In damping the floors of the mushroom house, as well as the beds, I use a medium-sized watering pot and fine rose; but in sprinkling the walls and other parts not readily accessible by the watering pot I use a common garden syringe.
GATHERING AND MARKETING MUSHROOMS.
This is an important point in the cultivation of this esculent, and should be attended to with painstaking discretion.
When mushrooms are fit to pick depends upon several conditions; for instance, whether for market or for home use, and if for the latter, whether they are wanted for soups or stews. For fresh and attractive appearance and best appreciation in the market, pick them when they are plump and fresh and just before the frill connecting the cap with the stem breaks apart. The French mushrooms should always be gathered before the frill bursts; the English mushrooms also look best when gathered at this time, but they are admissible if gathered when the frill begins to burst and before the cap has opened out flat. If the mushrooms display a tendency to produce long stems pick them somewhat earlier, soon enough to get them with short shanks, for long stems are disliked in market; so, too, are dark or discolored or old mushrooms of any sort. Sometimes we may not have enough mushrooms ready at one gathering to make it worth while sending them to market, and are tempted to let them stay ungathered until to-morrow, when they have grown larger and many more shall have grown big enough to gather. This should never be done. It will give an unfavored, unequal lot, some big, some little, some old, some young. Far better pick every one the moment it is ready to gather, and keep all safe in a cool place and covered until some more are ready for use, and in this way have a uniform appearing lot of young produce.
Mushrooms for soups should always be gathered before they burst their gills; indeed, they are mostly gathered when in a button state; that is, when they are about the size of marbles. In this condition, when cooked, they retain their white appearance and do not discolor the soup. Immature mushrooms are deficient in flavor.
For home use, for baking, stewing, broiling, or for cooking in any way in which the tenderness of the flesh and the delicious aroma of the mushrooms are desirable in their finest condition, let the mushrooms attain their full size and burst their frills, as seen in Fig. 24, and gather them before the caps open out flat, or the gills lose any of their bright pink color. If you let them get old enough for the gills to turn brown before gathering, the mushrooms will become leathery in texture, and lose in flavor and darken sadly in cooking.
In picking, always pull the mushrooms out by the root, and never, if practicable to avoid it, cut them over with a knife. In gathering, take hold of the mushrooms and give them a sharp but gentle twist, pressing them down at the same time, and they generally part from the bed without any trouble; then place them in the baskets, root-end down, so as to keep them perfectly clean and free from grit. Sometimes when several mushrooms are joined together in one root-stock and it is impossible to remove one without disturbing the whole, cut it over rather than pull it out. In the case of clumps of young mushrooms, where one can not be pulled out without displacing some of the others also, cut it out rather than pull it. There is a knack in pulling mushrooms, easily attained by practice. And even when they come up in thick bunches and it would appear impossible to pull out the full-grown ones without disturbing the others, a practiced hand will give them a twitch and a pull—they often part from the bed by the gentlest touch—and get them out without unfastening any of the multitude of small buttons that may be growing around them.
The advantages of pulling over cutting are several: It benefits the bed. If we cut over a mushroom and leave its stump in the ground, in a few days decay sets in and a fluffy or spongy substance grows around the old butt, which destroys many of the little mushrooms around it, as well as every thread of mycelium that comes in contact with it. One should be particular to scoop out these stumps with a knife before this condition takes place, and go over the beds every few days to fill up the holes, made in scooping out the old stumps, with fresh loam.
Pulled mushrooms always keep fresh longer than do those that have been cut. In the interest of the market grower they have another advantage. Mushrooms are bought and sold by weight, and as the stems are always retained to the caps all are weighed together; if part of the stems had been cut off the weight would have been reduced, and, in like proportion, the price; but if the stems are retained entire not only are the mushrooms benefited, but the weight, and with it the price, is also increased.
Gathering Field or Wild Mushrooms.—Go in search of them in the morning before the sunshine gets warm and they become too open or old. If you wish to gather and preserve them in their most perfect condition pull them up by the "roots," carefully remove any soil from them, and then lay them orderly in the basket, the root end down; and by spreading a stout sheet of paper over the layer, another may be arranged above it in the same way, and so on until the basket is full. But if you are not so particular and wish them for immediate use, or for ketchup or drying, the common way of cutting them off and carrying them home in bulk will answer well enough.
Marketing Mushrooms.—Most market growers who live immediately around New York City sell direct, and deliver their mushrooms to hotels, restaurants, and fancy fruiterers. But some of them, also most of those who live at a considerable distance from the city, sell their mushrooms through commission merchants in New York; they, in turn, sell in quantities to suit customers.
Mushrooms are sold by the pound, and come into market in boxes made of strong undressed paper. Some growers have light wooden boxes made that hold from one to four pounds of mushrooms each, and these make convenient and strong packages for shipping by express. They may be sent singly, or, as is the case with the paper boxes, several packed together in crates or boxes. In sending directly to hotels, cheap baskets, holding one or several pounds—Mr. Gardner's baskets hold twelve pounds—are often used, but in sending to commission merchants, who have to deal them out in quantities to suit customers, mushrooms should always be packed in one, two, three or four pound boxes or baskets, preferably one pound. Mushrooms are not like potatoes or apples, that can be handled, remeasured, and repacked without damaging them. Each rehandling will certainly discolor and perhaps break a good many of them, rendering them unsalable, if not worthless.
The utmost care in gathering and packing of mushrooms for shipping is of primary importance. Gather them the moment they are in best condition, no matter whether or not they are to be packed and shipped the same day; never let them blow open before gathering them; and never cut off short stems. Long stems have to be shortened, but not until everything is ready to pack them. With a very soft hair brush dust off any earth that may stick to the cap of the mushroom, and with a harder brush or the back of a knife rub the earth off of the root end of the stem. Then sort the mushrooms,—the big ones by themselves, the middle-sized by themselves, the small or button-sized ones by themselves, and pack each kind by itself. Pack very firmly without bruising, and so as to show the pretty caps to the best advantage. Never pack mushrooms more than two deep without using plenty of soft paper between the layers, and never put a heavy bulk of them into one box or basket. They discolor so easily that, all things considered, about a pound is enough in a box, if we wish them to carry safely and retain their bright, fresh skin without tarnishing.
Mr. Barter, of London, writes me: "The punnets we use for marketing our mushrooms in are the same that are used for strawberries or peaches. These hold just one pound, but it is becoming more customary now to have little boxes made holding from three to five pounds, as these are better for packing in larger cases for long journeys."
RE-INVIGORATING OLD BEDS.
There is a wide-spread impression among horticulturists that worn out beds which have ceased to bear may, by means of watering and certain stimulants and warming up again, be so re-invigorated as to start into full bearing, and yield a second and a good crop. I have given this question much painstaking and practical consideration, and have absolutely failed to revive a "dead" bed. I have not been able to do it myself, and any instance of its having been done has never come under my observation. This may appear heresy anent the multitudinous writings to the contrary.
A mushroom bed may keep on bearing in a desultory way for many months, and now and again show spurts of increased fertility; but this is no second crop; it is merely a prolonged dribbling of the first crop. A bed, by reason of cold or dryness, may, as it were, stand still or partially stop bearing, and soon after it is remoistened, warmed, and otherwise submitted to congenial conditions, will display renewed energy; but this is no second crop; it is merely a spurt of the first crop caused by extra favorable cultural conditions. But to show how vaguely this question which is so much written about is regarded, let me quote from a letter to me by Mr. J. Barter, who grows 21,000 lbs of mushrooms a year for the London market: "You ask me, 'Do you ever get a second crop?' My beds last in bearing, on an average, each three months, and that I reckon to be three crops. But whether it be three or six months, the weight of mushrooms is about the same. As there is in, say a ton of manure, only so much mushroom-producing power, if you force it to produce that weight in two months you are a gainer, as you thereby save in labor; but when that producing-power is exhausted it will produce no more mushrooms."
A spent mushroom bed is one that has been kept in bearing condition under the most favorable circumstances at our command, and it has borne a good crop, lasted some two months in bearing, and now it has stopped bearing (except in a meagerly, desultory way) because the spawn or mycelium has exhausted itself and is dead. Then, without living spawn in the bed how are we to get mushrooms? Some bits of mycelium are still alive and yield the desultory few, but every mushroom that they yield is preying on their vitality, and after a time they too shall die and the bed be completely barren, for the mycelium is altogether dead, and without mycelium mushrooms are an impossibility. We can keep mushroom mycelium in active growth the year round, and year after year, providing we never let it bear mushrooms. This is done by taking the mycelium, just before it begins bearing, from one manure bed and plant it in another, and so on from bed to bed. At every fresh transplanting the mycelium exerts itself into renewed growth, for it must become a strong plant before it has strength enough to produce and support a mushroom. Our utmost efforts have never rendered mycelium in a mushroom-bearing condition perennial.
INSECT AND OTHER ENEMIES.
The mushroom grower has his full share of insects to contend with, and in order to overcome them one should acquaint himself with them, and know what they are, what they do, whence they came, and how to destroy them. One should study the diseases and mishaps of his crop and endeavor to know their cause. If we know the cause of failing health in plants, even in mushrooms, we can probably stop or devise a remedy for the disease or means to prevent its recurrence, and if we can not benefit the present subject we are forewarned against future attacks. But there is a deal of mysterious trouble in this direction in mushroom-growing. We are likely to know something about the depredations committed by insects or parasitic molds above ground, but I am sure there is a good deal of mischief going on under ground of which we know very little, if anything. The ills to which the mycelium is subject are not at all fully understood.
"Maggots."—This is the common name among practical mushroom growers for the larvae of a species of fly (Diptera) which from April on through the warm summer months renders mushroom-growing unprofitable. It is unavoidable, and so far has proved invincible. It attacks the mushrooms in deep cellars, above-ground houses, greenhouses, or frames, and is often quite common in early appearing crops in the open fields. We sometimes read that it does not occur in unheated cellars, but this is a mistake, for in our unheated tunnel cellars, where the temperature in April does not exceed 55 deg., maggots always appear about the end of this month. But it is true that in the case of cool houses and where the beds are covered over with hay or straw maggots do not appear as early in the season as they do in warm houses and open beds. While rigid cleanliness, and care in keeping the house or cellar closed, no doubt have much to do in lessening the trouble, I have never been able to overcome it, and know of no one who has. We simply stop growing mushrooms in summer.
