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Growing Mushrooms – A Beginners Guide

Growing Mushrooms Guide:

Introduction to Growing Mushrooms:- Mushroom is a edible fruiting body of a fungus plant that appears above the ground and consists of spores. This edible portion of fungus plant is reproduced by dispersing spores in the similar kind that other plants disperse seeds. Usually these fungi plants are sustained by “mycelium” (network of fine, microscopic threads) instead of drawing nutrients through the root system. This fungi network can extend to implant into rotting wood, soil, or other medium sources. Commercial cultivation of mushroom can fetch good profits under ideal conditions of plant management . Technically mushroom is a part of plant kingdom. However, it does not have any root system. Mushrooms have to depend  on organic material such as dead wood, animal tissues, and dung for their nutrition. Mushrooms have great economic importance as they are good source of proteins and being used as healthy food. The white button mushroom is popular type grown across the globe. Button mushroom is type to start with for learning and harvesting process. Based on this experience, you can start with other types as well. Some mushrooms are poisonous and care should be taken while growing edible mushrooms. If you are not sure about the mushroom that you are planning for growing, you can find out from horticulture professionals about poisonous mushrooms.

Scientific Name or  Botanical Name of Mushrooms:- The scientific name of the most commonly grown mushroom is “Agaricus bisporus”.

Genus of  Mushrooms:- Agaricus.

Common Names of  Mushroom or Other Country Names:-

  • Afrikaans – sampioen.
  • Dutch – champignon.
  • German – Pilz.
  • Polish – grzyb.
  • Scottish – buachair.
  • Albanian – kërpudhë.
  • Bosnian – Gljive.
  • Cebuano – uhong.
  • Estonian – seen.
  • Greek – Μανιτάρι.
  • Irish – Fungas / muisiriún.
  • Korean – beoseos.
  • Maltese – faqqiegh.
  • Nepali – च्याउ.
  • Portuguese – cogumelo.
  • Spanish – champiñón / hongo.
  • Arabic – فطر
  • Bulgarian – гъба за ядене
  • Chinese – mógū.
  • Filipino – Kabute.
  • Italian – Fungo.
  • Norwegian – Sopper.
  • Thai – เห็ด.
  • Vietnamese – nấm.
  • Burmese – hmou.
  • Croatian – Gljive.
  • Finnish – Sienet.
  • Hebrew – peetreeyot.
  • Japanese – きのこ.
  • Latvian – sēne.
  • Romanian – ciupercă.
  • Sinhalese – බිම්මල්.
  • Cambodian – Pha Seht,
  • Czech – houby.
  • French – champignon.
  • Swedish – champignon.
  • Turkish – mantar.
    Danish – champignon.
  • Georgian – soko.
  • Hungarian – gomba.
  • Taiwanese – hviukof.
  • Sanskrit – chatrākam.

Mushrooms in Indian Languages:-  

  • Telugu – Puttagodugu.
  • Tamil – Kalan.
  • Hindi – Kumbi / Mushroom.
  • Kannada – Aṇabe.
  • Marathi – Masaruma / Kumbh.
  • Malayalam – Kun / Koon / കൂൺ
  • Bengali – Banger chataa.
  • Punjabi – Khubha.
  • Oriya – Chhatu.
  • Kashmiri – Haddur.
  • Konkani – Olmi.

World Top 10 Production Countries in Growing Mushrooms:-

  1. China.
  2. Italy.
  3. Usa.
  4. Netherlands.
  5. Poland.
  6. Spain.
  7. France.
  8. Iran.
  9. Canada.
  10. United Kingdom .

Health Benefits of  Mushroom:- The following are some of the health benefits of  Mushroom.

Health Benefits of Mushrooms.
Health Benefits of Mushrooms.
  • Prevents breast Cancer and prostate cancer.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Good for bone health.
  • Helps patients with anaemia.
  • Helps in maintaining cholesterol levels.
  • Helps in lowering blood pressure.
  • Good source of copper content.
  • Good source of selenium Content.
  • Helps in weight loss management.
  • Helps in nutrient absorption.
  • As mushrooms are low calorie diet, they help in managing the diabetes.

Varieties / Types (Cultivars) of  Mushrooms:- There are many types of mushrooms grown across the globe. However, in these types, there are varieties of both edible and non-edible. The following list is about edible mushroom categories. There are many improved , commercial, hybrid varieties grown in the world. However, you should select suitable high yielding cultivar for your region . You can find out this information from your local department of horticulture.

