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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a SCIENTIFIC PIONEER in Commercial Mushroom Cultivation Education. His practical handbook is in 9 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2020/08/modern-mushroom-growing-2020-harvesting.html

Thursday, July 30, 2020


This is some interesting history about how we came to COOLING IN MUSHROOM HOUSES, right from the pioneering times...
In Nature, mushrooms only develop during the cooler season. But by commercially growing them year round, we have to do something during summer time.
We should however, not make mushrooms feel miserable...
Although most people look longing for summer, a mushroom grower gets the fright of his life when the outside temperature rises to summer values. The mushrooms like to have a temperature of 15-17ºC and it becomes difficult to keep it cool inside the rooms at outdoor temperatures of 25-30ºC. This especially when the heat period lasts a bit longer and night temperatures also increase.
At temperatures in the growing rooms of 18-20ºC, the mushrooms grow quickly and open prematurely, so that the quality deteriorates greatly. At these higher temperatures and therefore greater activity of the mycelium and the growing mushrooms, the production of carbon dioxide becomes much greater.
It is known that with an increase in temperature of 1ºC, carbon dioxide production increases by 20%. This means that in a warm period with high temperatures in the growing rooms, additional ventilation should be done to keep the CO₂ content low enough. However, a lot of ventilation means that, especially during the day, warm air is brought into the rooms, which can increase the temperature even further. Non-ventilation during the day means that the CO₂ content in the rooms is too high, which greatly reduces the quality and can cause the buttons to die. At such a time, a mushroom grower is virtually powerless or he should have a cooling unit.
We in the Netherlands have little experience with the use of coolers in mushroom cultivation. We cannot therefore say from experience what capacity such a machine should have in order to keep the temperature at e.g. 15ºC. We have therefore started to calculate whether we could find out something this way.
Heat production
The starting point in this calculation was the production of carbon dioxide. Everyone knows that CO₂ is produced by the burning off of carbohydrates using oxygen and that heat is released. From all kinds of studies we know quite accurately how much carbon dioxide per kg of compost is produced. According to researchers, a maximum of 0.10 grams of CO₂ per kg of compost (e.g. in a second break) produced by the hour. 
If we claim that we use about 100 kg of compost per square meter in our growing rooms, CO₂ production would be 100 x 0.10 grams = 10 grams per square meter per hour. 
It is known ¹) how much Kcal. are released at the burning off of carbohydrates according to the
formula  C₆H₁₂O₆ + 6O₂→ 6CO₂ + 6H₂), namely 674 Kcal. We also know that during the harvest 
period 10 grams of CO₂ is released per square meter per hour. From this it can be calculated that per square meter per hour there is 10 : 264 x 674 = 25.5 Kcal. heat release. 
We have to bear in mind that not all energy released at the burn off (relief) of carbon is converted into
heat. Some of the energy released is recaptured when other formations are built. 
If we agree that 70% of the released energy is converted into heat, then 1 square meter bed with a heavy break would still deliver about 18 Kcal per hour. 
¹) 180 grams C₆H₁₂O₆ + 192 grams O₂   264 grams CO₂ + 108 grams H₂O + 674 Kcal.
For a growing room of 180 square meters of growing surface, this would mean a heat production of 180 x 18 = 3240 Kcal. by the hour. At higher temperature, activity increases and so does carbon dioxide production and heat production. 
This shows that one has to try to keep the temperature immediately low at the start of the heat period. Let's say the amount of heat released from the beds, however on average to 3300 Kcal. hourly per room.
This heat production of the beds can still be calculated in many ways, but even then one always comes close to this number.
Radiation (irradiation)
Besides the heat production of the beds, due to the activity of the living mycelium and the growing mushrooms, we also have to deal with a temperature increase in the growing room at high outdoor temperatures due to radiation.
We set the average ambient temperature at 25ºC for three room walls and the ceiling. It may be that a long room wall has a slightly lower temperature, if there is a harvest period room next to it. On the other hand, the temperature on the ceiling will be a bit higher. Furthermore, we can state that the temperature on one long side of the room is 55ºC, when pasteurizing in the adjacent room. We then come to the following calculation: 1 long and 2 short room walls:
{(15x3.20) + (2x5.20x3.20)} x
 (25-15)x 0.7                                                 =    569 Kcal.
1 long room wall, pasteurization side:
 (15x3.20) x (55-15) x 0.7                             =  1344 Kcal.
 (15x5.20) x (25-15) x 0.4                             =    312 Kcal.
                                                           Total       2225 Kcal.
There is, of course, the possibility that, in addition to the room to be cooled, in the adjacent room will not be pasteurized. On the other hand, the room to be cooled, perhaps has a long wall as an outer wall, so that the temperature on that side is higher. That's why we're keeping it at 2300 Kcal. for the irradiation.

