Mushrooms are the exposed fleshly fruiting body of some natural fungi which are widely distributed with a wide range of shape, color, and sizes. The plants are very rich in protein, vitamins, essential amino-acids, and carbohydrates. Mushrooms are low in fat and the fiber is starch-free.
Mushroom production is quite different from growing the other existing green plants; this is because it does not contain any chlorophyll and therefore depend on other plants material, the substrate for food.
Growing mushrooms requires a good knowledge and some skill but the benefits far overshadow the efforts involved.
Steps in mushroom production
1. Choosing a growing medium 2.Pasteurizing or sterilizing the medium 3.Seeding the beds with spawn (material from mature mushrooms grown on sterile media 4.Maintaining optimal temperature, moisture, and other conditions for mycelium growth and the conditions that favors fruiting 5.Harvesting, packaging, and selling the mushrooms 6.Clearing the facility and beginning again.
The best mushrooms to be produced
White mushrooms: – like all mushrooms, grow from microscopic spores, not seeds. Spores to be used must be collected in the nearly sterile environment and then used to inoculate grains or mushroom substrate seeds to produce spawn(the spawn is like seed that produce mushroom),because mushrooms have no chlorophyll, they must get all their nutrients from organic matter in their growing medium called substrate usually formulated of various materials such as straws, cotton seed, gypsum, corn cobs, cocoa seed hulls, etc. the substrate is where the mushrooms will fruit and must be sterilized or pasteurized in order to destroy any fungal or bacterial competitors.
Preparation of the substrate takes about 1-2 weeks. The spawn worked into the substrate and the growing take place in specially constructed houses, where heat and humidity can be regulated. In 2-3 weeks, the substrate becomes filled with the root structure of the mushroom called mycelium.At that point, peat moss is spread over the compost the temperature and humidity of the room must be carefully controlled in order for the mycelium to develop fully. Eventually, tiny white protrusions form on the mycelium through peat moss called pinning.The pins continue to grow, becoming the mushroom caps, which are the fruit of the plants. It takes 17-25days to produce mature mushrooms after the peat moss is applied. Sizes are no indication of maturity in mushrooms. Ripe ones vary from small buttons to large caps. Each crop is harvested over a period of several weeks. The harvested mushrooms are set in carts, refrigerators, and then packaged and shipped quickly to food processors, supermarkets, and restaurants. All the process from the time of preparing the substrate till the mushrooms harvested and shipped takes about 3 months.
Oyster mushrooms: – they require more humidity and fresh air than the white variety. They grow well on a range of agricultural and wood waste products including hardwood chips, chopped cereal straws or corn cobs. After the growing medium is pasteurized and cooled, then inoculate, that is mixed with spawn and packed into a plastic bags. Holes are punched in the bags to allow the mycelia to breathe and the bags are hung up or set on racks in the growing rooms. After about 14 days, the mushrooms pop out through the holes and can be harvested.