How to commercially grow and farm mushrooms

Written by jason thompson
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How to commercially grow and farm mushrooms
About 21 per cent of all mushroom species are edible as of December 2010. (Blue Jean Images/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Growing mushrooms requires no special equipment or growing techniques. Mushrooms are widely used in Asian and other cuisines throughout the world. They also have important nutritional and medicinal benefits, and are relatively easy to grow. These factors make mushroom farming an attractive option for some entrepreneurs. Mushroom farming takes place indoors, under controlled conditions, which allows you to grow mushrooms year-round, in any kind of weather. A mushroom farm requires a dark, temperature-controlled building with enough room for the mushroom growing trays and a separate smaller temperature-controlled room with humidity control for pasteurising the compost.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Trays
  • Compost
  • Spawn
  • Lime-treated peat moss
  • Mister

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  1. 1

    Fill the trays with compost. Place them in the pasteurising room. Turn the heat up to 60 degrees Celsius for three hours. Turn the temperature down to 48.9 degrees Celsius for seven days. Keep the room's humidity above 90 per cent.

  2. 2

    Spread the mushroom spawn evenly over the top of the compost in each of the trays. Use approximately 6 quarts of spawn per ton of compost.

  3. 3

    Set the temperature of the growing room at 21.1 degrees Celsius. Keep the growing room dark.

  4. 4

    Cover the spawn with about 1 inch of the specially treated peat moss. This layer keeps the spawn moist. Use the peat moss only when a whitish growth covers the compost, which means the spawn has put down roots. During the growing period, monitor the peat moss and do not let it dry out. Use the mister to keep it moist.

  5. 5

    Lower the temperature in the growing room to between 12.8 and 15.6 degrees Celsius.

  6. 6

    Twist the mushrooms off of their roots by hand to harvest them. You can harvest them as soon as the unopened mushrooms, called "buttons," appear. Depending on the tastes of your local market, though, you may prefer to wait until the mushroom caps have begun to open, when they are called "cups," or until they are fully opened with the gills spread out, when they are called "flats."

Tips and warnings

  • Buy or make compost from the traditional sources of wheat straw, wood chips, poultry or horse manure, cottonseed meal, gypsum and water.
  • The spawn should set roots about three weeks after you spread it on the growing medium. It should take another three to four weeks after this for the buttons to appear. For the next six to eight weeks, new crops of mushrooms will grow every seven to 10 days.

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