The maggots or larvae are about three-sixteenths to four-sixteenths of an inch long, white with black head, and appear in all parts of the mushroom, but mostly in the cap and at the base of the stem, and perforate hither and thither leaving behind them a disgusting network of burrows. The tiny buttons, about as soon as they appear at the surface of the ground, are infested, but this does not check their growth, and when they become mushrooms large enough for gathering, unless it be for a dark looking puncture or tracing now and then visible on the outside of the caps and stems, there are but few signs to indicate to the inexperienced eye the presence of maggots. And this is why maggoty mushrooms are so often found exposed for sale in summer. But in large or full-grown mushrooms, and especially the white-skinned varieties, their presence is visible enough. Although very repugnant, however, and utterly unfit for food, maggoty mushrooms are not poisonous.
But all the mushrooms of summer crops are not maggoty, only a large proportion of them; the evil begins in April, and increases as the summer advances, until August, when it decreases, and in October completely stops—at least this is my experience.
A solution of salt, saltpeter, or ammonia sprinkled over the surface of the beds does not, in this case, do any good as an insecticide, pyrethrum powder diffused through the atmosphere, and tobacco smoke, have been ineffectual. Burning a lamp set in a basin of water with a little kerosene floating on the surface is a most doubtful operation. Multitudes of flies are destroyed by this lamp trap, but they are the poor little innocent "manure flies," and the atmosphere of the house is vitiated and rendered unhealthy for the crop. I have tried these lamp traps season after season, and never knew of their doing any good; that is, the maggots seemed just as numerous in the lamp-trapped cellar as in the other cellar in which no lamp trap had been used.
Regarding this "maggots" question, Mr. J. F. Barter, of London, writes me: "During the summer months the outdoor mushrooms get maggoty before they are big enough to gather, but of course they can be grown in cool cellars all the year round.... I know of no sure cure for them (the maggots); of course a slight sprinkling of salt with manure or mold does prevent, to a certain extent, but it must be used very carefully." Now my experience is, as I have already said, that it is impossible to grow mushrooms here in summer, even in cool cellars, without having them more or less maggoty. As regards the salt and loam preventive, I have tried it lightly and heavily, but without any apparent good effect.
Black Spot.—All mushroom growers are familiar with this disease, but unless it appears in pronounced form very little notice is taken of it, even by market men, for we see spotted mushrooms continually exposed for sale. It appears as dark brown spots, streaks, or freckles, on the top of the mushroom caps, and increases in distinctness and breadth with age. Fig. 25. It is caused by eel worms (Anguillulae). These minute creatures enter the mushrooms when the latter are in their tiniest pin form and before they emerge from the ground. If a button arises clean it remains clean, if diseased it continues to be diseased, and it is a fact that if one mushroom in a clump has black spot we usually find that every mushroom in the clump has it. But mushrooms growing from the same bit of spawn and that come up an inch or two away from the spotted ones may be perfectly clean. Black spot has never occurred with me in new beds, and seldom in those in vigorous bearing, but it generally appears in beds that have been in bearing condition for some weeks or are declining. It does not confine itself to any particular spot or part of the bed, and sometimes it is much more plentiful than at others. Between October and March we have very little black spot, but as the spring opens this disease increases. During the winter season, with careful attention, perhaps not so much as one per cent will show black spot, but as the warm weather sets in the per centage increases until in May, when as many as twenty per cent may be affected by it.
Black spot is a disease, however, that can be controlled. Keep everything in and about the mushroom houses rigidly clean, and as soon as a bed has ceased to bear a crop worth picking clear it out, lime-wash the place it occupied, and make up another bed. Carefully observe that no old loam or manure is allowed to accumulate anywhere, or green scum forms upon the boards, paths, or walls; boiling water impregnated with alum poured over the boards, walls, and other scum-covered surfaces, will kill the eel worms, but it should not be allowed to touch the mushroom beds that are in bearing or coming into bearing. Much can be done to protect the bearing beds from the ravages of this pest: In gathering the mushrooms remove every vestige of old stump and fogged-off mushrooms, keep the holes filled up with fresh loam, and when the bed has been in bearing condition for a fortnight sprinkle it over with a solution of salt, and next day topdress with a half-inch coating of finely sifted fresh loam; firm it to the bed with the back of the hand, for it can not be pressed on with a spade on account of the growing mushrooms.
Is black spot unwholesome? I do not think so. I have never known any ill effects from eating it. The spotted parts are merely flavorless and tasteless. But it is a very disgusting disease, and no one, I am sure, would care to eat eel worms with their mushrooms. Until quite recently I used to regard the black spot as the mark of some parasitic fungus, and, acting under this impression, sent affected mushrooms to Dr. W. G. Farlow, Prof. of Cryptogamic Botany at Harvard University, for his opinion. He wrote me: "I find that the trouble is due to Anguillulae, and I find an abundance of these animals in the brown spots." He advised me to submit them to an expert in "worms." I then sent samples to my kind friend, Mr. William Saunders, of Washington, D. C., who submitted them, for me, to Dr. Thomas Taylor, the microscopist to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, and who replied: "I recommend that you use a sprinkling of scalding water thoroughly over the entire surface of the bed, especially the portion next to the boxing. The scalding water should be applied before the buttons appear, but not penetrate more than one-eighth of an inch below the surface. Anguillulae abound wherever decaying vegetable matter exists.... The green algae on the outside of flower pots abounds in the anguillulae."
Manure Flies.—This is the name we give to the little flies (a species of Sciara) that appear in large numbers in spring and summer in our mushroom houses, or, indeed, in hotbeds or structures of any sort where manure is used, as well as about the manure heaps in the yard. On account of their habits they are regarded with much ill-favor. They hop about the house and are continually running over the mushrooms, beds, and walls, in the most suspicious manner. But, notwithstanding this, I am inclined to regard them as perfectly harmless so far as injuring the mushroom crop is concerned, except the fact that they soil the mushrooms somewhat by their traveling over them with their muddy feet.
In attempting to get rid of the maggot fly I have destroyed large numbers of these little innocents, but without any apparent diminution in their numbers. Lachaume recommends: "These flies may be destroyed by placing about a number of pans filled with water to which a few drops of oil of turpentine have been added. The flies are attracted by the odor and drown themselves. They may also be caught with a floating light, in which they will burn their wings and fall into the water." I have found that pure buhach powder dusted into the air or burned on a hot shovel in the mushroom house has been more effective in destroying these flies than either the lamp or drowning process.
Slugs.—These are serious pests in the mushroom house, especially in above-ground structures, and they also occur in annoying numbers in cellars. Wherever hay or straw is used in covering the beds, or there is much woodwork about the house, slugs appear to be most numerous. They are very fond of mushrooms and attack them in all stages, from the tiny button just emerging from the ground to the fully developed plant. In the case of the buttons or small mushrooms they usually eat out a piece on the top or side of the cap, and as the mushroom advances in growth these wounds spread open and display an ugly scar or disfigurement. They also bite into the stems. But in the case of fresh, full grown mushrooms they seem to have a particular liking for the gills, and eat patches out of them here and there.
"Bullet" or "Shot" Holes.—My attention was first called to these by Mr. A. H. Withington, of New Jersey. They are little holes cut clear through the mushroom caps, as if perforated by a buckshot, and are evidently the work of some insect. He had, before then, submitted some of these perforated mushrooms to Prof. S. Lockwood, who sent them to Prof. C. V. Riley for his opinion. Prof. Riley replied that: "It is quite likely that the damage was done by some myriapod, possibly a Julus, or some of its allies. Only observation on the spot will determine this point." As I never had any trouble with myriapods attacking mushrooms and had seen nothing of this "bullet hole" work in our own beds I was much interested in the question and determined to look out for it, so I marked off a part of a bed and left that uncared for. I soon found out the trouble. These holes are the work of slugs which I have found and watched in the act of eating out the holes. To find the slugs at work, one has to take his lantern and go out and look for them at night. And to find out about plant parasites—be they fungus, or insect—one has to let them alone and watch them. Had we kept up our unsparing hunt for slugs, probably we should not yet have known what caused these "bullet holes," for no slug would have been left alive long enough to eat a hole through a mushroom cap.
Slugs must be caught and killed. We can find them at night by hunting for them by lamp-light; their slimy track glistens and reveals their presence. A few small bits of slate or half rotten boards with a pinch of bran on them laid here and there about the beds are handy traps; the slugs gather to eat the bran, hide beneath the rotten wood, and can then be caught and killed. Fresh lettuce leaves make a capital trap, but lettuces in January or February are about as scarce as mushrooms themselves. A dressing of salt is distasteful to slugs, and not injurious to mushrooms. Strong, fresh lime water may be freely sprinkled over woodwork, pathways, walls, or elsewhere where slugs might gather and hide themselves; but this solution should not be used upon the mushroom beds. Rigid cleanliness, however, about the mushroom house, and an ever-alert eye for slugs, should keep them under.
Wood Lice.—These are sure to be more or less abundant in every mushroom house, even in the cellars. They crawl in through doors, ventilators, or other interstices, and are brought in with the manure, and find shelter about the woodwork, manure, or any bits of dry litter that may be around. They attack the pinhead and small button mushrooms by biting out little patches in their tops and sides; and although these patches are small to begin with, the blemish spreads as the mushroom grows, and is an objectionable feature. Trapping and killing the insects is the chief remedy. Put part of a half boiled potato (for which no salt had been used) into a little pasteboard box, and cover the potato with some very dry swamp moss, lay the box on its side, and open at the end on the bed. The wood lice will gather to eat the potato, and remain after feasting because the dry moss affords them a cozy hiding place. Several of these little boxes can be used. Go through the house in the morning, lift the little traps quickly, and shake out any wood lice that may be in them into a tin pail (an old lard pail will do), which should contain a little water and kerosene. These traps may be used for any length of time, merely observing to change the potato now and again to have it in appetizing condition. Hot water or strong kerosene emulsion may be poured about the woodwork, walls, and pathways, to destroy the wood lice, but should not be allowed to touch the beds. Poisoned sweet apples, potatoes, and parsnips have been recommended as baits for these pests, but I must discourage using poisons of any sort in the mushroom house. Six or eight inch square pieces of half rotten very dry boards laid in pairs, one above the other, also make capital traps; the wood lice gather there to hide themselves; these traps should be examined frequently and the insects shaken into the pail containing water and kerosene.
