This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
/. B. (Philadelphia.) Nothing is easier than to produce a crop of mushrooms under the stage or under the walk of a green-house, if the walk is one made partly open of wooden slats. All you want is mushroom spawn, [seed] which may be bought at any of the large seed stores, manure and warmth. The following directions by Glenny, are so much to the point on mushroom culture, that we cannot do better than reprint them. The theory of growing mushrooms may be reduced to a rule that is unerring in numerous ways. First; horse droppings, or short dung, with body enough to generate heat. will always produce a crop of mushrooms if spawn is inserted. Consequent. ly, a mushroom bed may be made like a hotbed, anywhere, so that it be kept dry. Second; horse droppings or short dung, in too small a quantity to generate heat of itself, will nevertheless, produce mushrooms when spawned, if the temperature of the house is kept up. Consequently, a large pot filled all but two inches with horse droppings, a lump of spawn put in, and two inches of mould at the top, will yield mushrooms In great plenty, if put in a stove, (or hot-house of high temperature). Shelves two feet wide, with a two-inch ledge in front, may be filled as full as possible, on a slope, with droppings or short dung by which means the wall of a shed or out-building capable of keeping the frost out, may be made to hold several tiers, one above the other, two feet distance being enough from one shelf to the other, the moulding and spawning being similar to all other beds; but the temperature ought to be steady, and no draught admitted.
This mode of culture in a cellar is very desirable, light being not at all requisite to the production of the mushroom. The principal attention required is to have the dung of a good genial warmth at the time the spawn is inserted. After it has begun to work well, all that is necessary is to keep off frost, cold winds and draught. A covering of clean straw is of great service, and it must not be forgotten that moisture is necessary, though too much of it is mischievous. Mushroom houses have been erected on various plans; but as almost every kind of structure, from a cellar to an attic, from a stove to a shed, can be made available, we should never think of constructing a house on purpose. There is not a corner that may not be appropriated to the culture of this valuable esculent.
Hayes Farm - Devonshire-the Birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh.