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Ashok Kumar’s Guide to Profitable Mushroom Cultivation

Abin Joseph
Abin Joseph
Mushroom
Mushroom

Mushroom farming is one of the only lucrative agribusinesses that can be started with low investment and less space. Hence, it is slowly turning into a side agribusiness that a lot of Indian farmers are indulging in nowadays. Especially in Uttar Pradesh which is the state with the highest yield of mushrooms in India.

So to help our readers to understand the tips and tricks of mushroom cultivation we got Ashok Kumar, a button mushroom producer from Sonipat, Haryana to give our readers a few tips.

There are 3 different types of mushrooms prevalent in the Indian market namely Button mushroom, oyster mushroom & paddy straw mushrooms.

In today's guide we will be solely focusing on the cultivation techniques applied in button mushroom cultivation:

6 Steps of button mushroom farming:

Below we have given step by step process to do mushroom cultivation;

Compost preparation:

Composting in the open is the first stage in growing mushrooms.

On clean, raised concrete platforms, a compost yard for button mushroom growing is prepared.

They should be elevated to prevent additional water from collecting at the heap. Though the composting is done in the open, they should be covered to protect from rainwater.

According to Ashok, “To grow button mushrooms one has to first prepare compost which consists of wheat straw, mustard sticks, gypsum and manure” urea and ammonium phosphate is also used with the fertilizers."

After these components have been blended, they are evenly distributed in the composting yard.

To wet the straws, water is sprayed over the surface. “If there is an excess amount of water in the compost, gypsum (which is hygroscopic) is mixed with the compost to absorb the excess amount of water.” said Ashok

It is stacked and turned in this manner. The temperature of the heap rises as a result of fermentation, and it emits an odor as ammonia escapes. This indicates that the compost has begun to open. Every three days, the mound is turned over and watered. This process of turning is repeated for a month after a month the compost is ready to be used.

Filling the Compost in Trays:

The prepared compost is dark brown in color. When you fill the compost into trays, it should be neither too wet nor too dry. If the compost is dry then spray a few drops of water. If too damp, then let some water evaporate. The size of the trays for spreading the compost could be as per your convenience.

Spawning:

The process of sowing mushroom mycelium into the beds is known as spawning.

According to Ashok “The spawns can be purchased at a low cost from accredited national laboratories.”

Spawning can be accomplished in two ways: sprinkling compost on the tray's bed surface or combining grain spawn with compost before filling the trays. Cover the trays with old newspapers after they've spawned.

To keep the sheet moist and humid, a small amount of water is sprayed over it. Between the top tray and the ceiling, there must be at least 1 metre of headspace.

Casing soil:

This is prepared by mixing decaying cow dung with garden soil that has been coarsely crushed and sieved. The pH should be somewhat alkaline. When the casing soil is ready, it must be sterilized to eliminate pests etc.

Cropping:

The pinheads start to show up after 15 to 20 days in the case. Within 5 to 6 days of reaching this stage, white, tiny buttons begin to appear. When the caps are tight on the short stem, mushrooms are ready to be harvested.

Harvesting:

The cap should be gently twisted off while harvesting.To do so, carefully grasp it between your forefingers, press it against the earth, and then twist it off.Chopping off the base of the stalk where mycelial threads and dirt particles cling should be done.

Pro tip button mushrooms should be stored at a temperature of 18-20 degree celsius or the mushrooms might get spoiled.

For our full length video interview of mr ashok: https://youtu.be/YfEa8FLxjo4

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