Mites.—Two kinds of mites are very common about mushrooms in spring and summer; one is whitish and smaller than a "red spider" (one of the commonest insect pests among garden plants), and the other is yellowish and as large as or larger than a "red spider." But I do not think that either of these mites is worth considering as a mushroom pest. The yellow mite (probably Lyroglyphus infestans) is extremely common in strawy litter on the surface of hotbeds, and I have no doubt finds its way into the mushroom house as manure vermin rather than a mushroom parasite. They are the effect and not the cause of injury to the crop. When mushrooms are wounded or cracked, particularly about the stem, the crevices often become abundantly inhabited with these mites, but they do no material damage.
Mice and Rats.—These rodents are very fond of mushrooms, and where they have access to the beds are troublesome and destructive. Both the common house mouse and the white-bellied fence mouse are mushroom destroyers, but, so far, the nimble but timid field mouse (among garden, open air, and frame crops generally) has never yet troubled our mushrooms, but I can not believe that this immunity is voluntary on its part. The mice bite a little piece here and there out of the caps of the young mushrooms, and these bite-marks, as the mushrooms advance in growth, spread open and become unsightly disfigurements. In the case of open mushrooms, however, the mice, like slugs, prefer the gills to the fleshy caps. Rats are far more destructive than mice. Trapping is the only remedy I use, and would not use poison in the mushroom houses for these creatures for obvious reasons. But we should make our houses secure against their inroads.
Toads.—These are recommended as good insect traps to be used in mushroom houses, but I do not want them there; the cure is as bad as the disease. The mushroom bed is a little paradise for the toad. He gets upon it and burrows or elbows out a snug little hole for himself wherever he wishes, and many of them, too, and cares nothing about whether, in his efforts to make himself comfortable, he has heaved out the finest clumps of young mushrooms in the beds.
Fogging Off.—This is one of the commonest ailments peculiar to cultivated mushrooms. It consists in the softening, shriveling, and perishing of part of the young mushrooms, which also usually assume a brownish color. These withered mushrooms do not occur singly here and there over the face of the bed, but in patches; generally all or nearly all of the very small mushrooms in a clump will turn brown and soft, and there is no help for them; they never will recover their plumpness. Some writers attribute fogging off to unfavorable atmospheric conditions,—the temperature may be too cold, or too hot, or the atmosphere too moist, or too dry. I am convinced that fogging off is due to the destruction of the mycelium threads that supported these mushrooms; it is a disease of the "root," to use this expression; the "roots" having been killed, the tops must necessarily perish. If it were caused by unfavorable conditions above ground we should expect all of the crop to be more or less injuriously affected; but this does not occur; the mushrooms in one clump may be withered, and contiguous clumps perfectly healthy.
Anything that will kill the spawn or mycelium threads will cause fogging off to overtake every little mushroom that had been attached to these mycelium threads. Keeping the bed or part of it continuously wet or dry will cause fogging off, so will drip; watering with very cold water is also said to cause it, but this I have not found to be the case. Unfastening the ground by abruptly pulling up the large mushrooms will destroy many of the small mushrooms and pinheads attached to the same clump; and when large mushrooms push up through the soil and displace some of the earth, all the small mushrooms so displaced will probably waste away, as the threads of mycelium to which they were attached for support have been severed. A common reason of fogging off is caused by cutting off the mushrooms in gathering them and leaving the stumps in the ground; in a few days' time these stumps develop a white fluff or flecky substance, which seems to poison every thread of mycelium leading to it, and all the mushrooms, present and to come, that are attached to this arrested web of mycelium are affected by the poison of the decaying old mushroom stump, and fogg off. Any impure matter in the bed with which the mycelium comes in contact will destroy the spawn and fogg off the young mushrooms. Lachaume complains about the larvae of two beetles, namely Aphodius fimetarius and Dermestes tessellatus, which "cause great damage by eating the spawn, thereby breaking up the reproductive filaments." Damage of this sort by these or any other insect vermin will cause fogging off. But I have not noticed either of the above beetles or their larvae about our beds.
Flock.—This is the worst of all mushroom diseases and common wherever mushrooms are grown artificially. It is not a new disease; I have known it for twenty-five years, and it was as common then as it is now, and practical gardeners have always called it Flock. I say "worst of all diseases" because I know that mushrooms affected by it are both unwholesome and indigestible, and I can readily believe that in aggravated cases they are poisonous. It is caused by other fungi which infest the gills and frills of the mushrooms, and render them a hard, flocky mass; sometimes the affected mushrooms preserve their white skin, color, and normal form, at other times the cap becomes more or less distorted. The illustration, Fig. 26, is from life, and a good average of a flock-infested mushroom. In gathering mushrooms the growers should insist that every flock-infested mushroom be discarded, and consumers of mushrooms should familiarize themselves with this disease so as to know and reject every mushroom showing a trace of it.
Flock does not affect all the mushrooms in a bed at any time, and I do not believe it spreads in the bed, or, to use the expression, becomes contagious. If one spot of mildew appears upon a cucumber, rose, or grape vine indoors, and is not checked, it soon becomes general all over the plant or plants, and if one spot of mold occurs in a propagating bed and is not checked at once it soon spreads over a large space and destroys every cutting or seedling within its reach, but this is not the case with flock in a mushroom bed. If one mushroom is affected with flock every mushroom produced from that piece of spawn is affected, but not one mushroom produced from the pieces of spawn inserted next to this one is affected by it; not even if the mycelium from the several lumps of spawn forms an interlacing web. If the flock is confined to the mushrooms produced from a certain bit of spawn some may ask, will the other pieces of spawn broken from the same brick produce flock-infested mushrooms? No. I have given this point particular attention, have kept the pieces of each brick close together, and where flock has appeared I have failed to find that the other pieces of spawn from that brick are more liable to produce flock-infested mushrooms than are the pieces of the bricks that, as yet, have not shown any sign of diseased produce.
How general is this disease? In a bed say three feet wide by thirty feet long and of two months' bearing one may get as few as five or as many as fifty flocky mushrooms; one or two may occur to-day, and we may not find another for a week or two, when we may get a whole clump of them, and so on. It is not the large number of them that makes them dangerous, for they never appear in quantity. They sometimes appear among the earliest mushrooms in the bed, but generally not until after the bed has been in bearing condition for a week or two.
What conditions are most favorable or unfavorable to the growth of this disease I do not know; but it is certainly not caused by debility in the mushroom itself, as the parasite attacks healthy, robust mushrooms and debilitated ones indiscriminately. This flocky condition is caused by one or more saprophytic and parasitic fungi of lowly origin, whose various parts are reduced to mere threads, simple or branched, and divided into tubular cells at intervals, or else they are long, continuous microscopic tubes without any partitions, except at those occasional points where a branch, destined to produce spores, is given off. Generally two or more species of these thread-fungi are present at the same time on the mushroom host, and by the multiplied crossing and interweaving of their threads and branches produce, through their great numbers, the whitish, felted mass of "flock"; while as individuals the threads are so minute as to be scarcely or not at all visible to the naked eye. Similar thread-fungi may often be found in the woods among damp leaves, under rotten logs, and on those porous fungi which project, shelf-like, from the trunks of trees. At present there is no way known for destroying the "flock," except to take up and destroy every clump of mushrooms attacked by it. Fortunately the disease is not very serious if proper precautions are observed; for, in our own cellars, where mushrooms have been grown year after year for the past eleven years, we get but few flocky mushrooms in any bed's bearing. The disease is not more common to-day than it was in any former year. But we give our cellars a thorough cleaning every summer.
Cleaning the Mushroom Houses.—After the season's cropping is finished the mushroom houses and cellars should be thoroughly cleaned. Clear out the old beds, and bring outside all the movable floor and shelf boards, scrape up every bit of loose litter or dirt in the place and throw it out, broom down the walls and whatever boarding is left. Whitewash the walls with hot lime wash, and paint every bit of woodwork liberally with crude oil or kerosene. This is to destroy anguillulae and other insect and fungus parasites. If you wish to use again the boards brought outside, broom them over and paint them copiously with kerosene. And if your cellar or house has a dirt floor, a heavy sprinkling of very caustic lime water all over it will do good in ridding it of vermin.
GROWING MUSHROOMS IN RIDGES OUT OF DOORS AROUND LONDON.
In the preface to Kitchen and Market Gardening (London) is the following:
"Mr. W. Falconer and Mr. C. W. Shaw made, in connection with the London Garden, what we believe to be the first attempt at long and systematic observation of the best culture as it is in London market gardens." This is mentioned to indicate that the writer speaks on this subject from experience. And although it is now seventeen years since I became disconnected with the London market gardens, by revisiting them a few years ago, and by correspondence and the horticultural press, I have endeavored to keep informed of all changes of methods and improvements in culture as practiced there. At that time Steele, Bagley, Broadbent, Dancer, Pocock and Myatt were among the largest and best gardeners around London, and since then several of these grand old gentlemen have passed away and their fields have been cut up and built upon. At that time mushrooms were one of the general crops, as were snap beans or cauliflower, and in their season were planted as a matter of course. To-day they have become a specialty, and some gardeners devote their whole energy to mushroom-growing alone, and make from $2000 to $5000 a year clear profit from one acre of mushrooms, and that, too, from ridges in the open field! There is no other field crop that yields such a large profit. There they get twenty-four to forty-eight cents a pound for their fresh mushrooms, here we get fifty cents to a dollar a pound for ours. But as mushroom-growing there is confined to fall, winter and spring, those gardeners who restrict themselves to mushrooms only devote the summer months to making mushroom spawn for their own use, and also for sale.
