Growth Parameters

Spawn Run:

Relative Humidity: 95-100%

Duration: 25-45 days

Fresh Air Exchanges: 0-1 per hour

Light Requirements: n/a

Primordia Formation:

Initiation Temperature: 50-60° F. (10-16° C.) Relative Humidity: 95-98% Duration: 14-21 days C02:< 1500 ppm

Fresh Air Exchanges: 4-8 per hour or as needed to affect C02 Light Requirements. 100-500 lux.

Fruitbody Development:

Relative Humidity: (85) 90-95%

Duration: 7-14 days

C02:< 1500 ppm

Fresh Air Exchanges: 4-8 per hour

Light Requirements: 100-500 lux.

Cropping Cycle:

2 crops, 3-4 weeks apart.

Suggested Agar Media: MYA, PDYA, OMYA or DFA.

1st Generation Spawn Media: Grain (rye, wheat, milo, sorghum, or corn) should be inoculated from 3-4 day fermented mycelium. (A high inoculation rate is required if not using liquid inoculation techniques.) Spawn jars should be shaken every 3-4 days after inoculation to ensure full colonization. On sterilized grain, after being disturbed, the mycelium of this species revitalizes, bursting into new growth.

2nd & 3rd Generation Spawn Media: A second generation of grain spawn can be inoculated from the 1 st generation and then the grain spawn can be mixed into a moistened 50:50 sawdust/chips blend. A minimum of a 10% inoculation rate should be used, or preferably a rate of 15-20%.

Fruiting Substrates: For indoor cultivation, pasteurized straw or sterilized sawdust is inoculated with grain spawn and incubated under high carbon dioxide conditions. Once colonized, a microbially rich soil (a "casing layer") is placed upon it to promote fruiting. This soil can be heat treated to kill insects but should not be exposed to temperatures higher than 140° F. (60° C.) for more than one hour.

GROWTH PARAMETERS

Figure 300. Representative fruiting of 5. rugoso-annulata.

Otherwise, the mushroom-promotmg bactena are ¿lied, hindering or pievting Mgs; Wo to three v >eks aftt casin long, stlky white, braided rhizomorphs appear, soon giving nse to dark red 1TJmn rdia (See Figure 296). Spei hit or Oyster production blocks (sawdust/chips/ L , Can ba re-sterilized for further reduction by Stropharia rugoso-annulata. Recommended Cropping Containers: Trays or 20+ gallon bags.

iiarvest Hints: For best flavor, this mushroom must be picked before or at tl tir ,e the veil is tearing along the cap argi r s soon as the gills .come dark . ay, signifying the produ 10 of spores, ed-

Mh^ precipitously declines. Th bulbous stem is particularly succulent, the presence of maggots notwithstanding.

Form of Prod u* Sold to Market: Fresh m grooms are sold at organic farms selli g other types of produce rhe price ranges from $ 4-7 p lb. Amencans are pa ticularly attracted to this large mushroom. I have not seen this mushroom sold in dned form. It is too large to pickle.

Nutritional Content: Not known to this author. Medicinal Properties: Not known to this author.

Flavor Frepa «on & Cooking: Young buttons, sometimes weighir , 1/2 tel Lb. apu e can te cut lengthwise to create - »gStropl naste s. Basted with soy sauce and herba V^ZtT is super' on the arbecue during the summer, a time when it produces most prohfically. This mush room can also be used in stir fries. In either case, I prefer this mushroom well cooked.

King Stiopharia should not be eaten for more than 2 or 3 days in a row. From European reports, some individuals who daily consumed this mushroom, fail to rebuild the enzymes necessary for digestion, an event possibly activated by alcohol resulting in a bad case of indigestion and/or nausea. I know of one. formerly enihused King Stropharia grower, who grew several hundred pounds of this mushroom, featuring it at summer garden parties. Upon his third day of imbibing, he was the only one of twenty guests, to experience extreme gastrointestinal revolt. To this day he now views King Stropharia (and mi ¡will great suspicion.

Comments: Stropharia rugoso-annulata is a mushroom wi h complex biological requirements, and yet one of great utility for gardeners and recyclers. On sterilized malt agar media, the mycelium grows anemically. On sterilized grain and sawdust, the mycelium grows out from the site of inoculation for a few inches and then radically declines in its rate of growth. Unless the mycelium s disturbed, growth falters. If at this stage, the grain or sawdust is disturbed, the mycelium recoils from the concussion and bursts into a period of new growth. Often t:mes, the mycelium must be disturbed several times to assure full colonization on sterilized substrates. When pasteurized sawdust is inoculated, the growth pattern is unhampered, unless green molds proliferate. The color of the sawdust changes from a dark brown to a l;ght yellow brown just prior to the appearance of the white rhizomorphic mycelium.

Once the mycelium is implanted into wood chips outdoors, the mycelium undergoes a radical transformation in its pattern of growth. The mycelium is activated by microflora in soils, particularly bacteria. In response, thick cord-like and braided rhizomorphs form Tnis luxunous mycelium spreads from the sites of inoculation, and can travel substantial distances, generating satellite colonies, often hundreds of feet away from the mother colony. One mixed wood chip bed I inoculated had a depth of one to two feet, measuring approximately 20 by 30 feet in size. This patch yielded at least 200 lbs. of mushrooms over its two year I;fespan. After 3 years, the wood chns were rendered into a nch soil-like humus (See Figure 18).

Young specimens of this mushroom have an excellent flavor. The flavor quality steadily, nay, precipitously, deciines as the mushroom matures, evidenced by the darkening of the gills, a sign of spores maturing. Once the thick veil ruptures and the gills throw spores, the mushroom rapidly looses any gourmet quali ties. The mushrooms can we;gh up to 5 lbs.

Figure 301. LaDena Stamets with King Stropharia at the ideal stage for harvest

apiece When these giants mature, with their huge surface areas of sporulating basidia, the spore cast is phenomenal King Stropharia's flesh is far denser when young than when the caps are fully expanded The stem is also i lible although it is often permeated through with rr ggo holes, nearly invisible in young specimens In older specimens the huge stems often become hollo* .<ucr ses in * /hie so many fattened maggots have grown that the mushrooms spontaneously move Ironj the rumblings of these inhabitants. . .

Anothe e ferred method is to inoculate a mulched bed of moistened wheat straw in the garden and/or amongst shrubbery. I have found that specimens grown on wheat straw in open settings are re] ively free of insect invasion compared to those grown on wood chips. For more information on the incorporation of this mushroom into an integrated farm model, please refer to Chapter 5: The Stametsian Model: PermacuUure with a Mycological Twist on page 41.

See also Ingle (1988), Chilton (1986), Stamets & Chilton (1983) and Steineck (1973).

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