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MUSHROOM CULTIVATOR by Paul Stamets and Jeff Chilton is easily the best . The three major steps in the growing of mushrooms parallel three phases in. by. Paul Stamets. PDF compression, OCR, web-optimization with CVISION's PdfCompressor for informing you about growing mushrooms, but for transforming you into a myco-warrior, an ac- tive participant manual for all those seeking a happier and healthier way of life. rooms are more forgiving and easier to grow. growing mushrooms. Gratitude is owed to Divine N. Njie, Agro-industries . has discovered a method for processing quality dry mushroom without using a .. ( Pleurotus species) which grow on many substrates and are easy for . (http:// pdf).

Still, there are arguments on the other side. Cultures obtained by spore germination are often quite vigorous. With fast growing species like oyster mushrooms, the differences between the parent mushroom and the spore-produced progeny are often small. Spores may cost little or nothing, whereas tissue cultures can be expensive. Spores can be obtained from dried mushrooms whereas tissue cultures can't. And so on. So it is certainly worthwhile to have a simple method of germinating spores.

In previous editions of the peroxide manual, I insisted that spores could not be germinated on peroxide medium. But a couple of people wrote me to say that they had indeed germinated spores in the presence of peroxide.

So now I have to acknowledge that yes, it can be done--generally only if you can apply a concentrated dot of millions of spores to the surface of the peroxide medium, but it can be done. Still, I am not convinced it is a good idea for routine use.

The mycelium generated this way could easily be genetically damaged. And as it turns out, it is not especially hard to start clean cultures from spores in the absence of peroxide, even in a non-sterile environment.

One good method is to start the spores in screw-cap slants, so the chance of airborne contamination entering is reduced compared to Petri dishes many thanks to David Sar for letting me know about this approach. Making slants for spore germination To make these slants, follow the usual protocol for making MYA medium, with just a couple of changes. The slants will not have peroxide in them, and that means you can 1 melt the agar medium by steaming for 10 minutes, then 2 pour the melted medium into the tubes, 3 close the caps loosely, and pressure cook the tubes with the agar inside them.

As an alternative, you can sterilize the medium and the tubes separately, then pour the agar into the tubes when the agar is still hot, straight out of the pressure cooker if possible use thick rubber gloves to handle them. Then let them cool and solidify with the screw caps in place, slightly loose so the pressure equilibrates. Also, they may not all germinate. Collecting Spores Back to Contents Here's a way to collect spores: 1 Pressure cook a few Petri dishes for 15 minutes or so in a covered container.

Let the dishes cool. Clean the counter with a sponge and then wipe it down with rubbing alcohol. If it is big enough, the mushroom can cover the entire bottom half of the Petri dish.

Or perhaps you have a cluster that can span the dish. Smaller mushrooms, or mushrooms with odd shapes like morels, can be suspended above the plate by a thread. Use your imagination. Germinating Spores Back to Contents Here's one way to germinate spores: 1 Set up and light an alcohol lamp. Have your non-peroxide slants nearby, and your Petri dish of spores. Withdraw the loop, roll the mouth of the tube in the flame again, and replace the lid on the tube.

Germination can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the mushroom species. Eventually, you should see some small white colonies of growth appearing in the slants. You will have to distinguish the colonies of mushroom mycelium from any colonies of contaminants. Some molds will also make colonies that are white at first, but they will turn blue or green as they start to sporulate. Wild yeast and bacteria can make shiny colonies that are light colored, but they will not generally be white, nor will they develop fibrous mycelium.

As soon as you are reasonably sure that you have a colony of mushroom mycelium, you should transfer it to peroxide medium. On a peroxide-treated agar plate, you can observe the halo of growth formed by the spreading mycelium. If the mycelium is not homogeneous or it carries contaminants, the halo will likely show sectors that grow at different rates and with different appearances.

You can then take mycelium from the best-looking sectors--with good radial or rhizomorphic growth--for transfer to fresh plates. Once you have stable, non-sectoring mycelium, you are ready to make spawn and test your strain in bulk substrate. And don't forget to make storage cultures! And although it is relatively simple to handle once you've been introduced to it, many beginning mushroom growers undoubtedly avoid getting their own cultures because of their unfamiliarity with agar.

So I have been thinking about alternatives. Gray cardboard is cheap and reasonably available, and as long as it is clean, it will not contain any peroxide-decomposing enzymes.

Unlike corrugated cardboard, gray cardboard wets easily and the wet material is soft enough to remove clumps for transfers. It is also a good substrate for the growth of mushroom mycelium, often supporting rapid growth even when very limited amounts of other nutrients are present.

And it is a simple matter to add a nutrient solution if you need it. So, instead of going through all the trouble of weighing ingredients for agar medium, melting the agar, cooling slowly, adding peroxide, pouring plates, waiting for them to solidify, then drying them for a couple of days, you can just cut disks of gray cardboard to fit your Petri plates or jars, add a measured amount of water to the disks, and prepare a jar of plain water or a simple nutrient solution.

