Mushroom: This is a fruiting body of a fungi which is non-photosynthesis thus feeds on organic matter and plant organism. The fungus includes moulds, yeast, toadstools and mushroom.
They are characterized by sudden and rapid growth hence require a balanced and supplemented carrier material(substrate)to ensure optimum production within its life span.
Mushroom are of different varies which include edible and non-edible ones. Some of the common varieties grown in Kenya include:
Oyster Mushroom (plerotus)
Button Mushroom (Agricus)
Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes)
Chinese Mushroom (Ganoderma)
Advantages of growing mushroom over other cash crops:
1. Demand for less Acreage
2. Fast growing (duration between planting and harvesting is only 28-35 days)
3. Use of agricultural waste, as growing media e.g. sugarcane, banana, leaves, fibres, maize stovers, bean trash, wheat straw etc.
4. No fertilizers or chemicals used, thus contributing to less input.
5. Growing media (substrate)could be used in the farm as soil conditioner after harvesting period(compost)
TERMINOLOGIES USED IN MUSHROOM GROWING
1. Substrate-carrier material used in growing mushroom
2. Spawn-mushroom ”seed”
3. Mycellium-This fiber- like ”roots” that grow through the substrate.
4. Pin-heads-The first signs of sprouting mushrooms.
5. Fruiting-process of mushroom development(growth)
6. Fruiting body-The actual mushroom.
7. Cluster- several mushrooms growing together sometimes from the same stem.
8. Colonization-Growing of mycelium through the substrate.
9. Contamination-infection of other unwanted organism e.g. green mould, black mould etc.
10. Dark room-Room with total darkness where spawns are put for the first 14-21 days for the mycelium to colonize (incubation)
REQUIREMENTS TO START A MUSHROOM PROJECT
a) Growing shed(house)-the structure should not be complex, it could be made simply from locally available materials, provided it meets the required conditions to favor mushroom growing e.g. (i)Lighting
NB: Growing shed (house) should include preparation room, dark room(incubator)and finally the production room to allow the farmer have a continuous crop.
b)planting materials (substrate)This refers to the carrier materials which include ,bean trash, maize stalks, wheat snow, sugar cane etc. depending on the locality of the farmer. The planting materials should make a good combination so as to give a balance3d nutrient supply to the mushroom.e.g bean trash-protein and nitrogen, wheat straw and banana fibers(starch)
(c)Spawn (mushroom ”seed”)
This could be obtained from different institutions recommended for high quality spawn production. Some of these institutions where farmers can source (get spawn include :
b.Biosafe Technologies @500/=per kg
c.Vimpro(vihiga)@350 per kg
d) Supplements: This is additional ingredients used to enrich the substrate to ensure a fertile garden plus increasing mushroom production.
OYSTER MUSHROOM GROWING
Oyster mushroom resembles oyster hence its name. It has a funnel like shape, greyish,white in colour.Oyster mushroom is the most common, which most small scale farmers are growing due to some positive factors:
i)It grows on a wide range of substrates .
ii)Easy adaptable and can withstand a wide range of temperatures ranging between 15-32 degrees Celsius.
iii) High nutritional value e.gproteins ,fats, vitamins and minerals.
iv) Oyster mushroom are palatable due to their unique taste, texture, and flavour, hence a wide market.
v)Has medicinal value, thus manage several diseases. Some of the diseases suppressed by oyster include, cancer, diabetes,heart and coronary disease etc.
NB: Mushroom is referred to as healthy food due to high content of linoleic acids and antioxidants which helps to boost the body immune system hence suppressing diseases.
MUSHROOM(OYSTER)GROWING MATERIALS (SUBSTRATES)
-Banana fiber and leaves.
-Ground nut waste
-empty gunny bags
-preparation table(or polythene paper)
-drum or giant sufuria with lid
3.Kupa kula(or animal concentrate)
PRACTICAL ASPECT:SUBSTRATE STERILIZATION PROCESS
-First select your working area which should have controlled air/current flow, the air movement should be limited
-Weight the required amount using the weighing scale.
-spread the substrate on the preparation table (polythene paper)add 1%lime 1%supplement(soya meal, molasses or kupa kula)and mix thoroughly.
-Sprinkle water but not in excess. Apply the squeeze test(very little drops, when the substrate is squeezed)then know it is ready for use.
-Fill the substrate into polybags and tie tightly using sisal twine.
-Put a wooden rack on the bottom of the drum with a height of about 30cm.
-Fill the drum with water to the height of the rack.
-Pack the ply bags with the substrate inside.
-Put the lid on the drum and steam for not less than 3 hours by heating.
-Allow the steam to escape via a small hole on the lid.
-Take care not to boil away all the water in the drum.
-Remove the poly bags after 3 hours and store overnight.
-Sterilize the table (preparation)or the polythene paper with methylated spirit.
-Untie the substrate and spread on the paper or table.
-Spawn application should be done on top of the substrate.
-Close the poly bags using plastic rings then plug with sterilized cotton wool.
-Now, you have already planted gardens ready to be taken to the dark room for incubation.
-incubation period is 14-21 days and ensure that the temperatures does not exceed 28 degrees Celsius .
-After full colonization of the the substrate, transfer the planted gardens to the growing room.
-Make sure humidity is maintained, which should not be less than 90%.use a spray pump.
-After 6-7 days, pin heads will start to appear, make holes on the gardens for the mushrooms to sprout out.
-Maintain humidity level to 80% don’t let the substrate to dry.
-Within 2-4 days mushrooms will be ready for harvesting.
-Ensure to harvest before they are fully grown.
-Continue spraying and the cycle will repeat itself (4-5)times of flushes.
NB:The number of flushes will depend on the amount of nutrients in the substrate.
1kg of dry substrate when wet is approximately 3.14kg.That is (DM)=3.14kg(W.W.)
2kg spawn is supposed to plant 15kg (dry matter)therefore converted into wet weight; it will be (15×3.14) which is around 50kg(WW)thus 1kg can plant 25kg(ww)substrate.
CHALLENGES FACING MUSHROOM FARMERS (DISEASES AND COMPETITORS)
7.Trichoderma (infectious fungi)
-Maintaining high levels of hygiene
-Proper substrate sterilization
-Spore filters in inoculation rooms
This is scariads and phorids ,which are attracted by mycelium scent
solutions:-using wire mesh on windows
-using sticky traps
-using organic pesticides e.g. (flower Ds 0.4%)which is pyrethrum based.
TERMITES AND SNAILS
Control:>use of oil on timber works
>for snails use of ash is recommended(pour ash around the growing room)
Use water tunnels around the house to discourage rats.
Mushroom can be dried and grinded to powder form.
The powder is packed into air tight containers to improve shelf life.
Forming a marketing Association.
-Fresh-slice mushroom to thin pieces including the stem(which is rich in fiber)
-Fry your onion, tomatoes and other additives if any and then add the mushroom.
-Keep stirring till all water evaporates, add salt and keep stirring to avoid sticking to the cooking vessels
>If you need soup, do not add water, instead add milk.
>Serve the mushroom with ugali,rice or chapatti once ready.
>Powder-Add to porridge, milk, or hot water and drink.
For more information contact John-0721930498.