Chelsea Green Publishing

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation

Pages:400 pages
Book Art:Color photos and illustrations throughout
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584555
Pub. Date August 18, 2014

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation

Simple to Advanced and Experimental Techniques for Indoor and Outdoor Cultivation

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
August 18, 2014


What would it take to grow mushrooms in space? How can mushroom cultivation help us manage, or at least make use of, invasive species such as kudzu and water hyacinth and thereby reduce dependence on herbicides? Is it possible to develop a low-cost and easy-to-implement mushroom-growing kit that would provide high-quality edible protein and bioremediation in the wake of a natural disaster? How can we advance our understanding of morel cultivation so that growers stand a better chance of success? 

For more than twenty years, mycology expert Tradd Cotter has been pondering these questions and conducting trials in search of the answers. In Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, Cotter not only offers readers an in-depth exploration of best organic mushroom cultivation practices; he shares the results of his groundbreaking research and offers myriad ways to apply your cultivation skills and further incorporate mushrooms into your life—whether your goal is to help your community clean up industrial pollution or simply to settle down at the end of the day with a cold Reishi-infused homebrew ale. 

The book first guides readers through an in-depth exploration of indoor and outdoor cultivation. Covered skills range from integrating wood-chip beds spawned with king stropharia into your garden and building a “trenched raft” of hardwood logs plugged with shiitake spawn to producing oysters indoors on spent coffee grounds in a 4×4 space or on pasteurized sawdust in vertical plastic columns. For those who aspire to the self-sufficiency gained by generating and expanding spawn rather than purchasing it, Cotter offers in-depth coverage of lab techniques, including low-cost alternatives that make use of existing infrastructure and materials. 

Cotter also reports his groundbreaking research cultivating morels both indoors and out, “training” mycelium to respond to specific contaminants, and perpetuating spawn on cardboard without the use of electricity. Readers will discover information on making tinctures, powders, and mushroom-infused honey; making an antibacterial mushroom cutting board; and growing mushrooms on your old denim jeans.

Geared toward readers who want to grow mushrooms without the use of pesticides, Cotter takes “organic” one step further by introducing an entirely new way of thinking—one that looks at the potential to grow mushrooms on just about anything, just about anywhere, and by anyone.


Library Journal-

"Microbiologist Cotter came to mushroom farming in his 20s and quickly became hooked. He shares his enthusiasm for the practice in this wide-ranging book, which covers topics of interest for the beginning hobbyist to the market farmer. Starting with general information about the mushroom life cycle and growing techniques, it progresses into innovative applications for mushrooms and educational ideas using fungi, and then gets into advanced systems. The title concludes with a guide to specific mushrooms and methods for growing them indoors and outdoors. Highlights of innovative techniques include growing media and guerilla urban mushroom producing. More advanced and experimental projects are fascinating, such as the potential for mushroom farming on a space ship and advice on ways to cultivate morels. Emphasized throughout are low-cost and sustainable methods, with several features on how to grow mushrooms without electricity and in disaster areas. Cotter describes the “mushroom rescue modules” he imagines being shipped to disaster relief areas that can provide food, mosquito control, and water purification. ­VERDICT Because this title covers a lot of ground it will be extremely useful for mushroom farming enthusiasts at any level.”


"Mushrooms 'are part of Nature’s decomposers and constructors, the agent of habitat renewal,' Cotter tells us. And mycoremediation is the use of mushrooms to create an effective biomass that can break down environmental and industrial pollutants. A microbiologist, mycologist, and organic gardener, Cotter takes a holistic approach, mindful of the mushroom’s life cycle and ecological role, in this challenging guide to the indoor and outdoor cultivation of edible mushroom varieties. He also provides information on medicinal, industrial, and ecologically remedial applications. His in-depth exploration extends beyond cultivation to 'healing the people and the planet.' The book’s four sections cover the fundamentals of mushroom cultivation; innovative applications and projects, including alcoholic beverages; advanced techniques and research, including mycoremediation; and detailed descriptions of selected mushrooms. With plenty of photographs and other illustrations and comprehensive back matter, including glossary, bibliography, list of resources and suppliers, and index, Cotter’s advanced how-to is best for those seeking serious mycological knowledge.”

