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A Guide to Profitable Mushroom Farming Business

Mushroom farming is unarguably on of the most profitable and promising businesses in the world. Mushroom farming requires little capital to start and little management time.

Mushrooms are fungi that grow and live in organic material. It Is a kind of fungi that grows on the soil or  on the body of its food, usually decaying tree trunks. It is the fleshy part of the fruiting body of a fungus.  Aside from the delicious taste of edible mushrooms, it also has numerous health benefits. 

Mushroom farming involves the breeding of edible mushrooms for sale. 

Benefits of mushroom to mankind. 

  1. Helps in weight reduction 

2. A reasonable amount of vitamins is contained in mushroom 

3. Research currently going on in as a cure to HIV 

4. Helps in the fight against tumor 

All these further shows not just the importance of mushroom but also the importance of Mushroom farming.

Types of Mushroom for Mushroom Farming Buisness

Mycorrhizal: This category of mushrooms are difficult to cultivate because of their nature. Mycorrhizal  mushrooms have a kind of symbiotic relationship with the trees and plants they grow on. That is, the  mushroom and its host derive mutual benefit from each other.

This is so because, the mushroom  weaves its mycelia into the root of the tree or plant. By so doing, it contributes extra moisture and  nutrients to the tree, while getting sugars such as glucose from the plant in return. Examples of  Mycorrhizal mushrooms are Chanterelles, and Porcini. 

Parasitic: The parasitic mushroom’s relationship with its host is one-sided. In that, the host suffers  from infections of the mushroom until it dies. The Honey fungus, Caterpillar and Lion’s mane are all  good examples of parasitic mushrooms. 

Saprotrophic: These are the types of mushrooms that grow on decaying wood, plants and animals.  Saprotrophs contain acids and enzymes that help to decompose or break down dead or decaying tissues  for their absorption. Examples of such type of mushrooms are Oysters, Shiitakes, Morels e.t.c 

Endophytic: What distinguishes the Endophytic mushroom from the Mycorrhizal is the fact that it is  easier to cultivate. It can be grown in the absence of its host. The endophytic mushroom partners with  its host, providing it with nutrients and resistance to pathogens. 

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Picture Credit: Jaap Straydog 

Steps involved in starting mushroom farming Business

Acquiring of suitable land for Mushroom Farming

The first step to start mushroom farming is to get suitable and affordable  land. Once you have secured the piece of land, you will need to build a mud-house and a few wooden  shelves that would maximally utilize the vertical space available. It is essential to make sure the house is  well aerated to allow adequate circulation of air. Get a space for your farm. This space should be large  enough to accommodate your mushrooms if using the wood log medium. For the sawdust medium, you  can use a darkened room with enough ventilation in your house (to save some money) or build a  farmhouse. 

Sorting out for the best seeds to plant

The seeds called spawns must be of good quality. Aim for  quality, not inexpensiveness. Make sure to get your seeds from a reliable source. As earlier said, there 

are various varieties and species of mushroom. Not all mushrooms are edible, some are poisonous, so,  one must identify the edible ones to be planted. Varieties of the edible mushrooms are highlighted  below:  

*Morels (Morchella Esculenta):

Morels is composed of vitamin C and antioxidants, it protects the body  from toxic materials and also protects the liver. 

*Chanterelles (Cantharellus Cibarius):

Rich in vitamin C, D and containing a high amount of potassium,  the chanterelle is commonly grown in Asia, North America and the northern parts of Europe. 

*Shiitake (Letinula Edodes):

The shiitake is a variety of mushroom mostly grown in Asian countries,  especially in Japan where its name originated from. It has been known to reduce tumors. 

*Oysters (Pleurotus Ostreatus):

Oysters are known to have anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial effects. It can  also help in reducing the level of cholesterol in the body. 

After choosing the species you want to grow, you can then go ahead to purchase its spawn. The spawn  of the particular variety of mushroom you wish to grow is the material that carries the mycelium of the  strain of the mushroom pending when it will be cultivated. It could be sawdust, grain or any substance  that can hold the strain of mushroom until it is ready to be cultivated. 

