Today we better off find out which kind of housing we need for a better mushroom farming project. An ideal mushroom house should not be sited near dumping sites and livestock pens to reduce the risk of insect infestation and diseases. It should preferably be under shade.
The house can be made from locally available materials that can main cool temperatures and high humidity such as clay or bricks.
In a small scale mushroom farmer scenario, a grass thatched mud walled house is the most ideal.
The house should have air vents or small windows on the upper walls for ventilation and required light during fruiting. The vents and door should have insect screens and be closed.
If the temperature inside the house is high, water can be sprayed on the floor using a knapsack sprayer with fine nozzles and vents and door opened at night.
Wooden shelves for holding bags or wooden racks for hanging spawned substrate tubes should be constructed at the height of about 1.5 m from the ground and 1 m apart for ease of working in the growing house.
The housing should have waterproof roofs, high enough not to extend heat inside the house. They should have a good ventilation system.
Types of Mushroom Farming House
However we shall need two sides of the housing:
(1) The Culturing room
(2) The Fruiting room or chamber
(1) The Culturing Room
This is exactly where you stock your spawned substrate,packed in any carrier material like bottles,bags,buckets among others.
This room is where spawns colonise the substrate from, this is what a crop producer calls a nursery bed.
This should be totally dry to an extent entering it needs you to carry a torch with you or use infrared lights to view whats inside.
They should be free from insects(use insect nets around their vents
Keep these clean and out of bounds.
Setup a foot bath on the door way,where caretakers wash or dip their shoes or gumkboots before entering.
Fill the footbath with watermixed with formalin or any strong disinfectant…for our case we used kerrol.
Mushrtooms should stay here for a period of 4-6weeks depending on the type.
(2) The Fruiting Room or Chamber
This is where mushrooms fruit from or where they start emerging from the substrate.
This unlike the colonization room should have good light because at this stage onwards,its important for mushrooms to have light for qualitative fruiting.
Enclose an insect net across its open spaces to avoid insects from coming in
It should huave good drainage. It should have a floor which cant get muddy when wetted.
You can have a floor covered by charcoal dust(lusenyente),so that when u wet it,it doesn’t cause mud and wetty conditions which may cause diseases to your mushroom.
It shouldn’t be near very many crops as these produce a lot of carbondioxide yet mushroom isn’t friends with carbondioxide. If many plants around,avail more spaces for gaseous exchange.
It should have a FOOTBATH too. It should be heaviluy disinfected before the mushroom bags introduced into them. Restrict entries.
Read Also: Mushroom Farming Business Success Guide
Types of Mushrooms to Grow
According to research, there are many wonderful different types of mushrooms to choose from, but don’t make this decision lightly- there are too many things to consider.
First, you have to consider of you want to grow just one type of mushroom, or if you want to grow multiple species. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Growing just one type of mushroom means that you have fewer complications to deal with when creating grain spawn and trying to time the mushroom cycle.
It also allows you to dial in the environmental conditions in your grow room (if you only have one) without compromising. That being said, if you are trying to sell mushrooms, it might be beneficial to have some variety.
You also have to consider that different mushrooms will have different shelf lives, handling ability and utility in the kitchen. They will also have different market acceptability and demand a unique price per pound, depending on where you intend to sell your mushrooms.
Basically, it depends. And it’s up to you. But I would like to offer some suggestions.
(1) Blue Oyster Mushrooms
Blue oyster mushrooms are easy to grow, especially when growing on straw logs where they can rapidly produce big yields. Oyster mushrooms are also relatively well known and available, although you will rarely find fresh, good looking oyster mushrooms at most grocery stores.
This means that you might be able to demand a good price for your mushrooms. Pleurotus species mushrooms do not take well to shipping long distances, so you might have an edge over bigger commercial growers. Check out your local scene and see if the price they demand will be worth your effort.
(2) King Oyster Mushrooms
King Oyster mushrooms are also quite easy to grow, although they tend to grow better on supplemented sawdust than they do on straw. The best part about the king oyster mushroom is their long shelf life.
Typically, a properly harvested king oyster mushroom will be sellable for up to two weeks, which is not common for most other gourmet species. Unfortunately, this also means that king oyster mushrooms are easily shipped long distances.
Chances are that you will be competing with cheap commercially grown king oyster mushrooms from Chinese or Korean suppliers. However, these kings are generally grown with small caps and big fat stems. You could differentiate yourself by growing kings in a bright, low CO2 environment to produce a unique looking king with big caps and small stems.
(3) Lions Mane Mushrooms
Consistently growing fresh Lions Mane Mushrooms might really set you apart from the crowd, as these mushrooms are not often sold to consumers from commercial growers. This is likely because there delicate teeth require careful handling and packaging.
However, a small local grower might be able carefully harvest this mushroom and deliver it straight to the customer. Although these mushrooms are unknown to a lot of chefs and consumers, they are generally well liked when experienced and could provide a unique market opportunity.
(4) Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms are a little more difficult to grow, and are maybe not the best choice for the beginner mushroom farmer. However, if you can properly grow these mushrooms, there is likely to be a reasonable demand.
Shiitake mushrooms are well known and well liked, so you should have no trouble trying to promote your product. Again, you are likely to have to compete with large commercial sellers, so be sure to check out what your market is like before going all in with shiitake.
Harvesting and Storage
No matter what mushroom you decide to grow, you are going to need to properly harvest and store before delivering it to your kitchen or your customers. Harvesting your mushrooms is rewarding, but it is also a pretty time consuming process which takes a while to start doing efficiently.
You will want to treat harvesting your mushrooms like any other aspect of food preparation.
This means only using clean tools and equipment, wearing clean clothes and gloves, and having a wash sink nearby. Ensure that your knife is cleaned often, as it doesn’t take long for harmful bacteria to grow on your knife, which could get passed on to your final product. You also might want to consider wearing a really good mask, especially when harvesting Pleurotus species oyster mushrooms.
It is common for mushroom growers to develop an allergy to the spores of these mushrooms, which can get worse over time. Some growers choose not to grow pleurotus for this reason. Wearing a good mask when in the grow room is your best defense against developing this allergy.
Generally, harvesting involves cutting the mushroom fruit body off at the stem and removing any remaining substrate material. This is where you can really shine above your competition, by making sure that you are only sending your customers cleanly harvested, high quality mushrooms.
Generally, you will want to have a scale nearby when harvesting so that you can weigh your mushrooms to get an idea of your yield and how much you are actually producing.
Often, substrate blocks and straw logs can be harvested multiple times, with diminishing returns and higher chances of contamination after the 2nd or 3rd harvest. When the substrate is finally spent, you will need to properly dispose of it in a compost pile or similar.
This is a huge consideration that is often overlooked by new growers, as the amount of spent substrate can become a large pile (and large problem!) rather quickly. You might need to work something out with a local land owner in order to properly dispose of your substrate.
If you are taking mushroom farming from hobby to business, you need to consider what it is going to cost and whether or not it’s going to be worth it.
Doing a 100 page business plan doesn’t really make a lot of sense either, as there are just too many variable to get an accurate picture of success, but you should at least have a basic idea of what is involved.
The cost of a mushroom farm is highly variable and will no doubt depend on your individual situation. Do you already own a building? Are you going to be operating out of your house? Are you planning on building a lab or just buying grain spawn?
Although it is not wise for me to be specific about costs, I will suggest that you need to add at least %50 percent to what you first think it will cost. There are so many little things that you won’t even think about that will end up being a substantial cost.
The big expense items will be building materials for setting up your grow room, lab, prep area and any other areas that you want to set up. As for equipment, your big costs will be sterilization equipment, a method of pasteurization and a pre-built or homemade laminar flow hood.
You may also need a blower fan, humidifier and other HVAC equipment, depending on your set up. And don’t forget about consumables, like gloves and alcohol, grow bags or poly tubing, substrates and grain and, of course, your mushroom cultures.
As you can imagine, setting up a mushroom farm can be quite costly, but for many people, the idea of building their very own farm and running the show makes every penny worth it.
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