straw mushroomThe culture of mushroom is gaining popularity in the Philippines. Mushroom is a delicacy and is really accepted as vegetable. Its present cultivation in this country is limited, perhaps due to insufficiency of planting materials and the limited local knowledge about its culture.

Mushroom growing requires little space and time and farmers can make use of their rice straws following harvesting. Mushroom can be grown the whole year round provided a good storage of rice straw is prepared.

This article illustrates the fundamental techniques involved in the culture of banana or rice straw type of mushroom, Volvariella volvacea. The vegetable and Legume Crops Section of the Bureau of Plant Industry is now producing mushroom spawn in abundance.

Growing Mushroom Technology Option I

Materials and Methods

Dry rice straws and banana leaves are the most common types of bleeding materials. However, other materials like cotton wastes, jute sacks, corn stalks, water hyacinth, sugar baggasse and abaca waste materials may also be used for bedding materials.

Sufficient water supply and soaking tank or any similar container are used. Plastic sheet of gauge No.6, empty cement bags and sacks are used to cover the beds.

Procedures

1. Gather long, clean and well dried rice straws and banana leaves, preferably those that are still standing in the field. Avoid using old and contaminated bedding materials.
2. Bundle the bedding materials 6-8 inches in diameter. If rice straws are used, arrange butt ends together.
3. Cut the bundle materials 1.5 to 2 ft. long.
4. Soak the bundled materials in water for at least 3 hours but not more than 10 hours until enough moisture is absorbed by the materials.
5. Foundation as support for the bed.
6. Set the soaked-bundled materials, closely knit the together, evenly and compactly.
7. Water the bed well with the urea or ammonium sulfate at rate of 1-2 tbsp. per gallon of water. Add sugar at the rate of 33 grams per gallon of water to improve the yield of mushrooms.
8. Press the layer to level of surface. Stop watering when the water starts to drip off the bed.
9. Insert thumb-size spawns around the bed, four (4) inches from along the side and four (4) inches apart from each other. Never plant spawn at the middle of the bed.
10. Set the second layer of straw on the top of the first layer. Put the butt ends together in two opposite direction. Water and press down. Follow the same procedure until a six-layer bed is attained.
11. Cover the entire bed with plastic sheet gauges No. 6 or cement bags or sacks for seven days after which it is removed.

Harvesting

The growth of mushrooms on the bed come in flushes. With adequate maintenance and care, the first flush usually comes and flushes from 13 to 15 days following seeding. When a flush is on watering must be avoided. Watering is resumed when the flush is over. Harvesting is done in the following manner:

1. Harvest the whole mushroom including the stump. Don?t leave any stump in the bed as this would rot and in rotting the adjacent mushroom may be affected.
2. As much as possible care must be taken not to disturb the small buttons.
3. Mushrooms in the button stage of growth are more succulent, hence they are better preferred than the fully opened ones.
4. Harvested mushroom may be placed in trays or in kaings.

Care in the Mushroom Bed

1. When the bed is made, it may be well to cover it with plastic sheet, gunny sack or any suitable materials to protect it from the drying effect of the wind and to keep it humid.
2. After the removal of the plastic sheet don?t water the bed as the bed is still wet.
3. Watering should be done only in amounts, which would keep the surface moist and its environs humid.
4. Watering may be done using a sprinkler, passing same over the bed and along the sides. Avoid soaking the bed as this condition is equally harmful to the proper development of the mushrooms as insufficient watering.
5. When the mushroom buttons start to form, water must be stopped until the flush is over.
6. Resume watering when the flush is over to coax another flush to come.