Then, pop the plates and the jar of liquid in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes, cool rapidly, and add peroxide to the jar of liquid. Finally, transfer a measured amount of the solution to the cardboard to give it peroxide protection. The cardboard plates are then ready to use as soon as the solution has soaked in. Where gray cardboard is in short supply, newsprint is a possible substitute, but it has several drawbacks compared to cardboard.

For one thing, it can be hard to see the mycelium, particularly if the newsprint is light in color. The mycelium can be as wispy as a spider web when it is growing on newsprint anyway, and to complicate matters it may spread more beneath the surface, out of view, than in plain sight.

Moreover, the growth rarely develops in a nice round halo such as one gets on agar, nor does it necessarily progress evenly from one layer of newsprint to the next. Instead, the mycelium can spread somewhat capriciously, apparently influenced by small variations in the conditions it encounters between the layers of the newsprint.

I do not yet know whether mycelium can be repeatedly transferred on plain, unsupplemented cardboard without running into nutrient limitations. I would expect cardboard to be close to devoid of nitrogen, so until further notice, it is probably a good idea to add a nutrient solution to keep your mycelium going on cardboard disks.

How to prepare the plates Here are the detailed steps for making cardboard plates. Note that you can also use small jars in place of Petri dishes. Trace a Petri plate onto the cardboard with a pencil and cut out several disks to fit into your plates. Multiply this weight by a factor of 1. Remember, 1 ounce of water equals Example: Suppose my disks weighed 0. Multiplying 0. There are That means I'll add 6. Let the solution soak completely into the disks.

They are now ready to use. You can store and incubate these plates inside plastic food storage bags as I suggest in Volume I for agar plates. But you will probably find that your cardboard disks dry out too quickly. You can keep them moist longer by storing them in a closed container that has some peroxide solution in the bottom.

For instance, find a plastic yogurt container or a jar with a mouth wide enough to let Petri dishes pass. Then create a platform to hold your Petri dishes off the bottom of the container, perhaps by putting a smaller jar inside the larger container. Put the Petris on top of the platform. Then add a small quantity of peroxide solution to the container at the same concentration you use for your plates roughly 0.

Finally, cover the container with a layer of plastic wrap and fix it in place with a rubber band around the mouth of the container this kind of closure will allow adequate oxygen diffusion. Be careful to set it up so that you cannot knock your Petri dishes off the platform into the water. Making transfers Back to Contents Now you are probably wondering how you will remove wedges of cardboard when you want to make a transfer from one of these plates. Just draw the scalpel tip firmly sideways across the cardboard a few times in one place.

The scrapings can then be transferred to another plate or to a jar of spawn with the scalpel. Corrugated cardboard turns out to be too tough for easy removal of material from the surface by scraping in this fashion.

Cleaning the mycelium Back to Contents As I explained in Volume I and in the section on slants above, invisible contaminants from the air can build up on the surface of mycelium that has been grown on peroxide plates, since the peroxide protects the medium but not the mycelium.

The invisible contaminants have to be cleaned off periodically, or else they will proliferate in spawn or fruiting cultures. Mycelium grown on cardboard is no exception. With agar cultures, we cleaned the mycelium with the rather awkward measure of prying the agar disk out of the bottom of the Petri plate into the lid, then inoculating the bottom of the agar, then returning the agar disk to its original place. This forced the mycelium to grow up through the medium, leaving contaminants behind.

Although this works, it also increases the failure rate because it is such a tricky maneuver. With cardboard, it is easy to inoculate the bottom of the disk: you can just flip the plate upside down, so that the disk falls into the lid and the bottom of the disk is exposed.

Then transfer a sample of mycelium to the exposed surface with a flame-sterilized scalpel, close up the plate, and flip it back over. But as it turns out, the mycelium takes a surprisingly long time to grow through the disk, preferring instead to spread laterally.

So rather than waiting for the mycelium to grow to the top, we can simply allow it to spread on the bottom of the disk. As long as it is left undisturbed, the mycelium then will grow entirely under the cover of cardboard, so that it has very little exposure to airborne contaminants.

This in itself should keep the mycelium clean, especially if the cardboard disk sits nearly flat on the bottom of the plate. If you routinely inoculate your plates this way, and you take material toward the edge of the mycelial halo for your transfers, I expect you should have little problem with accumulation of invisible contaminants.

If you have trouble getting your disks to sit flat on the bottom of your Petri plates, you may have better luck by creating a sandwich of cardboard with two sterile peroxide-moistened disks, inoculating the inside of the sandwich, between the disks.

The mycelium then will grow entirely within the sandwich, keeping it free of airborne contamination. The dry quality of the cardboard surface on both sides of the mycelium, in addition, should discourage the spread of bacteria and yeast, so that the mycelium can clean itself as it spreads laterally within the sandwich.

