Button Mushroom Farming
Complete Guide for Starting & Operating a Business
There are two groups of mushroom cultivators in India: those who are seasonal cultivators and those who cultivate mushrooms throughout the year. Seasonal cultivation is carried out mainly in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu
In a country like India where most of the population is vegetarian, the importance of mushrooms as a source of nutrition has increased. Mushroom is used here as a vegetable. Mushroom is grown in Kashmir, mountain ranges of Uttar Pradesh, North West mountainous areas, mountainous regions of Tamil Nadu for 2-3 harvests, and in plateau regions of North West only as a winter crop. Cultivation of mushrooms throughout the year is done in many parts of India. Around Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Dehradun, Ooty, Pune, Chennai, and Goa there are export-oriented units that annually produce 200 to 5,000 tons of mushrooms. Commercially three types of mushrooms are cultivated; Button, Oyster, and Paddy Straw Mushrooms. Among these Button, the mushroom is the most favorite. All three type of mushrooms can be cultivated in an airy room or shed very easily.
Information about mushroom cultivation in India:
Mushroom cultivation is prevalent in India for about 200 years. But the commercial cultivation has started only recently. Cultivating mushrooms in a controlled atmosphere is the emerging trend of the present day. Its popularity is increasing and has taken the form of an export-oriented profession. Presently even in states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan mushroom cultivation is done in the winter months; whereas this cultivation was limited to, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir, and some mountainous areas. Mushrooms are the best source of Vitamins, Proteins, and folic acids. It is a good source of iron for weak or anemic people.
For the cultivation of button mushrooms, 22 to 26 degrees C of temperature is needed in the beginning. In this heat, the fungus trap spreads fast. Afterward, 14 to 18 degrees C temperature is suitable for it. In temperatures less than this, the growth of shoots becomes very slow. Temperature less than 18 degrees C is also harmful to the mushrooms.
Compost filling in poly bags or wooden boxes:
For the cultivation of button mushroom, Compost prepared by a special process is needed. Compost is prepared by a simple method or by pasteurization. After the compost is ready, a 6 to 8 inches thick layer of it is spread at the bottom of the wooden box or the racks. If the cultivation of button mushroom is to be done in poly bags, fill the bags with the Compost only after spawning it. Make holes of 2 mm diameter in the poly bags at intervals.
Spawning of button mushrooms:
The seeds of mushrooms are called spawns. The quality of the seeds has a big effect on production. Therefore the seeds must be bought from a reliable seller. The seeds must not be older than one month. Take seeds in a quantity equal to 2 to 2.5 % of the fertilizer's weight. Spread the seeds on the layer of Compost in the wooden box and on that again spread a layer of 2 to 3” of Compost. Again make a layer 2 to 3” thick of Compost on top of this layer and spread the remaining seeds on it. Spread a thin layer of Compost on top of this.
Post spawning care of Button Mushrooms:
Creating a fungus trap:
After spawning keeps the boxes or bags in the mushroom shed. Cover them with newspapers and wet them with water. To maintain required moisture spray water on the floor and walls of the room or shed. At this time, the temperature of the room should be between 22 to 26 degrees C and moisture should be between 80 to 85%. The fungus trap will spread completely on the Compost in the next 15 to 20 days. During these days the mushrooms do not need fresh air. So keep the room closed.
Casing the soil:
Filter decayed dung fertilizer and part soil in equal proportion and mix them properly. Pasteurize 5 % of this mixture with Formalin or steam. Use this soil for the casing. When the fungus trap fully spreads in the Compost spread a 4 to 5 cm thick layer of the soil prepared by the above process on the top of it. After making this layer, maintain the room temperature at 14 to 18 degrees C and moisture between 80 to 85 %. This is the time for mushroom tops to germinate. At this time light and fresh air are needed for growth. So now open the windows and ventilators of the room.
The growing of mushroom tops and its harvesting:
After 30-40 days of seeding the mushrooms and after 15-20 days of putting the casing soil, white tops of mushrooms are seen on the top of Compost which grows into button shape in 4-5 days. When the mushroom top is in a tightened position and its membrane underneath is whole than with a little pressure of the fingers, the mushrooms are pressed and turned to pluck them. Mushrooms can be taken out with the help of a knife cutting through the surface of the Compost. Generally in a crop cycle (6-8weeks) 5-6 harvests of mushrooms can be done.
Production and storage of Button mushrooms:
Normally 8-9 kgs of mushrooms grow in a square meter. From 100 kgs of compost, approximately 12 kgs of mushrooms are easily produced. After plucking the mushrooms wash them in clean water and soak in cold water for about 25-30 minutes. Fresh use of mushrooms is the best but they can be stored in a fridge at about 5 degrees C for 4 -5 days. For local sales, poly bags are used. As there is more demand for whiter mushrooms, they are treated in a solution of potassium Meta bisulfate and sold fresh. Button mushrooms are sold at approximately 120-125 rupees per kg. In marriage and engagement season they are easily sold even at 150 rupees per kg.