Mushrooms: how to grow them - William Falconer
The mushroom is a highly prized article of food which can be as easily grown as many other vegetable products of the soil-and with as much pleasure and profit. Below it is shown, in particular, that this peculiar plant is singularly well adapted to the conditions that surround many classes of persons, and by whom the mushroom might become a standard crop for home use, the city market, or both. It is directly in their line of business; is a winter crop, requiring their care when outdoor operations are at a standstill, and they can most conveniently attend to growing mushrooms. They have the manure needed for their other crops, and they may well use it first for a mushroom crop. After having borne a crop of mushrooms it is thoroughly rotted and in good condition for early spring crops; and for seed beds of tomatoes, lettuces, cabbages, cauliflowers, and other vegetables, it is the best kind of manure. Years ago market gardening near New York in winter was carried on in rather a desultory way, and the supply of salads and other forced vegetables was limited and mostly raised in hotbeds and other frames, and prices ran high. But of recent years our markets in winter have been so liberally supplied from the Southern States, that, in order to save themselves, our market gardeners have been compelled to take up a fresh line in their business, and renounce the winter frames in favor of greenhouses, and grow crops which many of them did not handle before. These greenhouses are mostly long, wide (eighteen to twenty feet), low, hip-roofed (30 ) structures. In most of them the salad beds are made upon the floor, and the pathways are sunken a little so as to give headroom in walking and working. Others of these greenhouses are built a little higher, and middle and side benches are erected within them, as in the case of florists' greenhouses, and with the view of growing salad plants on these benches as florists do carnations, and mushrooms under the benches. The mushrooms are protected from sunlight by a covering of light boards, or hay, or the space under the benches is entirely shut in, cupboard fashion, with wooden shutters.