strategies to each strain, a
process fine-tuned with experience.

For instance, I isolated a strain of the

Winter Mushroom or Enokitake, Flammulina
velutipes, from the high-altitude forests outside of Telluride, Colorado in 1990. Typically,
strains of this mushroom produce at temperaF. (7-13° C.). This isolate
tures around
produces prolifically between 65-75° F. (1824° C.), outside of any published parameters

for this mushroom. In this case, the classic
initiation strategy of cold-shocking is unnecessary. If you are a commercial cultivator of
Enoki mushrooms, spending thousands of
dollars a year on refrigeration systems, this

unique strain has exceptional monetary value.
Of the many factors already described for
producing successful crops, the mis-application of only one can result in poor fruitings or
absolute failure. Each grower is strongly encouraged to conduct mini-trials before
endeavoring commercial cultivation.

Optimization of yields is realized only if
the grower becomes keenly sensitive to, and
satisfies the unique needs of, each mushroom strain. Therefore, the following parameters should be used as a general guide, to
be refined in time and with experience. The
first set of parameters is centered on the incubation period, called SPAWN RUN; the
second set is for initiating mushrooms,
third is for cropping or FRUITBODY DEVELOPMENT. In essence, each stage of
mushroom growth has a different ideal envi-

ronment. As each factor is changed, secondary effects are seen. The skill of a mushroom cultivatoi is measured by the ability to

compensate for fluctuations in this complex
mosaic of variables.

SPAWN RUN: Colonizing

the Substrate

Spawn run spans the period of time when the

mycelium is colonizing the substrate. Other
than the factors described below, the amount of
spawn inoculated into the substrate can greatly
affect the duration of colonization, and therefore, the time to fruiting.
Moisture: Substrate moisture contents
should be between 60 and 75%. Moisture contents below 40% promote slow, wispy mycelial
growth. Unless a casing layer is used, the moisture content of the substrate gradually declines
from initial inoculation. For instance, the water
content of straw at inoculation is nearly 75%,

precipitously dropping after the first flush to
the 60% range, and continuing to steadily decline through the remainder of the cropping
cycle. The cultivator's prime responsibility
during this period is to manage the moisture
reservoir as if it were a bank. Moisture loss
must be limited before initiation or else the
mycelium will fail in its efforts to generate
mushrooms, which are themselves about 90%
water. The solution: retard the loss of substrate
moisture by maintaining high humidity during
spawn run.

Air Exchange: Mushroom mycelium is remarkable for its tolerance for carbon dioxide.
At levels snuffing out the life of a human,
mycelium thrives. Some Oyster mushrooms'
growth rates peak at 20% carbon dioxide, or
200,000 ppm. However, this CO2 environment
is equally stimulatory to competitor molds.

The best level varies with the strain, and

whether one is working with pasteurized or
sterilized substrates.
To reduce carbon dioxide, fresh outside air

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