When you want to get at the protected mycelium inside the sandwich, you pry apart the pieces of cardboard. Because you cannot see how far the mycelium has grown without opening it, you will have to be careful about dating your cultures, so you can be sure you have allowed enough time for the mycelium to grow out before you open the sandwich. Storage cultures without agar Back to Contents Freshly inoculated cardboard "sandwiches" can easily be picked up with a pair of tweezers sterilized in a flame and transferred to small ziplock plastic bags for storage.

Sometimes the mycelium will appear to be trying to grow away from the peroxide agar at first. If your agar regularly tears or breaks at this step. I transfer my strains about ten times on peroxide-containing medium before returning to peroxide-free storage cultures.

This "occult contamination" can be a problem whether or not you are using peroxide in your spawn and in your fruiting substrate as well. Cultures that have not been exposed to peroxide medium previously will often lag at first.

Although you may never see contaminants growing on the mushroom mycelium in your plates. The mycelium has a much better chance of taking hold if you can transfer a clump of mycelium from a distilled water storage tube. The safest course is to perform this operation at every transfer.

Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way to establish colonies readily in the presence of the concentrations of peroxide that are effective against contaminants. You may observe similar behavior when transferring from a plate that originally contained peroxide but that has been overgrown with mycelium for a few days so that all added peroxide has decomposed.

Certain strains may not respond well to this file: I perform the bottom inoculation as follows: The mycelium itself is unprotected. This arrangement forces the mycelium to grow up from the bottom of the agar through the medium to the surface of the plate. I have never observed any problem with my strains which I could attribute to continuous peroxide exposure. To guard against the possibility of such occult contamination.

Note that peroxide protects only the portion of an agar plate that does not have mycelium growing on it. Sooner or later. I use a simple trick: I regularly inoculate the bottom of the agar when I do my transfers How often you do this depends on how you store your plates. Preventing occult contamination with bottom inoculation Back to Contents It is also possible for contaminants to accumulate on mycelium if you transfer it repeatedly in unfiltered air.

But you may be able to get away with putting it off for two or three transfers before it starts affecting your success rate.

To leave these contaminants behind. If the agar is still very wet when pried into the lid. Whereas I rarely see contamination on peroxide plates inoculated in the usual way until they are old. I keep these wrapped in plastic food storage bags. One final point: Be sure not to cut all the way through the agar when you remove wedges for inoculation from a bottominoculated plate. With the development of the peroxide method.

Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way Home Mushroom Cultivation with Hydrogen Peroxide

Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way arrangement. I do not recommend storing plates in the refrigerator. I put three or four petri dishes in a single bag. Being able to make your own spawn without a sterile facility has a significant economic benefit for the small grower or hobbyist. I replace any cultures that may have developed mold colonies at the edge. At the same time. I keep a set of fresh plates stored in a cool spot--again.

Each time I use one of my growing cultures to inoculate spawn. If you make the same few pounds yourself with the help of peroxide. The closed bag provides a still-air environment and helps keep out marauding fungus gnats and mites.

I place them inside fresh clear-plastic foodstorage bags. They then can be incubated anywhere that is convenient--on a bookshelf.

Wiping down your counter surfaces and your fingers with rubbing alcohol before you begin may help cut down on such failures. Once my agar plates are inoculated I keep four at a time for each strain. This way. It is also advisable to use plates that have been dried sufficiently to eliminate obvious surface drips. Bits of agar that get on the rim. Spawn is the "starter" used to inoculate bulk fruiting substrates. A tricky but important point in the bottom-inoculation procedure is to avoid scraping bits of agar onto the rim of the petri dish bottom when you close the plate after inoculating the bottom of the agar.

I lose perhaps one in five plates inoculated on the underside of the agar. Like the inoculated plates. Being able to store fresh uninoculated plates easily is one of the benefits of peroxide. For most mushroom species. And contamination of the spawn itself is rare. This is an awkward procedure at best. Hypsizygus ulmarius the elm oyster and Hypsizygus tessulatus Shimeji.

My search lead to the development of "10 minute spawn. I can see no reason to incur the added difficulty of grain-spawn making simply to grow oyster mushrooms on straw. With my current methods. In this "one step" procedure.

And that grain has to be pressure sterilized. Since H. Enough peroxide evidently survives the brief steaming to keep the spawn contamination-free. I have switched almost entirely to using sawdust-based spawn. This is probably the fastest method yet in existence for preparing sawdust-type spawn. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way Jars of peroxide-treated sawdust spawn on a bookshelf For my own mushroom growing. Ten Minute Spawn Back to Contents My own procedure for preparing sawdust-based spawn originally required sterilizing separately enough water to add diluted peroxide to the spawn after it had been pressure-cooked and cooled.

Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way Here's the recipe for making "ten minute spawn: The pellets allow the spawn to break up on shaking in jars after the mycelium has grown through the substrate. I have used this successfully with both P. I want the pot to reach steaming temperature quickly. In the above procedure. The standard recipe calls for one part bran for every four parts sawdust. Sylvan Corporation sells two processed supplements.

