About Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way, Volume I

Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way, by R.R. Wayne, Ph.D.

What's in Volume I?

Volume I of Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way is both an indispensable introduction to the use of hydrogen peroxide in mushroom culture and a general primer on basic mushroom growing. It describes techniques for preparing mushroom cultures without air filtration or sterile facilities, and without autoclaves or pressure cooking of bulk substrate. And it contains crucial information--not repeated in Volume II--on:

  • how peroxide works
  • issues of stability and safety with peroxide
  • how to measure peroxide concentration
  • the problem of peroxide-decomposing enzymes in substrate material
  • how to choose peroxide-compatible substrates and supplements
  • Volume I also contains sections on:

  • an introduction to some commonly cultivated mushrooms
  • preparing and maintaining agar cultures
  • making grain spawn
  • making "Ten Minute Spawn" (a quick sawdust-based, steamed spawn medium)
  • a boiling water/peroxide method for preparing bulk wood pellet fuel substrate
  • seasonal planning
  • indoor vs. outdoor growing
  • harvesting mushrooms
  • troubleshooting
  • Continue on down the page or click to read an excerpt from the Introduction to Volume I, or to take a look at the Table of Contents for Volume I.

  • Excerpt from the Introduction to Volume I
  • Table of Contents for Volume I
  • About Volume II
  • About the Author
  • Growers Comment on the Peroxide Method
  • Ordering information
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  • Some history of the manual
    I first published Volume I of the peroxide manual as Growing Mushrooms with Hydrogen Peroxide in December 1996. Two years later, I released a second edition, revised and enlarged. The Third and latest edition, entitled Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way, came out in January of 1998, and it was revised in November, 1999. The latter edition has now become Volume I of the peroxide manual with the release of Volume II in August, 2000. Volume I was again slightly revised in September of 2001.

    Both volumes are written for beginners as well as experienced growers, with all the main procedures cast into the form of numbered steps. Volume I is 36 pages long, not including the Table of Contents.

    Excerpt from the Introduction to
    Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way, Volume I

    When I first took an interest in growing mushrooms, I checked out a well-known book on mushroom cultivation from the library and eagerly read through it. But my interest soon turned to general discouragement as I read about all the equipment and procedures the book insisted were necessary to grow mushrooms without getting the cultures contaminated. I would need a sterile laboratory space with a laminar-flow hood fitted with electrostatic and HEPA filters and an ultraviolet light. This space would need a sterile air-lock entry way with a foot wash, and I would need to have special clothing to enter it, so that I could wash down the floors with chlorine bleach every day. My fruiting mushrooms would have to be grown in a separate building altogether, so as to avoid getting spores into the sterile laboratory. These fruiting cultures would have to be grown in specially designed plastic bags with microporous filter patches attached, so that the mushroom mycelium could get oxygen without letting mold spores or bacteria get in. Of course, I would need an autoclave or at least a specially designed pressure cooker to sterilize the media that went into these bags.

    After considering these requirements briefly, I put aside the thought of growing mushrooms. I wasn't about to get all that equipment, and I figured I probably wasn't cut out for the job anyway. From what I could gather, my house would be a death trap for mushroom cultures. Neither my wife nor I are careful housekeepers. We have unabashed dust and clutter, and green and white fuzzy things can be found in and outside the refrigerator. Although I was skilled at sterile technique from my years as a graduate student in biochemistry, I didn't think that would save me from the legions of eager contaminants that would surely dog my every movement should I attempt to grow anything so delectable as mushrooms.

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  • About Volume II
  • Peroxide in Mushroom Growing FAQs
  • Ordering Information

  • Growing Mushrooms the Easy Way
    Home Mushroom Cultivation with Hydrogen Peroxide, Volume I

    by R. R Wayne, Ph.D.

    Table of Contents



    The Mushrooms
    Equipment You Will Need
    Specialized Supplies You May Need

    The Basics on Peroxide

    What peroxide does

    Biological effect of peroxide
    Advantages of using peroxide in mushroom culture
    Contaminant resistance to peroxide

    What peroxide does not do

    The need for caution when exposing mycelium
    Peroxide is not a sterilant at mushroom-growing concentrations

    Safety and environmental considerations for hydrogen peroxide

    Peroxide and the spirit of organic growing
    Lack of effect of peroxide on substrate or mushroom cultures


    In pure solution
    At higher temperatures
    In the presence of peroxide-decomposing enzymes
    Guarding the purity of peroxide stock solution

    Variations in peroxide concentration from commercial sources

    Measuring peroxide concentration
    Calculating how much peroxide solution to use

    Growing and Maintaining Agar Cultures

    Preparing agar plates
    MYA medium

    Use the lowest effective concentration of peroxide in agar

    No-pressure agar medium

    Hazards of agar drips and importance of clean plates
    Reusing peroxide agar medium

    Acquiring mushroom cultures

    Importance of starting with good strains
    Cloning Mushrooms

    Strain storage

    Distilled water method
    Keep storage cultures peroxide-free

    Inoculating and handling agar cultures

    Cooling hot scalpels
    Inoculating from storage cultures or peroxide-free medium
    Preventing occult contamination with bottom inoculation: cleaning the mycelium
    Incubating inoculated plates and storing uninoculated plates

    Making Mushroom Spawn

    Economic advantage of making your own spawn
    Advantages of sawdust-based spawn

    "Ten minute" no-autoclave sawdust spawn

    Nitrogen supplements compatible with Ten Minute Spawn
    Importance of clean containers in making Ten Minute Spawn

    Pressure-sterilized sawdust spawn
    Grain spawn

    Difficulties of grain spawn and pitfalls in spawn making

    Spawn containers
    Inoculating spawn

    Agar chunk method
    Use peroxide-adapted mycelium for spawn inoculation
    Incubating and shaking the spawn
    Liquid culture

    Colonization of bulk substrate

    Importance of choosing substrates lacking peroxide-decomposing enzymes
    Pasteurizable substrates compatible with peroxide
    Recipes for fruiting substrates

    Wood chips and substrate density
    Preparing supplemented sawdust with peroxide
    Nitrogen supplements for bulk substrate
    Calculating how much supplement to add
    Measuring pH of substrate
    Culture containers

    Trash bags as culture containers
    Excluding fungus gnats
    Plastic buckets as an alternative to bags

    Inoculating supplemented sawdust

    Breaking up spawn for inoculation into fruiting substrates
    Adding the spawn to the substrate

    Mushroom formation

    General procedures for fruiting oyster-like mushrooms and Hericium
    Protecting yourself from spores
    Mushrooms needing a casing layer

    Seasonal planning
    Outdoor vs. indoor growing

    Trouble shooting

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  • About Volume II
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  • This document Copyright 2001 by Randall R. Wayne, Ph.D. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means without permission of the author.