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Contrary to what many cultivation cognoscenti repeatedly say, this book is not the `bible' of mushroom cultivation. Although the amount of information in this book is impressive, it is limited to a handful of species, and gives exact growth parameters for a few select mushrooms, principally those belonging to Agaricus, Pleurotus, Psilocybe/Panaeolus, and Stropharia. It should also be noted that while some species, such as Pleurotus and Agaricus are relatively easy to cultivate, others such as Stropharia and Psilocybe/Panaeolus may be difficult to cultivate even under the most favorable conditions. As many of the topics in the book are more appropriate for the small mushroom farm, the book is anything but practical for home-based cultivation. As a result, using this book as a basis for hobby cultivation will more than likely take the fun out of cultivation entirely. That said, the book explains the science behind mushroom cultivation very well, but places considerable emphasis on composting and Agaricus/Psilocybe production. The emphasis on Agaricus is understandable, as it is a commercially cultivated mushroom with mass appeal, but Psilocybe species are covered in a bit too much detail for my taste. More lab techniques are presented in this book than in Stamet's Growing Gourmet Mushrooms, and the authors provide detailed info on starting cultures from scratch, spawn maintenance and propagation, as well as setting up your own lab. One very strong selling point of the book is the authors' elaboration on the importance of good environmental control and how to achieve it, although again, the information on this topic would be more appropriate for a farm than a home.Read more ›
I have read this and several other mushroom cultivation books. This book, coupled with Stamet's Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, makes for the absolute best reference materials for growing your own mushrooms. That said, I'll mention the only thing that may disappoint a reader. His treatment of agar techniques in either of his cultivation books leaves a little to be desired. If you feel uncomfortable working with petri dishes after reading his sections on it, you may wish to check out "Laboratory Excercises in Microbiology" (ISBN 0-697-35443-1) by Harley and Prescott. It is a little more than a fellow needs to know about microbiology, but it is an excellent reference for aquainting on with aseptic agar techniques. Aside from this, Stamets has certainly beaten the competion with this book!
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I often refer to this book at the "bible", also. And it's writen by the "Cultivation God" himself. I already knew how to cultivate before i bought this book, and had a fairly wide knowledge of the subject. The amount of information in this book is unbelievable. I was just shocked. And, in a sort of response to the person who said there's too much info - if you're going to cultivate mushrooms, the more information the better. You can get buy with just a step-by-step guide, but you won't be very successful, and if you run into problems, or want to do more, then you're not going to know what to do. If you really want to cultivate mushrooms, and you really want to enjoy it, then you've got to get this book. It's easy to understand, and gives some basic information on the life cycle and properties of mushrooms. Ask anyone that cultivates, and knows a lot about cultivating, and they'll tell you that this is a must have book. It's probably my favorite book i've ever bought. Get it!
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If you were to buy only one book on mushroom cultivation, this would be the best choice. It can certainly stand-alone in that it provides all the info the reader needs to cultivate mushrooms. Although psilocybian mushrooms are included these are by no means the exclusive or main focus of this book. For the most part, the book is concerned with legal edible mushrooms that can be grown in the home or yard. Absolute beginners can certainly start with this book and no other book will be necessary to provide all that the reader needs to know from beginning to end of the mushroom growing process.
It must be mentioned that this book does not cover the popular "PF tek" (the "Psilocybe Fanaticus technique" also known as the "jar tek"), the simple technique utilizing canning jars full of substrate and inoculating them with syringes of spores suspended in water. Readers interested in this technique (which, after all seems the easiest and most practical) would find all they need to know on this technique at the Shroomery.org web site and others like it. This book was originally published in 1983, years before the "PF tek" was innovated.
Among the technique that this book does cover are the use of agar petri dish culture, culture slants, casing, grain spawn, composting, log-plugging and more. There is also a wealth of info on mushroom contaminants - how to spot them and how to deal with them. Therefore we can say that while this book does not cover the most simple of techniques, it certainly covers all other techniques suitable for absolute beginners and for those looking to expand their hobby beyond the beginners' methods.
The authors are obviously sincerely interested in mushrooms in general and in the cultivation of edible mushrooms.Read more ›