January 21 – April 29, 2020

3 Credits

Instructor: Dr. Mike Davis Email: rmdavis@ucdavis.edu

Mike Davis earned his Ph.D. degree in Plant Pathology from University of California, Riverside and became a member of the Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, in 1986 as a Cooperative Extension Specialist, a position he held with a joint Professor title. He retired from UC Davis in 2015. Mike’s career focused on the study of diseases of citrus, vegetables, and field crops and practical applications of disease management measures. He always had an interest in mushrooms and taught courses in mushroom identification, cultivation, and phylogeny. In addition, he published a number of papers on mushrooms, including the classification of new species. He is lead author of Field Guide to Mushrooms of Western North America published in 2012.

Course Goals: The course introduces methods of growing edible mushrooms, including culture maintenance, basic mushroom substrate preparation, composting, spawn generation techniques, inoculation methods, harvesting, and pests and pest management. The history of mushroom production and recent trends in the diversification of edible mushrooms will be discussed. The biology of individual edible mushrooms will be covered.

Introduction to Mushroom Cultivation Syllabus

Outline of Topics:

  1. History of mushroom production
  2. Biology of edible mushrooms
  3. Sterile technique and culture maintenance
  4. Substrate preparation
  5. Composting
  6. Spawn generation techniques
  7. Inoculation methods
  8. Incubation and harvesting
  9. Pests and pest management
  10. Agaricus bisporus cultivation
  11. Wood decomposers: Shiitake, oysters, mitake, and reishi cultivation
  12. Collecting wild mushrooms

Class Lecture Schedule:

  1. Introduction; History of Mushroom Production
  2. Sterile Technique and Culture Maintenance
  3. Fruiting Substrates
  4. Substrate Preparation – Straw and Sawdust Blocks
  5. Mushroom discussion: Enoki , Oyster, and Shimeji
  6. Mushroom Biology and Fungal Genetics
  7. Spawn Generation Techniques; Inoculation Methods
  8. Mushroom discussion: Shiitake and Reishi
  9. Agaricus Production: Phase I Composting
  10. Incubation; Harvest; Ventilation
  11. Mushroom discussion: Black Poplar and Button
  12. Agaricus Production: Phase II
  13. Cloning Mushrooms; Culture Collections
  14. Mushroom discussion: Lion’s Mane and Maitake
  15. Agaricus Production: Casing; Pinning; Harvest
  16. Fruiting Containers; Evaluating Mushroom Strains
  17. Other Cultivated Mushrooms (Straw, Wood Ear, Nameko, others)
  18. Pest, Disease, and Weed Control
  19. Troubleshooting: Small-Scale Commercialization of Edible Mushrooms
  20. Mushroom Nutritional and Medicinal Value
  21. Other EdibleFungi; Biological Efficiency
  22. Collecting Wild Mushrooms

Grading: Grades will be determined by the results of two quizzes (10% each), two written assignments (20% each), and a comprehensive final examination (40% of total).


Required: Lynch, T. (2018). Mushroom Cultivation

Recommended: Stamets, P. (1993). Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms

Academic Honesty

No form of cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, or facilitating of dishonesty will be condoned in the University community. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to:

  • Cheating – intentional use or attempted use of trickery, artifice, deception, breach of confidence, fraud and/or misrepresentation of one’s academic work
  • Fabrication – intentional and unauthorized falsification and/or invention of any information or citation in any academic exercise
  • Plagiarism – knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own work in any academic exercise. This includes submitting without citation, in whole or in part, prewritten term papers of another or the research of another, including but not limited to commercial vendors who sell or distribute such materials
  • Facilitating dishonesty – knowingly helping or attempting to help another commit an act of academic dishonesty, including substituting for another in an examination, or allowing others to represent as their own one’s papers, reports, or academic works

Sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty. Any person who has reason to believe that a student has committed academic dishonesty should bring such information to the attention of the course instructor as soon as possible. Formal definitions of academic dishonesty, examples of various forms of dishonesty, and the procedures which faculty must follow to penalize dishonesty are contained in the Academic Honesty Policy.


This class fulfills requirements for all three of the online programs offered by the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture in Sustainable Food and Farming: