Mushrooms being fungi are easy to grow and maintain; you only need to have a moist place to grow. The need for mushrooms has grown substantially because of people switching from eating meat products to becoming vegetarians. Mushrooms are a good substitute for meat because of their consistency and the health benefits that come with it. They are abundant in Protein, Potassium, and iron, and you can easily grow them for your family comfortably at home.
Listed are a few things you need to have when starting mushroom cultivation.
- Spray Bottle—You will need this to keep your mushrooms moist to maintain humidity in the growing area.
- Space—This space should have enough shade and preferably dark and clean. It should also be able to maintain the right humidity required for the mushrooms to thrive.
- Spawn—Mushrooms come from spawn, and you can find them at your local agrovet stores or research local suppliers who stock them.
- Straw—Any straw will do, for example, wheat, rice, or pea straw.
- Bags (plastic)—You will put the straw in this, and the size will be determined by the number of mushrooms you want to grow.
Mushrooms require a very clean environment to grow; this is why you need to pasteurize the straw in 158 to 167 degrees Fahrenheit by submerging the straw for approximately an hour. Maintain the temperature throughout, then drain and dry the straw in a clean place, then put it in the bags ensuring the bags are also clean.
As mentioned above, you can get them from licensed suppliers in your area or agrovet stores. But it is recommended that you purchase from a renowned dealer to avoid getting contaminated spawn.
Inoculate and Bag the Straw
Proper hygiene during this process is paramount. Sterilize or wash thoroughly anything you use in this process to ensure no contamination takes place. Bag the moist straw tightly while spreading the spawn evenly or in whatever way you intend for it to grow. Tie the top, cut out some holes on the bag’s sides for airflow, and put it in the growing space.
Nurturing the Colony
The growing space should be shaded, and no direct light gets in. if there are any holes or spaces on the walls or roof of the space. It would be best if you sealed the spaces to maintain the humidity required in the room. The mushrooms take one to three weeks to colonize the bag if conditions are right. Check them periodically for mold growth and if detected, remove the affected bag to avoid contamination.
Once you start seeing white thread-like materials form in the bags, you need to cut bigger holes on the bag. Maintain a higher humidity level and low light levels to encourage the mushrooms to grow. Spraying the water onto the bags ensures that a higher moisture level is present for better growth and is ready for harvesting in two to three weeks.
Harvest the mushrooms when the caps are a bit curled at the bottom. If you notice some have opened up all the way, they should be the first to be harvested. Carefully use a knife to cut the mushrooms or twist at the base and ensure not to harm the mycelia still growing. You can harvest them up to five times, but the quality between the first harvest and the last will be different.
When the straw starts rotting, you can scatter it in your garden as compost. This way, nothing is wasted, then you can start on the next crop. This article has outlined just how easy it is to grow your mushrooms at home. So, if you have the time and space to dedicate to this venture, go ahead and try it out.