Organic Mushroom Farming
Both vegetarians and non-vegetarians consider mushrooms a favorite.
Mushrooms can be used in various culinary ways.
They can be used as an ingredient in soups and stews.
They can also be a great pair for your favorite pasta.
They can be a filling to sandwiches.
They can be offered as a main dish in restaurants.
Mushrooms can be used for medicinal purposes.
There are certain types of mushroom that helps in our blood regulation.
They can help boost our memory.
They have anti-cancer benefits.
Mushrooms helps our nature too.
Mushrooms decays dead plants and animals through the enzymes that they produce.
Mushrooms generate nutrients for other plants and microorganisms.
These numerous benefits have resulted to an overwhelming demand for mushrooms.
Thus, organic mushroom farming has also become a growing business in these modern times.
Mycology is the study of fungi, and the growth of fungi.
This may not be known by many, but mushrooms are considered as fungi.
A lot of people who have grown plants before wanted to enter the business of growing mushrooms. This is because, they think that growing plants and mushrooms are the same, but it is totally different.
‘Mushrooms grow only in the dark on manure’- this is what people think. But this is not true. Mushroom can also grow on woods, insects and mycorrhizal species of mushrooms that can connect with different plants.
Michael Crowe, the owner of Southwest Mushroom, in his interview said, “Cultivating mushroom and fungi is a balance between science and art.”
It is a method of understanding the science of it and the art of it is basically being able to execute the crop the right way.
In this article, we will explain the process of how mushrooms are grown and produced before they even reach your table.
Initial phase: Preparatory stage
- You have to take a bit of tissue from the plates of your mushroom spawn.
You have to remember that without a good spawn, there will never be good mushrooms.
- Drop these tissues into nutrient media broths to expand the mycelia.
Unlike plants that start from seeds, molds and fungi start from spores.
To form a mycelium, two compatible spores will have to mate.
- Mycelia that are formed through the broth are then planted on a petri dish.
- From petri dish, transfer healthy sectors of mycelia into the bags of sterilized grain.
- Mycelia will spread and devour whatever food it is working with.
- Full colonization will then occur, you will see a big nice healthy bag of white mycelia.
- The bag of mycelia can get broken and utilized to inoculate anywhere from 20-30 of blocks.
Seeds need soil to germinate; mushrooms need sterilized grain substrates.
If you are planning to start growing mushroom at home, an easy step in making substrates is prepared for you.
Easy process in making substrates using fast fruiting mix:
- Measure 5 cups of pellets
- Add 1.4 liters of waters
- Sterilized for 2.5 hours at 15 PSI pressure cookers and canners
This will make about 5lbs of substrate.
Second phase: Growing stage
- When substrates are already prepared, you have to put them inside a bag. A bag can fill up approximately 10-12 pounds.
- Substrates will then be transferred to the sterilization area. It needs to be sterilized for a prolonged period so that the microorganisms or molds and fungi will be killed.
If substrates are not sterilized properly, contamination problems may occur.
Therefore, you have to be very careful in making sure that you only grow the fungi that you desire.
- You must take the spawn and break it to separate each individual grain. This will act as a vehicle for the mycelia.
- Get the bags and place it under the flow hood, inflate it with sterile air and then seal.
Bags will then be inoculated.
- The next thing you have to do is to shake the bags.
- Bring the bags to the incubation area.
Here, they begin to popcorn.
Mushrooms like Shiitake takes 8 weeks before it can get transferred to the fruiting room.
- As the mushroom begins to mature, you let the blocks ripen and they begin to turn brown.
This means that mycelia are ripening and getting ready to produce a good crop of mushroom.
Mushrooms are normally found growing off from the sides of the trees. What organic farmers do is try to simulate that way of growth with the blocks that they are using.
These blocks have hardwood sawdust that acts as artificial tree barks. When these are given incisions, they act like the same with what is in nature.
- When mycelia start poking out at the right points and receive right O2 levels, mushrooms will sprout.
Mushrooms will begin pinning within a few days, forming all over the blocks.
Mushrooms usually have stems and cups. Underneath the cap are gills. Gills are responsible in the production of spores. These spores will be utilized to continue the life cycle of the mushrooms.
- Mushrooms will then be given light stimulations. This is the same with the light that they may get in a shaded part of the forest.
- If the blocks are ready to grow in the grow room, you have to slap the blocks with your hands.
In this way, you can simulate the tree branch falling off the floor. This activity will shock the mycelia. Because they think that their life is coming to an end, they tend to grow.
It is fascinating how likely it is that mushrooms do not want to die.
They are called nature’s grand decomposers because their job is to break things down, turn it into organic material which can be reused by the environment.
Final phase: Harvesting stage
- When harvesting the mushrooms, you simply have to cut as close to the base of the blocks.
- Now, it is ready to be moved to the warehouse where they will be weighed and prepared for the market.
Each mushroom has their own unique medicinal benefits.
To name a few of mushrooms and their corresponding benefits, a list is provided below.
Portobello and cremini mushrooms–contain anti-cancer, anti-tumor benefits, amino-modulating and immune system enhancing benefits. They are anti-viral and anti-bacterial.
Reishi- used for chemotherapy and mushroom treatments; has been shown to shrink and terminate tumor growth
Shiitake– contains immune system benefits, increase production of necessary T-helper cells that help fight off infections
Ganoderma sessile- can be brewed in a tea; you can also make tinctures out of it and use it for health properties
Oyster mushroom- helps reduce blood pressure
Lion’s mane– enhances cognitive functions helps boost memory, helps to recover dramatic brain injury, helps people deal with Alzheimer’s and dementia
Organic mushroom farming takes a long process. It is no like ordinary planting of trees, fruits, and vegetables.
However, due to the huge demand, mushroom organic business and farming are becoming a trend.
If you want to try your luck in a mushroom business, the process you need to know are already laid out to you.
Mushrooms does not only have culinary and medicinal benefits. Mushrooms also play a vital role in nature.
Known as nature’s grand decomposers, mushrooms help decay dead plants and animals through the enzymes that they produce.
They also create nutrients for other plants and microorganisms.
Thus, making our world a better place to live in.