PART III

Mushroom Cultivation

Some mushrooms are mycorrhizal partners of trees and other plants, as we have discussed. Mycorrhizal fungi cannot be cultivated. Many other mushrooms, however, are saprobic in nature—they decompose organic material—and those can be cultivated.

Mushroom cultivation relies on the basic principle of introducing an organism to a food source. Mushrooms and other fungi digest organic material and draw that nutrition to a reproductive structure that we call a mushroom, or a fruiting body. It is the reproductive part of a fungus. The fungal mycelium secretes enzymes to break down the nutritious matter it encounters.

To cultivate mushrooms at home, you can start with a mushroom, mushroom spores, or spawn (a culture of the ...

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