Pour off any excess. Fresh ground oyster shell lime will substitute for limestone. I have used each of these substances successfully in the above recipe for 10 minute spawn by adding 0. Neither of these commercial supplements decomposes peroxide when the supplement is fresh.

I have identified several nitrogen supplements that do not require pressure sterilization. The jars sit on a rack that elevates them slightly from the bottom.

2 - Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way Home Mushroom Cultivation with Hydrogen Peroxide.pdf

Artificial fertilizer can also provide a workable nitrogen source for example. The wood fuel pellets must be made of a relatively light wood.

Two readily available choices are powdered soy milk and powdered cows milk. I mix one part sawdust with about two parts pelletized paper. Agar colonizes sawdust by itself with difficulty. After measuring out the diluted peroxide you need. Pressure-sterilized sawdust spawn If you are not going to use wood pellet fuel as a source of sawdust.

You'll want to sterilize enough water separately to dilute the peroxide in about one-third to one-half the total water added to the substrate. Perhaps you don't like the idea of using artificial fertilizer. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way be forewarned that mushroom mycelium takes some time to adapt to chemicals such as these. You will have to perform your own experiments to determine the amount of peroxide to add. Larger quantities of spawn will both take longer to heat through and longer to cool.

The procedure works because there are no peroxide-decomposing enzymes in any of the ingredients. Here's the procedure as I used to do it: To use other supplements. This will introduce live contaminants containing active peroxide-decomposing enzymes. In that case. See the section on supplements under bulk substrate preparation for details of making this kind of calculation. Two final notes on this ten-minute spawn procedure: Pressure-sterilized sawdust spawn Back to Contents If you are not going to use wood pellet fuel as a source of sawdust.

Soft white wheat has worked well for me when I have added a measured amount of hot water and let the grain stand overnight before pressure cooking. I have not been able to consistently make contamination-free rye spawn with the rye grain I get locally. I sterilize the jar of grain in a pressure cooker for an hour. The exact length of time you use will depend on your grain and pressure cooker. If this happens with peroxide-protected substrate. Grain Spawn Back to Contents Now.

I have been able to substitute a grain called soft white wheat. This problem can be prevented by cleaning reusable containers carefully. If traces of culture medium get on the outside of culture containers. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way peroxide that is roughly a tenth of the total volume of the water. Whatever grain you choose. Here's how I make soft white wheat spawn: If there are mold spores or bacteria inside the grain kernels or other substrate particles.

I get contamination-free grain spawn virtually every time with this grain. The total dilution comes to about 1 to The second problem also exists in conventional cultivation practice.

This is because the grain available to you locally may carry a high load of endogenous contaminants that cannot effectively be eliminated by pressure cooking.

I have to caution you--especially if you have never made grain spawn before--that making grain spawn can prove difficult even with peroxide addition. I steep the grain at near-boiling temperatures for an hour or two to swell the kernels.

But a few days later. With peroxide as well. One grower adds food color to his peroxide. On the other side. I wrap the disk-containing lids individually in aluminum foil. Note that peroxide addition makes unnecessary the use of lids fitted with microporous filters as were traditionally required. You may well be able to get away with adding less peroxide. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way 5 When the jar has cooled.

Be sure to keep the inside of the lids clean for each use. For grain spawn or other spawn that requires pressure sterilization. If your grain clumps significantly. I do the following: I remove the temporary lid and put in place one of the sterile lids with a cardboard disk. Traces of old medium around the mouth of the jar or in the lid can cause major problems.

Spawn containers Back to Contents I grow my spawn in 26 oz pasta sauce jars. Inoculating spawn Back to Contents file: Rusty spots on the insides of the lids can also catch such traces of medium and provide a place for microbial growth. The peroxide-moistened disks then form a barrier to airborne contaminant entry. The final peroxide concentration is high. To compensate for lid vulnerability. They have one-piece lids. Quart canning jars will work just as well. If you make your spawn by adding a measured amount of water.

I used the plastic bags to provide a still-air environment. Decomposition of the added peroxide provides oxygen to support mycelial growth up to this stage. Peroxide-treated bulk substrate. With sawdust spawn of H. You can cut chunks of mycelium out of agar cultures with a sterile scalpel and drop the chunks into the container. I prefer not to shake the container.

I then shake the spawn. When I have a halo of growth about a centimeter wide. Or you can shake the container after adding the chunks. With peroxide addition as well. My original procedure was to put my inoculated jars inside fresh plastic food storage bags tied closed. If you do this. The bags can be reused.

Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way Inoculating jars of "Ten Minute Spawn" by the agar chunk method Sterile containers of spawn medium can be inoculated in a couple of ways. I would do this immediately after wiping down the jars with rubbing alcohol.