Publishers Weekly-

"This comprehensive introduction to growing and utilizing fungi has something for all mushroom-inclined readers, be they individuals curious about growing edible fungi in their backyards or basements, prospective mushroom farmers setting up large growing systems, educators from kindergarten to college levels, or innovators experimenting with eco-friendly materials. In addition to providing step-by-step directions for growing mushrooms, the book foodies, amateur scientists, and activists with esoteric and advanced applications for them, such as mushroom-infused beers; 'mushroom modules' that can be used for food, water filtration, or insect control in disaster relief; and mushrooms that can be “trained” to break down specific contaminants. Both practical and passionate, Cotter offers extensive and detailed information about mushroom biology, propagation, and remediation for novices. This refreshing take goes beyond typical how-tos, which only  provide rote directions and absolute answers. He has equal interest in encouraging budding mycologists, mushroom growers, and mycoremediators to observe, experiment, and add to the knowledge of this mysterious burgeoning field.”

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation is a guide and inspiration for new and experienced mushroom cultivators alike. Tradd Cotter has done a great job of combining the complexity of mushroom cultivation with the intuitive simplicity of ‘small steps.’ Highly recommended for fungophiles as a great read and reference!” --Jim Gibson, past president, Colorado Mycological Society

“Tradd Cotter has written a clear, comprehensive guide that is a gift to amateur as well as professional mushroom growers. The pages are enlivened by Cotter’s enthusiasm for the many possibilities that fungi offer, and his obvious familiarity with growing these marvelous creatures—not just theoretical knowledge—makes the book particularly valuable. This book opens the doors wide to a diverse and fascinating fungal world.”--Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

“Mushroom cultivation should be playing a much bigger role in our gardens and farms. Tradd Cotter’s Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation provides low-cost, easily accessible techniques for growing mushrooms indoors and outdoors, from home to commercial scale.”--Eric Toensmeier, author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables

“This is a reference book for the next generation of DIY mycologists. It is a great practical guide to mushroom cultivation, starting with basic concepts and building from there to mycoremediation and experimental strain development. Tradd Cotter is a man with a mission, who has done and thought about all this a lot; he has learned to explain it with great clarity and in a simple and well-organized manner.”--Sandor Ellix Katz, fermentation revivalist and author of The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation

“Finally, an accessible resource covering a wide variety of mushroom-cultivation approaches. Tradd Cotter’s book fills an enormous need—I’ve been wishing for a resource like this for a long time. This is the kind of book I’ll keep nearby and will turn to often over the years. Any farmer or gardener who wishes to garner food or medicine value from wood needs to understand and cultivate mushrooms. And this is the best all-around manual I’ve seen.”--Ben Falk, author of The Resilient Farm and Homestead

“Tradd Cotter has done a wonderful job sharing his practical experience in a well-organized way with illustrations that clearly underline the topics. Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation is an invaluable resource for teaching students about mushroom cultivation.”--Peter Oei, author of Mushroom Cultivation, director of horticulture innovation at InnovatieNetwerk, Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, and founder of and

“Wow! Tradd Cotter is a genius of organic mushroom production. His step-by-step instructions and beautiful photography make this a must-have book.”--Robert Rogers, author of The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms and Lichens of North America


Tradd Cotter

Tradd Cotter is a microbiologist, professional mycologist, and organic gardener, who has been tissue culturing, collecting native fungi in the Southeast, and cultivating both commercially and experimentally for more than twenty-two years. In 1996 he founded Mushroom Mountain, which he owns and operates with his wife, Olga, to explore applications for mushrooms in various industries and currently maintains over 200 species of fungi for food production, mycoremediation of environmental pollutants, and natural alternatives to chemical pesticides. His primary interest is in low-tech and no-tech cultivation strategies so that anyone can grow mushrooms on just about anything, anywhere in the world. Mushroom Mountain is currently expanding to 42,000 square feet of laboratory and research space near Greenville, South Carolina, to accommodate commercial production, as well as mycoremediation projects. Tradd, Olga, and their daughter, Heidi, live in Liberty, South Carolina.


