The most important thing to read is Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms by Paul Stamets. The first 21 chapters (200 pages) will basically tell you everything you need to know to grow just about any kind of mushroom you want, the rest of the book is reference material on specific species. If you are definitely going to be pursuing growing mushrooms and have the money to sink into a paper copy of this book, do it. If not, there is a PDF version online that you can download at http://www.megaupload.com/?d=A9NXMA7K. If you don't like reading a bunch on the computer (I hate it) I recommend getting the book from the library and reading the first 200 pages (take notes), then download the PDF and keep it for reference. You can have this book sent to your local library by clicking this link REQUEST THIS ITEM (http://mainecat.maine.edu/search/astamets%2C+paul/astamets+paul/1%2C1%2C6%2CB/request&FF=astamets+paul&1%2C%2C6)
Its also handy to have the companion book to GGMM handy, its called The Mushroom Cultivator by Pual Stamets, download it in PDF at http://www.megaupload.com/?d=T7LSMTR9, or get it from the library REQUEST THIS ITEM
Paul also has another book, Mycelium Running : How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World ... I haven't read it, but I bet its good.
Other then GGMM, my main source of information is a website called The Shroomery. They may be a little too focused on growing psychedelic mushrooms rather then edibles, but there is LOTS of useful information on there a very wide range of subjects. Do a search for “tek”s (short for technique) and find in depth and very simple explanations on a million different mushroom related skills. I highly recommend getting a account on the forum so you can ask questions of this large and knowledgeable community. http://www.shroomery.org/
http://www.mushroomvideos.com/ Also has a lot of good info on it. If you want to see “how-to” videos rather then text with photos this is the place... you may even want to buy his dvd.
Where to Obtain Cultures:
Ask me when you are ready to start growing, I'll probably have a few I could share.
Check out http://www.freesporeprints.org/ this is where I got my first culture.
The Shroomery has a “marketplace” forum where you can trade for or buy cultures, but you need 50 posts to enter.
You can collect wild mushrooms (very carefully) and either clone or spore print them and grow from there. You can even clone mushrooms from the grocery store, but this is a last resort, for reasons discussed later.
There are tons of online retailers, just search for “mushroom spawn” or “mushroom cultures”
This is just my idea of what you should get for equipment, its on the cheap side of things (by far) but you could go cheaper and save a few bucks, or you get nicer stuff and spend a 100 times more. Here is my list of what to get:
Glove Box (home made) ~$15-20
Pressure Cooker/Canner: This is key to most sterilization procedures. I would either buy one at goodwill (they are usually $3-$5), but be sure it has the weight and good (not cracked) gasket, those things can be replaced, but might cost $10+ a piece to get the right one. If you have money to invest in a good pressure canner I highly recommend a “all american” brand canner.
Lab Tools, order this list from www.cynmar.com:
From the Grocery Store Get
Wide-Mouth Quart Mason Jars
Plastic Wrap (I find hanneford brand to the best and cheapest)
Rubbing Alcohol or Bleach
Spray Bottle (or use an empty (and carefully cleaned) bottle from a household cleaner)
A lighter (or build one of these http://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/9692952/an/0/page/1 )
Nutritional Yeast (they have it at portland Hanneford in bulk)
You'll need some Agar Agar, I recommend getting at an Asian market, its much cheaper there.
Polyfill can be had for about $1.50 for a lifetimes supply at any fabric or craft store.
The USPS will send you a lifetime supply of tyvek for free, just go here: Priority Mail Envelope
Filter Patch Bags are not necessary, but are very useful for large span runs, get them and a impulse sealer on ebay.
Sterile Culture and Agar Work:
Not a ton of good information on the internet.... better stick to the books.
An indoor session to start that covers...
Disclaimer > What I have Done
Overview and suggested reading, how I recommend learning.
Use diagrams from GGMM for overview
refer to page on website for suggested reading
learn by doing
Where to obtain cultures
Sterile Tissue culture (with 3-5 practical demonstrations)
glove boxes and flow hoods
agar > agar and cleaning
selecting where to transfer from and sectoring
LC and grain LC
genetics and senescence.
reasons for combining sterile / natural culture
agar > grain
LC > grain
mixed spawn / 5 gal buckets
getting fruiting conditions
beds and mulches (sra / hyp ulm)
logs (le ed)
stumps / pony logs
Potluck Lunch (please bring your own potluck kit!) In the afternoon you'll head outside to plug some logs.