Sunday, July 1, 2018
Mushroom Cultivation: An Illustrated Guide to Growing Your Own Mushrooms at Home
There has been a renaissance the last few year in niche/specialty gardening books. Mushroom Cultivation: An Illustrated Guide to Growing Your Own Mushrooms at Home is a very well written, scientifically sound, lavishly illustrated specialty guide to growing/processing/cooking many types of mushrooms aimed at the home gardener.
Released 8th May, 2018 from Quarto Publishing group's Quarry imprint, it's 144 pages and available in ebook and softbound formats.
Author Tavis Lynch has arranged the book logically and writes in a clear, easy to follow manner. After a short forward (by the editor in chief of FUNGI magazine) and introduction, the book defines and describes what fungi are (and aren't), illustrates the typical life cycle of a fungus, and gives a short intro on the tools and materials necessary for successful mushroom culture.
There are four main culture methods introduced in the first chapter (growing on logs, straw, sawdust/wood chips, and compost). Each of the four is expanded thoroughly in its own chapter following the introduction. There are specific recommendations for every culture method including which type of mushrooms suit each method, which woods and which climates are appropriate for each type of mushroom as well as tips and tricks and suggestions garnered over 30 years of foraging and growing experience.
The culture chapters are followed by a solid troubleshooting guide, processing guide and really useful recipes. I haven't tested out the culture info one-on-one on my own property yet (my logs are resting and I am sourcing spawn at the moment), but the recipes have been tried here in my kitchen and pronounced a roaring success (from purchased 'shrooms) by my fungus eating family. The pickled winecap recipe (p. 126) is simple and yields a sublime product. Who knew mushrooms could be pickled?!
The book also includes a decent suppliers list (mostly but not totally) slanted toward North American growers, along with a good cross referenced index.
The full color photography is clear and supports and illustrates the text very well. Every single page of the entire book contains photographs. Definitely a useful book for the would-be mushroom farmer or keen gardener looking to expand their horizons.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.