Growing Mushroom Technology Option II

Materials and Methods

* hoe for tilling the soil
* string
* bamboo or wooden stand or bench
* rice straw
* urea fertilizer: 1-½tsp./gallon water
* newspaper for wetting

Procedure

1. Till an area about 4 meters long, one-half meter wide and 15 cm deep.
2. Dig a canal around this, about 30 cm wide and 15 cm deep.
3. Dry the straw very well, tie in bundles about 8 cm thick.
4. Cut the bundles of straw in same lengths, evenly.
5. Soak the bundles of straw in water for four hours.
6. Put the bamboo bench over the tilled soil. Spread the bundles of straw on the bench, alternately arranging them in the first layer, all heads to the left in the next layer, all heads to the right, etc. up to the fourth layer.
7. Crumple the newspaper and soak in the four liters water with 3 gms urea (3 gms urea or 1-1/2 tsp).
8. On thumb sized pieces of newspaper, plant the mycelium (mushroom seeds). About three bottles of mycelium will be consumed for every 4 meters bed with six layers.
9. Plant the wet paper with mycelium 5 cm deep into the layers of straw about 5-8 cm away from the edge and 10 cm from each other.
10. After 5-7 days, cover the top of the pile with a clear plastic sheet like a roof resting on the bamboo, to maintain the 40%-50% heat that is just right for mushroom growth.
11. Sprinkle water 5-6 days after this preparation. Fill the canals around with water to repel the insects and to maintain the right humidity. Stack up only until four layers during Summer and 6 layers during the rainy season.
12. Do not water after this. On the 6 or 7 day if the weather is dry, water gently, using a sprinkler. Repeat if necessary.

Harvesting Mushrooms

1. If the mushrooms are now umbrella-like, 10-14 days after planting, they may be harvested. These will wilt in 24 hours. The closed ones or button-like last up to 48 hours.
2. Do not use scissors in harvesting because the parts that remain in the straw will rot. Carefully twist the lower stem with your fingers so as to get it whole.
3. Spread the harvested mushroom on a basket for selection. Wash gently if these will be cooked soon.
4. Let the straw bed rest for 7-10 days. In one area 4 meters and with six layers of straw, about seven kilos of buttons or 12 ½ kilos umbrella mushroom can be harvested.

Other Benefits of Mushroom1) Organic Matter – Mushrooms decompose the dead bodies of plants and animals – serve as cleaning function in the environment. They can be used to breakdown agricultural waste (rice, straw, sawdust, peanut shells, banana stalks, cotton and flax waste, fruit pericarps, corn cobs, sugar cane bagasse, etc). One good thing about mushroom culture is there is no wastage. After production, the mushroom bed can be converted into fertilizer.2) Medicine – Mushrooms have been known to possess the following actions:

* Antibacterial
* Antitumor
* Hypocholesterolemic
* Hallucinogens found in the mushrooms are helping psychiatrists in the treatment of mental illness

3) Income – minimum input (if you start from growing bags)
4) Adaptable to group involvement/division of labor
5) Environmentally sound
6) Can be integrated into existing agricultural system

Nutritional Value of Mushrooms

Many myths have been spread about mushrooms. One of the most inaccurate is that mushrooms have no nutritional value. To properly consider them for their nutritional benefits, they must be viewed from a dried weight perspective. And mushrooms give you maximum nutritional benefit only upon cooking. Mushrooms are relatively high in protein, averaging about 20% of their dried mass. Further they contribute a wide range of essential amino acids. Low in fat (between .3 and 2%) and high in fiber, mushrooms also provide several groups of vitamins, particularly thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, and ascorbic acid. Now that research is confirming that many of these species also stimulate the human immune systems, mushrooms are clearly becoming the gourmet health food of the 21st century.

Mushroom has been attracting attention of mankind since ancient times and use of mushroom, as food is as old as human civilization. It is very rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately. It is realized that mushrooms did not receive universal acceptance over the years since a number of naturally growing mushrooms are poisonous. Now the situation has been changed because the cultivated edible mushrooms are totally safe for human consumption.

Read: Small Scale Mushroom Production and Cultivation Guide

source: elgu2.ncc.gov.ph, www.bpi.da.gov.ph

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