(Q): Innoculant suggestions & sources?

Joe Harrington joeharr at worldnet.att.net
Wed Jul 31 15:28:36 EST 1996

jnaylor at southwind.net (Jim Naylor) wrote:
>Would anyone be willing to offer suggestions about suitable varieties for
>outdoor growing for which innoculants might be available? My property is
>in South central Kansas on a forested stream bank with a fairly wide
>variety of trees and native shrubs. Thanks for any ideas, as I'm a total
>newbie--just think mushrooms are beautiful and fascinating. Would
>boletus(sp?) oe morels have any chance in this harsh climate (-20F to
>110+F in sometimes sudden seasonal changes and very wet one year and
>droughty the next)?

I've not yet seen anything published on the outdoor cultivation of 
Boletes. Morels can be cultivated outdoors, although they are somewhat of 
a challenge. There are a great number of other species that can be 
readily  cultivated in natural/semi-natural settings in your climate.

>The occasional puffball appears here and I'm always torn between letting
>it mature and propagate vs taking it for the table. Would it be better not
>to take any for a few years and let it propagate itself more widely? How
>long does a new mycelium take to mature to the fruiting stage? Do
>relatively young mycelia ever produce large fruit? Are there any plants
>which develop mychorrhiza with puffballs?

The puffball is the fruit produced by the underground mycelium, which 
can survive for many years. Harvesting the mature fruit should not 
disturb the underground mat of mycelium, provided you don't do a lot
of digging around it. The puffballs scatter billions of their spores to 
the wind at maturity and the germination of the spores requires very 
specific environmental conditions, and is probably rare in nature. 

To produce a mature mushroom requires a specific range of soil 
temperatures, humidity, light exposure etc. Each species has its own
particular parameters.

>Thanks for any and all ideas and info, especially recommendations on good
>starting books for the lay lover of good fungi for the microscope and

There is not an abundance of good literature for mushroom cultivation.
The materials I've had the best results with were the books authored 
by Paul Stamets, of Fungi Perfecti. He is very explicit in his 
presentations and covers over 25 different species of gourmet and 
medicinal mushrooms. I've had no failures with the procedures he 

For starters, you might want to check out the Fungus Homepage. It has
an excellent archives  and a word-searchable data base, and pointers to 
other sites. See:


>Jim Naylor        jnaylor at southwind.net

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