Mushroom farming

 Artificial Mushroom Beds

Mushrooms may be grown in pots, boxes, or hampers. Each box may be about three feet long, one and a half broad, and seven inches in depth. Let each box be half filled with manure in the form of fresh horse-dung from the stables, the fresher the better, but if wet, it should be allowed to dry for three or four days before it is put into the boxes. When the manure has been placed in the box it should be well beaten down. After the second or third day, if the manure has begun to generate heat, break each brick of mushroom spawn (which may be obtained from any seedsman) into pieces about three inches square, then lay the pieces about four inches apart upon the surface of the manure in the box; here they are to lie for six days, when it will probably be found that the side of the spawn next to the manure has begun to run in the manure below; then add one and a half inch more of fresh manure on the top of the spawn in the box, and beat it down as formerly. In the course of a fortnight, when you find that the spawn has run through the manure, the box will be ready to receive the mould on the top; this mould must be two and a half inches deep, well beaten down, and the surface made quite even. 

In the space of five or six weeks the mushrooms will begin to come up; if the mould then seems dry, give it a gentle watering with lukewarm water. The box will continue to produce from six weeks to two months, if duly attended to by giving a little water when dry, for the mushrooms need neither light  nor free air . If cut as button mushrooms each box will yield from twenty-four to forty-eight pints, according to the season and other circumstances. They may be kept in dry dark cellars, or any other places where the frost will not reach them. By preparing in succession of boxes, mushrooms may be had all the year through.—They may be grown without the manure, and be of a finer flavour. Take a little straw, and lay it carefully in the bottom of the mushroom box, about an inch thick, or rather more. Then take some of the spawn bricks and break them down—each brick into about ten pieces, and lay the fragments on the straw, as close to each other as they will lie. Cover them up with mould three and a half inches deep, and well pressed down. When the surface appears dry give a little tepid water, as directed for the mode of raising them described above, but this method needs about double the quantity of water that the former does, owing to having no moisture in the bottom, while the other has the manure. The mushrooms will begin to start in a month or five weeks, sometimes sooner, sometimes later, according to the heat of the place where the boxes are situated. 

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