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






When I was a impoverished, near-starving student living in a remote, unheated 'A' frame house
in the boondocks, Jeff Chilton generously deliv-

ered flats of fresh Shiitake which I eagerly
consumed, cooked and raw. (Since I was so hungry, I didn't care.) To this day Shiitake is the only
mushroom I enjoy without the benefit of cooking,
fully await that their potential nutritional contribution is largely untapped.

Comments: By comparing Shiitake to Oyster
(P. ostreatus)

mushrooms, several notable

similarities and differences in their growth requirements are unveiled. Shiitake can not be
grown on the wide range of substrates that the

highly adaptive Oyster mushrooms can exploit. Both are phototropic, with Shiitake
primordia most stimulated by light exposure of
100-200 lux of green to ultra-violet at 370-420

nanometers (Ishikawa, 1967) while Oyster

Figure 252. A Shiitake wine marketed in Japan.

mushrooms maximally produce mushrooms at
2000 lux at 440-495 nanometers (Eger et al.,1974). I find that although Shiitake primordia are stimulated into formation at this low light level, the development of the fruitbody is retarded unless light
levels are increased. Since primordia formation can span a week, I prefer to give the blocks the higher
exposure of light initially rather than risking malformation later on. Furthermore, Shiitake produces
fairly normal looking mushrooms under high carbon dioxide conditions (> 10,000 ppm) while Oyster
mushrooms deform with exaggerated stems and under-developed caps. Other notable distinctions are
that Shiitake have a thicker cap, a distinct cap cuticle, a lower spore load, and a markedly longer shelf
than the Oyster mushroom.
The cultivation of Shiitake on sterilized, supplemented sawdust calls for a set of techniques very
different than for most other mushrooms. (The formula for production is described on page 162.)
Shiitake strains are abundant, most will produce, but a few are remarkably more aggressive than oth-

ers. Exceptionally aggressive strains of Shiitake tend to be warm weather races, tolerant of
temperatures up to 90° F (32° C.). By employing a super-aggressive strain of Shiitake, propagating
the mycelium according to the procedure outlined above, inoculating at a high rate, and using as the
base medium a rapidly decomposing hardwood (red alder- Alnus rubra) has allowed me to accelerate the Shiitake life cycle far faster than any which has been published to date. If the supplemented
bags of sawdust are agitated 7-10 days after inoculation, primordia formation is triggered soon thereafter. This method causes fruitbody formation in as short as 14 days from inoculation.*

However, agitation of partially sterilized bags often results in a contamination bloom. These same bags would other-

wise be completely colonized by the mushroom mycelium if left undisturbed. With sufficiently high spawning rates
(10-20% wet weight spawn/wet weight substrate) secondary shaking post inoculation is unnecessary.

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