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 gourmet and medicinal mushrooms
are involved as key organisms in the recycling
of agricultural and forest by-products, the biodynamics of permaculture soar to extraordinary
levels of productivity. Not only are mushrooms
a protein-rich food source for humans, but the

by-products of mushroom cultivation unlock
nutrients for other members of the ecological
community. The rapid return of nutrients back
into the ecosystem boosts the life cycles of plants,
animals, insects (bees), and soil microflora.
What follows is a short list of the ways mush-

rooms can participate in permaculture. The
numbers are keyed to the numbers in the accompanying illustration: The Stametsian Model for
Permaculture with a Mycological Twist.

1. Oyster Mushrooms: Oyster mushrooms

can be grown indoors on pasteurized corn
stalks, wheat, rice, and rye straw and a wide
range of other materials including paper and
pulp by-products. Soaking bulk substrates in
cold water creates a residual "tea" that is a nutritious fertilizer and potent insecticide.
Submerging the bulk substrate in hot water pro-

duces a different brew of "tea": a naturally

Figure 33. Oyster mushrooms truiting trom a stump
inoculated with sawdust spawn.

soils, not only to provide structure and nutritionc
but also to reduce the populations of nematodes
which are costly to gardeners and farmers.

potent herbicide. Oyster mushrooms can also

2. King Stropharia: This mushroom is an

be grown on hardwood stumps and logs. (Some

ideal player in the recycling of complex wood
debris and garden wastes, and thrive in complex
environments. Vigorously attacking wood

varieties of Oyster mushrooms in the


pulmonarius species complex naturally grow
on conifer wood. ) Pleurotus spp. thrive in complex compost piles, and are easy to grow outside
with minimum care. The waste substrate from
Oyster production is useful as fodder for cows,
chickens, and pigs. Since half of the mass of dry

straw is liberated as gaseous carbon dioxide,
pumping this CO2 from mushroom growing
rooms into greenhouses to enhance plant production makes good sense. (Cultivators filter

the airstream from the mushroom growing
rooms so spores are eliminated. ) Furthermore,

the waste straw can be mulched into garden

(sawdust, chips, twigs, branches), the King
Stropharia also grows in wood-free substrates,
particularly soils supplemented with chopped
straw. I have seen this mushroom flourish in
gardens devoid of wood debris, benefiting the
growth of neighboring plants. Acclimated to
northern latitudes, this mushroom fruits when
air temperatures range between 60-90° F. (15-

32° C.) which usually translates to ground
temperatures of 55-65° F. (13-18° C.).
For 6 weeks one summer our bees attacked a
King Stropharia bed, exposing the mycelium to

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