Commercial mushroom production involves cultivating a variety of mushrooms. Some of the most common are button and oyster mushrooms. Others are more labor-intensive, such as criminis and agarics.
Hobbyists and small-scale growers should choose species that can be easily grown. These include oyster mushrooms, button mushrooms, and maitake mushrooms.
The first step in mushroom cultivation is to prepare a “casing” layer of substrate for growing the mushroom. This substrate usually consists of peat moss or coconut coir.
Managing the moisture level in the casing is crucial in causing fruiting structures to develop. Typically, a pound of spawn will produce 120 pounds of mushrooms.
Harvesting mushrooms is a complicated process that can take several days. Once the spawn is spread in the casing, the mushroom will start to grow and will reach maturity after about seven to ten days.
After reaching maturity, the mushrooms must be sterilized by steam. Once harvested, the mushrooms are ready to be sold to the public.
A modern mushroom production facility can use as little as 2 gallons of water per pound of button mushrooms, the equivalent of 32 eight-ounce glasses of water.
The First Step Is To Create A Mushroom-Friendly Compost.
- By contrast, most other fresh produce requires more than 50 gallons of water per pound! That means that growing mushrooms is an effective way to reduce the amount of water we use and protect the environment.
- Mushroom production can be a lucrative business for home growers. Shiitake mushrooms are popular among gourmets and can fetch up to $12 per pound.
- However, they are not the only type of mushrooms that are available commercially.
- Oyster mushrooms are very popular, especially among chefs. However, a successful mushroom production program requires careful maintenance of the compost pile.
- The fresh-mushroom production process involves a number of steps that are labor-intensive and time-consuming.
Traditional mushroom compost is made from horse manure and straw-bedded hay.
Nowadays, compost is usually made synthetically by mixing straw and poultry manure, which is then composted. It contains microorganisms that degrade ammonia and soluble sugars.
The next step in mushroom production involves aerating the compost. Fresh air is essential to keep the compost temperature at an appropriate level.
The outside air also helps displace carbon dioxide released by the growing mycelium. The more the mycelium grows, the more fresh air is required.
The amount of fresh air will depend on the type of mushroom, its area, and the amount of compost in the growing room.
There are three basic types of mushrooms and each one has eight varieties.
The preparation process is divided into two distinct phases: outdoor prep and indoor harvest. The outdoor portion should be separate and separated from the rest of the growing process.