Mr. John F. Barter, of Lancefield street, London, the king of London mushroom growers, writes me under date of Dec. 10, 1888: "I employ men for mushroom bed-making from August to March; then, in order to keep on the same staff, I get about 10,000 bushels of brick spawn made up for sale.... By the sale of spawn I make just half of my living." Now let us see: 10,000 bushels = 160,000 bricks, and each brick weighs a pound, thus we have 160,000 pounds. At ten cents a pound (retail price) the total is $16,000; at five cents a pound (supposed wholesale price) $8000, or at three and a half cents a pound (supposed manufacturer's price) $5600.
The manure is obtained from the city stables and hauled home by the gardeners on their return trips from market. The manure collected after midsummer is used for mushrooms, and an effort is made to save the very best horse manure for this purpose. When enough has accumulated for a bed the manure is turned and well shaken, removing only the rougher part of the straw, and thrown into a large pyramidal pile to heat; this shape is adopted as being better than the flat form for keeping out rain. In three or four days the manure is again turned, shaken out and piled up as before; after this it is turned every second day, unless it rains, until it has been turned six or seven times in all. It should then be ready for making into ridges.
The site for the beds should be a warm, well-sheltered piece of ground, either in the open field or orchard; much pains should be exercised to protect it from cold winds. Although a great many mushroom ridges are made under the partial shade of apple and pear trees, I always preferred making them in the open ground. The land should be dry and of a slightly elevated or sloping nature, so that no pools of water can possibly collect on the surface. Having the ground cleared, leveled, and ready, mark it off into strips two feet wide and six feet wide alternately. The two feet wide space is for the mushroom bed, the six feet wide one for the space between the beds; but after the ridges are built, earthed over and covered with straw, they are almost six feet wide at the base. The common sizes of ridges are two feet wide by two feet high, and two and one-half feet wide by two and one-half feet high, and taper to six or eight inches wide at top.
The manure being ready and the site for the beds lined off, the manure is carted to the place and wheeled upon the beds. In making the bed shake out the manure well and evenly to cause it to hold together, tamp it with the back of the fork as you go along, and two or three times before the ridges are completed walk upon and tread the manure down solidly with the feet, and trim down the sides to turn the rain water. Two days after the bed is made up some holes should be bored from the top to nearly the bottom with a small iron bar to let the heat off and prevent the inside of the bed from becoming too dry. Make them about nine inches apart all along the center of the bed. The old gardeners did not use the crowbar. They were very particular not to build their ridges before the chances of overheating were considered past; but notwithstanding all their care some of their beds would get overwarm, when, without a moment's hesitation, they tossed them over, part to the right and part to the left, and left the manure thus exposed for a day or two to cool, and then make up the beds again on the same site.
Brick spawn is always used. Some of those who make a specialty of mushrooms also make spawn for sale as well as for their own use; but the majority of the gardeners prefer to buy rather than make their own spawn.
When the heat has fallen to between 80 deg. and 90 deg. the ridges are spawned, the pieces inserted in three rows along each side, leaving about nine inches between the pieces. A dibber should not be used on any account. The spawn is put in tightly with the hand and the manure pressed down. It should be put in level with the face of the bed, so that the mold may just touch it when the bed is cased. In the event of cold or wet weather, just as soon as the beds are spawned a slight covering of rank litter is laid over them. After a few days this is removed and the beds are molded over with mold from ground to which manure has not been applied for some time. But the general market gardeners do not make this distinction; they use the earth from between the ridges, which has been manured regularly every year for a couple of hundred years or more. The mold is put on evenly with the spade and is about two inches thick at the base of the ridge and one inch thick at top, and well firmed by beating with the back of the spade; indeed, the ridges are now commonly watered through a water-pot rose, again beaten very firmly and the surface left smooth and even. This smooth surface readily sheds rain water, but I question if it has any advantage over a well-firmed unglazed surface. After molding the beds are covered with litter, that is, the rankest straw that had been shaken out of the manure, to a depth of four, six, eight, or ten inches, according to the state of the bed and weather; if the bed is inclined to be cool or if the weather is cold, thicken the covering.
Drenching or long drizzling rains are more injurious to the beds than is cold, and in order to ward them off old Russia mats and any other sort of cloth or carpet covering obtainable is laid over the litter on the beds and weighted down with poles, boards, stones, or anything else that is convenient. Do not disturb this covering for about four weeks, and then on a dry day strip it off and shake up the litter loosely so as to dry it. If there is any white mold on the surface of the soil take a handful of straw and rub it off. If the bed is rather cold put a layer of clean, dry hay next the bed, and on top of this replace the littery covering.
The first beds are made in August, and one or more every month after till March, just as time, convenience and material permit. Summer beds are not attempted unless in exceptional cases. The bulk of the beds are generally put in in September and October. In early fall, also in spring, beds yield mushrooms in about six weeks after spawning; in winter they take eight or nine weeks or more, much depending on the weather.
In cold weather the mushrooms are gathered at noon-day; if the weather is windy and it is possible to postpone gathering for another day this is done, as the litter can not be replaced satisfactorily in windy weather. In gathering the mushrooms one man carefully pulls the straw down from the top of the bed, rolling it toward him; another gathers the mushrooms (pulling them out by the roots, never cutting them) into baskets, and a third man covers up the bed. In this way the three men go up one side of the ridge and down the other, and the work is done expeditiously and well, without exposing any part of the bed more than a minute or two at a time. It is necessary that the uncovering be done by rolling the straw down from the top of the ridge; if it were rolled up the covering on the other side of the ridge would be sure to slip down a little, and break off many small mushrooms. The mushrooms as gathered are of three grades; the large or wide-spread ones are called "broilers," the full-sized ones whose neck frill is merely broken about half an inch wide are "cups," and the small white ones whose frills are not broken at all are termed "buttons." All of these are kept separate. They are marketed in different ways, but the growers who make mushrooms a specialty assort and pack them in chip baskets, boxes, or otherwise, as the metropolitan and provincial markets demand or suggest. Mr. John F. Barter, writing to me from London, says: "As to punnetts, we use the same as for strawberries or peaches" (the abundance of peaches we have in America is unknown over there), "they hold just one pound. But it is getting more general now to have little boxes made to hold say three to five pounds each; these are better for packing in larger cases for long journeys."
The first cutting is a light one. After this the bed is cut twice a week for three weeks in mild weather, or once a week in inclement weather. The last two or three pickings are thin and only secured once a week. Altogether ten or eleven good pickings are gathered from each bed.
I never knew of a single instance in which any attempt was made to renovate an old or worn-out bed. But when the beds become so dry as to need watering a small handful of salt is dissolved in a large pailful of water and with this solution the beds are freely watered over the straw covering, but never, to my knowledge, under it.
My old friends, George Steele and Mr. Bagley, of Fulham Fields, used to run part of their beds east and west, not only for convenience sake so far as the beds themselves were concerned, but with the view of growing early tomatoes against the south side of these beds in summer, and here they got their finest and earliest crops, for the London gardeners can not grow tomatoes out of doors in the open fields as we can in America. Other gardeners clear away the manure for use elsewhere in their fields, and as it is so well rotted it is in capital condition for cauliflower, lettuces, snap beans, and other crops. But as the mushroom growers who restrict themselves entirely to mushrooms, and who, after the mushroom beds have finished bearing, have no further use for the manure in the spent beds, are always able to dispose of it at one-half the cost price. It is excellent for garden crops and as a topdressing for lawns, on account of its fineness and freedom from all rubbish as sticks, stones, old bottles, old shoes, and the like, is in much demand.
MUSHROOM GROWING IN THE PARIS CAVES.
In caves and subterranean passages underneath the city of Paris and its environs, thousands of tons of mushrooms are artificially produced every year. These underground caves and tunnels are abandoned quarries from which white building stone and plaster have been excavated, and as the veins of stone permeated through the bowels of the earth, 40 to 125 feet deep, so were they quarried, and the blocks brought to the surface through vertical shafts. It is these tunnels, varying in height and width as the veins of stone varied, that are now used for mushroom-growing. M. Lachaume, in his book, The Cave Mushroom, tells us: "In the Department of the Seine there are 3000 quarries; those which have been abandoned and which are situated close to Paris at Montrouge, Bagneux, Vaugirard, Mery, Chatillon, Vitry, Honilles, and St. Denis, are used by the 250 mushroom-growers of the Department. There are several of these quarries with horizontal galleries driven into the calcareous rock from the level of the road, which are mostly large enough to accommodate a good sized cart, but the majority can only be entered, like many coal mines, by vertical shafts 100 to 125 feet deep, down which everything has to pass. The laborers climb up and down a ladder, and the fresh manure is shoveled down the shaft from above, the waste stuff and mushrooms being hauled up in baskets from beneath by means of a windlass."
The manure used is obtained from the Paris stables and furnished by contractors, with whom the mushroom growers make special bargains because they are very particular about the kind and quality of the manure they use. Some of these growers use as much as 2000 to 3500 tons of manure each a year for their mushroom beds. To the caves in the immediate neighborhood of Paris the manure is hauled out in carts, but to Mery and other places too far distant to be within easy carting distance it is sent by rail. The mushroom growers consider that the manure from animals that are worked hard and abundantly fed on dry, good food is the best; the droppings from these are always dry and rich in ammonia, nitrogen and phosphates. The manure from entire horses that are worked hard they regard as the best, and, next in value, that from mules. The manure from horses kept for pleasure, such as carriage and riding horses, is regarded as poor, notwithstanding the high feeding of these animals, and the manure from horses fed on grass or roots, also that of cows, as worthless. Stress is laid on the importance of having a good deal of urine-soaked straw in the manure, and this is another reason why manure from draught horses is preferred to that from animals kept for pleasure, as the bedding of the former is not apt to be kept so clean as that in aristocratic stables.
