Intro to Mushroom Culture


One Credit

Registration for winter term opens on October 17, 2018

Instructor: Willie CrosbyWillieCrosby



Phone: 978-844-1811

Introduction: Every breath we take we inhale mushroom spores. Every step we take in the forest we walk on mushroom mycelium. Mushrooms play an integral role in creating the world we live in. This class will allow students to explore the benefits mushrooms provide them. Students will learn how to integrate mushrooms into their daily lives. By the end of the course students will know how to find, identify, and cultivate mushrooms. The class will focus on different methods of mushroom cultivation, from backyard log cultivation to touring a commercial indoor mushroom farm. The lessons and reading material will expand students understanding of mushroom biology, ecology, cultivation, medicinal applications, and the future of fungi.

Course Structure

At the beginning of every unit students will be provided with a list of all the work to be completed during that unit of the class. This class uses a mixture of lectures, powerpoints, videos, and discussion questions to provide learning opportunities. There will be Discussion Questions which students will post responses to in the “discussion forum” section of Blackboard. These responses are due by midnight on the last day of the unit. Students are encouraged to respond to their peer’s posts. Required Readings are listed at the beginning of each Unit. During the last unit a minimum one page paper is due for the Final Project. For the paper discuss one or two ways you want to continue working with fungi in your life.


  • Class Participation: 25%
  • Discussion Assignments: 25%
  • Homework Assignments: 25%
  • Final Project: 25%

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course students will:

1…have the resources and skills to find and identify at least 5 mushrooms in the wild.

2…be familiar with at least 3 different mushroom species, their cultivation methods, and potential medicinal benefits.

3… have explored the benefits and challenges of allying with the fungal kingdom to

Course Outline:
Subject / Topic Unit Objectives Offline Coursework / Homework Online Coursework / In class Date Range
Week 1 Intro to Fungal Kingdom
  1. Understand lifecycle of a basidiomycete
  2. Know 3 common ecological roles of fungi
Read: Chapter 1 Mycelium Running
  1. respond to discussion board threads #1 and #3
  2. Watch lecture #1
Dec 26th-Dec 28th
Week 2 Cast of Characters.


  1. Know 5 common mushroom species
  2. Know key anatomical features of a mushroom
Read: Anatomy reading Audobon field guide to mushrooms 1)Watch lecture #2

2) watch lecture #3

3) Watch course video #1 Getting to know your mushrooms

4)respond to discussion board post #4

Dec 29th-Jan 2nd
Week 3 Stages of mushroom cultivation.

Medicinal Mushrooms

  1. Understand 7 stages of mushroom cultivation
  2. Explore common medicinal benefits mushrooms offer
Read: Chapter 2 organic mushroom farming

Read: Trip Treatment

  1. Watch lecture #4
  2. Watch lecture #5
  3. Respond to discussion board post #5
Jan 3rd- Jan 5th
Week 4 Outdoor mushroom cultivation 1) Become familiar with 3 different methods of mushroom cultivation outside Read: Chapter 11 Mycelium Running 1)watch lecture #5

2) Watch course video #2 Inoculating shiitake logs

3) Respond to discussion post #6

Jan 5th-8th
Week 5 Indoor mushroom cultivation on straw
  1. understand 4 different treatment methods for growing mushrooms on straw
  2. Understand process of growing oyster mushrooms on straw
Read: Oyster Mushroom Cultivation Guidebook from
  1. watch lecture #6
  2. Watch course video #3 Inoculating straw
  3. Respond to discussion post #7
Jan 9th- Jan 11th
Week 6 indoor mushroom cultivation on sawdust
  1. Know 6 vectors of contamination
  2. Be familiar with the process of indoor mushroom production
1)Watch lecture #7

2) Watch course video #4 Fungi Ally Tour

3) respond to discussion post #8

Jan 12th-16th
Week 7 Further uses of Fungi
  1. Explore other methods of cultivation
  2. Introduce Mycoremediation
  3. Explore other uses of Fungi
  4. Write a paper describing one or two ways you want to work with fungi in your life

  1. Chapter 9 Mycelium Running
  2. Chapter 22 Organic Mushroom Farming
  1. Watch lecture #8
  2. respond to discussion post #9
Jan 17th- Jan 20th


These books are recommended for further information:

  • Stamets, Paul: Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. (2005).
  • Cotter, Tradd: Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation. (2014).
  • Stamets, Paul: Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms. (2000).

Online Resources:

  • Mushworld Mushroom Growers Handbook 1+2


This class is part of the Sustainable Food and Farming Online Certificate Program and will count toward the Associate of Scienceprogram. Online classes cost $482/credit. If you would like to register for the Certificate program, you may apply here.


Annual Schedule for Online Classes

NOTE: The UMass Sustainable Food and Farming Certificate has been declared eligible for Veterans Educational Benefits. For instructions see: Veterans Benefits.

If you are not interested in earning college credit, there are many non-credited workshops and short courses you can take outside of the university. For a list see: non-university workshops and courses.

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