Mushrooms

The Most Commonly Grown Mushroom is Agaricus bisporis is the most commonly grown commercial mushroom.
This is what is most often sold in supermarkets across Europe, America, Australia, etc; and what we would normally buy or grow in a "Mushroom Growing Kit".
Other types of mushrooms have been commonly cultivated or collected and used for culinary, or even medicinal purposes in some countries for centuries.
Though some of these other varieties are growing in popularity across even countries like Australia and the UK; Agaricus bisporus still remains the most widely identified and cultivated edible mushroom.
For a brief outline of what's involved in growing and using Agaricus bisporus, read the extract from our principal's vegetable book that follows.



For the serious Mushroom Grower ACS offer a Distance Education Course on Mushroom Growing

  • 100 hours
  • Covers a wide range of commercially cultivated mushrooms
  • Appropriate for both amateur growers and more serious individuals
  • A good starting point for commercial growers.

>>> for details click here >>>

Available for study either

  • Using printed notes -traditional Distance Education
  • On CD (With or without tuition -discounted fee options)
  • Online



Extract from John Mason's book
Growing and Using Vegetables  
published by Simon & Schuster:

"Mushrooms aren't actually plants - they do not belong to the plant or animal kingdom. The true mushroom which we buy in the shops is a fungi called Agaricus bisporus. Other mushrooms now available include Shiitake, Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) and the Winter Mushroom (Flammulina velutipes).

Growing Conditions: Mushrooms can be grown outside providing they receive a constant temperature of between 15 and 21°C. More usually they are usually grown indoors or under houses where even temperatures can be maintained. They are grown in rich, moist compost, usually containing well-rotted animal manure. They require a pH between 7.5 and 8.5 - lime is normally added to the compost to reduce its acidity.

Culture: There are four stages in the growing of mushrooms:

1. Preparation. Spawn can be purchased in sealed containers, or if you buy a pre-packaged mushroom kit, the spawn may already be planted in the compost. A container (such as a foam box or plastic bag) is filled with compost.

2. Planting (i.e. Spawning). The spawn is removed from the sealed jar and broken up into 1 cm diameter pieces. Plant the spawn about 2 cm deep and 25 cm apart. Keep moist, but not saturated. Light is not needed, but cool, dry, draught-free conditions are if production is to be good. The ideal temperature during this stage is between 22 and 25°C. High humidity is also preferable at this stage. If temperatures are lower, growth will be slower. Because of these requirements, mushrooms are frequently grown in a shed, or under the house. Growing trays are sometimes stacked on shelves to save space.

3. Casing. Casing involves covering the compost with a layer of soil. The time of casing varies. It might be only a couple of days after planting, or several weeks after planting. Temperatures at this stage are best to be a little lower than at the spawning stage, preferably around 15°C. Fresh air and evenness of temperature and humidity are important.

4. Harvest. The first mushrooms should be ready to harvest between 6 and 10 weeks after planting. The crop appears in flushes. Normally a flush will be harvested over 3 to 4 days. The bed is then left a couple of weeks, and a second flush will appear. Flushes may continue for months, or taper off within weeks depending on conditions. Mushrooms develop rapidly once they appear. They must be picked quickly to avoid deterioration.

Pest and Disease: Mites, flies, fungal and disease problems can occur but are relatively rare if the growing area is kept clean and environmental conditions are right.

Use: Mushrooms are used raw or cooked in a wide range of dishes. The common mushroom can be harvested as buttons, cups (partially opened) or flats (fully opened). Flats have the best flavour, although buttons are preferred by most people. Mushrooms will normally keep for up to 7 days stored in a paper bag in the bottom of a refrigerator."

Buy the Book from our bookshop: www.acsbookshop.com

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OTHER TYPES OF MUSHROOMS

(Extract from course notes Mushroom Growing Course.... click for full details on course content and enrolment)

Pleurotus

There are 39 species of the genus Pleurotus.

Pleurotus ostreatus, known as the "Oyster Mushroom", is the most commonly grown. A variety from Florida in the USA is the one normally grown commercially. A major problem with cultivation is a virus disease which can be spread through the spores. For this reason it is important to harvest fruiting bodies before the spores drop. It may be grown on logs or straw blocks in walls or beds.

Pleurotus eryngii occurs widely in Southern Europe (even to Hungary), through northern Africa and central Asia. It is harvested in the wild in Spain, Morocco and other places, and may have commercial potential. It has a superior taste to Pleurotus ostreatus, but is more susceptible to disease.

Pleurotus cornucopiae has also been cultivated, but the extent of commercial potential may yet need testing. It grows on wood from Ulmus, Fagus or Quercus.

Pleurotus sajor-caju has been cultivated in India on straw and on banana stems. It needs temperatures around 25 degrees C or a little higher for optimum growth

Factors that can affect the fruiting body development of Pleurotus include:

  • Substrate (ie. growing media) -components, nitrogen content, pH, preparation method, lignin
  • Physical Characteristics -water, warmth, drainage, air content and exchange
  • Biochemistry -stages of decomposition, levels of appropriate nutrients
  • Climatic Factors -air & substrate temperature, amount of temperature fluctuation, air composition (oxygen, carbon dioxide), Humidity in air & substrate, Light (intensity, wavelength, duration of light & dark)

The optimum temperature for growth of Pleurotus can vary between species, though most grow fastest between 15 and 20 degrees C.

Research has determined that for most Pleurotus species, pH of the substrate (growing media) can be significant, and an optimum pH might be between 5.5 and 6.5 for most.

Stropharia rugosa annulata

Grown on beds of compost. Fruiting bodies emerge similar to Agaricus, white, with caps changing to yellow or brown as they mature and grow to 5 to 40cm diameter. The stalk is white to cream and the gills are grey at first changing to bluish black.

A simple, inexpensive to grow mushroom grown commercially in Germany. In central Europe beds are prepared from late autumn to early summer. Semi sheltered warm locations protected from wind, are ideal: but constant shade hinders production of the mushroom.

Adding straw, rotted manures or other organic material to beds will improve results, but using nitrogenous fertilizers can actually deter development of mycelium. During preparation, soil is normally sterilized to kill pest & disease organisms.

Soil temperatures of 25 degrees C or a little higher are ideal for mycelium growth in a bed. Beds may be covered with a cold frame or be indoors to achieve this. This mushroom is sensitive to temperature fluctuation at any stage, but particularly during the formation of the mushrooms.

Appropriate moisture levels need to be maintained throughout the cultivation of a crop.