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





Every day, gardeners, landscapers, rhodo-

dendron growers, arborists, and nurseries
utilize the very components needed for growing mushrooms. Every pile of debris, whether
it is tree trimmings, sawdust or wood chips, or
a mixture of these materials will support mushrooms. Unless selectively inoculated, debris
piles become habitats of miscellaneous "weed"
mushrooms, making the likelihood of growing
a desirable mushroom remote.
When inoculating an outdoor environment
with mushroom spawn, the cultivator relinquishes much control to natural forces. There
are obvious advantages and disadvantages to
natural culture. First, the mushroom patch is
controlled by volatile weather patterns. This
also means that outdoor beds have the advantage of needing minimum maintenance. The
ratio of hours spent per lb. of mushrooms grown
becomes quite efficient.The key to success is cre-

ating an environment wherein the planted
mycelium naturally and vigorously expands. A
major advantage of growing outdoors compared
to growing indoors is that competitors are not con-

centrated in a tight space. When cultivating
mushrooms outdoors you have entropy as an ally.
The rate of growth, time to fmiting, and quality
of the crop depends upon the spawn, substrate materials, and weather conditions. Generally, when
mushrooms are fruiting in the wild, the inoculated
patches also produce. Mushrooms that fruit primarily in the summer, such as the King Stropharia

(Stropharia rugoso-annulata) require frequent
watering. Shaggy Manes (Coprinus comatus)
prefer the cool, fall rains, thus requiring little attention. In comparison to indoor cultivation, the
outdoor crops are not as frequent. However, outdoor crops can be just as intense, sometimes more
so, especially if one is paying modest attention to
the needs of the mushroom mycelium at critical
junctures throughout its life cycle.

While the cultivator is competing with molds
indoors, wild mushrooms are the major competitors outdoors. You may plant one species in an

environment where another species is already
firmly established. This is especially likely if you

use old sawdust, chips or base materials. Starting with fresh materials is the simplest way to
avoid this problem. Piles of aged wood chips
commonly support four or five species of mushrooms within just a few square feet. Unless, the
cultivator uses a high rate of inoculation (25%

spawn/substrate) and uniformly clean wood
chips, the concurrence ofdiverse mushroom spe-

cies should be expected. If, for instance, the
backyard cultivator gets mixed wood chips in the

early spring from a county road maintenance
crew, and uses a dilute 5-10% inoculation rate of
sawdust spawn into the chips, the mushroom
patch is likely to have wild species emerging
along with the desired mushrooms.
In the Pacific Northwest of North America, I
find a 5-10% inoculation rate usually results in
some mushrooms showing late in the first year,
the most substantial crops occurring in the second and third years, and a dramatic drop-off in
the fourth year. As the patch ages, it is normal to
see more diverse mushroom varieties co-occurring with the planted mushroom species.
Jam constantly fascinated by the way Nature
re-establishes a polyculture environment at the
earliest opportunity. Some mycologists believe
a pre-determined, sequence of mycorrhizal and
saprophytic species prevails, for instance, around
a Douglas fir tree, as it matures. In complex natural habitats, the interlacing of mycelial networks
is common. Underneath a single tree, twenty or
more species may thrive. I look forward to the
21St century, when mycotopian foresters will de-

sign whole species mosaics upon whose
foundation vast ecosystems can flourish. This
book will describe simpler, precursor models for

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