Mushrooms are among the easiest plants to grow. Mushroom growing has become a common practice as its consumption has increased.
Most chefs and restaurants are incorporating mushroom in most of their dishes, thus promoting its popularity.
Mushrooms tend to bring out the unique flavor in dishes making it more palatable. They also have medicinal effects thus good for one’s health.
There exists a great difference between mushroom cultivation and the common green plant cultivation.
The green plants contain chlorophyll that enables them to make food nutrients which they require for growth.
Mushrooms on the other hand lack chlorophyll and thus they depend on other plants where they obtain their food for survival.
The main body of the mushroom contains mycelium which is the little threads which grow on the plant material and are known as the substrate through which they obtain nutrients.
If you didn’t know, mushrooms are known to be saprophytic in nature.
What are mushrooms? One may ask, here goes…
Mushrooms are fleshy fruit bodies of macrofungi species. When mushrooms appear above the ground they are known as epigeous and when they appear below ground they are known as hypogeous.
Not all mushrooms are edible and their edibility can be defined by their taste aroma and whether they have poisonous effects.
Step by step process of growing mushrooms
The steps to follow in mushrooms farming are explained in detail as per how they naturally occur. Compost is what provides the mushrooms with the nutrients for growth.
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Wheat straw-bedded horse manure is the least expensive and most commonly used material for mushroom compost. Other materials used for mushroom compost include crushed corncobs and hay.
This is usually referred to as synthetic compost because horse manure is not the main ingredient.
Compost requires the addition of gypsum, which is a conditioning agent and nitrogen supplements.
Mushroom farming typically consists of six steps, which give a farmer the required knowledge to develop a production system.
The steps include:
Phase I Composting
Phase II Composting
Compost preparation occurs in two phases; that is Phase I and Phase II composting.
Phase I: Making the mushroom compost
This phase is usually done outdoors. However, an enclosed building may be used. A wharf (concrete slab) is required for the composting process.
A compost turner is used to water and aerate the ingredients. A tractor loader is used to move the compost ingredients to the turner.
Phase I composting is begun by wetting and mixing the ingredients as they are stacked in rectangular piles with a loose center and tight sides. Gypsum and nitrogen supplements are spread and mixed by the turner.
Aerobic fermentation then begins due to the growth and reproduction, which occurs naturally in the ingredients.
Carbon dioxide (click here to learn how to regulate…), ammonia, and heat are the byproducts released during the composting process.
The composting process results in a food source best suited for the growth of mushrooms.
Why is water and nutrients added periodically?
Moisture, nitrogen, oxygen and carbohydrates have to be continually present so that the process does not stall.
Water and nutrients are periodically added to the compost pile and as it moves through the turner it is aerated.
Why are gypsum and nitrogen supplements added?
This is to minimize the greasiness typically associated with composts. Gypsum allows air to permeate the pile easily because it increases flocculation in the compost and prevents the pores between the straws from filling.
At the outset of composting, gypsum is added to the dry ingredients at 40 lbs. per ton.
Commonly used nitrogen supplements include soybeans seed meals, peanuts, chicken manure or cotton. Nitrogen supplements are used to increase the nitrogen content of compost.
How large should the compost pile be?
The initial pile should be 5 feet high, 5 feet wide and as long as desired. The sides should be tight and the center loose especially at phase I composting.
This is to allow air to move throughout the pile and to prevent an anaerobic environment.
How often do I need to turn and water the pile?
This should be done every 2 days. It is important to water just enough because too much will fill the pores and too little will limit the growth of fungi and bacteria.
How long does phase I last?
Phase I lasts for 7-14 days. At the end of phase I the compost should have a brown chocolate color, soft straws, high moisture content and a strong smell of ammonia.
Phase II: Finishing the compost
This phase involves pasteurization process, which is necessary to kill pest fungi, insects, and nematodes present in the compost.
Phase II is, therefore, a temperature dependent and controlled ecological process.
The air temperature is at least 145° F for six hours. After pasteurization, the compost is allowed to gradually cool at a rate of 2° F per day until all the ammonia is eliminated.
Phase II typically takes 10-14 days.
Phase III: Spawning
This phase is done by inoculating the mushroom compost with mushroom spawn.
A mixture of rye grain, water, and chalk is sterilized.
A bit of mycelium is added and then shaken thrice at 4-day intervals for 14 days of active mycelia growth.
Phase IV: Casing
This is a top dressing applied to the compost after spawning.
The casing can be made from clay-loam soil, peat moss with ground limestone mixture or spent compost, Casing does not require nutrients and acts as a reservoir for water and a place for rhizomorphs to form.
The casing should be pasteurized to remove any pathogen and insects.
Phase V: Pinning
After rhizomorphs have formed the mushrooms initials develop. They are small but visible. Once the initials increase four times in size they become a pin.
The pins expand and grow through the button stage until the button becomes a mushroom. Mushrooms can be harvested 18-21 days after casing.
It is important to stop watering when the pin initials form and to air as little as possible.
Phase VI: Cropping
This is the harvesting phase and it is usually done at 3-5 days intervals.
