The Cultivation of Mushrooms - An Outline of Mushroom Culture
54 pages

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The art of mushroom-growing in England had been passed on from generation to generation without the development of very exact methods, and there is still considerable ignorance of some of the most important factors. This fascinating guide on mushroom-growing seeks to elucidate the most important of these factors, making it a wonderful handbook for beginners and also proving a useful reference for seasoned growers. Chapters contained within this text include: The Source of Success, Experience and Result, How the Spawn is Made, Testing the Original Spore Cultures, Selection of the Site, Preparation of Compost, Making the Beds, Spawning, Selection of Casing Soil, and many more. A fascinating and comprehensive treatise on the subject, no collection of mycological literature would be complete without a handbook such as this. Originally published in 1914, this rare antiquarian text is proudly republished here complete with its original illustrations and a new prefatory introduction to the subject.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 décembre 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781528763622
Langue English

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The Cultivation of Mushrooms
With Illustrations.

First Published 1914. New Revised Edition 1937.

An Outline of Mushroom Culture.
Copyright 2013 Read Books Ltd. This book is copyright and may not be reproduced or copied in any way without the express permission of the publisher in writing
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
The Cultivation of Mushrooms
A mushroom (or toadstool) is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name mushroom is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus ; hence the word mushroom is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella) or pores on the underside of the cap.
The terms mushroom and toadstool go back centuries and were never precisely defined, nor was there consensus on application. The term toadstool was often, but not exclusively, applied to poisonous mushrooms or to those that have the classic umbrella-like cap-and-stem form. Between 1400 and 1600 AD, the terms tadstoles, frogstooles, frogge stoles, tadstooles, tode stoles, toodys hatte, paddockstool, puddockstool, paddocstol, toadstoole, and paddockstooles sometimes were used synonymously with mushrum, muscheron, mousheroms, mussheron, or musserouns. The term mushroom and its variations may have been derived from the French word mousseron in reference to moss ( mousse ).
Identifying mushrooms requires a basic understanding of their macroscopic structure. Most are Basidiomycetes and gilled. Their spores, called basidiospores, are produced on the gills and fall in a fine rain of powder from under the caps as a result. As a result, for most mushrooms, if the cap is cut off and placed gill-side-down overnight, a powdery impression reflecting the shape of the gills (or pores, or spines, etc.) is formed (when the fruit body is sporulating). The colour of the powdery print, called a spore print, is used to help classify mushrooms and can help to identify them. Spore print colours include white (most common), brown, black, purple-brown, pink, yellow, and creamy, but almost never blue, green, or red.
While modern identification of mushrooms is quickly becoming molecular, the standard methods for identification are still used by most and have developed into a fine art, harking back to medieval times and the Victorian era. The presence of juices upon breaking, bruising reactions, odours, tastes, shades of colour, habitat, habit, and season are all considered by both amateur and professional mycologists. Tasting and smelling mushrooms carries its own hazards though, because of poisons and allergens. In general, identification to genus can often be accomplished in the field using a local mushroom guide. Identification to species, however, requires more effort; and one must remember that a mushroom develops from a button stage into a mature structure, and only the latter can provide certain characteristics needed for the identification of the species.
However, over-mature specimens lose features and cease producing spores. Many novices have mistaken humid water marks on paper for white spore prints, or discoloured paper from oozing liquids on lamella edges for coloured spore prints. A number of species of mushrooms are poisonous; although some resemble certain edible species, consuming them could be fatal. Eating mushrooms gathered in the wild is risky and should not be undertaken by individuals not knowledgeable in mushroom identification, unless the individuals limit themselves to a relatively small number of good edible species, that are visually distinctive. People who collect mushrooms for consumption are known as mycophagists , and the act of collecting them for such is known as mushroom hunting, or simply mushrooming . Have fun!
. The . Cultivation of Mushrooms