The third possibility that allows the temperature in the rooms to rise in hot weather is the necessary ventilation.
We assume that the air content of the rooms is refreshed on average 5 times per hour during a decent production. We also assume that the air outside has a temperature of e.g. 25ºC and should be cooled to 15ºC. If we set the contents of a room at approximately 230 m³, 5 x 230 = 1150 m³ of air must be refreshed and cooled per hour. When cooling, 1150 x (25-15) x 0.31 Kcal =  ± 3400 Kcal. must be removed from the ventilation air.
Altogether we now arrive at 3300 (heat production beds) plus 2300 (irradiation) plus 3400 (ventilation) = 9000 Kcal. by the hour. Now it can be said that by warm weather outside it is only a few hours a day 25ºC and the nights are much cooler. This is indeed the case, but on the other hand, the 9000 Kcal. referred to has no overcapacity in case it becomes 28ºC. Also, there is still no cooling from e.g. 25 to 15ºC after casing.
That 9,000 Kcal. cooling capacity is only needed to keep the temperature at a certain value during the harvest period. On the other hand, of course, one can allow a 1 degree increase during the day and gain something at night by cooling the beds and the space to e.g. 14ºC, so that one has some reserve during the day. 
If we want to reduce the temperature from 25ºC to 15ºC in two days after casing, this again requires a considerable extra capacity. Everyone understands that the heat production of the beds during mycelium growth and immediately after casing is enormous. However, we assume that the temperature increase of the beds can be controlled by the ventilation and that the cooling of the compost with casing must be done by the cooler. Let's say that there is 18 tons of compost in the beds with 5 tons of casing and we assume that the specific heat of this material is 0.7. In order to cool this quantity of material (apart from the racks, etc.) from 25 to 15ºC, it is necessary: 
23000 x (25-15) x 0.7 = 161000 Kcal. in 48 hours. This will be approximately 3350 Kcal per hour. In addition, the entire building mass, walls, floors, ceiling, etc. needs to be cooled down, but let's assume that a cooler night brings some relief to this.
Another question is also whether it is economically justified to install a cooler with a capacity that is tailored to some extreme days. Anyway, the amount of Kcal. that should be able to be taken away appears to be ever bigger than we initially thought. Last year we gained some experience at the Experimental Station with a General Electric cooler, with a capacity of 2800 Kcal. on a room of approximately 66 m² of growing surface. This machine could indeed keep the temperature rise within limits, but there was no question of cooling. 
For a commercial mushroom farm with rooms of about 180 m² of growing surface, it also shows that in order to maintain a certain temperature in hot summer weather, certainly a cooling capacity of 9000 Kcal. per room per hour will be necessary. In order to absorb that amount of heat, a fairly large amount of air is needed. This means that strong air movement in the room is necessary. The relative humidity of the air will go sharply down from cooling down and then warming up. A strong air movement with air of low humidity again causes problems with regard to drying out of the beds and the scaliness of the mushrooms. That may be next time.
We are aware that this case has been approached theoretically in the foregoing and that there is room for criticism on all sides. We hope that this criticism will also come, especially from people who can say something about this matter. We have made a start because practical experience is lacking. This theoretical approach may help us to have practical experiences more quickly.
P.J.C. Vedder
A. Oversteyns
Line art by: M.B. Oversteyns-Reynaerts
This is only of interest to those within the Mushroom Growing business...
Written 1966-5 for CHAMPIGNONCULTUUR

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

How HOT it was

A writing by husband Pieter at the BEGINNING of mushroom growing.
Nowadays, almost every mushroom farm has complete airconditioning. 
You sure will understand WHY, when reading these struggles for survival back then!
Vaguely you can read to the right; mush room...
How hot it was

