I've had several requests for this information so here it is,
instructions on growing Agaricus bisporus, the common Button mushroom
found in stores.
From: Western Biologicals, Aldergrove, BC, Canada
Fresh wood chips or straw in a bed or trench in the
garden may be used to produce mushrooms. The "thatch" in a
lawn is sufficient to support the growth of these mushrooms
if spawn is sprinkled at root level just under the grass.
The turf is replaced and the area watered as necessary.
Champignon, white Button mushroom - It is challenging to
grow this mushroom on a small scale due to the difficulty of
preparing small quantities of compost, and due to its
requirement for "casing". Naturally composted manure from a
stable may give good results, and you may even produce
mushrooms from ordinary garden compost, or straw or mulch.
Compost is spawned, and following several weeks of
colonization a layer of casing soil, which may be clean soil
or peat moss mixed with crushed limestone, is placed over
the compost. When the mycelium grows through the casing, the
mushrooms may be "pinned", which requires fresh air, and a
temp lower than 17 C. Pinning is the name given to the
process of forming the first small mushroom primordia. A
properly prepared outdoor patch may be expected to produce
mushrooms for several years. Establish in the lawn with
spawn sprinkled at root level under the grass.
Compost made from straw and horse manure is the best for
button mushrooms. To prepare a mushroom growing compost,
straw is pre-wet by soaking for 3 or 4 days, then mixed with
approx. 20% by volume of horse manure and .5% of Gypsum
(calcium sulphate). In order for good compostimng
temperatures to be attained naturally (approx. 150 F.), the
compost pile will need to be about 8 - 10 cubic yards. The
pile should be completely turned over every 5 - 7 days. With
each turning, the layers of the compost pile should cycle to
a new position. Thus, the outer 6 - 12 inch layer should
form the core of the new pile, the "anaerobic" core should
form the new "active" middle layer, and the old growing in
the active regions of the compost appear as white flecks
known as "fire-fang". The pile should be sprinkled lightly
every few days to maintain moisture, so that a small fistful
of compost will just barely release moisture when squeezed
as hard as possible. Do not water so much that it runs off,
as this will promote undesirable anaerobic conditions.
Exposure of every part of the compost to peak temperatures
in the active region is important for killing off mould
spores, eggs of mushroom flies, nematodes, etc. Gradual
cooling after peak heat is important in "conditioning" the
compost and producing a selective growth medium. At the end
of about three weeks, the pile should have begun to cool
down, and should have no residual ammonia smell. Strip off
and discard the outer 3 - 4 inches of the pile and select
the white-flecked, clean smelling inner material in which to
grow your mushrooms.
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