Once or twice a week during the harvesting period all loose earth, broken bits of spawn, free buttons, etc., should be cleaned out where the mushrooms have been picked. These places should be filled with soil and packed down by hand. All young mushrooms that "fog off" should be gathered up clean. Some persons follow the practice of growing a second crop on the same bed from which the first crop has been gathered. The bed is resoiled by placing about two inches of soil over the old soil. The bed is then watered, sometimes with lukewarm water to which a small quantity of nitrate of soda has been added. The large growers, however, usually do not grow a second crop in this way, but endeavor to exhaust the material in the bed by continuous growth.

Use Of Manure From Beds Which Have Failed

Manure in which the spawn has failed to run is sometimes removed from the bed and mixed with fresh manure, the latter restoring the heat. If the manure was too wet, the moisture content can now be lessened by the use of dry soil.

Cleaning House To Prepare For Successive Crops

When the crop is harvested, all the material is cleaned out to prepare the beds for the next crop. The material is taken out "clean," and the floors, beds, walls, etc., swept off very clean. In addition, some growers whitewash the floors and all wood-work. Some whitewash only the floors, depending on sweeping the beds and walls very clean. Still others whitewash the floors and wash the walls with some material to kill out the vermin. Some trap or poison the cockroaches, wood-lice, etc., when they appear. Some growers who succeed well for several years, and then fail, believe that the house "gets tired," as they express it, and that the place must rest for a few years before mushrooms can be grown there again. Others grow mushrooms successfully year after year, but employ the best sanitary methods.

Number Of Crops During A Year

In caves or mines, where the temperature is low, the beds are in process of formation and cropping continuously. So soon as a bed has been exhausted the material is cleaned out, and new beds are made as fast as the fresh manure is obtained. In houses where the mushrooms cannot be grown during the summer, the crops are grown at quite regular periods, the first crop during fall and early winter, and the second crop during spring. Some obtain the manure and ferment it during August and September, spawning the beds in September and October. Others begin work on the fermentation of the manure in June or July, make up the beds in July and August, spawn, and begin to draw off the crop somewhat earlier. The second crop is prepared for whenever the first one is drawn off, and this varies even in the experience of the same grower, since the rate of the running of the spawn varies from time to time. Sometimes the crop begins to come four or five weeks from the time of planting the spawn. At other times it may be two or three months before the spawn has run sufficiently for the crop to appear. Usually the crop begins to come on well in six to eight weeks. The crop usually lasts for six weeks to two months, or longer.