The art of mushroom-growing in England had been passed on from generation to generation without the development of very exact methods and there is still considerable ignorance of some of the most important factors. In many agricultural or horticultural operations, the methods of our forefathers are still in use although the full explanation of their merits may not even yet be forthcoming. In mushroom-growing, the various phases of the process now employed are all, with one exception, of ancient origin, but the grower of to-day has the advantage of publications such as this which set out, after giving careful consideration, the most essential details, and give the correct methods from knowledge accumulated over many years. In former times, although the knowledge was undoubtedly there, it was the jealously-guarded secret of a very few, and reliable books giving all necessary instructions for mushroom-culture were not to be found. Consequently the instructions which were passed on by word of mouth were prone to lose some of their original accuracy.
It has been mentioned above that with one exception the processes of mushroom-growing are of ancient origin. This exception is the type of spawn used, and since it is claimed that the introduction of Darlington s 100% SPAWN, the Pure Culture Spawn, revolutionized the whole mushroom-growing industry, it may be readily understood that in this direction rapid advances have been made. It is acknowledged by all mushroom-growers that the choice of spawn is the first consideration, and when it is realised that spawn-planting is only the equivalent of sowing seeds or planting cuttings, it becomes apparent that some discretion is needed in selecting the material to sow or plant. When making a choice, whether of seeds or mushroom spawn, the strain or variety, vigour of growth, and above all production must be considered. The Pure Culture 100% Spawn provides immediate, vigorous growth of a selected variety of mushroom from every fragment planted.
The Pure Culture 100 % Spawn lays the foundation of success, for even if all conditions are favourable good results cannot be obtained if the spawn used is of doubtful quality.
A period of years has been spent by the author of this booklet studying the question of spawn quality and spawn production at a cost of hundreds of pounds for experimental work. All the different makes of spawn obtainable were tested-Italian, Austrian, French, American and English-with varying results. With some, a reasonably good yield of mushrooms was obtained but in many cases the crop was poor. The result of all the experimental work was in favour of spawn which was made from germinated spores of the mushroom, this type of spawn being found far superior to all others, and which was the foundation and success of 100% Spawn.
Our process of collecting and propagating mushroom spores is an exclusive method, it is carried out under exact laboratory conditions in complete freedom from contamination by other fungi, bacteria, or insects. The first step in the manufacture ensures that the spores are chosen only from maintained strains specially selected for colour, quality, and cropping ability, all these selected characters being carried in the resulting spawn without any admixture of strains. In this way, as regards colour for example, it is possible for any grower to purchase spawn of the greatest vigour to produce white, cream or brown mushrooms as he may care to order. In the subsequent stages of manufacture the medium used becomes completely filled with the mushroom mycelium which is therefore in full vigour when the process is ended. In this way one of the principal elements of chance which attended mushroom-growing in the past has been eliminated and all feeling of doubt as to the quality of the spawn has been removed. Thus, with the old type of brick-spawn for example, it was not even possible with the commercial product to tell beforehand what type of mushroom it contained nor was it certain that all parts of the brick would grow.
The special process under which the Pure Culture 100% Spawn is made ensures the fullest amount of quality mycelium being incorporated in the sterilised medium. For convenience, the medium is contained in special glass containers and the spawn, when removed and packed ready for distribution, is contained in cartons moist or dried. Every part of the medium is penetrated by the mycelium and the spawn, if dried while dormant, retains all the elements of vigorous germination; it is unimpared in its vitality and productiveness.
The sterilisation of all utensils and materials used in the manufacture of the Pure Culture 100% Spawn ensures its perfect purity and total absence of all danger due to insect eggs, flies, weed seeds, moulds, fungus diseases, and even bacteria, right up to the time of being packed in cartons for despatch. No form of spawn but Pure-Culture 100% Spawn can claim this degree of purity.
The method of manufacture, requiring considerable technical skill and ability, has been brought to a high state of perfection, and the quantities used by growers in this and other countries has enabled this 100 % Spawn to rank as an important commercial product. A great demand has been created, and growers throughout Great Britain, America and the Continent are fortunate in being able to obtain readily the Pure Culture 100 % Spawn which produces the finest mushrooms for English, Continental and American Markets.
From the foregoing it might well be thought that everything possible has been done to produce the perfect spawn but still more precautions are taken. Although only perfect strains are chosen as the original source of inoculum for the cultures, a strict examination of the cultures is made at intervals during growth and only the best are retained. Thus, at a very early stage in the manufacture, growers are being saved from one of the dangers of inferior spawn. A record is kept of the origin of each of the hundreds of different batches of cultures and each batch, by selecting representative samples has next to undergo a trial in actual test-beds. Here a record is kept of cropping-power and vitality, also of the size, colour, texture and other details sought for in a good market mushroon, and so stringent are the requirements that perhaps only three batches of cultures out of a hundred of different origin will be retained. It is just as easy in the manufacturing process to continue propagating the finest selected spawn as any other and it is obviously in the makers interests, as well as in those of the growers, to reject at an early stage and without delay those cultures which do not pass at the top of the test. Thus we are in a position to know that all cartons of 100 % Spawn sent out have been derived from strains which are uniformly strong and vigorous, and the very high state of perfection of the mushrooms 100% Spawn is capable of producing is best shown by the fact that other spawn-makers use the mushrooms produced from our Pure Culture 100% Spawn as the starting point of their own cultures. Tests of strains from time to time are carried out for all makes of spawn, from this and other countries, but we have not yet succeeded in finding any to surpass our own strains.
It is well to state here that the writer of the following pages has had a wide experience in growing mushrooms successfully for the markets but his success only came after failures which, it was found, had been due principally to poor spawn. Unfavourable conditions of the beds and other difficulties were also met with by him and corrected, with the result that the following pages are written with the authority of a wide experience. The author is unusually well qualified to guide those who desire to cultivate mushrooms, either for home use or commercially, and it is his desire to give concise, accurate and reliable information while writing in such a way as to be easily understood and followed by any beginner, without bothering them with scientific or technical phases of the culture.
The essential conditions for mushroom-culture will be dealt with fully, but it is convenient to make a short summary of them here.
1. Make the compost correctly and from good manure, be sure it is decomposed to the required extent.
2. Make the beds in a suitable place; they should be firm yet springy, and not wet.

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