The preparation of the manure is conducted near the mouth of the caves or shafts on a level, dry piece of ground, and altogether out of doors. As soon as sufficient manure for a pile is obtained it is forked over, thoroughly shaken up and intermixed, divested of all extraneous matter such as sticks, stones, bottles, scrap iron, old shoes, and the like we find in city stable manure, and any dry straw is moistened with water. It is then squared off into a heap forty inches high and trodden down to thirty inches high. In this state it is left for about six days, when it is turned, shaken up loosely, the outside turned to the inside, and all dry parts watered; the same shallow square form is retained, and it is again trodden down firm. In about six days more it is again turned, shaken up, watered, squared off, and trodden as before. In about three days after this it should be fit for use and may be turned, shaken up loosely, and dumped down the shaft into the cave and carried to the spot where the beds are to be formed. Of course these operations must be modified according to circumstances and the condition of the manure.
In making the beds the ground is first marked off. The first bed is made alongside of the wall, and rounded to the front; the other beds run parallel with this and may be straight, crooked, or wavy, as the interior of the cave may suggest. The beds are all ridge-shaped, eighteen to twenty inches wide at the base, eighteen to twenty inches high in the middle, six inches wide at top, and the sides sloping. Pathways twelve inches wide run between the beds. The workmen build the beds by piece-work and receive one-half cent per running foot. A good workman can make 240 feet a day (Lachaume). The beds are built neatly and firmly and with much nicety as regards size and proportions. But the workmen do not use a fork or any other tool in the construction of the beds; they lift, shake up, spread and build the manure with their naked hands and pack it firm with their knees.
The spawn is obtained from the working beds and is what the mushroom growers there call "virgin" spawn, though not at all what we know by that term. As a succession of beds is kept up all the year round it is an easy matter for the growers to get their spawn at any time. The best time to get the spawn is when the young mushrooms are first appearing. A bed or part of a bed in capital working order is selected and broken up and the cakes of manure thoroughly matted up with the active mycelium are selected for spawning the fresh beds. It is asserted that from this active spawn crops of mushrooms appear in twenty days' less time than if dry spawn were used.
The French spawn is used. Somewhere between the seventh and fourteenth day after making the bed it will be in condition for spawning. Break the spawn into pieces between two and three inches long, two inches wide, and three-fourths of an inch thick, and insert these pieces in two rows along the sides of the ridges; the first row eight inches above the ground, the second row eight inches above the first, and the pieces put in quincunx fashion eight inches apart in the row. The manure is firmly packed in upon the spawn, the surface left smooth and even and without being further disturbed until earthing time.
Much stress is laid upon stratifying the spawn before using, when dry spawn is employed. About eight days before a bed is to be spawned the dry spawn is spread out in a row on the floor of the cave or cellar so that it may absorb moisture and the mycelium begin to run. At spawning time these cakes or flakes are broken up and used in the ordinary way, and, it is claimed, with a week's difference in favor of the early appearing of the mushrooms. But no more spawn than is necessary for immediate use should be stratified, for it will not bear being dried and damped again.
The chips and powder of the stone which has been taken out of the quarry and which can be had in abundance on the floor of the quarry or on the surface of the ground around the shaft, are sifted, and the finer part saved and mixed with earth in the proportion of three parts of stone dust to one of earth, and with this the beds are molded over. The powdered stone is strongly impregnated with salts, so advantageous to the mushrooms.
In seven to nine days after spawning, the beds are ready for earthing over. This depends upon the condition of the spawn and how well it has run in the manure. Before being earthed over the outside surface of the beds should be covered with white filaments radiating in all directions which give to the beds a bluish appearance. When the bed is in the proper state for being covered with earth the mold is laid on equally and firmly over the surface about three-fourths of an inch deep. It is then thoroughly watered through a fine-rosed watering pot and allowed to settle until the next day, when it is beaten solid by the back of a wooden shovel. The bed now needs no further care until the young mushrooms appear, except a light occasional watering should it get dry.
In spacious, high-roofed caves the mean temperature is about 52 deg. F., while in narrow, low-roofed ones it is about 68 deg.. Of course this makes a wide difference in the time of bearing and duration of the beds made in the different caves; those in the warm caves come into bearing sooner and stop bearing quicker than do those in the high-roofed caves. On an average the first mushrooms appear in about forty days after the beds are spawned, and the beds continue bearing for forty or sixty days, but toward the end of that time the yield diminishes very rapidly.
They are gathered once a day, usually about midnight, so that they may reach the Paris market early in the morning. In size the mushrooms range from three-fourths to one and five-eighths inches in diameter of top, and are pure white in color. The workmen always gather the mushrooms by plucking them out by the roots, and never by cutting them; the gatherers have two baskets, carried knapsack fashion on their back; one is to receive the mushrooms as they are picked, the other contains mold with which to fill in the little holes made by pulling the mushrooms out of the bed. In some caves one man gathers the mushrooms and leaves them in little piles on the bed as he goes along, a woman comes after him and places them in a basket, and a man follows her and fills up the holes with earth. Before bringing the mushrooms up out of the caves they are covered over with a cloth to avoid contact with the outer air, which is apt to turn them brown. They are then placed in baskets that contain twenty-three to twenty-five pounds and sent to market, where they are sold at auction as they arrive. Or they may be sent to preserved-vegetable manufacturers, who contract for them at an all round price.
Proper ventilation is regarded as being of great importance, not only for the sake of the workmen, but also for the mushrooms, which will not thrive in an impure atmosphere. Ventilation is afforded by means of narrow shafts surmounted by tall wooden chimneys whose upper ends are cut at an angle so that the beveled side faces north. In order to avoid sudden changes of temperature and strong draughts, fires, trap doors, and other means employed in assisting the ventilation of coal mines are adopted. To stop strong draughts, too, in the passages, tall, straw-thatched hurdles are set up. In narrow caves the breath of the workmen, the gases given off by fermentation, and the products of combustion of the lamps would soon so vitiate the atmosphere as to render the caves uninhabitable were they not properly ventilated. Indeed, it frequently occurs that caves in which mushrooms have been grown continuously for some years have to be abandoned for a year or two because the crop has ceased to prosper in them. But after they have been thoroughly cleared of all beds and the surface soil that would have been likely to be touched or affected by the manure, and ventilated and rested for a year or two, mushrooms can again be grown in them successfully.
Fresh mushrooms, well cooked and well served, are one of the most delicious of all vegetables. If we grow our own mushrooms we can gather them in their finest form, cook them as we please, and enjoy them in their most delightful condition. If we are dependent upon the fields we should be careful to gather only such mushrooms as are young, plump, and fresh, and reject all that are old or discolored, or betray any signs of the presence of disease or insects. And in the case of store mushrooms, that is, the ones we get at the fruiterer's or other provision store, we should examine them critically before using them to see that they are perfectly free from "flock," "black spot," "maggots," or other ailment, and discard all that have any symptoms of disease.
The small, short-stemmed, white-skinned mushrooms offered for sale are of the variety known as French mushrooms, and on account of their white appearance are preferred by many; the longer-stemmed, broader-headed, and darker-colored kind that we also find offered for sale is what is known as the English mushroom. The French mushrooms are the most attractive in appearance and preferred in the market, but the English variety is the best flavored and generally the most liked for home use.
As soon as the frill around the neck breaks apart the mushroom is fit to gather; keeping it longer may add to its size a little, but surely will detract from its tenderness. The gills of the mushrooms will retain their pink tinge for a day after the frill breaks open, but they soon grow browner and blacker, until in a few days they are unfit for food. In gathering, the mushrooms should be pulled and never cut, and kept in this way until ready to prepare them for cooking. By retaining the stem uncut the mushroom holds its freshness and plumpness much longer than it would were the stems removed. Keep them in a cool, dark place, and in an earthenware vessel with a cover or a thick, damp cloth thrown over it; this will preserve their plumpness. If the frill is broken wide apart when the mushrooms are gathered, the caps are apt to open out flat in a day or two, and the gills darken and spread their spores, just as if the mushrooms were still unsevered from the ground.
Carefully inspect the mushrooms before cooking them. If the gills are black and the mushrooms are too old do not use them; if the cap is perforated by insects discard it, as it is very likely there are maggots inside; or if there are dark brown spots ("black spot") on the top of the caps throw the mushrooms away. Old mushrooms are tough, ill-looking, bad-tasting and indigestible, and those infested by insects, although not poisonous, are very repugnant, and should not be used. But the dangerous mushroom is the one affected by "Flock."
Mushrooms should be gathered free from grit; if at all gritty they require washing, which spoils them. All large mushrooms should be peeled before they are cooked; the skin of the cap parts freely from the flesh, but the skin of the stem must be rubbed or scraped off. The gills should not be removed as they are the most delicate meat of the mushroom, but if the mushrooms are old and intended for soup the gills should be scraped out with the view of getting rid of their darkening influence in the soup. In the case of small button mushrooms, which can not be readily skinned, they should be rubbed over with a soft cloth dipped in vinegar, so as to remove the outer part of the skin. While the stems may be retained with the buttons, they should always be removed from the full-grown mushrooms.
Mushrooms should always be served hot, and they should be eaten as soon as cooked. In the case of baked mushrooms and others prepared in a somewhat similar way they should be covered in the oven by an inverted dish, soup plate, basin, or the like, and if possible brought to the table in this way and without the cover removed. Set the tin upon a mat or cold plate upon the table, then uncover and serve on hot plates. By this means the delicious aroma is preserved.
Baked Mushrooms.—Peel and stem the mushrooms, rub and sprinkle a little salt on the gills, and lay the mushrooms, gills up, on a shallow baking tin and put a small piece of butter on each mushroom. Place an inverted saucer or deep plate over them in the tin, and put them into a brisk oven for about twenty minutes. Then take them out and serve upon a hot plate, without spilling any of the juice that has collected in the middle of each mushroom. Send to table and eat at once. This is the common way of cooking mushrooms, and by it is secured the true mushroom aroma and taste in their perfection.
Stewed Mushrooms.—Peel and stem the mushrooms. Take an enameled saucepan, put a lump of butter in it and melt it, then put in the mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper and a small piece of pounded mace (if you like it), then cover the saucepan tightly and stew the mushrooms gently until they are tender, which will be in about half an hour. Have ready some toast, either dry or fried in butter, as preferred; spread out upon a hot dish, place the mushrooms upon the toast, with the gills uppermost, pour the juice over them, and serve hot. Button mushrooms are the ones usually selected for stewing, but while nicer and whiter they are not so finely flavored as the full sized ones.
