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






nated) for 24-48 hours. (If the water temperature is 45-55° F. (7-13° C.), 48 hours is recommended. If
the water temperature is above 60° F.(15-16° C.) then the blocks should not be submerged for more
than 24 hours.) At our farm, the blocks are so buoyant as to necessitate extraordinary efforts to keep
them submerged. When the number of blocks exceed 500, the process of handling becomes too labor-

intensive. Some large scale cultivators use winch driven trolley cars on tracks that drive into the
depths of soaking ponds, only to be ferried out the next day. These trolleys cars then become the growing racks during the fruiting cycle.

When the blocks are removed from the soak tank, they should be placed directly back into the
growing room onto open-wire shelves. During transport, a forceful spray of water removes any extraneous debris, and cleans the outer surfaces. If the humidity is raised to 100% at this point in time,
disaster soon results. Green molds (Trichoderma species) flourish. The constant, and at times, drastic
fluctuations in humidity improve crop quality but discourage contamination. When Shiitake growers
visit me, the most frequent remark I hear is that green molds are totally absent from the thousand or
more blocks in my growing rooms. The absence of green molds is largely a function of how the grow-

ing rooms are operated on a daily basis, and minimally influenced by air filtration. The key is to
encourage Shiitake growth and discourage competitors by fluctuating humidity several times per day
from 70-100%. The rapid evaporation off the surfaces of the blocks retards green mold contamination
and benefits mushroom development.
At least once, preferably twice a day, the blocks are washed with a moderately forceful spray of
water. (Humidifiers are turned off.) Once the crop is watered, the floor is cleaned by hosing all dirt
and debris into the central gutter where it is collected and removed. After this regimen, the room
feels "fresh ". Three days from soaking, white, star-shaped fissures break through the outer, brown
surface of the Shiitake block. (See Figure 246). The blocks are wafted with water every 8-12 hours.
Since the humidifiers are set at 70-75%, they infrequently come on compared to the initiation strategy
called for by Oyster mushrooms.
One week after soaking, the crop cycle begins with the picking of the first mushrooms. Daily wa-

tering schedules are dictated by the crop's appearance. At maturity, the moisture content of the
mushrooms must be lowered before picking, a technique which will greatly extend shelf life. After
the harvest is completed, the blocks are dried out for 7-10 days, after which the re-soaking process
begins anew.
This cycle can be repeated several more times.After five flushes, with an accumulated yield of 2-3
lbs. of fresh mushrooms per 6-7 lbs. of sawdustlchiplbran block, the Shiitake mycelium can produce,
at most, rapidly maturing miniature mushrooms—few and far between. This is a sure sign that maxi-

mum yields have been achieved. Another way of determining whether the block is incapable of
producing more mushrooms is to drop the block from waist level to a cement floor. A Shiitake block
with good yield potential will strike the surface and not break apart. An expired block will burst upon
impact: a direct measure of mycelial fortitude. As the mycelium looses vitality, the tenacity of the
mycelial mat is also lost. At completion, the blocks are 1/2 to 1/3 of their original size and are often
blackish brown in color. The "spent" blocks can now recycled by pulverizing them back into a sawdust-like form. The expired Shiitake substrate is then re-sterilized for the sequential cultivation of Oyster,
Maitake, Thu Ling or Reishi mushrooms. See Chapter 27 for more information.

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