The harvesting cycle is followed by a few days when there are no mushrooms available for harvesting.
This cycles repeats and the mushrooms can be harvested for as long as they continue to mature.
Air temperature during this phase should be at 57° to 62° F for best results.
Do mushrooms need light?
No. Mushrooms do not need light because only green plants like rice, maize, beans and the like require photosynthesis.
The growing rooms can be lit during the cropping phase for ease of harvesting. And yes you will need good lighting click here to learn more.
However, it is more common for the farmers to use lamps rather than light the whole room.
After the last mushrooms are harvested the growing room should be steam pasteurized to destroy any pests, which may be present. This minimizes the risk of infecting the next crop.
It takes about 15 weeks to complete an entire production from the composting to the final steaming after harvesting.
Mushroom Growing Kit
Generally, mushrooms are grown in kits. They are various mushroom growing kit depending on the variety of mushroom being grown.
The growing kit available in the market includes Oyster magic mushroom grow kits and Button mushroom grow kits.
These two are common ones and can be purchased at the majority of garden centers and also on the garden centers websites.
Conversely, you can grow other varieties from more specialist sites, like Shiitake, Portobello and more. The available kits are normally cost efficient.
These kits will raise the mushroom worth during the point of sale if the correct environmental conditions are met.
Oyster mushrooms are among the pleasant tasting mushrooms. They are also the easiest types of fungi to grow in home gardens. They are normally raised in oyster mushroom growing kit.
The growing techniques are usually provided on the instructions menu provided thus making it easy to operate.
Other Mushroom Varieties
These contain lentinan, which is a polysaccharide that is used to treat cancer of the stomach because of anti-tumour properties.
From the look of things niche mushrooms farming such as the shiitake are becoming more and more popular, and the market is growing month by month.
It is mostly used for the treatment of leukemia and cancer due to the Gano Deric properties in it.
This type of mushroom has six polysaccharides which fight cancer infections
This variety is also known as cloud mushroom. It has two main polysaccharides and is good for treatment of herpes, pneumonia, and E Coli.
are small, white in color and are the most common variety that farmers grow. This particular type of kit can grow mushroom of up to 150 grams each.
This kind of kit has a disadvantage as it makes it hard to grow this type of button mushroom compared to the oyster kit.
Pre-conditions for Growing Mushrooms
Before indulging in mushroom growing, you should consider the type of mushroom to grow.
There are a variety of mushrooms that have differing tastes and each of them has different growth conditions. The varieties do well in various regions across the world.
The mushroom you grown on your garden has to be taken care of so that they do not go bad in the process.
Generally, there are about twenty-five varieties and there are certain weather conditions that have to be met to ensure that they grow as required.
For mushroom to grow to maturity and be ready for consumption, it takes approximately fifteen weeks.
This means that as a mushroom farmer, you need to have patience for you to achieve the desired quality
Do-it-Yourself Magic Mushroom Kits
Once you have set the mushroom for growth in the kit, provided it with appropriate growing conditions, you need to wait and watch the budding process taking place.
Regular check visits should be done to ensure that the plants are budding properly and that they are no single attack by any pesticides, other animals or products that could hinder their growth.
Contrary to the mutual belief that mushroom growing entails a massive amount of skills as well as a specialized kind of techniques in growing these little gems, mushrooms are the no-frills kind.
As long as these foods are given all the necessary requirements and proper conditions are reached, all the farmer needs to do is to wait until it is time for harvesting.
It is true that if you live in the countryside, you can grow as many mushrooms as you can.
But just because you live in urban centers does not mean you may not be able to grow your own mushroom in a mushroom garden.
As long as you have the required proportion of space, your medium, and some mushroom spores, you can produce mushrooms in batches.
Similar as in the countryside, you basically let them be but ensure observing that they have ample food to consume and the humidity and the temperature is just enough, the mushrooms will grow like little white globs on your medium right before your eyes.
Mushrooms do not need a lot of light and it is, therefore, advisable to grow them in a dark place where there is a limited source of light.
It is advisable to use an enclosed container or box for this purpose. Also, the temperature is a crucial factor to consider during the growing of the mushrooms.
The temperature needs to remain stable throughout the entire period. The moisture content required at this level should be relatively low. The temperature should be kept at a maximum of 50F.
Note: Temperatures above this will lead to weathering of the plants.
Outdoor Mushroom Gardening
For the purpose of mushroom farming, there are various mushroom garden conditions that are necessitated.
Soil moisture, rain patterns, compost amount, and the external temperatures are among these factors. Growing mushroom is a hard task and should be given full attention.
As a grower, you may incur quite some investment during the initial processes. To start the business, you will need to have cleaning and packing equipment in your farm.
It is important to have your mushrooms packed in the farm to avoid damages during transportation.
One of the most considered methods of growing mushrooms is through the use of mushroom tunnels.
The tunnels are constructed in such a way that all the necessary conditions for growing the plants are met.
Each tunnel is designated for a certain type of mushroom; hence the farmer should be wary of this condition.
The tunnels ensure the mushrooms produced are healthy for human consumption.
