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)

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)

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 :
a. J.K.U.AT@600/=kg
b.Biosafe Technologies @500/=per kg
c.Vimpro(vihiga)@350 per kg
d.chiromo campus

d) Supplements: This is additional ingredients used to enrich the substrate to ensure a fertile garden plus increasing mushroom production.

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.

-Banana fiber and leaves.
-Sugarcane bagasse
-Straw:barley,wheat,bean,rice,soya,millet etc.
-Maize cobs.
-Ground nut waste
-Grass chaff
-Saw dust

-polythene bags
-empty gunny bags
-methylated spirit
-cotton wool
-plastic rings
-preparation table(or polythene paper)
-drum or giant sufuria with lid
-weighing scale

2.Soya meal
3.Kupa kula(or animal concentrate)

-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.
3.Competitor mushrooms
4.Co2 accumulation
5.Light deficiency
6.Pesticide effect
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.
-Timely harvesting.
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.

15 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rwamwamba Gladys on November 12, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Thanks very much for this mail which has come after loosing alot of money in planting Oyster Mushrooms and they fail to grow. I live in Kampala Uganda, and my problem is getting good spawn. and also controlling those scariads and phorids. Please I need your advice because I intend to be a very serious farmer. Thank you. Regards Gladys



  2. Posted by Eric Kabete on January 7, 2013 at 8:37 am

    i am a begginer,in mombasa.can you pliz help me with indepth knowledge on how 2 start??


  3. Posted by Douglas Mwaura on January 31, 2013 at 8:29 am

    i am so encouraged by your insight on mushroom farming & want & wish to learn more about this because am intending to start please help


  4. Posted by anne on February 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Hi, this is good information. would like to start this seriously. post more information please.


  5. Posted by Kiddu Abel on April 4, 2013 at 8:59 am

    You can get very good spawn/seeds from African Mushroom Growers. You get free training and visit other farmers who are in the same business. Pleas contact Mr. kiddu on +256 782324041 or email:


  6. Posted by Robert Odak on April 14, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    A very informative post.


  7. Posted by Edith msafiri on April 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    i am soo excited and instrested in growing organic mushroom,kindly assist with training and assistance on how to set based in Nairobi
    thank you


  8. Posted by Nicholas Mbago. on May 14, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Hi, I recently started to deal in oyster mushrooms. I have applied for Kebs permit to sell dried mushrooms but have encountered challenges with regard to yeast and moulds ‘contamination’. Am a bit confused given that mushrooms actually form part of yeasts, moulds and fungi. Can you prescribe for me a Standard that is specific to or includes mushrooms.


  9. Posted by Felix nduta on May 19, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I would like to know more about mushroom farming becouse i intend to start farming.


  10. Posted by Peter on May 22, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Hi, am interested in buying oyster mushrooms ready to consume from a good credible supplier around or near Nairobi. Give me contacts. Peter


    • Posted by NECOFA Kenya on May 22, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Thank you for visiting our blog, on issues related to mushroom please contact 0721930498-John


  11. Posted by peter on June 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you very much for this information which is of great help to us.i would also kindly ask for assistant on that matter(small scale mushroom growing).am a begginer.thanks.


  12. Posted by Ruth on July 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you for good information on this blog. i’ve followed the instruction manual with a little help on a specialist on mushroom farming. now am harvesting in a weeks time. any leads for oyster mushroom will be appreciated. thank you and keep up the good work.


  13. Posted by kabiru on July 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    This is a good blog.I was worried about the cost of spawns/seeds and where to find them.Am in nairobi and will visit the institutions you mentioned for the seeds and training.


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