For many mushroom growers, the warm weather of the past period has caused quite a bit of damage. The extent of this damage was illustrated by the greatly reduced supply of mushrooms at the auctions.
At eight auctions e.g. the total average weekly supply in the month of June and the first weeks of July was around 50,000 kg. In the week from 20 to 27 August, that supply suddenly dropped to about 27,000 kg. In the following week, the supply increased again to about 42,000 kg.
A damage of many thousands of kilograms. The strange thing, however, is that there were also a number of growers who have experienced much less or even hardly any disadvantage from the heat. We therefore thought it would be good to take stock of the last summer period to see if there is anything to learn from.
One thing has become clear, namely that most buds have not died due to excessive temperature, but above all because of too high CO₂ levels of growing room air; in combination with a too high temperature. One cannot be separated from the other; when the temperature in the growing room rises, the mushroom mycelium will grow faster. An enlarged activity of the mycelium means that more carbon dioxide is formed and the temperature in the beds increases. This higher bed temperature stimulates the activity of the mycelium again and thus we enter a spiral where one unfavorable factor evokes or strengthens the other.
If the temperature outside is soaring, a mushroom grower can do two things. He can ventilate at night with cooler outdoor air and keep the rooms closed during the day and circulate only to shut out the heat. This means that the room temperature may remain several degrees lower, but it also means that there is no ventilation during almost the entire day. This is despite the fact that CO₂ production, due to the always high temperature, is extra large.
Growers who act in this way often saw that the mushrooms, despite a slightly lower room temperature, still died off, due to lack of ventilation. It has yet to be said that there are also growers who cannot circulate during the day because they do not have air mixers.
A second possibility is; ventilate as much as possible at night (we saw a fan in each doorway) and only at the hottest hours of the day limit ventilation, but keep circulating. Although the temperature in the rooms may be several degrees higher in this course of action than in the first case, the damage is much lower.
In other words, a temperature of e.g. 20ºC in a sufficient ventilation seems to do less damage than 18ºC with insufficient ventilation, i.e. too high CO₂ levels.
The effects of high temperature and insufficient ventilation further seem to be greater when compost and casing are rather on the wet side. Fortunately, 'Ottersum' delivered the compost a little drier in the past period and at this point there were no problems. As far as the casing material is concerned, it turned out to be good in general, and especially between breaks, 
to water a little less, especially after the third break.
The dehydration that occurs when ventilated at night with a fan in each doorway, of course should  be compensated with a little extra watering.
For the first time, and therefore more or less experimentally, a cooler has been installed by some growers in order to keep the room temperature sufficiently low. The first experiences seem to be good. In addition to the lower room temperature, the more or less dehumidifying of the air (which occurs automatically when air is cooled to a certain temperature) appears to work favorably. Some claim that the mushrooms on the beds turn black when the temperature of the inlet air is too low. Furthermore, there is little experience with this matter. The Experimental Station also has such a refrigeration device; As soon as we have gained some more experience, we will come back to this.
Some growers kept the roof on the mushroom farm constantly wet during the warmest days by means of a sprinkler system. Thus it proved possible to keep the temperature in the growing rooms several degrees lower. One can imagine this; such a large roof surface captures a mass of radiation heat and although the ceilings should be extra well insulated, the temperature in the space above the ceiling will certainly affect the cell temperature.
There was also a palpable difference in temperature of growing room exterior walls that were in direct solar radiation as opposed to room walls in the shadow of trees. Also, there is noticeable difference in temperature between normal and whitewashed mushroom farm walls. A dark color of the outer walls causes the heat rays to be absorbed.
We even heard from a grower who had the plan to chalk up the roof of the mushroom farm as market gardeners do with their greenhouses.
We can imagine that it matters a few degrees.
When the warning message of the K.N.M.I. in De Bilt (Dutch weather station) is being announced over the radio next year, we could, based on this year's experience, do the following:
At night and especially in the cool morning hours (this is from 3 to 5 AM) ventilate as wide as possible with everything open. Fans placed in the doorways can promote the flow of cool air. The flow seems to be better when the air mixers in the rooms are stopped.
During the day, limit ventilation, but do not completely close the rooms so that some ventilation remains possible. During the day, the air mixers keep running constantly.
In general, and especially between breaks, give slightly less water. Especially also make sure that the compost is not too wet after pasteurization, better even something on the drier side.
You may be able to do one or more of the things mentioned, whitening the mushroom farm, keeping the roof wet or chalking it.
Soon it will be time to look out for an ascending planting, e.g. of Italian poplars, on the sun side of the mushroom farm.
P.J.C. Vedder

Thanks for your visit and comment!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Mushrooms Talking About Too Much Rain and Not Enough Rain

