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






ducing organ: the mushroom. Furthermore,
the slowness from sowing the mycelium to

the final stages of harvest confounds the
quick feed-back all cultivators need to refine
their techniques. Thus, experiments trying to
mimic how Chanterelles or Matsutake grow
may take 20-40 years each, the age the trees
must be to support healthy, fruiting colonies

of these prized fungi. Faster methods are
clearly desirable, but presently only the natural model has shown any clue to success.
Given the huge hurdle of time for honing
laboratory techniques, I favor the "low-tech"
approach of planting trees adjacent to known
producers of Chanterelles, Matsutake,
Truffles and Boletes. After several years, the
trees can be uprooted, inspected for mycorrhizae, and replanted in new environments.
The value of the contributing forest can then
be viewed, not in terms of board feet of lum-

ber, but in terms of its ability for creating
satellite, mushroomltree colonies. When industrial or suburban development threatens
entire forests, and is unavoidable, future-oriented foresters may consider the removal of
the mycorrhizae as a last-ditch effort to salvage as many mycological communities as
possible by simple transplantation techniques, although on a much grander scale.
Until laboratory techniques evolve to establish a proven track record of successful

marriages that result in harvestable crops, I
hesitate to recommend mycorrhizal mushroom
cultivation as an economic endeavor. Mycor-

rhizal cultivation pales in comparison to the
predictability of growing saprophytic mushrooms like Oyster and Shiitake. The industry
simply needs the benefit of many more years
of mycological research to better decipher the
complex models of mycorrhizal mushrooms.

Figure 10. Oyster and Honey Mushrooms growing
on a stump.

Parasitic Mushrooms:
Blights of the Forest?
Parasitic fungi have been the bane of foresters. They do immeasurable damage to the
health of resident tree species, but in the pro-

cess, create new habitats for many other
organisms. Although the ecological damage
caused by parasitic fungi is well understood,
we are only just learning of their importance
in the forest ecosystem. Comparatively few
mushrooms are true parasites.
Parasites live off a host plant, endangering
the host's health as it grows. Of all the parasitic mushrooms that are edible, the Honey
Mushrooms, Armillaria mellea, are the best

known. One of these Honey Mushrooms,
known as Armillaria bulbosa, made national
headlines when scientists reported finding a
single colony covering 37 acres, weighing at
least 220,000 lbs. with an estimated age of
1500 years! With the exception of the trembling Aspen forests of Colorado, this fungus
is the largest-known, living organism on the
planet. And, it is a marauding parasite!

In the past, a parasitic fungus has been
looked upon as being biologically evil. This

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