Protect the mushroom farm with a fence only you and the staff are allowed to enter. This is done to prevent stealing or destruction from the animals.
Indoor Mushroom Growing And Kits
Apart from outdoor cultivation, there is also indoor mushroom cultivation using aerogarden grow.
This is meant to maximize mushroom production by utilizing the other entire place left by outdoor production.
All the production and management practices are carried out entirely indoors.
This cultivation method produces high quality and increased amount of mushroom yields per unit area.
This high production is dependent on the farmers know how on production, proper supervision, and provision of appropriate climatic conditions to the plants.
With the provision of all the requirements, the indoor mushrooms will be as productive as those grown in the outdoor environment.
It is the responsibility of the grower to make regular check-ups on the mushrooms to identify the growth process of the plant.
There are indoor growing mushroom kits available for varieties such as shiitake, oyster, and button among other varieties such as the log.
These kits makes mushroom indoor production easy to practice. The kits can be bought on garden center or an online purchase can be done with free delivery at one’s farm.
The indoor kits are advisable for use for those people who do not have enough space to grow their mushrooms.
The kit allows you to grow the mushrooms in the house and protects the odor from polluting the internal environment.
You can grow your mushrooms in open spaces such as the garage and kitchen spaces.
The productivity of the mushrooms in these kits is as much as that of mushrooms produced in the gardens.
Mushroom production is affected by the choice and availability of equipment and machinery.
Various processes in mushroom production such as harvesting, casing, and spinning require the use of machinery in order to be carried out perfectly without any deformities.
This is done to ensure that quality is maintained in order to fetch high sales in the market thus earning significant profits for the owner.
DIY mushroom growing at your backyard
Mushroom growing period is about fifteen weeks or less depending on the type of species grown. The following steps are involved in mushroom production:
The first step involves choosing the correct medium to grow the mushrooms. Sterilize the chosen medium to kill all other harmful organisms.
Inoculate the medium by introducing mushroom spawn inoculants that helps prevent damage to the crop from a harmful microorganism.
Preserve the appropriate growing temperature, moisture, and other climatic requirements for the crops in the medium to encourage the growth of mycelium.
This mycelium aids in the production of high-quality fruits that are easy to pluck. In addition, it helps ease packaging and selling of the harvested mushroom.
Also, the mycelium eases cleanup of the medium holding facility and renewal of another mushroom production phase.
Mushroom kits for sale
Mushroom growing kits provides the best means of mushrooms production.
Although at times they may not earn valuable income compared to shop price, personal growing will help you gain more knowledge on production and you will take pride in growing and eating your own produced mushrooms.
On learning and gaining knowledge on mushroom production, you can eliminate the brokers and prepare your own substrate like manure, straw, newspaper and make your own spawn for inoculation.
This will, in turn, help you increase your net value of mushroom thus making more profit from the sale. View at one of the best mushroom morel
Oyster Mushroom Kit
These kits are legal and pose minimum or no threat to the users.
Use of oyster mushroom kits in mushroom production has been made simple by employers as they have attached clear and well-detailed instruction manuals.
In addition, the kits are available at convenient prices and can be reused, thus ensuring continuous mushroom production without incurring the extra cost of purchasing other kits.
Growing your own Mushroom
The choice of cultivation method whether indoor or outdoor is determined by the type of mushroom species.
The strain of mushrooms that produces hallucinogenic effects are not suitable to be grown indoors as they may result to adverse health if consumed by children, pets, and other home members.
Mushrooms contain a low amount of fat, sodium, calories and cholesterol. They also have several nutrition values. They act as insulin resistance thus prevents acquiring of diabetes.
Also, contains low blood cholesterol levels thus reducing contraction of cardiac diseases.
It helps improve immunity system and lowers the danger of obesity by restriction the appetite.
Mushrooms also contain Choline, which helps with muscle movement, sleep, memory and learning.
Do you know mushroom plugs?
Plug-spawn are logs used for shiitake, reishi, and oyster mushroom growing.
The mushroom plugs are used to grow outdoor varieties. It is easy to drench the plugs from the rotting logs in your backyard or in the garden.
All that is needed is a hammer and a one-inch drill. After the drilling process, the plug is usually sealed by use of wax to prevent it from drying. Moisture needs to be retained during the growing of the mushrooms.
Health benefits accrued to the mushrooms
You might be wondering why you need to include mushroom uptake in your diet, here are the best known reasons:
- Help in boosting Immunity:
A strong immune system is a core towards good health. The selenium in the mushroom is vital for the production of T-cells which boost the body immunity.
The T-cells are responsible for fighting the antigens present in our bodies such as viruses.
Mushrooms contain high contents of anti-oxidant as those found in squash, pepper, carrots, or tomatoes. These properties make them good for cancer treatment.
People with a high fiber diet tend to have low blood sugar. On average, women should consume between 21 and 25 grams of fiber in a day while men should eat between 30 and 38 grams.
- Blood pressure:
Sodium and potassium work in combination to regulate blood pressure. Low sodium quantities and high potassium lower the blood pressure. Mushrooms have this combination of minerals.
You can get more information on our posts to help you learn earn other advanced farming techniques today.