Mushrooms are fleshy edible fruit bodies of fungi also called toadstools. To Plant mushrooms, the technical process needs that requires a lot of time and hard work if grown on a large scale. However, the global market value of mushrooms is high and hence it could be a very profitable business.
Edible raw mushrooms are very nutritious as they are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamin D, etc, and have huge amounts of water. They are extensively used in cooking and bring a great flavour to cuisines especially in East Asian countries.
It is advised by many farmers to start mushroom plantation from a small scale as a hobby. However with time as sales and demand increase, one will have to make it a large scale production. Mushrooms can be grown almost anywhere but for medium-large scale growth, an ideal land would be a forested area to offer a natural habitat to the mushroom.
To plant mushrooms you can collect spores yourself or buy the mushroom spore kits. To collect spores one will have to buy some fresh mushrooms from the farmer. Cut off the stem and remove the skirt of the mushroom leaving the gills safe. Place the head of the mushroom upside down on a paper and place the glass on top. Check after 24 hours and the spores will have fallen on the paper leaving a print which can now be used for cultivation. Keep the print in the refrigerator sealed in a plastic bag until you use it.
To cultivate the spores, boil some water twice to remove any bacteria and germs, then use a sterilized needle to scrape off the spores from the paper and put them in a sterilized glass. Use a sterilized syringe to add some of the boiled water into the glass to rehydrate the spores and draw the mixture back into the syringe. This mixture can be used to inoculate i.e. can be introduced into a culture medium to grow.
Mushroom Spores Germination
Mushroom spores require a nourishing substrate for germination such as sawdust, wooden plugs, etc. What substrate should be used depends on the type of mushrooms being cultivated.
Spawn is essential for this procedure and can be made by mixing the substrate and spores. It encourages the growth of mycelium which is the fungus that produces fruity edible mushrooms.
Mushroom kits are available in the market with a variety of possibilities to choose from. They provide everything required for growing them and provide an instruction manual as well making it very easy to grow mushrooms.
Tips for Plant Mushrooms
Common mistakes to avoid while planting mushrooms:
- Proper sterilization is very important. Contamination would cause an unfavourable environment for the mycelium to thrive in. To avoid contamination use protective and clean clothing like gloves, a face mask, and a lab coat. Make sure to sterilize the substrate and tools being used.
- Growing mushrooms is a meticulous process and requires time. Allow your substrate to cool before inoculation and let mycelium fully colonize the substrate before starting the fruiting stage. Being impatient would not give a good result.
- Experimentation with the cultivation techniques is quite entertaining but it’s better to always stick with known and definite procedures as a beginner.
- Look out for any contaminated item and remove it right away.
- The substrate should be damp but not too wet.
Types Of Edible Mushrooms
At present, there are over 10,000 types of mushrooms known among which many are beneficial medically, edible, toxic, etc.
Here is a list of few most popular mushrooms;
- Button Mushrooms also are known as a baby or white mushrooms are the most common edible type and used in dishes like spaghetti sauce or pizza toppings.
- Cremini Mushrooms are part of the same species as button mushrooms but are a brown variation and have a slightly deeper flavour. They are also used for edible purposes like mixed into green salads or bite-sized appetizers, etc.
- Portobello Mushrooms are dark brown and much larger with a strong flavour. They can be eaten as a vegetarian burger or stuffed with ingredients and baked.
- Oyster Mushrooms contradictory to the intimidating appearance they have a sweet and mild flavour. This type is often used in East Asian countries like Korea and Japan as a delicacy in dishes.
- Chanterelle Mushrooms are a bright yellow with a sweet peppery flavour. They are known to last longer in the fridge than any other type and go best with eggs.
- Porcini Mushrooms also known as Cep mushrooms have a distinctive taste with a creamy or nutty flavour. They are most commonly used in Italian cooking and sold in dried form.
- Hedgehog Mushrooms the gills of this type of mushroom hang down forming spiky spine-like shapes hence the name. They have a sweet and nutty flavour and are best when fried in butter.
- Medicinal Mushrooms some edible mushrooms like Shiitake and Maitake are known to have medicinal properties.
- Poisonous Mushrooms there are many poisonous species of mushrooms in the wild which can cause problems as serious as damage to the liver or kidneys.
Mushrooms have a global market of 12.74 million tons which is expected to reach 20.84 million tons by 2026. Demand for mushrooms has risen in the past years and is expected to only go higher. The startup cost of planting mushrooms is very affordable and brings high profits if done rightly. Mushrooms can produce abstracts that are helpful for medicinal purposes. They are known to treat cancer, reduce cholesterol and act as antibacterial/antifungal agents, etc.
Wild mushrooms have been collected by humans for ages. Once it was known what types of mushrooms were best to eat, growing them by ourselves was only a matter of time. Most mushroom growing techniques have advanced to high technical efficiency.
The flexible nature of mushrooms to grow throughout the year in all seasons and under any conditions is very advantageous to growers. They can be grown anywhere and the starting cost is not high which makes mushroom plantation much more likeable. With a successful plantation of mushrooms, income is expected to be great.