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Mushroom Cultivation Revisited (kylegabriel.com)
82 points by wglb on April 12, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments

Can't wait until ways are found to reliably cultivate more mushroom types. Unfortunately a lot of nice mushrooms will rarely grow without emulating much more complicated environments (e.g. symbiotic relationship with certain types of trees for chantarelles)

If you've never harvested them, chanterelles are actually pretty common and easy to find -- just look around washes in July and August. (In New England they are generally near beech trees and other hardwoods, not sure about the golden chanterelles out west.) There are a few poisonous/non-edible look alikes, but they're relatively easy to tell apart with a few simple tests, including the fact that most species in the chanterelle family smell like apricots.

They are pretty common in places that 1) have forests, 2) where there aren't tons of people looking for them. Unfortunately I don't live near any forests, and even if I did, many places you now compete with gaggles of other people picking them plus commercial pickers.

I've picked lots of chantarelles over the years, as well as a number of variants, but the problem especially with chantarelles is that they're so easy to recognise that they're one of the first types people learn to pick with confidence, and since they're also sought after, if you're somewhere with a culture for mushroom picking and high population density they disappear very, very quickly.

I am not so sure. While I'm certainly no mycologist I have read a little in the area and am under the impression that most mushrooms can be realistically cultivated without huge symbiosis-emulation research chemistry level challenges.

In any event, here in Yunnan, China (said to be the world capital of mushrooms in terms of production, edible species, and undiscovered species[1]) there is a high-altitude (read: Tibetan) mushroom gathered for the Japanese market known as the 'songrong', which allegedly only grows on pine trees of certain age. Prices used to be very high because it was believed to be impossible to artificially cultivate. I have heard through informal channels that challenge has now been met (implication: through Japanese mycology research), so the price is bottoming out. This seems to be circumstantially confirmed by reports of declining exports over the past few years.

1. "Of 2,000 species of edible mushrooms in the world, more than 600 grow in Yunnan".

I don't doubt that the number of mushroom types that can be cultivated is high and growing, but the problem is more precisely that a number of the most desirable mushroom types (at least the most desirable in Europe) are hard to cultivate.

Most of the mushroom types sold in Europe on the US are still wild mushrooms, I believe, and not because people prefer wild versions (the vast majority of button mushrooms/champignon are cultivated) but because most of the popular types are not yet reliably cultivated.

EDIT: Here's a post that indicates that there is in fact a company that may be possibly be close to cultivating chantarelles - the description of the process is a quite fascinating illustration of some of the difficulty compared to the relatively simple approach in this article: http://amateurmycology.com/?p=220

Really nice overview of how that stuff works, but I couldn't understand what it actually does, and "how" without "what" isn't that clear an useful, really.

I felt the same way, and all my questions were answered by reading the previous article that describes the original setup. I guess the author assumed everyone had read that one.

Thanks for the feedback. I've updated the intro with better background information (the same paragraph from the previous article, in fact).

The first question that comes to mind is: which species of Psilocybe can be cultivated with this set-up?

Probably all of them?

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