Sunday, May 27, 2018

How to Grow Mushrooms from Scratch: A Practical Guide to Cultivating Portobellos, Shiitakes, Truffles, and Other Edible Mushrooms

How to Grow Mushrooms from Scratch is a new look at a niche gardening topic which has become more popular recently.  I am a huge fan of sustainability and local production and consumption of foods and goods.  I remember when I was a kid, my dad ordered a 'grow your own mushroom' kit with a glass vial of spawn and some compost and a transparent plastic box.  This must have been 40+ years ago. 

I remember we got a couple of decent flushes of button mushrooms which we chopped up and almost ceremonially topped our Saturday night pizzas for a few weeks. :)
This is not your dad's mushroom growing book and boy, things have changed in the past 40 years with regard to techniques and availability of products for mushroom growing and use.

Authors Magdalena & Herbert Wurth have teamed up with The Experiment publishing to present this 144 page book, available in ebook and hardback and expected to be released 4th September, 2018.

This is an English language translation and re-release in the US from the original German Pilze selbst anbauen from L√∂wenzahn in der Studienverlag published in 2015.  The book is very well written and practical, easy to understand and if English isn't their first language, they're certainly 100% fluent and the book does not suffer from that fact.  The translator did a good job of making the translation seamless.

It's a short book, but very well illustrated and packed full of information.  The information presented is mycologically/botanically correct and accessible to laypeople.  There's a fine line with technical how to books and this one does a great job of presenting 'enough but not TOO much' info.

The book starts with an introduction of the authors' backgrounds and a presentation of what fungi are and what the life cycle of a typical fungus involves. The text is accompanied by clear line drawings and color photos.

The book continues with an explanation of the methods and cultural requirements for raising and safely harvesting several types of edible fungi along with very good color photos of the authors' setups and methodology.

The book presents several different options for cultivation including outdoor, indoor and woodland/wild cultivation.  Each of these environments presents challenges and benefits and the authors explain them clearly.

There is also a small chapter dedicated to introducing methods of propagation aimed at experimenters, folks with more advanced enthusiasm or experience and the die-hard hands on garden fans.

Following the culture part of the book (roughly 75% of the content by my count), there's an interesting chapter on the uses of mushroom for medicine and culinary applications. There are many appealing recipes with mouthwatering pictures.

Finally there's a short chapter about the marketing potential for farming and selling fresh mushrooms.

The book also includes  appendices, sources, bibliography and a fairly comprehensive recommended reading list and closes with an index.

Really well done, and I've read and reviewed a 'crop' of mycology books lately. This is a very good one.

Five stars
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes. 


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