Mushrooms talking...
Pieter wrote this in the Dutch CHAMPIGNONCULTUUR 1963-6
Nice weather today...
There will be few topics that are talked about as much between people as they are about the weather. 
Because different people have different needs in terms of weather, it will rarely be good for everyone. A farmer yearns for rain on the same day as a city man hopes it stays dry because he wants to take a trip. 
Mushrooms also talk a lot about the weather. They have time for it and they too often don't have a good time. Mushrooms are just like humans, then it rains too much and then too little. 
... then it rains too much.
The other day I ran into a couple of mushrooms, one with a few buckets in his hands and one holding an umbrella, they were just busy talking about the weather.
I've been eavesdropping on them for a while, and here's their story.
... If we are formed inside the casing layer, about a week after casing, then there is enough water as a rule.  When the grower then gets into the cell and he grabs a little casing, he can squeeze out some moisture. As soon as we're the size of a little pea, we'd like it to rain heavily. Then 21/2 to 3 liters of water per square meter may fall in a few days. Those mushroom growers sometimes forget that we, mushrooms, are largely made up of water. We need that water especially when we are growing a lot, so from small pin to adult specimens. 
... and then again too little.
You know what's very bad? If you're born as a button for the second break. These growers often don't pick the mushrooms from the first break soon enough and then you'll sit underneath as a second break. And just longing for rain. Those big mushrooms from the first break will take all the water from us.  Do you know what those growers should do? They should pick that first break as soon as possible and then immediately take care of a fresh rain. Sometimes we're really craving that. 
The other day the grower came to us for feeling if the casing was still moist enough. He kind of stroked his hands across the soil and grumbled with satisfaction that it was still fine. 
I almost got annoyed to death. I should have called on that grower to feel how dry we were here, at the bottom of the casing. We were also almost standing side-to-side, it could have been a large second break. A lot of us died then.
Too bad for us, too bad for the grower. 
P.J.C. Vedder
... a lot died back then. Too bad for the grower.

Interesting history for comparing with the high tech we all know at present!

Thanks for your visit and comment.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Tanah Lot - Uluwatu Cliff and Temples of Bali

Also in 1980, husband Pieter visited Bali. He stayed at the Bali Beach Inter Continental, now InterContinental Bali Resort.
The Hindu Temple of Tanah Lot in Bali, is actually on a tiny island in the sea.
Pieter had to zoom in from a distance, affects quality of course.
Uluwatu cliff...
Hotel Bali Beach Inter Continental 1980
Do you see the man in the coconut palm tree?
He had to check daily for ripe coconuts, taking them down so they would not fall on the guests...
Pieter's hand upturning a beautiful Plumeria blossom.
The Inter Continental guest houses were surrounded by a tropical garden...
Bali is the Island of Hindu temples.
This one is the miniature version of Besakih, Bali's Mother Temple, the largest Hindu temple complex in Bali.
Its name is Pura Kehen Temple in Bangli, Bali and it is built in the 11th century.
A Temple Festival at Pura Kehen in Bangli.
Leave it to the Balinese to decorate with flowers and other natural materials!
Girls dressed in Balinese style with floral offerings to purify the temple.
Balinese Pendet dancers...
Balinese dancer, also very expressive with face.
A Balinese Baris dancer.
There are so many different dances but it can really overwhelm you.
I've sat once through a Ramayana dance, so lengthy...
Hope you enjoyed this exotic introduction to Bali.
In May of 1983, I too visited there and again after that.

Thanks for your visit and comment!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Taman Mini Indonesia Park in Jakarta

On July 21 of 1980, husband Pieter had a chance to visit Taman Mini Indonesia Park near Jakarta.
They did bring most of the nation's architecture together in a Park as a tourist attraction.
Such as this colorful Sumatra House 
Look at its roof shape!
Such a detailed wood carving...
No doubt that took lots of hours to accomplish.
Incredible detail!
Now to the Sulawesi Pavilion...
Actually a stilt house, with an enormously steep roof...
Again, incredible detail in woodcarving and color.
Thatched roof.
Guess the sky is the limit...

Thanks for your visit and comment!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Chao Phraya River - Floating Market in Bangkok, Thailand

Back to husband Pieter's short stay in Bangkok, now with a visit to the Floating Market on the Chao Phraya River.
It is quite busy on the Chao Phraya River...
Wondering if their housing since 1980 has changed much?
Such a trip makes one always appreciate the comforts we all enjoy at home!
Sure, in this country you find lots of coconut!
There is not much space left in the boat, for a person to sit...
Fresh veggies. 
Homes are rather open and will not protect much against the elements.
Bye bye Bangkok...
Bangkok city 1980... one final stroll.

Next day the journey continued on to Indonesia.

Thanks for your visit and comment!

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Wat Arun - The Temple of Dawn in Bangkok, Thailand

Husband Pieter did spend two nights in Bangkok for some sight seeing for a couple of days, before traveling on to Indonesia.
This is the view of the over 70 meters high tower of Wat Arun, from the Chao Phraya River
Arrival on 18 July 1980 and departure on 20 July 1980...
Back then you were still allowed to climb the steep stairs!
Incredible mosaics
What a detail in all these corners and statues
A figure standing guard
Two guards in front of Ordination Hall of Grand Palace complex
A closeup of such a guard
In the back the roof from Ordination Hall is still visible
Buddha statues everywhere...
Walking again back towards Wat Arun with its four lower spires around, two you can clearly see here to the left.
On May 6, 1983 I've walked around at the Bangkok airport, coming with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from Amsterdam, Rome, Bahrain. Via Singapore to Jakarta for my first trip to that part of the world.
Hope you enjoyed these images!
Thanks for your visit.


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