CA Mushrooms
CA Mushrooms

Book Review

Mycelial Mayhem: Growing Mushrooms for Fun, Profit, and Companion Planting

By David & Kristin Sewak
2016; New Society Publishers, BC Canada
ISBN-10: 0865718148;
ISBN-13: 978-0865718142
Paperback; 288 pages; 8.9 x 7.2 x 0.8 inches

Mycelial Mayhem: Growing Mushrooms for Fun, Profit, and Companion Planting is not so much of a book about how to grow mushrooms, but more of a book about growing mushrooms as a business: where to begin, how the authors got started, problems that will come up, how to market, what to grow and what not to grow, etc. For those considering taking the plunge in launching a mushroom farm, no matter how big or small—but intimidated by technical books on how to cultivate mushrooms—this may be a really good starting point. However, it should be made very clear: you will not learn how to grow mushrooms from this book and the authors pretty much state this at the outset. But at the end of Mycelial Mayhem, they provide a very extensive list of suppliers and resources to learn how to do it yourself.

Authors Dave and Kristin Sewak formerly ran Berglorbeer Farma in Pennsylvania where they grew mushrooms and vegetables for their family’s use, as well as to sell at farmer’s markets and to restaurants. There is much discussion of how they got started. There is much discussion on their philosophy of life and living and resource use. There is much discussion on sustainability, organic growing, permaculture, and mushrooms as good for you-your plants-and the planet. …but not really much on how to grow mushrooms yourself. (I’m reiterating this point because I have seen other reviews complaining about this very fact.) I do think this book would be useful, indeed enjoyable to those considering mushroom cultivation as a serious hobby or commercial endeavor. But for those wanting to know step-by-step on how to cultivate mushrooms, you should turn to two other new titles that are the best out there, specifically Stephen Russell’s The Essential Guide to Cultivating Mushrooms or Tradd Cotter’s Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation.

— Review by Britt Bunyard
— Originally published in Fungi