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Mushrooms production process

Mushroom cultivation can be carried out in areas where the temperature is between 15-30oC and the temperature of Addis Ababa falls in the aforementioned range of temperature.   In addition to this the humidity of the city highly favors the cultivation of mushroom. 

The production process of the commercially important mushrooms is summarized as follows.

1.                  Composting: - Compositing for mushrooms takes 28-30 days.  During this period the compost is turned over 8 times.  Cotton seed and wheat bran will be used to prepare the compost

2.                  Seeding: - seeding the compost with mushroom culture (spawn) is called spawning.  The spawn will be spread on treated compost on wooden racks/boxes.   In general, each rack or box should have 1 m2 size.  The racks will be covered with waste newspaper after sterilizing them in formalin one week before use or steaming for 30 minutes at 20 lbs in an autoclave. Six to seven days after seeding, thread like growth of mushroom mycelium can be seen which covers the whole surface of compost in 12-18 days.

3.                  Casing soil: - After removing the papers, the compost surface is covered with casing soil.  Covering the compost surface with casing soil helps in maintaining moisture gas exchange for growing mushrooms.  Casing soil should be free from diseases and insect pests and its PH should be 7.5-7.8.  The mixture of animal manure (2 years old) and garden soil or spent compost could be used as casing soil.  Casing soil can be treated with formalin.  After making a pile of casing soil and mix it with a 4% solution of formalin and cover it with a polythene sheet.  The sheet will be removed and the soil will be turned everyday for 3-4 days and so that the casing soil becomes free from the odour of formalin.  Casing soil can also be treated with steam at 55oC for 6-8 days.  A 4 cm layer of casing soil should be spread over the compost and then it will be sprayed with a 2% solution of formalin.  The crop room should have a temperature of 15-18oC and relative humidity of 80-85%. Spray water over the casing soil once or twice a day.
4.                  Harvesting: - Mushroom heads start coming after 12-18 days of casing.  The mushrooms will be harvested by twisting them between the fingers.  In order to get better quality mushrooms, the mushrooms should be harvested before their caps start opening.  Mushrooms have a very short shelf-life.  They should be stored without washing in paper envelopes kept in plastic bags to prevent moisture loss and are stored in refrigerators.

Besides these, mushroom cultivation has no negative impact on the environment; rather the spent from the farm can be utilized further for vegetable production.

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