Mushroom farming is one of the most profitable agri-business that you can start with a low investment and less space. Mushroom farming is growing gradually as an alternative source of income for many people in most countries.
Although there are many varieties of mushrooms, two most common varieties are button mushroom and oyster mushroom. Oyster mushrooms are one of the easiest varieties of mushrooms to grow, they’re delicious to eat & really healthy for you too. Oyster mushrooms are possibly the easiest variety of mushroom to grow.
They are super quick, relatively resistant to competitor organisms and they can grow on a wide range of substrate materials. So for that reason, this tutorial will teach you how to grow oyster mushroom at home.
These re the 12 easy steps for growing oyster mushroom at home:
1: Prepare your substrate. You can use almost anything. Some of the easily available substrates that you can use include groundnut shells, maize cobs, wheat husk, maize or corn husk, rice bran, cotton straw, hardwood Sawdust, banana leaves, tea leaves and dried grass or straw. In this case we will use dried grass.
2: Get an empty plastic storage container then fill it with water. Per every 100 litres of water add 50 to 75grams of hydrated lime or pickling lime. Hydrated lime is harmless to humans but it kills germs and bacteria.
3: Cut your preferred substrate into smaller pieces. If you are using straw then cut to fist size.
4: When you are done preparing your substrate, now put the substrate into the drum where we put water with hydrated lime. Usually straw will float above the water. You can put a dish on top of the straw and put 2 or 3 bricks in the dish. leave it like that for 12 to 24 hours.
5: After 12 to 24 hours, hydrated lime would have destroyed all the germs and bacteria in your substrate. This is where the actual mushroom farming process begins. Start by washing your hands thoroughly. U should also have your hand sanitizer in place as well as your methylated spirit. If you don't have methylated spirit, you can still use hand sanitizer. Also get a plastic bag, which we will use as a column bag. If you plan to do this regularly and for commercial purposes then you can use 20-litre buckets instead of plastic column bags. Just get 12mm to 14mm iron bars, put them on fire until they get hot, then pierce holes throughout the bucket so that mushroom can grow out of the bucket through those holes.
6: Now get a handful of straw or substrate from the storage container and squeeze the substrate to strain as much water from the substrate as possible. Spread the straw in the column bag or bucket, which ever you are using. Repeat this process 4 to 6 more times until you have put some significant amount of substrate in your column bag or bucket. When you are done get some mushroom seed, which we technically call spawn, and sprinkle the spawn on top of the straw.
7: Continue repeating step number 6, thereby creating multiple layers of substrate and mushroom seed (spawn). Upon having 8 to 10 alternating layers of substrate and spawn, start compacting the straw every time you add another layer of straw, so that you can put as much contents in the column bag as possible. When spawning mushroom, you need to practice extreme cleanliness. Avoid touching anything else, or even to scratch your body when spawning mushroom. If ever you touch anything else, then sanitize your hands immediately before proceeding. Its best to even switch off your phone until you are done.
8: When your column bag gets full, tie it with a strong string or twine. If you had used a bucket then simply close the lid. Take a knife, sanitize the knife or use methylated spirit to clean the knife and use it to perforate holes on the sides of the column bag and at the bottom. Do not pierce many holes at this stage, just make a few holes so that oxygen can penetrate into the substrate. Bucket users should omit this step.
9: The bags are then placed in a warm (20-24C/68F-75F) dark room to incubate and begin the first phase of growth. Hang your column bag somewhere in a dark room. If you can't hang the column bag somewhere so that it suspends in the air, then you can simply put it on a clean surface, but first sanitize the surface, and make sure it's a clean surface. You can also put your mushroom column bag in a room you hardly use then cover the window with a dark curtain or a black plastic sheeting.
10: Within 3 to 4 days, the mushroom spawn colonises the substrate. After 7 to 10 days the mushroom starts fruiting. Only 10-14 days are needed for the spawn to grow a full web of root-like threads of mycelium and colonise the growing substrate. Once the growing medium is fully colonised by the spawn, it is time for the mushrooms to start fruiting. Now its time to start watering your mushroom bags, simply spray the bags with water twice or 3 times a day. Again, you want to first thoroughly wash the container you are going to use to spray. This is also time to perforate more holes on your column bag so that your mushroom crops can find somewhere to emerge from.
11: At this stage your mushroom crop will be doubling in size every 24 hours. Continue spraying the bag(s) with water twice or thrice a day for the next 7 or so days.
12: After about 7 days of spraying water on your mushroom crop, you will see some clusters changing from facing downwards to facing upwards. The mushroom's "umbrella-shape" starts disappearing and they begin taking the shape of a dish. When you witness this, it means your mushroom is now ready to harvest and the mushroom crop seizes to double in size every 24 hours as was the case before.
You should expect three or more crops, each taking around a week or so to mature. You may harvest the mushrooms at any size, however, once a mushroom has reached its full size, you will notice it will begin to dry, turning a yellowish colour (they taste great, even dry). When harvesting, remove the mushroom completely, by twisting firmly at its base.