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How to grow mushrooms

Do you want to grow mushrooms?

When choosing your method to grow mushrooms, you have to find an answer to the following questions:
  1. Which of the mushrooms do you want to grow?
  2. Can you obtain mushroom spawn of the species you want to grow. If you cannot obtain or produce seed it will not be possible to grow mushrooms.
  3. What kind of substrate would you need to be able to grow the desired mushrooms?
  4. How should you treat the substrate? This affect the investments you have to make.
Which of the mushrooms do you want to grow?

It is best to check the market and the temperature ranges for fruiting.

Choose a species that fruits at temperature near your outdoor temperatures. This limits investments in climate control and reduces energy costs. The only mushrooms currently being cultivated at temperatures around or just 30 degrees are: oyster mushrooms and wood mushrooms.

In order to minimize confusions when colloquial names are used in naming mushrooms. For example, the name oyster mushrooms applies to more than 20 different species of mushroom, each with its own cultivation characteristics such as optimal temperature range, color and growth rate.

For mushroom growers, the most practical approach to the subject of naming of mushroom is to rely on taxonomists. It is better to order strains from renowned seed producers or culture collections. 

Can you obtain mushroom spawn of the species you want to grow?

The mushroom 'seed' (propagation material) is generally referred to as spawn.

The availability of good quality spawn is the limiting factor for mushroom cultivation in Kenya and many developing countries. Customs' bureaucracy, high shipping costs and the difficulty to keep the spawn cooled during transport, often hinders imports.

It might therefore be necessary for the mushroom growers to produce his own spawn.

Note: If good quality spawn of the desired mushroom species can be obtained at a reasonable price, it would be wiser to concentrate on the mushroom growing process. If not, spawn will have to be produced or multiplied by the mushroom grower.

The complete procedure of spawn production involves preparation of the medium, filling the test tubes or petri dishes and sterilizing them, and the process of inoculating larger containers with this culture.

Basically, spawn production is nothing more than putting mycelium of the desired mushroom in suitable sterilized substrate under aseptic conditions. 

For more information on this subject please contact us.

What kind of substrate would you need to be able to grow the desired mushrooms (oyster)? 

The materials on which the mycelium of the mushrooms grows is called the substrate. 

Agricultural waste such as wood chips/ sawdust, sugarcane bagasse, and different types of staw can be used as the main ingredients in the substate for oyster mushrooms.

The properties of the substrate determine which mushrooms and microbes can grow in it. The more selective it is, the better the substrate meets the demands of a specific mushroom and the less suitable it is for others.

After mixing and adding certain supplements, the substrate undergoes a heat treatment to give the desired mushroom mycelium and environment with few competitors.

For more information on preparation of the substrate please contact us.

How should you treat the substrate?

Details are provided through the use of case studies specifically on return to investments:
  • The use of Juncao Technology in turning grass into mushrooms
  • Shiitake cultivation on plastic bags
  • Growing wood ear mushrooms on 'sterilized' substrate in Phillipines
The benefits from growing mushrooms include: they are a good cash crop; they are rather easy to grow and brimming with protein, vitamin B and minerals. they even have medicinal properties. Further more, after cultivation, you can still use the substrate as a good soil conditioner.

The wind of agro processing is blowing from every corner; it has even swept the small scale farmers. This is the way to go for Kenya and other developing countries, especially if we are to address the prospects of Vision 2030


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