Another way of preparing stewed mushrooms is to stem and peel them; dip in water containing lemon juice (this is to prevent their becoming dark-colored in cooking, or giving a dark color to the stew), and drain them dry. Put them into a stewpan, with a good-sized lump of butter and some nice gravy, and let them stew for about ten minutes. Take a little stock or cream, beat up some flour in it quite smooth, and add a little lemon juice and grated nutmeg. Add this to the mushrooms and cook briskly for about ten minutes longer, or until tender.
Soyer's Breakfast Mushrooms.—Place some freshly-made toast, divided, on a dish, and put the mushrooms, stemmed and peeled, gills upward upon it; add a little pepper and salt and put a small bit of butter in the middle of each mushroom. Pour a teaspoonful of cream over each, and add one clove for the whole dish. Put an inverted basin over the whole. Bake for twenty or twenty-five minutes, and do not remove the basin until the dish is brought to the table, so as to preserve the grateful aroma. A delightful dish.
Mushrooms a la Creme.—Peel and stem the mushrooms, roll a lump of butter in flour and put it into the saucepan, then add the mushrooms and some salt, white pepper, a little sugar and finely chopped parsley. Stew for ten minutes. Take the yolks of two eggs beaten up with two large spoonfuls of cream, and add the mixture gradually to the stew; cook for a few minutes longer, and serve hot. This is a delicious dish, but the fine mushroom flavor is not as pronounced in it as it is in the plain bake or stew.
Curried Mushrooms.—Peel and stem a pound of mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, add a little butter, and stew gently for fifteen or twenty minutes in a little good stock or gravy. Then add four tablespoonfuls of cream and one teaspoonful of good curry powder previously well mixed with two teaspoonfuls of wheat flour. Mix carefully and cook for five or ten minutes longer, and serve on hot toast on hot plates. A capital dish much enjoyed by those who like curry.
Broiled Mushrooms.—Select large, open, fresh mushrooms, stem and peel them. Put them on the gridiron, stem side down, over a bright but not very hot fire, and cook for three minutes. Then turn them and put a small piece of butter in the middle of each, and broil for about ten minutes longer. Put them in hot plates, gills upward, and place another small piece of butter on each mushroom, together with a little pepper and salt, and flavor with lemon juice or Chili vinegar, and put them into the oven for a minute or two. Then send them to table.
Mushroom Soup.—Take a quantity of fresh young mushrooms, and peel and stem them. Stew them with a little butter, pepper and salt, and some good stock, till tender; take them out and chop them up quite small; prepare a good stock, as for any other soup, and add it to the mushrooms and the liquor they have been stewed in. Boil all together, and serve. If white soup is required use white button mushrooms and a good veal stock, adding a spoonful of cream or a little milk as the color may require. This is a nice soup and tastes good. If the mushrooms are very young they have but little flavor; if they are full grown they darken the soup, and if they are brown in the gills when used the soup will be disagreeably dark. If, after preparing, but before cooking the mushrooms, you pour some boiling water over them and into this drop a little vinegar or lemon juice, then drain them off through a colander, you can prevent, to a great extent, their darkening influence on the soup, but always at the expense of their flavor.
Mushroom Stems.—The stems of young, fresh mushrooms are excellent to eat, but those of old or stale mushrooms are unfit for food. In the case of plump, fresh, full-sized mushrooms, the upper part of the stem, that is, the portion between the frill and the socket in the cap, is used, but the portion below the frill, that is, the "root" end, is discarded. Any part of the stem that is discolored or tough or woody should be rejected, and only the portion that is succulent and brittle and of a clean white color at any time used. The stems are nearly always retained in "button" mushrooms when they are cooked, and the upper or succulent parts of the stems of plump, fresh, full-grown mushrooms are often cooked along with the caps, but when cooking full-grown mushrooms we prefer, in all cases, to completely remove the stems from the mushrooms, and cook both separately. The stems are not so tender or deliciously flavored as are the caps, but are excellent for ketchup, or flavoring, or a sauce for eating with boiled fowl. In cooking the stems they should be peeled by scraping, for they can not be skinned like the caps.
Potted Mushrooms.—Select nice button or unopen mushrooms, and to a quart of these add three ounces of fresh butter, and stew gently in an enameled saucepan, shaking them frequently to prevent burning. After a few minutes dust a little finely powdered salt, a little spice, and a few grains of cayenne over them, and stew until tender. When cooked turn them into a colander standing in a basin, and leave them there until cold; then press them into small potting-jars, and fill up the jars with warm clarified butter, and cover with paper tied down and brushed over with melted suet to exclude the air. Keep in a cool, dry place. The gravy should be retained for flavoring other gravies, sauces, etc.
Gilbert's Breakfast Mushrooms.—Get half grown mushrooms, peel them and lay them, gills-side upward, on a plate; put to each a small piece of butter, but only one layer thick; pepper and salt to taste; add two tablespoonfuls of ketchup and one of water; press round the rim of the plate a strip of paste, get another plate of the same size pressed firmly in the paste; put the whole in a brisk oven for twenty-five minutes. The top plate should be left on until served.
Baked Mushrooms.—(A breakfast, luncheon, or supper dish.) Ingredients: Sixteen or twenty mushroom flaps, butter, pepper to taste. Mode. For this mode of cooking the mushroom flaps are better than the buttons, and should not be too large. Cut off a portion of stalk, peel the top, and wipe the mushrooms carefully with a piece of flannel and a little fine salt. Put them into a tin baking dish, with a very small piece of butter placed on each mushroom; sprinkle over a little pepper, and let them bake for about twenty minutes, or longer should the mushrooms be very large. Have ready a very hot dish, pile the mushrooms high in the center, pour the gravy round, and send them to table quickly on very hot plates.
Broiled Mushrooms.—(A breakfast, luncheon, or supper dish.) Ingredients: Mushrooms, pepper and salt to taste, butter, lemon juice. Mode. Cleanse the mushrooms by wiping them with a piece of flannel and a little salt; cut off a portion of the stalk and peel the tops; broil them over a clear fire, turning them once, and arrange them on a very hot dish. Put a small piece of butter on each mushroom, season with pepper and salt and squeeze over them a few drops of lemon juice. Place the dish before the fire, and when the butter is melted serve very hot and quickly. Moderate sized flaps are better suited to this mode of cooking than the buttons; the latter are better in stews.
Mushrooms a la Casse, Tout.—Ingredients: Mushrooms, toast, two ounces of butter, pepper and salt. Mode. Cut a round of bread one-half an inch thick, and toast it nicely; butter both sides and place it in a clean baking sheet or tin; cleanse the mushrooms as in preceding recipe, and place them on the toast, head downwards, lightly pepper and salt them, and place a piece of butter the size of a nut on each mushroom; cover them with a finger glass and let them cook close to the fire for ten or twelve minutes. Slip the toast into a hot dish, but do not remove the glass cover until they are on the table. All the aroma and flavor of the mushrooms are preserved by this method. The name of this excellent recipe need not deter the careful housekeeper from trying it. With moderate care the glass cover will not crack. In winter it should be rinsed in warm water before using.
Stewed Mushrooms.—Ingredients. One pint mushroom buttons, three ounces of fresh butter, white pepper and salt to taste, lemon juice, one teaspoonful of flour, cream or milk, one-fourth teaspoonful of grated nutmeg. Mode. Cut off the ends of the stalks and pare neatly a pint of mushroom buttons; put them into a basin of water with a little lemon juice as they are done. When all are prepared take them from the water with the hands, to avoid the sediment, and put them into a stewpan with the fresh butter, white pepper, salt, and the juice of one-half a lemon; cover the pan closely and let the mushrooms stew gently from twenty to twenty-five minutes, then thicken the butter with the above proportion of flour, add gradually sufficient cream, or cream and milk, to make the sauce of a proper consistency, and put in the grated nutmeg. If the mushrooms are not perfectly tender stew them for five minutes longer, remove every particle of butter which may be floating on the top, and serve.
Broiled Beefsteak and Mushrooms.—Ingredients: Two or three dozen small button mushrooms, one ounce of butter, salt and cayenne to taste, one tablespoonful of mushroom ketchup. Mode. Wipe the mushrooms free from grit with a piece of flannel, and salt; put them in a stewpan with the butter, seasoning, and ketchup; stir over the fire until the mushrooms are quite done. Have the steak nicely broiled, and pour over. The above is very good with either broiled or stewed steak.
To Preserve Mushrooms.—Ingredients: To each quart of mushrooms allow three ounces of butter, pepper and salt to taste, the juice of one lemon, clarified butter. Mode. Peel the mushrooms, put them into cold water, with a little lemon juice; take them out and dry them very carefully in a cloth. Put the butter into a stewpan capable of holding the mushrooms; when it is melted add the mushrooms, lemon juice, and a seasoning of pepper and salt; draw them down over a slow fire, and let them remain until their liquor is boiled away and they have become quite dry, but be careful in not allowing them to stick to the bottom of the stewpan. When done put them into pots and pour over the top clarified butter. If wanted for immediate use they will keep good a few days without being covered over. To rewarm them put the mushrooms into a stewpan, strain the butter from them, and they will be ready for use.
Mushroom Powder.—(A valuable addition to sauces and gravies when fresh mushrooms are not obtainable.) Ingredients: One-half peck of large mushrooms, two onions, twelve cloves, one-fourth ounce of pounded mace, two teaspoonfuls of white pepper. Mode. Peel the mushrooms, wipe them perfectly free from grit and dirt, remove the black fur, and reject all those that are at all worm-eaten; put them into a stewpan with the above ingredients, but without water; shake them over a clear fire till all the liquor is dried up, and be careful not to let them burn; arrange them on tins and dry them in a slow oven; pound them to a fine powder, which put into small dry bottles; cork well, seal the corks, and keep it in a dry place. In using this powder, add it to the gravy just before serving, when it will require one boil up. The flavor imparted by this means to the gravy ought to be exceedingly good. This should be made in September, or at the beginning of October, and if the mushroom powder bottle in which it is stored away is not perfectly dry it will speedily deteriorate.
