MUSHROOMS (Agaricus campestris)
Anyone who can obtain fresh stable manure can grow mushrooms. If this cannot be obtained it is useless to try to cultivate a mushroom crop. This does not mean that mushrooms never grow anywhere except on a bed of stable manure, but that failure would result in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred unless fresh manure were used.
Cultivation of mushrooms is fairly simple, the main steps to be taken are these: Stable manure obtained in a fresh condition is thrown into heaps about 4 ft. high anywhere under cover. The manure should be thoroughly moist throughout, and should be kept in a moist condition. It should be turned at intervals of three or four days, during three weeks.
If shavings or sawdust are present, the manure should remain in these heaps longer and be constantly turned. At the end of this time the manure will have lost most of its objectionable odour, and will be quite pleasant to work. As soon as the temperature of the heaps decreases to about 120° the mushroom beds can be made up.
These can be made flat or ridged. The manure is built into the desired shape, and if the flat bed is chosen it should be 10 in. deep. When the temperature of the heaps falls to 70°, the beds can be spawned. Pieces of spawn about 2 in. square are inserted here and there over the bed, pushed in so that there is about 1 in. of the manure over the spawn. Press them in and cover them over firmly. Put a layer ofover the bed from 1-2 in. deep. If the beds threaten to dry out, they should be moistened slightly with tepid water, but this will not be necessary in most cases. In a few weeks little buttons will be seen over the mushroom bed. These are gathered and a little more soil is thrown over. A bed usually produces mushrooms almost continually for several months. Mushroom spawn now supplied by specialists is extremely reliable, and with reasonable attention to the simple operations outlined above, any amateur should be able to grow good mushrooms.