PROFITABLE MUSHROOM FARMING

Mushroom cultivation is a technology of growing mushrooms using plant, animal and other industrial wastes.
It is a viable and an attractive activity for both rural farmers and urban dwellers. They Can be cultivated on a part time basis and require little maintainance.

IMPORTANCE OF MUSHROOM

  • Even though they are classified as vegetable in food world, are not technically plants. They belong to the fungi kingdom.
  • Edible mushrooms are called as “Food Of Gods” and treated as healthy food/ Functional food.
  • The extractable products from edible mushrooms designed to supplement the human diet not as a regular food but as the food for enhancement of health and fitness.
  • Edible mushrooms are consumed for their nutritional value and are occasionally consumed for medicinal value.
  • Mushroom cultivation directly improve the livelihoods through economic, nutritional and medicinal contributions.
  • It also provides opportunities for improving the sustainability of small farming systems through recycling of organic matter which in turn used as a growing substrate.
  • It generates additional employment and income through local, regional and national trade.

NUTRITIONAL AND MEDICINAL VALUE OF MUSHROOM

  • Mushrooms are the good source of Vit B, C and D including Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Folate and various minerals including Potassium, Phosphorous, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Copper.
  • They provide Carbohydrates, low in fat and fibre and do not contain starch.
  • They have high protein content of 20- 30%.
  • Vit D present in it is essential for the absorption of calcium.
  • Copper present in it aids in helping the body absorb oxygen and create Red blood Cells.
  • Potassium an extremely important mineral that regulates blood pressure and keeps proper cells functioning.
  • Mushroom is a Cholesterol free(0 cholesterol).
  • It slows down the spread and effect of Cancer, heart diseases, HIV/AIDS by boosting immune system.
  • Medicinal fungi have routinely been used in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Today an estimated 6% of edible mushrooms are known to have medicinal properties and can be found in healthy tonics, tincture, teas, soups and herbal formulas.
  • Mushrooms contains compounds that have been linked to lower the risk of Cancer.
  • Medicinal mushrooms like reishi, maitake and Shiitake mushroom have been used to promote good health.
  • These are energy boosters as they are rich in Vit B2, B3 and B5.
  • They also contain Selenium which is an important antioxidant the protects the body cells from heart diseases.
  • They protects Liver and bladder.
  • These are good source of Riboflavin which aid in growth of Hair,skin, nails.
  • It is rich source of Ca which is an essential element of bone health.

There are different kinds of mushrooms among them important edible mushrooms are as follows

Oyster mushroom

Button mushroom

Bay bolete mushroom

Black trumpet mushroom

Cauliflower mushroom

Reishi Mushroom

There are some poisonous mushrooms too which are harmful to our health which should not be consumed.

STEPS INVOLVED IN MUSHROOM CULTIVATION

FILLING THE COMPOST INTO THE TRAYS

Compost is dark brown in colour and odourless. The size of the trays for spredding compost can be as per convenience. However it muct be 15-18cm deep. The trays must be made of soft wood. They are provided with the pegs so that the trays are stacked one above the other. There is sufficient air gap. The trays must be filled with compost and leavelled on the surface.

SPAWNING

The process of sowing the mushroom mycelium into the beds is called spawning. Spawns are obtained from national laboratories. Spawning can be done is two ways either by scattering the compost on bed surface in the tray or mix the grain spawn with compost before filling the trays. after spawning trays are covered with old news papers.

TEMPERATURE AND OTHER CONDITIONS

The room temperature should be maintained at 25 degrees. Humidity an moisture should also be maintained. During the period of spawn run, there should be no fresh air entering the room. Hence it must be kept closed. On an average spawn run lasts for 12-15 days. It may be longer if there is low temperature.

CASING

After the spawn run, the surface of the compost is then covered with casing soil upto 3cm thickness. casing soil is prepared by mixing finely crushed and sieved rotten dung with the garden soil. Ph should be alkaline. Once the casing soil is spread, the temperature is maintained at 25 degrees for 72 hrs and then lowered to 18 degrees. Casing soil can be sterilized by using Formalin solution.

CROPPING

Pinheads will emerge in 15-20 days after casing. White coloured small sized buttons develop within 5-6 days. After their complete growth these are ready to harvest. Once the caps sit tight on the short stem they are ready to harvest. if they are allowed to stay longer then they may open like an umbrella. Opened button mushrooms are of inferior quality.

HARVESTING

harvesting is done by twisting gently. For this it is held gently with the forefingers, pressed against the soil and twisted off.

YIELD

The average yield of button mushroom is 3-4 kg/tray. In favourable conditios the yield can go upto 6kg as well.

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