I make sure the jars are sealed completely and I let the mycelium grow out from the agar for several days. I have been incubating the spawn jars without enclosing them in food storage bags.

Note that peroxide-treated spawn medium should only be inoculated with peroxide-adapted mycelium. I then tap the jar on my counter to pack down the spawn medium around the agar chunks. I drop the agar chunks three pieces has been adequate for slow growing strains down into the substrate and close the container. The small fragments of mycelium that are broken off this way seem to be too small to effectively recover and grow in the presence of peroxide at the high concentration used in spawn medium.

This substrate comes previously heat-treated. The drawback here is cost. Hardwood fuel pellets are generally the best bet for most wood-decomposing mushrooms. As with the pellet fuel.

The second reason is that. These products have been sanitized by a double heat treatment according to the promotional material. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way agar chunks grows wider. Colonization of bulk substrate Back to Contents Colonization of bulk fruiting substrates is the third stage of mushroom growing. In my area. As a result. What about using peroxide to make liquid cultures? I have not pursued this possibility.

The first is that any method of inoculating a liquid culture is likely to require blenderizing the inoculum or in some other way breaking up the mycelium. I suspect that the heat and pressure used in creating the pellet fuel may break down some of the mushroom-inhibiting resins in the fir.

I would still expect the peroxide concentration to decline rapidly in a liquid culture as the intact fungal material with its internal peroxide-decomposing enzymes circulates throughout the liquid. I usually wait until the mycelium has started to extend about a half a centimeter or more above the top surface of the medium before I use a spawn jar for inoculation.

If you are using spawn bags. And from a technical standpoint.

The spawn is ready to use when the mycelium has grown through the spawn medium lightly but completely. For the procedures in this volume. Look for a brand of pellets that does not have any additives--that is.


When you add boiling water to fuel pellets. Because hydrogen peroxide solution is so cheap. Most do not. With solid substrates.

The decline in peroxide could be compensated for by regular addition of fresh peroxide. The cardboard disk evidently allows enough gas exchange even with the lid tightened down. The first material I found to be ideal for use with peroxide was pellet fuel for wood pellet stoves. Another substrate that I have used with peroxide is recycled pelletized paper fiber.

Peroxide will provide little or no benefit with substrates that still have a great deal of biological activity. I used to loosen the lid to the jar slightly after shaking. For wood-decomposing mushrooms. I wipe down the inside of the bucket with a scrub sponge and biodegradable dish detergent.

I have not found them necessary for H. With peroxide in the substrate. For my routine cleaning. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way If no pellet fuel or paper fiber pellets are available in your part of the world. I can well imagine that an organism like H. When peroxide-decomposing enzymes are present in the substrate. In traditional methods without peroxide in the sawdust. I have found it beneficial to gently but firmly compress the sawdust in my cultures after inoculation by pressing with my hands on the outside of the bag.

Some growers believe wood chips are crucial for good growth of shiitake. Those procedures allow a greater variety of possible materials as substrates. Recipes for fruiting substrates vary from one mushroom species to the next.

This may serve something of the same purpose as adding wood chips. Higher nitrogen levels in supplemented sawdust generally translate to higher yields of mushrooms. I seldom raise the nitrogen level above 0. Wood chips and substrate density Back to Contents Traditional recipes often call for wood chips. With the peroxide method.

If the enzymes are all gone. If nothing happens right away. This gives a final peroxide concentration of about 0. Fir pellet fuel sawdust is less dense. You'll use this water to add peroxide later.. Seal the lid and mix the substrate by turning the bucket for a couple of minutes to distribute the water. I boil about 3. In some cases this may necessitate filtering. Perhaps you are wondering at this point whether this procedure can be simplified along the lines of the Ten Minute Spawn procedure.

It is now ready to use. If you are using a soluble nitrogen supplement such as artificial fertilizer. You may want to experiment with different moisture contents for the species you are growing.

When the water has boiled for a minute. Cooling usually takes several hours. Do not use dolomite lime. If the peroxide concentration were raised to compensate for decomposition in the hot substrate. The bottom of the bucket can still be somewhat warm to the touch at the time of peroxide addition.

One advantage of adding peroxide to your cultures is that you can add more water than you could otherwise. Nitrogen supplements for bulk substrate Back to Contents If you are using traditional nitrogen supplements like millet or rice bran. I bake my supply at degrees F for a couple of hours to eliminate any peroxide-decomposing enzymes resulting from microbial growth on the shells. Crushed limestone is also a good choice if you can get it. While still hot. Under these conditions.

For this step. I use 2 oz of lime. Be careful to wipe drips off the outsides of file: Your water should be clear and free of any obvious particulates. I use powdered oyster shell lime. I suspect the peroxide will have a difficult time surviving the exposure to heat. You will probably have to make your own adjustments for your local pellet fuel.

Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way 2 Next rinse the container and its lid with boiling water -. This may indeed prove possible with a high enough initial peroxide concentration. From here on out. For mushrooms grown on oak pellet fuel.

