This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The lecture of Mr. J. J. Smith, before the Germantown Horticultural Society recently, has stimulated inquirers in this neighborhood as to the best mode of culture. We have thought it might serve our readers to introduce here what Mr. R. Buist, Jr. says of their culture in his excellent Garden Almanac:
"Mushrooms may be cultivated much easier than is generally supposed. They can be grown in a cellar or shed, or in beds prepared in the open air in the same manner as hot-beds. Take fresh horse manure, shake it well apart, and lay it into a heap to ferment; turn and mix it well every three or four days, by shaking the outside of the heap, which is cold and the inside which is hot, together, so that every part of it may be equally fermented, and deprived of its noxious quality. When the dung is in a fit state to be made into a bed, which will be in two or three weeks after it has been put together to ferment, select a dry spot for a foundation ; mark out the bed, which should be four feet wide, and as long as you choose to make it. In forming the bed, mix the dung well together, beating it down with a fork until from eighteen to twenty-four inches thick. In this state it may remain until the temperature is sufficiently moderate for spawning, which may be ascertained by trial-sticks thrust into different parts of the bed. Divide the large cakes of spawn into small lumps, plant them two inches below the surface, and six inches apart, covering with two inches of fine light soil, and press down evenly. When finished, cover the bed a foot thick with clean straw, and protect from heavy rains.
The mushrooms will make their appearance in from four to six weeks, according to the season".
FRENCH MUSHROOM BEDS.
We would add to this that the shaking up of the materials every few days before using, as we have understood it, is not so much to assist, or to prevent violent fermentation; also in addition we append the following from an English source:
"Materials should be collected at once for the making of fresh beds at the close of this or beginning of next month. Fresh droppings from horses fed upon dry food only are suitable. They should be thinly placed in a shed or other dry place so as not to heat, but if the bulk be considerable throw the droppings into a heap, and when warm and giving off steam, the interior of the heap having parted with about half its natural moisture, the bulk should be turned so that the outside is placed inwards; and when that is heated, the material being about half dried, spread the heap out thinly upon the floor so as to prevent further heating. The drying of the material in that way prevents overheating, and consequent over-drying of the beds when made up.
There are great hopes that the premium offered for commercial success in mushroom culture will result in a plentiful supply.