Growing mushrooms: Why and how

straw mushroom

A taste for mushroom has yet to become popular among Filipinos.  Studies show only about 10 per cent of Filipinos regularly consume them – regrettable because mushrooms are known not only to be delicious but very nutritious.

These edible fungi are rich in high quality proteins, iron, phosophorous, potassium and calcium, plus nearly all vitamins.  They also contain fibers, which aid digestion.  Plus they are very low in cholesterol content. Taking account of all these, mushrooms may  be considered an “almost perfect food.”

Mushrooms can also be easily grown at home.  Doing so can be the spring board to a small-scale business that can augment family income.

The Bureau of Plant and Industry of the Department Agriculture is committed to promote mushroom growing in the countryside.

The following method for cultivating Volvariolla volvacoa, a banana or rice straw type of mushroom is derived from BPI studies.

Materials

  • Banana leaves and dry rice straw (common types of bedding materials)
  • Alternatives: jute sacks, water hyacinth, abaca waste, cotton waste,corn stalks and sugar bagasse
  • Water
  • Containers to be used as soaking tanks
  • Empty cement bags, sacks, or gauge no. 6 plastic sheet to be used as covering for the bed.

Procedures

  1. From the rice straws or banana leaves in the field, choose those that ae long and not contaminated and old.  The cleaner the bedding materials are, the better.
  2. If using rice straws, look for the thicker end (butt) and join it together.  Collect and bundle bending materials up to 6-8 inches in diameter.
  3. Maintain the bundle materials to 1.5 to 2 feet long only.
  4. For at least 3 hours, dip the bundle materials in water.  Wait for the materials to absorb enough moisture. But make sure it will not be in water for more than 10 hours.
  5. Make sure that the bed will have support.
  6. Coming from water, closely compress it with even distribution and set.
  7. Using 2 to 2 tablespoon per gallon of water of urea or ammonium sulfate, water the bed well  To further improve the quantity of mushrooms, add 33 grams of sugar per gallon of water.
  8. Put a pressure to level the surface layer while watering.  Stop when the water starts to drip.
  9. Measuring four inches (10.2 centimeters) from all the sides, insert a span about the size of a thumb around the bed.  Make sure it has the same distance of four inches from each spawn. Avoid starting to plant in the middle of the bed to ensue the even distribution of the spawns.
  10. Put the second layer of straws atop the first layer, join the thicker part (butt) in two opposite directions, then water and put pressure down to level the surface.  Continue doing the same procedure up to the sixth layer.
  11. After doing the procedure, cove r it, with the covering materials you have provided, for 7 days.

Gathering the mushrooms

About 23 – 15 days from the day of seeding, the first growth of mushrooms can be seen in flushes if proper care and maintenance is done.  Watering is put on hold during occurrences of flushes and is only resumed when the flush has stopped.  In order to gather the mushrooms, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that when the mushroom is gathered, you include the stump because it may cause rotting which  may affect the other mushrooms.
  2. The small buttons must not be disturbed so extra care must be taken when gathering mushrooms.
  3. Mushrooms which are more moist and juicy are preferred.
  4. Usually trays or or kaings are used to gather the harvest.

Caring for the mushroom bed

  1. Keep the bed humid by covering it with plastic or any suitable materials for covering
  2. Due to cover, the bed is kept humid so watering is not necessary upon removal of the covers
  3. Sprinklers may be used in watering.  It should be done in enough amounts; avoid soaking.  Also insufficient water is avoided as it may affect the proper growth of the mushrooms.

From: MARID Agribusiiness Digest, Vol. 23 No. 4, August 2012

Photo: from www.shroomery.org

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