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






ments and hundreds of others are listed in Ap-

pendix V. Using rice bran as a reference
standard, the substitution of other supplements
should be added according to their relative protein and nitrogen contents. For instance, rice
bran is approximatelyl2. 5 % protein and 2%
nitrogen. If soybean meal is substituted for rice
bran, with its 44% protein and 7% nitrogen content, the cultivator should add roughly 1/4 as
much to the same supplemented sawdust for-

mula. Until performance is established, the
cultivator is better off erring on the conservative side than risking over-supplementation.
A steady supply of supplements can be cheaply

obtained by recycling bakery waste, especially
stale breads. A number of companies transform
bakery by-products into a peiletized cattle feed,
which also work well as inexpensive substitutes

and large particles. Fine sawdust particles encourage mycelia to grow quickly. Interspersed
throughout the fine sawdust should be larger
wood chips (1-4 inches) which figure as concen-

trated islands of nutrition. Mycelium running
through sawdust is often wispy in form until it
encounters larger wood chips, whereupon the
mycelium changes and becomes highly aggressive and rhizomorphic as it penetrates through
the denser woody tissue. The structure of the
substrate affects the design of the mycelium
network as it is projected. From these larger island-like particles, abundant primordia form
and can enlarge into mushrooms of great mass.
For a good analogy for this phenomenon,
think of a camp fire or a wood stove. When you
add sawdust to a fire, there is a flare of activity

which soon subsides as the fuel bums out.

Structure of the Habitat

When you add logs or chunks of wood, the fire
is sustained over the long term. Mycelium behaves in much the same fashion.

Whichever materials are chosen for making
up the substrate base, particular attention must

tial for good yields. If you are just using fine

be given to structure. Sawdust is uniform in

sawdust and wood chips (in the 1-4 inch range)

particle size but is not ideal for growing mushrooms by itself. Fine sawdust is "closed" which

then mix 2 units of sawdust to every 1 unit of wood

for many of the additives listed above.

Optimizing the structure of a substrate is essen-

spaces are soon lost due to compression.

chips (by volume). (Garden shredders are useful
in reducing piles of debris into the 1-4 inch chips.)
Although homogeneity in particle size is im-

Closed substrates tend to become anaerobic

portant at all stages leading up to and through

and encourage weed fungi to grow.
Wood shavings have the opposite problem of
fine sawdust. They are too fluffy. The curls have
large spaces between the wood fibers. Mycelium
will grow on shavings, but too much cellular en-

spawn generation, the fniitbody formation period

means the particle size is so small that air

benefits from having a complex mosaic of substrate components. A direct relationship prevails

between complexity of habitat structure and
health of the resulting mushroom bed.

ergy is needed to generate chains of cells to

A good substrate can be made up of woody

bridge the gaps between one wood curl and the
next. The result is a highly dispersed, cushionlike substrate capable of supporting vegetative
mycelium, but incapable of generating mushrooms since substrate mass lacks density.
The ideal substrate structure is a mix of fine

debris, chopped corncobs and cornstalks,
stalks of garden vegetables, vines of berries or
grapes. When the base components are disproportionately too large or small, without
connective particles, then colonization by the
mushroom mycelium is hindered.

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