Mushroom Powder.—This is for use as a condiment. The finest full-grown mushrooms—which are the best flavored—should be selected and prepared for drying, and dried as stated under the heading of "Dried Mushrooms," except that it is better to dry them in an oven or drying machine so that they may be dried quickly and become brittle. Grate or otherwise reduce them to a fine powder, and preserve this in tightly-corked bottles.
To Dry Mushrooms.—Wipe them clean, take away the brown part and peel off the skin; lay them on sheets of paper to dry, in a cool oven, when they will shrivel considerably. Keep them in paper bags, which hang in a dry place. When wanted for use put them into cold gravy, bring them gradually to simmer, and it will be found that they will regain nearly their usual size.
Dried Mushrooms.—In the flush of the pasture-mushroom season gather a large number of mushrooms of all sizes and see that they are thoroughly clean; remove and discard the stems and peel the caps. Stir them around for a few minutes in boiling water to which a little lemon juice or vinegar has been added to prevent them from turning dark colored. Some people use plain cold water, or cold water with lemon juice or vinegar in it. But never use salt in preparing mushrooms for drying, or else the salted mushrooms will absorb moisture from the atmosphere and spoil. Take the mushrooms out of the water and drain them on a sieve, then string them and hang them up to dry and season in an open, airy shed, as one would strings of drying fruit. They may also be dried in a drying machine or oven as one would do with apples or peaches. They are used as a substitute for fresh mushrooms when the latter can not be obtained. In preparing dried mushrooms for use steep them in tepid water or milk until they become quite soft and plump, then drain them dry and cook them in the same way as fresh mushrooms. While they are a good substitute for the fresh article they are deficient in flavor.
Mushroom Ketchup.—To each peck of mushrooms add one-half pound of salt; to each quart of mushroom liquor one-half ounce of allspice, one-half ounce of ginger, two blades of pounded mace, one-fourth ounce of cayenne.
Choose full-grown mushroom flaps, and be careful that they are perfectly fresh-gathered when the weather is tolerably dry; for if they are picked during rain the ketchup made from them is liable to get musty, and will not keep long. Put a layer of them in a deep pan, sprinkle salt over them, then another layer of mushrooms and so on alternately. Let them remain for a few hours, and break them up with the hand; put them in a cool place for three days, occasionally stirring and mashing them well to extract from them as much juice as possible. Measure the quantity without straining, and to each quart allow the above proportion of spices, etc. Put all into a stone jar, cover it up very closely, put it in a saucepan of boiling water, set it over the fire and let it boil for three hours. Have ready a clean stewpan; turn into it the contents of the jar, and let the whole simmer very gently for half an hour; pour it into a pitcher, where it should stand in a cool place until the next day; then pour it off into another pitcher and strain it into very dry clean bottles, and do not squeeze the mushrooms. To each pint of ketchup add a few drops of brandy. Be careful not to shake the contents, but leave all the sediment behind in the pitcher; cork well, and either seal or rosin the cork, so as to exclude the air perfectly. When a very clear, bright ketchup is wanted the liquor must be strained through a very fine hair sieve or flannel bag after it has been very gently poured off; if the operation is not successful it must be repeated until you have quite a clear liquor. It should be examined occasionally, and if it is spoiling should be reboiled with a few peppercorns. Seasonable from the beginning of September to the middle of October, when this ketchup should be made.
Mushroom Ketchup.—This flavoring ingredient, if genuine and well prepared, is one of the most useful store sauces to the experienced cook, and no trouble should be spared in its preparation. Double ketchup is made by reducing the liquor to half the quantity; for example, one quart must be boiled down to one pint. This goes further than ordinary ketchup, as so little is required to flavor a good quantity of gravy. The sediment may also be bottled for immediate use, and will be found to answer for flavoring thick soups or gravies.
Mushroom Ketchup.—In making ketchup use the very best mushrooms, full grown but young and fresh, as it is highly important to secure fine flavor, and this we can not get from inferior mushrooms. Take a measure of fine fresh mushrooms and see that they are clean and free from grit; stem and peel them; cut them into very thin slices and place a layer of these on the bottom of a deep dish or tureen; sprinkle this layer with fine salt, then put in another layer and sprinkle with salt as before, and so on until the dish is full. The white succulent part of the stems may also be used in the ketchup, but never any discolored, tough or stringy part. On the top of all strew a layer of fresh walnut rind cut into small pieces. Place the dish in a cool cellar for four or five days, to allow the contents to macerate. When the whole mass has become nearly liquid pass it through a colander. Then boil down the strained liquor to half of its bulk and add its own weight of calf's-foot jelly; season with allspice or white pepper and boil down to the consistence of jelly. Pour into stoneware jars and keep in a cool place.
Pickled Mushrooms.—Use sufficient vinegar to cover the mushrooms; to each quart of mushrooms two blades of pounded mace, one ounce of ground pepper, salt to taste. Choose young button mushrooms for pickling, and rub off the skin with a piece of flannel and salt, and cut off the stalks; if very large take out the red gills and reject the black ones, as they are too old. Put them in a stewpan, sprinkle salt over them, with pounded mace and pepper in the above proportion; shake them well over a clear fire until the liquor flows, and keep them there until it is all dried up again; then add as much vinegar as will cover them; let it simmer for one minute, and store it away in stone jars for use. When cold tie down with bladder and keep in a dry place; they will remain good for a long time, and are generally considered delicious. Make this the same time as ketchup, from the beginning of September to the middle of October. [The above recipes are furnished by Mrs. George Amberley, of New York City.]
Ammonia Arising, 54
Anguillulae, 124 In Decaying Vegetation, 126 Scalding Water to Kill, 126 To Destroy, 114
Apparatus, Hot Water, 33
Atmosphere, Manure Steam for Moistening, 114 Remedying a too Dry, 114
Barn Cellars, 10
Bedding, Wetted with Urine, 58
Beds, 16 Alongside of Wall, 18 Banked Against a Wall, 53 Bearing in November, 25 Black Spot in the, 108 Boring Holes in, to Reduce Temperature, 76 Bottom of, 17 Box, 17 Casing, after Spawning, 100 Casing the, 104 Earthing Over the, 103 Experiments as to Proper Time to Case, 104 Fifteen Inches Thick, 22 Firmly Built, 76 Flat, 50 Flat, Sods fit only for, 107 Floor, 19 Flooring for the, 28 Green Sods, Method of Casing, 106 Killing the Mycelium in, 96 Loam for, 100 Manure, 20 Maximum Heat of Best, 75 Midwinter, 39 Mulching, 23 Mushroom, 12 Never Spawn, when Heat is Rising, 96 Odorless, in Dwelling House Cellars, 21 Of Low Temperature, 77 On the Floor, 13 Outside, 12 Parching Effect Visible on, 26 Picking "Fogged-off" Mushrooms from, 108 Rack, 13 Re-Invigorating Old, 120 Renovating Old, in England, 142 Ridge, 17 Second Crop from, 120 Shelf, 16, 29 Spawned at 66 deg. to 70 deg., 97 Spawning and Molding, 14 Spawning the, 96 Spent Mushroom, 121 Stale, 76 Tamping Surface of, 23 Temperature of a Twelve Inch Thick Bed, 96 Ten or Twelve Inches Deep, 19 Tending the, 17 Three Feet Deep, 25 To Keep, Warm, 109 Topdressed, 23 Under Greenhouse Benches, To make, 53 Watering, 24 Watering the, 108 Watering Mushroom, 111 When Dry to be Watered, 111 Wide, With Pathway Above,* 44 Worn Out, 120
Beetles, Larvae of Two, Destroying Mycelium, 132
Benches Covered, 40
Black Spot, 124 A Disease, 125 In Beds in Vigorous Bearing, 125 In New Beds, 125 Is Unwholesome, 126 To Prevent, 125
Boards, Stepping, 17
Boiler and Pipes, 32
Boilers, Hitching's Base-burner, 31
Boxing, 19 Lid for, 19 Old Carpet or Matting Over, 19
"Bullet" or "Shot" Holes in Mushrooms, 128
Bugs, Mealy, 12