  • Button Mushrooms (Agaricus).
  • Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotous).
  • Shiitake Mushrooms (Lentinula Edodes).
  • Straw Mushrooms(Volvallella volvacea).
  • Chinese Mushrooms (Ganoderma).
  • Termitomyces Mushrooms.

Terminology Used in Growing Mushrooms:-

  • Substrate: Compost for growing mushrooms (For Example; cotton waste, sugarcane bagasse and leaves, banana fibre and leaves, and dung).
  • Mycelium: This is nothing but vegetative part of fungi and these are like thin spider web-like growths that bear spores and grow through the substrate.
  • Spawn (Mushroom Seed): These are mycelium growing through substrate usually sorghum grains or wheat grains.
  • Inoculation: Introduction of mycelium to spawn to substrate under extreme hygienic conditions.
  • Spawn Run: This describes the initial appearance of mycelium in substrate.
  • Pin heads or Primordium: This indicates the first visible mushrooms in the beginning of its growth.
  • Cluster: It is nothing but many mushrooms growing together from one stem.
  • Fruiting: This term being used when the pin heads start to appear.
  • Fruit body: This indicates the actual mushroom.
  • Run through: It indicates growing substrate with mycelium.
  • Contamination: It indicates the presence green, black and pink moulds, bacteria / viruses and weed mushrooms in the substrate.
  • Culture: This indicates the nutrient materials used for mycelium growth such as organic soils, Vitamins, amino acids, plant growth regulators, complex organic supplements, carbohydrates, water and media matrix.

Agro-Climatic Conditions in Growing Mushrooms:- In some Asia countries,  mushrooms are cultivated seasonally. However, currently innovative agro-technology allows farmers to grow them throughout the year in controlled environments such as polyhouse and greenhouse even in hydroponic farming system. Mushroom crop requires 20°C to 28°C for its growth(spawn run) and 12°C to 18°C for reproductive growth. Apart from this, this crop requires relative humidity of 80 to 90% with good ventilation during its growth period.

Cultivation Technology in Growing Mushrooms:-

The whole process of growing mushroom are  divided into the following categories (steps):

  1. Spawn production.
  2. Compost preparation.
  3. Spawning.
  4. Spawn running.
  5. Casing.
  6. Fruiting.

Let us discuss the each step in-detail.

Spawn Production in Growing Mushrooms:- Well, spawn is usually produced from fruiting culture / stocks of selected strains of mushrooms under sterile conditions. You can obtain stock culture from genuine sources or it can be produced in lab. You must consider the spawn with good quality in terms of flavour, texture and size. Other points to consider higher yields, longer shelf life and commercial value.

Compost preparation in Growing Mushrooms:- The substrate on which mushroom grows is mainly prepared from a mixture of plant wastes, water ,salts and supplements. For producing 1 kg of mushroom, it requires 220 to 230 grams of dry substrate materials. It is recommended  to have 6.7 kg of nitrogen, 2.0 kg of phosphate and 5.0 kg of potassium (N:P:K-33:10:25) in 1 ton compost. This would be converted into 1.98% of N, 0.62% of P and 1.5% of K on a dry weight basis. There are 2 types of compost preparation methods.

  1. Short Method of Composting in Growing Mushrooms:
  • First phase: During this phase of preparation, paddy straw should be placed in layers and enough water should be added to the stack along with required fertilizers, wheat bran, molasses etc.. The entire materials should be mixed thoroughly with the straw and should be made into a stack with 5 ft height, 5 ft wide and of any length with the help of wooden boards. The stack should be turned and again watered on the 2nd day. On the 4th day the stack should again be turned for the second time by adding gypsum and water. The 3rd and final turning should be given on the 12th day when the colour of the compost changes into dark brown and it starts emitting a strong smell of ammonia.
  • Second phase: This is the pasteurization phase and in this process, the compost is prepared as a result of microbe mediated fermentation process to kill undesirable microbes and competitors and to convert ammonia into microbial protein. The whole process should be carried out inside a steaming room where an air temperature of 60°C is maintained for 4 hours. The final compost processed should be granular in structure with 70% of moisture content and pH of 7.5. This final compost should have a dark brown colour, sweet smell and should be free from ammonia, insects and nematodes. After completion of the process, the substrate should be cooled down to 25°C.
  1. Long Method of Composting in Growing Mushrooms: This method is usually practiced in areas where facilities for steam pasteurization is not available. In this process, the 1st turning should be given about 6 days after preparing the substrate for composting. The 2nd turning should be given on the 10th day followed by 3rd one on the 13th day when gypsum is added. The 4th, 5th and 6th turnings should be given on the 16th, 19th and 22nd day. On the 25th day the seventh turning should be given by adding 10% BHC and the 8th turning should be given on the 28th day after which it should be analysed for any smell of ammonia present in the compost. The compost should be ready for spawning only if it doesn’t have any smell of ammonia; otherwise a few more turnings should be recommended at an interval of 3 days till there is no smell of ammonia.