The required medium of substrate to be used for Mushroom Farming:

The first and most important supply you will need to  get is the substrate or straws. The substrate or straws is the material on which mushrooms grow. Get  the medium or substrate needed to grow the mushrooms. Examples of this substrate are sawdust and  straw. Also, mushroom can be cultivated on a log of wood. The substrate must be disinfected to remove  microorganisms which may affect the growth of the mushrooms. 

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How to plant a Mushroom

The first step to planting mushrooms is to chop the straws into short small pieces. The next  step is to wet the straws. Then heat the straws in boiling water, this helps sterilize the straw. Leave to  boil for half an hour and then remove the straws and drain them. Next step, spread them out on a clean  surface and let it cool down. 

Then you pack plastic bags with the straw and spawn(mushroom seedling). Pack two or three inches .of  straw into the plastic bag and lightly sprinkle the spawn on top. Repeat this process until you’ve almost  filled the bag, close the lid and poke holes in the bag. 

Below are necessary steps to take to plant and care for the sawdust substrate in mushroom farming: 

Ensure that the sawdust or straw is free from micro-organisms or anything that may disturb the growth  of the mushrooms. 

Spread your medium into a container that can provide enough room for proper growth of the  mushrooms. 

Mix the mushroom spawn with the medium inside the container. 

The mushroom spawn needs a certain amount of heat to enable its roots settle in the medium.  Therefore, you must heat the container with the mushroom spawn and the medium or place it in direct  sunlight for a while.

After heating the medium and the spawn, the next thing to do is to put the mixture in a dark room. It  could be a cabinet or drawer, but it must be a darkened environment where the temperature is not too  high. 

When you have done all that you need to do. You must leave the mixture in the drawer or cabinet for  about three to four weeks for it to grow. Meanwhile, cover the mixture with soil and continue to spray  with water to keep it damp even as the mushrooms grow. 

But, in the case where a log of wood is been used, make sure the woods are safe for the growth of your  mushrooms. Cut holes into the woods and then introduce the mushroom spawn into the holes in the log  woods. Put the logs under a shade, with continuous spraying of water until the mushrooms start to  develop. 

Whichever medium use in cultivating the mushrooms, necessary measures put in place for it must be  followed to have a bountiful harvest of mushrooms during the harvest. To plant and care for the log medium, below are the steps involved. 

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Make holes into the pieces of wood and place the spawns in these holes. 

Keep the logs under a shade to protect the spawns from direct sunlight. 

Spray the spawns regularly as they grow into mushrooms. 

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Picture Credit: Guido Blokker 

Fruiting stage of a Mushroom

The next stage of your mushroom cultivation is your fruiting room. This takes about  three to four weeks after incubation. Here, you would need a high level of humidity. The temperature  would need to be between 65 to 70 degrees. Unlike the incubation room, and you’ll also need a lot of  natural light for at least 12 hours a day.

This sunlight would help force your mushroom into fruiting.  When the fruits start to show, it is important to move the bags to a cool place for a day, then move the  mushroom back to the fruiting room. Next, you cut away the bag, which allows mushroom growth to  take place. 

Harvesting Your Mushroom Farming Produce

Just before your mushroom caps are fully uncurled, that’s the best time to harvest.  Mushrooms are best harvested with hands. To do so, twist the stem off very close to the growing block  as you can. 

Marketing Your Mushroom Farming Produce

There has been increase in mushroom farming and use of mushrooms, as a significant part of various recipes have drastically increased over the last ten years in Nigeria. Nigerians are beginning to realize the numerous health  benefits of mushroom. This has dramatically improved the demand for mushrooms and this increase in  demand has led to the rise in the importation of mushrooms because of low local production. This has created a large market for almost any amount of available locally grown mushrooms and mushroom farming in Nigeria, making  mushrooms very marketable in Nigeria.

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I am Israel Otoijamun, the Founder of Ofarms.ng. I am a blogger, web and graphics designer, brand manager, product manager and farmer. I have interests in crypto currency, technology, business and agriculture.

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Israel Otoijamun

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