Giant Puffball Cultivation

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Fri Sep 15 12:04:41 EST 2000


In article <39C08853.5F5B1C5F at ic.ac.uk>,
  Edwin Hutton <e.hutton at ic.ac.uk> wrote:
> I have never cultivated any sort of mushrooms, so cannot provide any
> solid advice. However I do gather Langermannia Gigantea from some
> fairly regular sites, and I will stick my neck out and add some
> comments to D. Wheeler's suggestions. (I do know he is quite an expert
> on the Oregon varieties.)
Thanks for the vote of confidence. I have grown many fungi. I have only
cultivated one puffball, and it was _not_ Langermannia gigantea, which is
not readily found in my area. Another species, Calvatia booniana is
rarely encountered, but is much smaller (only 5-20 lbs. max) and
unfortunately I have never found it.

The species I did *cultivate* was more accidental that intentional: after
putting a new road in WA, which required me to chip a lot of material and
bury other material, then cover it with fresh crushed rock to 6 inches
deep, I started seeing quantities of Lycoperdon perlatum. Evidently
burying the chips, leaves and branches under a casing of layer of crushed
rock does produce quite a few puffballs. Typically this is one of the
first fungi to appear after rainfalls in the late summer or early fall
(I've already seen quite a few this year), and often the sporocarps are
attached by thick rhizomorphs (thick mycelial threads). The first
inoculated site I used a dried puffball as inoculant. Production occured
less than 3 months later. The interesting thing is that this area has
produced perennially for the last 8 years.
 >
> First of all it is very unlikely that anyone has previously achieved
> growing giant puffbals yet, otherwise the price of a cooked portion
> in London would not be around 20 UKP and they would soon appear in
> the shops.
>
> Colin Davidson wrote:
> >
> > <truffler1635 at my-deja.com> wrote in message
> > news:8pkj77$i0r$1 at nnrp1.deja.com...
> >
> > > This is just a thought, Colin. I have never found nor expect to find that
> > > variety in my neck of the forest. But I do have some suggestings for
> > > growing or attempting to grow them.
> > >
> > > First of all, carefully note where you found it growing. Can you identify
> > > what it was growing from? Was there any nearby rotting organic material?
> > > Is it possible to collect some of that material fresh to create a "bed"
> > > to grow your puffballs? It may take a year or longer to see anything
> > > production, so try to find someplace where you will be looking at the
> > > site on a regular basis for the next year at least.
> > >
> >
> > Ahh, now I've been lucky to find the giant puffball in a couple of different
> > locations. Normally it's found on the edges of fields, sometimes also in
> > grassy parts of woods. In the same patch I've also found field mushrooms,
> > sometimes parasols. This last lot were from a muddy bank next to a lake. It
> > seems to like slightly acid pH and fairly stable pasture.
> >
> > > Assemble fresh or dried organic debris similar to where you collected the
> > > puffball.
> It might be best to collect from just underneath where you found the
> puffball. The fact that the puffball generates billions of spores
> suggests that they don't 'germinate'(?) very easily, and you should
> try to start with some mycelium in your sample.
> > > Create a layer of 2-4 inches of the debris, then water it
> > > thoroughly for at least 2 days. (another faster method is to completely
> > > submerge it for 72 hours: this nearly sterilizes the medium, and allows
> > > you a nearly pure run of mycelium: the growing portion of the puffball)
> I hope this would not destroy any mycelium you gathered.
> > >
> > > After the bed is established and semi-sterilized material (substrate) is
> > > placed, add a slurry of ripe puffball spores
> First lot of patience - It takes a few weeks for the puffball to
> mature to the totally inedible brown state where the spores are
> mature enough to be blown about in the wind (I would probably want
> to eat the puffball while white than hang around). Of course you
> might be starting with a ripe inedible one anyway.
> > > in 2 cups of water
> David - How much puffball for two cups of water? They can grow to
I used a single sporocarp for my first inoculation: call it 1/4 ounce.
> several pounds in weight.
> > > in a food
> > > processor or blender. Blend on high for at least 10 minutes, or until the
> > > sporemass is reduced to tiny particles. Pour this slurry (make more by
> > > adding more water) over the substrate. Cover with another 2-3 inches of
> > > substrate. Cover with a shadecloth that allows water in, but gives some
> > > protection from direct sunlight.
> > >
> > > Now comes the hard part: wait.
> > >
> > > If giant puffballs only fruit once a year in your area, it may be next
> > > year before you see any production. It could even be later. I don't know
> > > anyone who has been successful in growing it. But that _doesn't_ mean you
> > > should try!
> > >
> >
> > Hmmm. Haven't come across that method. I'll try that one next time, if the
> > current efforts to get it to grow on PDA and MYG fail. Hopefully, if I can
> > get it into culture then I'll have an almost inexaustible supply of mycelium
> > to play with:)
> >
> > I think that I might be able to get some more puffballs this weekend
> > (FINGERS CROSSED!). If so, I'll have plenty of material to work with.
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Colin.
>
> Do please keep us posted on your progress. However if you _do_ manage
> to find a way to cultivate giant puffballs there could be a lot
> of money in it (they are regarded as one of the most desirable
> edible fungi) so you should consider protecting your technique
> with a patent or something.
>
> Edwin Hutton
>
>


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