December 05, 2015

Tradd Cotter at Mushroom Mountain

200 Finley Rd, Easley, SC, 29642 | Tradd Cotter
On December 5th, Tradd Cotter will be offering a "Cultivating Edible Mushrooms" Holiday Gift Workshop, which will take place from 10:00AM to 12:00PM. The workshop cost $50, which includes instruction by Tradd, as well as a fruiting kit or log. All additional kits are $10.00 each - give a gift of a mushroom fruiting kit to your family and friends! Upon registering for this course, you will get a confirmation email, followed by an email from Olga with directions to the farm.

See all Events by this Author


Tradd Cotter: Mushrooms to the rescue

Tradd Cotter: Mushrooms to the rescue

Myco-medicine with Tradd Cotter

Myco-medicine with Tradd Cotter

Tradd shows mycelium threding through a King Stropharia bed

Mushroom Mountain Introducing

Shiitake logs at Mushroom Mountain - small fruiting

Looking for Deadly Mushrooms

TEDxGreenville - Tradd Cotter - 3/5/2010

Mushroom business built from ground up

Mushroom business built from ground up

Around the Table - A Lesson in Mushroom ID with Tradd

CFC 2015 Tradd Cotter: Mycotopia: Solutions to Global Hunger, Pollution, and Diseases

CFC 2015 Tradd Cotter: Mycotopia: Solutions to Global Hunger, Pollution, and Diseases


A Sanctuary of Trees

A Sanctuary of Trees

By Gene Logsdon

As author Gene Logsdon puts it, "We are all tree huggers." But not just for sentimental or even environmental reasons. Humans have always depended on trees for our food, shelter, livelihood, and safety. In many ways, despite the Grimm's fairy-tale version of the dark, menacing forest, most people still hold a deep cultural love of woodland settings, and feel right at home in the woods.

In this latest book, A Sanctuary of Trees, Logsdon offers a loving tribute to the woods, tracing the roots of his own home groves in Ohio back to the Native Americans and revealing his own history and experiences living in many locations, each of which was different, yet inextricably linked with trees and the natural world. Whether as an adolescent studying at a seminary or as a journalist living just outside Philadelphia's city limits, Gene has always lived and worked close to the woods, and his curiosity and keen sense of observation have taught him valuable lessons about a wide variety of trees: their distinct characteristics and the multiple benefits and uses they have.

In addition to imparting many fascinating practical details of woods wisdom, A Sanctuary of Trees is infused with a philosophy and descriptive lyricism that is born from the author's passionate and lifelong relationship with nature: There is a point at which the tree shudders before it begins its descent. Then slowly it tips, picks up speed, often with a kind of wailing death cry from rending wood fibers, and hits the ground with a whump that literally shakes the earth underfoot. The air, in the aftermath, seems to shimmy and shiver, as if saturated with static electricity. Then follows an eerie silence, the absolute end to a very long life.

Fitting squarely into the long and proud tradition of American nature writing, A Sanctuary of Trees also reflects Gene Logsdon's unique personality and perspective, which have marked him over the course of his two dozen previous books as the authentic voice of rural life and traditions.

Available in: Paperback

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A Sanctuary of Trees

Gene Logsdon

Paperback $19.95

The Eliot Coleman Set (3-Book Bundle)

The Eliot Coleman Set (3-Book Bundle)

By Eliot Coleman

Set includes: The New Organic Grower, Four-Season Harvest, and The Winter Harvest Handbook.

Available in: Paperback

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The Eliot Coleman Set (3-Book Bundle)

Eliot Coleman

Paperback $79.85

The Soul of Soil

The Soul of Soil

By Joseph Smillie and Grace Gershuny

Soil is the basis not only for all gardening, but for all terrestrial life. No aspect of agriculture is more fundamental and important, yet we have been losing vast quantities of our finite soil resources to erosion, pollution, and development.

Now back in print, this eminently sensible and wonderfully well-focused book provides essential information about one of the most significant challenges for those attempting to grow delicious organic vegetables: the creation and maintenance of healthy soil.

Chapter 2, "Understanding the Soil System," is alone worth the price of admission. Gershuny and Smillie give lay readers and experts a clear explanation of subjects--soil life and nutrient cycles--that have confounded most authors. Nowhere will the reader find simpler and more coherent descriptions of key concepts including cation exchange capacity and chelation.

There are other books about soil available, including Grace Gershuny's comprehensive Start with the Soil, and there are books that feature chapters on soil building. What distinguishes The Soil of Soilis the authors' concise presentation; they give readers important information, including technical essentials, without getting bogged down in scientific or quasiscientific mumbo-jumbo. In addition, useful tables list specific compost materials, green manures, and other resources that allow growers to translate into action the more general information provided by the book.

The soil-building techniques featured include:

  • Organic matter management
  • Building and maintaining humus
  • On-site composting
  • Green manures and rotations
  • Cultivation and weed control
  • Nutrient balances and soil testing
  • Using mineral fertilizers
  • Planning for organic certification

Updates to the 1999 edition include analysis of Proposed Rules for the National Organic Standards, and expanded recommendations for private testing services and soil-testing equipment for home gardeners and organic farmers.

All of us involved in the cultivation of plants--from the backyard gardener to the largest farmer--need to help regenerate a "living soil," for only in the diversity of the soil and its creatures can we ensure the long-term health of ourselves and our environment. The Soul of Soil offers everyone a basic understanding of what soil is and what we can do to improve our own patch of it. Seen in this light, this practical handbook will be an inspiration as well.


Available in: Paperback

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The Soul of Soil

Grace Gershuny, Joseph Smillie

Paperback $25.00

The Chelsea Green Reader

The Chelsea Green Reader

Chelsea Green, the Vermont-based independent publisher, has always had a nose for authors and subjects that are way ahead of the cultural curve, as is evident in this new anthology celebrating the company’s first thirty years in publishing.

The more than one hundred books represented in this collection reflect the many distinct areas in which we have published–from literature and memoirs to progressive politics, to highly practical books on green building, organic gardening and farming, food and health, and related subjects–all of which reflect our underlying philosophy: "The politics and practice of sustainable living." The Chelsea Green Reader offers a glimpse into our wide-ranging list of books and authors and to the important ideas that they express. Interesting and worth reading in their own right, the individual passages when taken as a whole trace the evolution of a highly successful small publisher–something that is almost an oxymoron in these days of corporate buyouts and multinational book groups.
From the beginning, Chelsea Green's books were nationally recognized, garnering positive reviews, accolades, and awards. We’ve published four New York Times bestsellers, and our books have set the standard for in-depth, how-to books that remain relevant years–often decades–beyond their original publication date.

"Chelsea Green was born from a single seed: the beauty of craft. Craft in writing and editing, in a story well told, or a thesis superbly expressed," writes cofounder and publisher emeritus Ian Baldwin in the book's foreword. Today, craft continues to inform all aspects of our work–design, illustration, production, sales, promotion, and beyond. It has even informed our business model: In 2012, Chelsea Green became an employee-owned company.

With the rise of the Internet, new media platforms, and a constantly shifting bookselling landscape, the future of publishing is anything but predictable. But if Chelsea Green's books prove anything, it is that, despite these challenges, there remains a hunger for new and important ideas and authors, and for the permanence and craftsmanship of the printed word. Today our ongoing mission is stronger than ever, as we launch into our next thirty years of publishing excellence.

Available in: Paperback

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The Chelsea Green Reader

Ben Watson, Ian Baldwin

Paperback $15.00