Another type of supplement that can be used without pressure sterilization is simply chemical fertilizer. Calculating how much supplement to add Back to Contents How do you calculate how much of the various supplements to use?

Calculations are only approximate. Since these fertilizers do not come from living organisms. If you were adding one pound of rice bran to a bucket of pellet fuel. But you can get an idea of whatyou'll need by consulting Stamets's Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms. I recommend that you prepare sawdust spawn using the same supplement. Addition of peroxide provides one way to do this. With the commercial supplements. They contain denatured soy protein and corn gluten.

I have now found a few supplements that are free of enzymes and so can be added without pressure sterilization. Sylvan's Millichamp Some more expensive forms of processed protein are more readily available. Most of the traditional nitrogen supplements for mushroom culture require pressure cooking to eliminate the endogenous peroxide-decomposing enzymes before pasteurization.

Urea is a common source of nitrogen in the formulations for chemical fertilizers. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way the jars before pouring. These enzymes are remarkably stable. If you are going to try this method of supplementation.

Fertilizer formulations vary quite a bit. If you want something more "organic" than artificial fertilizer and there is good reason to avoid dependence on substances which require energy from petroleum for their manufacture. These supplements are an excellent value. Addition of Mason's lime CaOH. Small boxes which will hold pounds of substrate can often be scavenged from health food stores or the like.

These bags are thin enough that oxygen can diffuse through them. I recommend using the kind that are made from high density plastic. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way You can also directly calculate the amount of the material needed to give 0.

Culture containers Back to Contents Traditionally. If you do use plastic trash bags. With pellet fuel.

If the soy flour is 7. With peroxide in your fruiting substrate. If the total weight of substrate is 6. Be aware. ColorpHast strips are inexpensive and convenient. Then you will simply have to calibrate the amount of lime you used against the ultimate yield of mushrooms to determine the optimal dose.

With agar cultures and spawn.

Evidently the process used to produce trash bags pasteurizes them to the point that they do not harbor significant live-organism contamination. Unless you use traditional gussetted mushroom bags. You can then use your color indicator strips to measure the pH of the removed substrate.

I am usually confident of my reading. If I am working with grain spawn. I fill the bucket only about a third to half way full with substrate. Inoculating supplemented sawdust Back to Contents I prepare spawn for inoculation in the traditional way: I put the jar back on my spawn shelf and incubate overnight to give the mycelium a chance to put out some new growth. Five gallon buckets are easier to come by.

These can be cleaned with detergent and reused after rinsing with boiling water. This makes a considerable difference in how fast the mycelium will surge into the new substrate. When your spawn has been grown using peroxide. To get a second flush. I break up the spawn by whacking the jar against something hard protected by something soft.

An alternative is to use plastic buckets with lids. If the lids are left slightly loose during the spawn run to allow gas exchange. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way Filling a plastic trashbag. So you will probably want to discard spawn with any significant quantity of wet kernels. Each bag gets opened up and set inside of a box of the appropriate size to receive the substrate.

Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way entry. Inoculating a bucket of pellet fuel substrate with spawn 4 I pour the mix into bags. I shift the bag a bit to fill any gaps. I close the lid on the remaining inoculated substrate. I close the lid and mix everything together by rotating the bucket. I find that this speeds growth of some cultures. Simply turn the block on its side and open the bag a bit.

Pleurotus eryngii King Oyster and Agaricus subrufescens almond mushroom follow a different fruiting pattern. Hericium can take as little as weeks to form small white. Two of the mushroom species most familiar to me are also among the easiest to fruit: But with more blocks. If your mushrooms are not getting enough air as they develop.

You can use the resulting blocks of mycelium either directly for fruiting mushrooms. I compress the sawdust by pressing down on the bag. I follow standard mushroom-growing procedures. If you grow only a few blocks of mushrooms.

Mushroom formation Back to Contents For most commonly cultivated mushroom species. Provide mist spray when the mushrooms are about an inch high. Shiitake follows yet another. Fruiting bodies will form at random from the fruiting initials that have already developed. By cutting an "X" or a single slit with a clean knife through the bag on the side of the block. After labeling.

When you have enough blocks to need a fan. There is not much need for hydrogen peroxide during this phase.

How long it takes for a culture to reach maturity depends on the organism. Many oyster mushroom species follow similar procedures to that required by H. Most of the "easy" mushroom species are ready to fruit when the bulk substrate is thoroughly grown through. The other species most familiar to me. Note that if you decide to grow H. The precise procedures for inducing mushroom formation differ from one species to another. Hericium will also form mushrooms at the site of a cut in the bag.

Often the blocks look white at this time. It generally contains little available nutrition for the growth of mushroom mycelium.

The casing is applied to the top of the mushroom culture to a depth of two inches at the most. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way precautions to protect yourself from the tremendous amount of spores produced by these organisms.

Harvesting the mushrooms when young can help keep the spore load down. Be careful not to tamp it down. It is also the time to file: The almond mushroom. Almond mushrooms growing from a casing layer Most casing contains peat moss. If you do apply a casing. Almond mushrooms and King Oysters do not absolutely require a casing the casing does tend to accelerate primordia formation with P. In some cases. Casing is a mixture designed to imitate a moist. Peat bogs are an endangered habitat worldwide.

It contains microorganisms that promote mushroom formation. With the almond mushrooms. Vermiculite by itself is a possible alternative although it will not supply microorganisms. Growers in different parts of the world have begun to devise alternatives. Deer may also eat mushrooms. You will just need a shaded area that can be kept damp. In the hot parts of summer. With P. But outdoor growing has its advantages. Keeping humidity up can be difficult.

I still get a few slugs that manage to climb in my windows. And if you live in a temperate region on the seacoast. And there is little problem with breathing mushroom spores.

All the mushrooms take longer to finish colonizing the bulk substrate. So in the past. Seasonal planning Back to Contents I you are only growing a few mushrooms. Harvesting file: Closing the windows is not an option. I have always recommended indoor growing. I fruit my mushrooms in a basement with open windows and a fan to bring in fresh air.

So all my mushrooms do best in fall and spring. Agaricus subrufescens needs warmth. This allowed me to grow them year 'round because of the more moderate temperature.

Fungus gnats can be reduced somewhat by covering cultures with a fine light fabric such as Reemay TM or other row cover materials.

Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way sprinkle the casing lightly with water every couple of days to keep it moist. I have had H. Ganoderma lucidum also prefers warm weather. In the coldest part of the winter. Outdoor growing vs. There's more physical space for crops. So if you think you can keep all the pests away.

Heating or cooling the incoming air is certainly possible. Mushrooms usually begin to form a few days after the mycelium begins to reach the surface of the casing. Each time. With A. Is the concentration of peroxide in your stock solution what it should be? Has it been over a month since you measured it? Is your pressure-cooking equipment functioning properly?

Is steam able to enter your jars and equilibrate are the lids loose enough? If pressure cooking. Most mushrooms are said to be tastier if harvested before they start releasing many spores. I have created a list of questions that draw attention to different aspects of the culture process for the purposes of troubleshooting contamination problems.

It is certainly true that H. If you are adding peroxide. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way Back to Contents Knowing when to harvest mushrooms is largely a matter of knowing how large they grow and what changes they go through as they mature.

Is your substrate moist enough for steam to penetrate? Has your substrate or supplement spoiled before use? I had to track down the problem and correct my procedure.

Is your stove element if electric heating consistently? Are you cooking at a high enough temperature and for a long enough time to eliminate resident contaminants and. I always find it discouraging to read through lists of things that can go wrong.

Trouble shooting Back to Contents Despite my use of hydrogen peroxide to protect my mushroom cultures. With H. The procedures I have described here to the best of my knowledge incorporate everything I have learned from my mistakes and should cover the key points required to produce contamination-free mushrooms with peroxide-based culture.

And with the stress taken off of battling contaminants. Conclusion Back to Contents As I reach the end of this manuscript. After all. If your spawn is getting contaminated.

And even with peroxide maintenance of mushroom cultures. Are your petri dishes free of traces of old medium? If your agar plates are getting contaminated.

If it is on the surface. I am forced to pause for a moment of self examination. If your fruiting substrate is getting contaminated. And I sometimes think it is a wonder indeed that we ever get any of these organisms to respond to our coaxing and produce their delectable fruiting bodies.

If you are free-pouring diluted peroxide into your cultures. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way Is your peroxide getting distributed evenly throughout the medium? Is your pH reading accurate? Peroxide is apparently most stable around neutral pH. I called this volume Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way. But I feel gratified that the procedures described here do make it possible for hobbyists with at least a minimal degree of comfort with sterile technique to perform all the steps of gourmet mushroom growing and mushroom culture in an ordinary household.

Are you letting your medium or substrate cool sufficiently before adding peroxide? Is your water clean and free of particulates? Have you overlooked some source of unsterilized or unpasteurized material that can get into your cultures?

Are you mushrooms getting enough light but not direct sunlight. Instructions for his peroxide method of growing mushrooms are now in the hands of mushroom growers in over 75 countries around the world. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way Acquiring.

As in the first volume. Protocol for preparing straw or other drainable substrates Notes on the protocol Preparing Raw Wood Chips with Peroxide "Add-and-Stir" Method for Peroxide-Compatible Substrates Rationale and advantages of the "Add-and-Stir" method A few words on kiln-dried sawdust The protocol applied to wood pellet fuel at room temperature Natural nitrogen supplements for use with the protocol How much water to add How much peroxide to use Making spawn by by the "add-and-stir" method Conclusion About the Author Introduction Back to Contents I've written this second volume of my manual.

Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way. Slants are relatively easy to handle and store. Then come the methods for preparing spawn. And nearly all of the remaining techniques presented here could also prove useful in a commercial context. The kind I'm talking about have typical dimensions of 19 x mm. The water in these tubes evaporates much more slowly than in Petri dishes. It is also easy to hold the mouths of the tubes over the flame of an alcohol lamp for a moment on opening and closing.

What's more. I am presenting them here because of their obvious value to mushroom growers who use the peroxide method. When these tubes are partly filled with molten agar medium which is allowed to solidify at an angle.

Storing and Maintaining Mushroom Cultures Using slants instead of agar plates Back to Contents It has long been the standard procedure in mycology to grow mushroom tissue cultures in Petri dishes filled with agar medium. But if you are a newcomer. The procedures in this volume largely stand on their own for growers familiar with the peroxide method. But as more and more people seek to cultivate mushrooms without sterile laboratories.

It has essential background information on mushroom growing generally and on the use of hydrogen peroxide in mushroom culture in particular. Perhaps the biggest drawback of agar Petri dish culture for mushrooms is that the dishes have such a large exposed surface area.

In general. Even with peroxide in the agar. The procedures are broadly organized within the volume according to the stage of mushroom cultivation they apply to. Because they are incubated for so long. For instance. Some mushrooms don't like the wetter environment in slants for example. Even without peroxide. This is especially true after the mycelium has spread over most of the agar. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way cultivation.

But I designed two of the methods for preparing bulk substrate specifically for growers who want to work at commercial scales. You can't monitor the morphology of the mycelium as closely in slants as on agar plates changes in morphology file: The peroxide-based methods presented in this volume are my original inventions unless otherwise stated.

But there is a downside. This gives added security against contaminants. Enough said--let's get started! One solution to the problems of agar Petri dish culture is to switch to agar culture in containers that have smaller exposed surface area. You can set the can in a pan of warm water to speed the cooling.

This last problem depends quite a bit on the kind of mycelial mat a given mushroom lays down. Add 1. Take out the can and the tubes to cool.

A wide low bowl works well for this purpose. Remove the cooker immediately from the heat and cool. Hold the screw cap curled in the little finger of your dominant hand while you do the pouring.

Replace each cap and set each of the tubes leaning at a low angle for solidfying. You can make an inoculating loop for yourself. Mix the peroxide in by swirling the can. Squeeze a crimp in the rim of the can to serve later as a pour spout. Making slants Back to Contents Here's how to make a set of slants: Then put the weight on.

When solidfied. Open the cooker as soon as the pressure has gone down. The glass tube becomes the handle.

Finally pour the agar into the tubes. Put a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the can.

Avoid spilling over the tube threads. Add peroxide with a pasteurized pipette that is. Steam for 10 minutes without the weight in place. For easy reference. Put the can in your pressure cooker with some water. Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way can indicate contamination or other strain problems.

Measure out the ingredients for MYA medium into a clean metal can. And it can be frustratingly difficult to dig out chunks of mycelium from slants when you want to inoculate other cultures. Put a small loop in the end of a wire.

Use the pour spout on the can to get the agar into the narrow mouths of the tubes. Put your screw cap tubes in at the same time. See below for MYA medium mls.

And even if you can. Rotate the mouth of the tube over the flame of the alcohol lamp. Roll the mouth of the screw cap tube in the flame of your alcohol lamp before and after the transfer.

But it can still be hard to catch a good-sized piece on the loop. This can be a tricky endeavor with an inoculating loop. The peroxide will keep it free of contaminants.

Starting a Mushroom Farming Business in 6 Easy Steps Growing Oyster Mushrooms

Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way For successful inoculation. The mycelium then grows up through the second layer. But use a can with a crimp in the rim for a pour spout as for making slants above to hold the medium. The less agar you use. Allow the mycelium to grow out a bit over the agar. Nenad Vidovic and Sansin Corporation in Ontario. I explained how invisible microbial contamination can build up on the mycelium of cultures grown by the peroxide method.

This method consists of pouring a second layer of agar--when it is almost cool enough to solidify--on top of mycelium growing on the first layer of agar.The test tube received a few milliliters of hydrogen peroxide solution, which has now decomposed to release oxygen, filling the balloon. What's in Volume II of the peroxide manual?

Fill it a final time and place it inside an airtight plastic bag. It is my hope that the reader will seek out direct instruction in this regard.

This makes it possible to pack sawdust-based substrate more tightly, creating a denser substrate favored by many species. Can I use peroxide for growing mushrooms on straw or compost?

The bottles of peroxide I get list only the month of expiration.. As long as it is left undisturbed. Every mushroom species I have tested can be grown in the presence of peroxide, and it is highly likely that any mushrooms that otherwise can be cultivated can be grown this way. The scrapings can then be transferred to another plate or to a jar of spawn with the scalpel.

MARGOT from Kansas City
I love reading novels woefully. See my other articles. I enjoy knife throwing.