Spawning in Growing Mushrooms:- The below methods are followed for spawning process.

  • Spot Spawning in Growing Mushrooms: In this methods, lumps of spawn should be planted in 5 cm deep holes made in the compost at a distance of 20 cm to 25 cm. The holes should be covered with compost.
  • Surface Spawning in Growing Mushrooms: In this method, the spawn should be evenly spread in the top layer of the compost and then should be mixed to a depth of 3 cm to 5 cm. The top portion should be covered with a thin layer of compost.
  • Layer Spawning in Growing Mushrooms: In this methods, 3 to 4 layers of spawn should be mixed with compost and later it should be covered with a thin layer of compost.

The spawn should be mixed through the whole mass of compost @  500 to 750 grams/ 100 kg of compost (which is about 0.5 to 0.75%).

Spawn Running in Growing Mushrooms:- After the completion of spawning process, the compost should be filled in polythene bags of 90 cm x 90 cm size and 150 gauge thickness and with a capacity of 20 to 25 kg/bag / trays(like wooden trays of 1 meter x 1/2 meter accommodating 20 to 30 kg of compost / shelves. These should be covered with a newspaper or polythene. The fungal bodies should grow out from the spawn and take about 2 weeks to colonise. The temperature maintained in cropping room should ne 23 to 25°C. Avoid high temperatures as it can be detrimental for growth of the spawn and any temperature below specified may result in slower spawn run. Maintain the relative humidity around 90% and a higher than normal CO2 concentration should be beneficial in this process.

Casing in Growing Mushrooms:- The compost beds (after complete spawn run) should be covered with a soil about 3 to 4 cm (casing) to induce fruiting. The casing material should have high porosity, good water holding capacity and the pH should range between 7.0 to 7.5. Peat moss is the best casing material used. Apart from this, decomposed cow dung and loam soil (1:1), garden loam soil and sand (4:1) sand and lime may be used as casing material.

The casing soil should be either steam sterilized or pasteurized at 66°C to 70°C for 8 hours, treated with formaldehyde (2%),  and bavistin of 75 ppm. This treatment should be done at least 2 weeks before the material is ready for casing. Once the casing is done, the temperature of the room should be again maintained at 23°C to 28°C and 90% of relative humidity for another 9-10 days. Usually, low ‘CO2’ concentration is favorable for reproductive growth at this stage.

Fruiting in Growing Mushrooms:- Under ideal growing conditions, the fruit body initials which appear in the form of pin heads start growing and gradually develop into matured button stage in case of button mushrooms.

Pests and Diseases in Growing Mushrooms:- The insect pests mostly observed in growing mushroom are mites, nematodes, and springtails.

The common diseases found in growing mushroom are Dry Bubble (brown spot), Wet Bubble (White Mould), Cobweb, Green Mould, False truffle disease, Olive green mould, Brown plaster mould and Bacterial blotch. For the symptoms and control measures of these pests and diseases, you must seek profession help from your department of horticulture. Never experiment with any kind of pesticides or fertilizers without contacting the local professionals.

Harvesting in Growing Mushroom:- Harvesting should be done button or matured stage where in caps measuring 2.5 cm – 4 cm across and closed. The first mushroom crop appears about 3 weeks after casing. Mushrooms should be harvested by light twisting without disturbing the casing soil. After completion of harvesting, the gaps in the beds should be filled with fresh sterilized casing material and then water the beds.

Yield in Growing Mushroom:- Yield of mushrooms depends on many factors such as variety, compost preparation method, horticulture practices.

On an average, one can obtain about 12 to 15 kg of fresh mushrooms/100 kg of fresh compost in 2 months crop. You can obtain higher yields of 15 to 20 kg/ 100 kg of fresh compost using short method for compost preparation.

Bottom Line in Growing Mushrooms:- If proper care is taken, you can get excellent profits. For better understanding, you can get training in any horticulture department or department of  agriculture. You can also watch YouTube videos for gaining some knowledge in growing mushrooms. In some markets you can buy mushroom growing kits, which can be very useful for beginners.

For Goat Farming: Read here.


  1. Hello, I’m moving to Jakarta, Indonesia. I’m trying to find a source of information for growing mushrooms specifically in Indonesia. I’m interested in finding people who are willing to share information. Can you help?
    Thank you


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