Caves of Paris, In the,* 147 Paris, Description of, 143 French Spawn Used in, 146 Gathering Mushrooms for Market in the, 149 Making Beds in the, 145 Manure Used in the, 144 Material Used for and Method of Earthing Over in, 146 Methods of Regulating Draughts in the, 150 Preparation of Manure for the, 144 Paris, Spawn Used in the, and How Obtained, 145 Stratifying Spawn Before Using in the, 146 Temperature in Spacious, High Roofed, 147 Ventilation in the, 148 When and How Mushrooms are Gathered in the, 148
Ceiling, Flat, 37 Sloping, 36 Wet, 18
Cellar, Barn, 13 Cleanliness in the Mushroom, 26 Cool, 19 Cross-section of the Dosoris Mushroom,* 27 Dosoris Mushroom, 27 Divided, 30 Ground Plan of the Dosoris,* 28 Height of, 17 House, 13 Interior Arrangements of, 16 Mushroom, Under a Barn,* 16 Of Dwelling House, 18 Ordinary, 21 Outhouse, 18 Pent-up, 17 Unheated, 17 Vegetable, 12 Warm, 19 Wholly Devoted to Mushroom Growing, 15
Cellars, 10 Artificial Heating, 17 Cool, Airy, 20 Flat Roofed Mushroom, 18 Mushrooms in, 25 Potato, 18 Underground, 15, 27
Cistern, Large Underground, 18
Coal, Nut and Stove, 33
Cold and Vermin, 19
Cooking Mushrooms, 150
Crop, Common Average, 30 Gathering the, 17 Marketing the, 14 Yielding, 31
Crops, Capital, 17
Cut Flower Season, 11
Dirt, Roadside, 101
Doors, Double, 16 Outside, 35 Single, 16
Drip, Cold, Falling upon Beds, 36 Crop Suffering From, 51 From Benches, the Effects of, 51 In Commercial Greenhouses, 52 Plan for Warding off, 52
Dust and Noxious Gas, 17
Entrance Pits, 30
Economy, False, 37
Families, Private, 18
Flies, Manure, 126 Manure, Ill-favor of, 126 Manure Perfectly Harmless, 127
Fire, Danger of, 33
Flock, 132 How General is, 134 The Cause of, 133 The Habits and Manner of Growth of, 133 The Worst Mushroom Disease, 132 What it Looks Like, 134 What is, 133
Floor, A Dry, Necessary, 47 Common Earth, 47 Dry, 35, 39 Earthen, 21
Fogging Off, 106, 131 Favorable Conditions for, 132 The Cause of, 131
Florists' Greenhouses, 10
Frame, Boxed-up with Straw Covering,* 19 Covered with Calico, 20 Covered with Oiled Paper, 20 Common Hotbed Box, 45 Preparing Beds in the, 46 Shading the, 47 Spawning in, 46
Frost, Hoar, 35 To Exclude, 40
Fruit Room, 12
Furnace, Boxed off, 17
Gardens, Private, 37
Grapery, Beds and Frames Inside the, 13
Greenhouse Bench, Boxed Mushroom Bed Under,* 41
Greenhouse Benches, Among Other Plants on, 48
Greenhouse Benches, On, 42
Greenhouse Benches, Under, 47
Greenhouses, Beds in Open, Airy, 53 Cool, 41 Growing Mushrooms in, 41 In Frames in, 44 Steam-heated, 48
Growers, Parisian, 60
Heat, Artificial not Absolutely Necessary, 17 Fire, 17 Parching, 17
Heater, Base-burning Water,* 32 Vertical Section,* 32
Heating Apparatus, 28
Hoe, Angular-pointed, 23
Hops, Spent, 68 Spent, Cost Nothing, 69
Horses, Those who Keep, 13
Hotbed Frames, 44
House, A Mushroom, 34 Cow, 13 Ground Plan of Mrs. Osborne's Mushroom,* 36 In Dwelling, 18 Interior Arrangement of Mushroom, 37 Interior View of Mr. Henshaw's Mushroom,* 33 Mr. Samuel Henshaw's, 37 Mushroom, Built Against North-facing Wall,* 34 Section of Mrs. Osborne's,* 35
Houses, Fruit-forcing, 12 Growing Mushrooms in Rose, 49 Lettuce, Mushrooms in, 50 Tomato-forcing, Mushrooms in, 49 Well-sheltered in Winter, 34
Insecticide, Common Salt as an, 113
Leaves, Condition of, to Heat, 68 Fermenting, Beds Composed of, 68 Oak, the Best, 67 Quick-rotting, 67 Tree, 67
Lettuce House, Moisture of, 10
Lice, Wood, 129
Loam and Manure, 11 Mixed, 72 Mixed, Temperature of, 77 Mixed, To Prepare, 73
Loam, Coating, 20 Common, for Casing, 100 Containing Old Manure, 101 Fibrous, Mellow, Best for Earthing Over, 103 Fresh Sod, 100 Heavy, Clayey, 101 Ordinary Field Soil, 26 Sod, Reasons for Use of, 73 Topdressing with, 107
Lot, Village or Suburban, 13
Manure, 13 Baled, 64 Cellar, 62 City Stable, 63 Common Horse, 21 Cow, 65 Cow, Necessary in Manufacture of Spawn, 66 Drying by Exposure, 71 Fermenting Fresh Horse, 24 "Fire-fanged," 62 Firmly Packed, 70 Flies, 124, 126 Fresh, 12 Fresher the Better, 58 From City Stables, 26 German Peat Moss Stable, 66 Handling, 35 Homemade, 60 Horse, 57 Hog, Mycelium Evades, 63 Liquid, 113 Liquid, Cow and Sheep, 113 Of Entire Horses, 60 Of Horses fed with Carrots, 61 Of Mules, 62 Preparation of the, 69 Preserve the Wet and Strawy Part, 60 Proper Condition of, 72 Sawdust Stable, 66 Selected, 63 Steaming Hot, 24 The Best, 57 To Prevent "fire-fang" in, 70 Turning the, 14, 71 Warm, 13 Well-rotted, 14 Without Preparatory Treatment, 22
Market, A Good, 25 Gardener, 9, 15 Gardening near New York, 9
Markets, Brooklyn, 26 In Winter, 10
Materials, Exhausted, 16 For Beds, Fresh, 16 Waste of, 17
Method, Mr. Denton's, 25 Mr. Gardner's, 21 Mr. Van Siclen's, 27
Methods, Avoiding Complicated, 21
Mice and Rats, 130 Different Kinds of, 130 Fond of Mushrooms, 130
Mice, How they Disfigure Mushrooms, 130
Mites not a Mushroom Pest, 130 The Home of, 130 Two Kinds of, Common, 130
Moisture, Condensation of, 46
Mold on Beds, How Deep to Put, 105
Money, Pin- 14
Mushroom, A Perfect,* 116 Affected with Black Spot,* 125 Bed Built Flat on the Ground,* 52 Bed Five Feet Wide, Profit from, 12 Bed, Rigid,* 53 Beds, 11 Beds in England, How made, 137 Beds, Making up the, 74 Beds, Manure-fatted Loam in, 26 Beds, Manure for, 57 Beds, Mr. Wilson's,* 51 Beds on Greenhouse Benches, Objection to, 42 Beds, Sites for Around London, 137 Cellar, Perspective View of the Dosoris,* 58 Crop, 13 Flock-Diseased,* 133 Food, 24 Growing in the Paris Caves, 143 Growing Out of Doors a Specialty, 136 Growing, Profit of, Around London, 136 Growing, Success in, 12 House, A Regular, 12 House, Best Kind of, 11 House, Cellar Everybody's, 15 House, Damping Floors of, 115 Houses, Cleaning the, 135 Houses, Growing Mushrooms in, 34 Houses, Ideal, 15 Houses, Whitewashing, 135 Season Closed, 31 Spawn, 78 The "Horse," 48 A Winter Crop, 14 Advantages of Pulling over Cutting, 117 After a Dry Summer, 55 And Grapevines, 13 Black Spot in, 124 Cause of Black Spot in, 124 English, 115 Filling Stump Holes with Fresh Loam, 117 Five Inch Diameter before Expanding, 47 For Family Use, 13 For Soups, When to Pick, 116 Fresh, 12 From Natural Spawn, 48 From October Until May, 30 Gathering and Marketing, 115 Gathering Field and Wild, 118 Gathering in Cold Weather, 140 Good, 19 Growing in Cellars, 15 Growing in Fields, 54 Growing, in Narrow Troughs, 59 Growing in Ridges Around London, 136 Growing in Sawdust, 67 Grown on Greenhouse Benches,* 43 Growth of from Spawning under Different Temperatures, 110 Head Room, 19 Importance of Care in Gathering and Packing for Shipment, 119 In August and September, 56 In Crates and Baskets, 118 In the Fields, Plan of Growing, 55 Insect and Other Enemies of, 122 Knack in Pulling, 117 Maggots in, 122, 124 "Maggots" in, appear in April, 123 Maggots, Size of, in, 123 Marketed in Paper Boxes, 118 Marketing, 118 Not a Bulky Crop, 11 On Greenhouse Bench Under Tomatoes, 45 Packed in Punnets for London Market, 119 Picking so as not to Disturb Buttons, 117 "Pin-Head," 107 Profit on, Clear Gain, 51 Proper Manner of Picking, 116 Pulled, Keeping Qualities of, 117 Scooping Out the Stumps, 117 Sold by the Pound, 118 Sorting and Packing for Market, in England, 141 Summer Crops of, 123 Under the Benches, 11 When Fit to Pick, 115 Who Should Grow, 9 Wild, 55
Mulching, When to Remove, 42
Mycelium, Liquid to Encourage Spread of, 77
Odor, Bad, 20
Paper, Building, 52 Oiled, 18
Peat Moss, Bale of German, 66
Pipes, Heating, 17 Hot, Injury from, 48 Hot Water, 23 Sheet Iron, 27 Smoke, 33
Private Gardeners, 12
Rats, More Destructive than Mice, 131
Recipes for Cooking and Preserving Mushrooms, 150 A la Casse, Tout, 157 A la Creme, 154 Baked, 152, 156 Broiled, 154, 156 Broiled Beefsteak and, 158 Cooked, General Directions for Serving, 152 Cooking, 150 Cooking, General Preparation of, for, 151 Curried, 154 Dried, 160 Gilbert's Breakfast, 156 Ketchup, 160, 161, 162 Kind of, to Select for, 150 Pickled, 162 Potted, 155 Powder, 159 Soup, 154 Soyer's Breakfast, 153 Stems, 155 Stewed, 153, 157 To Dry, 159 To Preserve, 158
Ridges, 17 Casing the, 139 Covering the, 140 Covering with Litter, 139 Drenching Rains Injurious to, 139 First made in August, 140 For Growing Mushrooms in Open Field, 138 Method of Gathering Mushrooms from, 141 Smoothing the, 139 The Covered,* 140 Watering the, 139
Roofs water-tight, 39 Of Tin, 38 With Coating of Salt Hay, 38
Salad Plants, 10
Secret, No, 14
Shading on Sunny Days, 42
Shaft, Chimney-like, 16
Shaft, Tall, Wooden, 28
Shed, Open on South Side, 39 Potting, 12 Warm Potting, 40 The Term Applied, 40 Tool, 12 Wood, 12
Sheds, Growing Mushrooms in, 39 Unheated, 40
Shelves, Temporary Structures, 25
Shutters, Light Wooden, 53
Slugs, 127 Attack Mushrooms in all Stages, 127 Biting into Stems of Mushrooms, 127 Fond of Mushrooms, 127 How to Catch and Kill, 128 Salt Distasteful to, 128 The Cause of "Bullet" or "Shot" Holes, 128
Soil, Conditions of for Casing, 105 Firming the, 106 From Slopes and Dry Hollows in Woods, 101 Ordinary Garden, 101 Peat, or Swamp Muck, 101 Sandy, 101 Sifting, for Casing, 105