Growing Mushroom is a profitable business and given the right tools you can easily start this business at your own backyard.
There are 5 easy steps to get your started:
Step 1: Prepare your spawn and substrate
Mushroom Spawn – is simply any substance that has been inoculated with mycelium, the vegetative growth of a fungus. Mycelium, a thread-like collection of cells, is to a mushroom like an apple tree is to an apple. To make it easy for you, think of spawns as seeds that you would be needing to grow your mushrooms.
You can produce your own spawn using a sterile culture or you can buy a ready to inoculate spawn (available at Agri Fungus Organic Farm). Producing your own spawn is cheaper but the start up cost is high and a little complicated. So for starters, it is best to buy a ready to inoculate spawn.
Mushroom Substrate – is simply any substance on which mycelium will grow (Straw, paper, wood chips, logs, coffee waste, etc.). This is where you will be planting your mushroom spawns.
Step 2: Making your Mushroom Substrate
Your Mushroom Substrate is made with the composting and sterilization process. This is to ensure that your mushrooms will grow in the substrate and that no other fungus will strive with the mushroom spawn. If not done properly, your substrate can be contaminated and your mushrooms will not grow.
Composting Phase- Mix your substrate with horse/cow manure and gypsum. Make sure that you are mixing them well and wetting them while turning. It is important to maintain 60% moisture in your compost. Cover your mixture, and make sure to turn and wet them every 2 days.
Composting lasts from 7 – 30 days, depending on your substrate and its characteristics at each turn. There will be a strong ammonia odor associated with composting, which is usually complemented by a sweet, moldy smell. When compost temperatures are 155°F and higher, and ammonia is present, chemical changes occur which result in a food rather exclusively used by the mushrooms.
At the end of composting, the compost should: a) have a chocolate brown color; b) have soft, pliable straws, c) have a moisture content of from 68 to 74 percent; and d) have a strong smell of ammonia. When the moisture, temperature, color, and odor described have been reached, the composting phase is completed.
Sterilization – Make your fruiting bags by packing your substrate as desired and let it sterilize. Sterilization will be depending on the equipments used. If you are using a steam method, Make sure to start your timer when the water begins to boil. Let the steam kill all the organism present by steaming your substrate for 6 – 8 hours.
If you find making your fruiting bags complicated, you can buy fruiting bags at Agri Fungus Organic Farm.
Step 3: Incubation
Once done with Step 2, make sure your fruiting bags are cooled down from the sterilization process. Place your spawn in your fruiting bags and place in an area at around 78°F. Don’t forget to close the top and poke holes in the bag.Stack it up nicely in a shelf and remember to avoid natural light.
Cover windows and cracks. Use a red “darkroom” light when you need to check on your bags. When you start to notice tiny pinhead mushrooms near the air holes in your bag, then you’re ready to move on to the next step.
Step 4: Fruiting
Place your mushrooms in a fruiting room. Your fruiting room should have a humidity of 65 – 70°F. This time, you need a lot of natural light at least 12 hrs a day to shock your mycelium and force it into fruiting. You would then notice that your mushroom will start to grow in a few days. Make sure there are holes in your fruiting bag to allow mushroom growth.
Step 5: Cropping and Harvesting
Watch your mushroom as it starts to bloom in 3-5 days. Just when you see the mushroom caps and before it starts to uncurl is the best time to harvest. Harvesting is done by twisting the stem off as nearly as possible to the growing block as you are able to.
A good harvest can last up to 60 days. Mushroom growth will then slowly diminish and would gradually stop its fruiting until another 2-3 months.
You can now start growing your oyster mushroom business! but if you find all these steps difficult, you can always invest with us at Agri Fungus Organic Farm or you can hire AFOF team to be your consultant and partner.