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






Fruitbody development passes through four distinct phases. During initiation, the mycelium first
undergoes a rapid discoloration from white undifferentiated mycelium to a dark gray amorphous
mass on the exposed surface of the fully colonized block. During the second phase, the surface topog-

raphy soon becomes contoured with dark gray black mounds which differentiate into ball-like
structures. The third phase begins when portions of this primordia ball shoot out multiple stems

topped with globular structures. Each globular structure further differentiates with vertically oriented
ridges or folds. The fourth and final phase begins when, from this primordial mass, a portion of the
folds elongate into the petal-like sporulating fronds or "leaflets". With some strains and under some
conditions, the third phase is skipped.
The strategy for the successful cultivation of Maitake is in diametric opposition to the cultivation of
Oyster mushrooms. If Maitake is exposed to substantial and prolonged light during the primordia formation period, the spore-producing hymenophore is triggered into production. This results in dome
shaped primordial masses, devoid of stems. If, however, minimal light is given, and carbon dioxide
levels remain above 5000 ppm, stem formation is encouraged. (Elongated stem formation with Oyster cultivation is generally considered undesirable.) Once the stems have branched and elongated to
two or more inches, carbon dioxide levels are lowered, light levels are increased, signalling Maitake

to produce the sporulating, petal-shaped caps. Humidity must be fluctuated between 80-95%.
Maitake, being a polypore, enjoys less humid environments than the fleshier, gilled mushrooms.
If growing in polypropylene bags, the bags should be opened narrowly at the top so that a forking bouquet is elicited. Stripping off all the plastic increases evaporation from the exposed surfaces of the block,
jeopardizing the moisture bank needed for successful fruitbody development. In my growing rooms, I follow a compromise strategy. Given good environmental controls and management, I am successful at
growing Maitake by fully exposing the upper surface of the mycelium once the gray primordial mounds
have formed 45-60 days after inoculation I leave the remainder of the plastic around the block to amerliorate
the loss of water. Holes are punched in the bottom of the bags for drainage.
As the mushrooms develop, less watering is needed in comparison to that needed by, for instance, Oyster
mushrooms. Furthermore, cultivators should note that if too much base nutrition of the substrate is allocated
to stem formation, the caps often abort. And, if the sawdust is over-supplemented, bacteria blotch is triggered by the slightest exposure to excessive watering or humidity. Every strain behaves differently in this
regard. Maitake cultivation requires greater attention to detail than most other mushrooms. Because of its
unique environmental requirements, this mushroom can not share the same growing room as many of the
fleshier gourmet and medicinal mushrooms.

Once the production blocks cease producing, they can be buried outside in hardwood sawdust and!

or soil. In outdoor environments, the subterranean block becomes a platform for more fruitings,
maximizing yield. Blocks planted in the spring often give rise to fruitings in the fall. (See Figure 339).
The autoclavable, plastic should be removed—unless made of cellulose or other biodegradable material. By scratching the outer surfaces of the blocks, the internal mycelium comes into direct contact
with the sawdust bedding, stimulating leap-off.

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