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






for lack of new food to digest. The acids, enzymes, and other waste products secreted by the
mushroom mycelium become self-stifling. As

the viability of the spawn declines, predator
fungi and bacteria exploit the rapidly failing
health of the mycelium. A mycelial malaise
seizes the spawn, slowing its growth once sown

onto new substrates and lowering yields. The
most common diseases of spawn are competitor molds, bacteria, and viruses. Many of these
diseases are only noticeable to experienced cultivators.

For the casual grower, buying commercial
spawn is probably the best option. Customers
of commercial spawn purveyors should demand: the date of inoculation; a guarantee of
spawn purity; the success rate of other clients
using the spawn; and the attrition rate due to
shipping. Spawn shipped long distances often
arrives in a state very different from its original condition. The result can be a customerrelations nightmare. I believe the wisest course
is for commercial mushroom growers to gen-

3. Reduction of an expense: The cost of generating your own spawn is a mere fraction of the

price of purchasing it. Rather than using a
spawn rate of only 3-6% of the mass of the to-

be-inoculated substrate, the cultivator can
afford to use 10-12+ % spawning rates.
4. Increasing the speed of colonization. With
higher spawning rates, the window of opportunity for contaminants is significantly narrowed
and yields are enhanced. Using the spawn as the
vehicle of supplementation is far better than trying to boost the nutritional base of the substrate
prior to inoculation.
5. Elimination of an excuse forfailure. When
a production run goes awry, the favorite excuse
is to blame the spawn producer, whether at fault
or not. By generating your own spawn, you assume full responsibility. This forces owners to
scrutinize the in-house procedures that led to

crop failure. Thus, cultivators who generate
their own spawn tend to climb the learning
curve faster than those who do not.

6. Insight into the mushroom life cycle.

erate their own spawn. The advantages of

Mycelium has natural limits for growth. If the

making your own spawn are:
1. Quality control: With the variable of shipping removed, spawn quality is better assured.
The constant jostling breaks cells and wounds
the spawn.
2. Proprietary Strain Development: Cultivators can develop their own proprietary strains.
The strain is the most important key to success.
All other factors pale in comparison.

spawn is "over-expanded", i. e. it has been
transferred too many times, vitality falters.
Spawn in this condition, although appearing
healthy, grows slowly and often shows symp-

toms of genetic decline. A spawn producer
making spawn for his own use is especially
keen at using spawn at the peak of its vitality.
These insights can not be had by those who buy
spawn from afar.

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