Introduction: Hello polyhouse farmers, we are here with good information of Polyhouse Mushroom farming practices for maximum profits. Mushrooms are a type of fungi and, like many plants, can be grown as food in polyhouses. A mushroom is a type of fungus with the Latin name of Agaricus bisporus. Fungiculture is the cultivation of mushrooms and other types of fungi. Mushroom cultivation in polyhouse is one of the most profitable agribusiness that can be started with minimum investment and space. Mushroom farming in India is increasing steadily as an alternative source of income.
A guide to Polyhouse Mushroom farming for maximum profit
Types of Mushrooms in India
Major types of mushrooms in India are given below;
- Button mushroom,
- Straw mushroom and
- Oyster mushrooms are the three main types of mushrooms in India used for cultivation.
Paddy straw mushrooms can cultivate in temperatures ranging from 35⁰ to 40⁰C. Button mushrooms produce during winter. Oyster mushrooms are developed in the northern plains.
All three types of mushrooms of commercial importance are grown by different techniques. The mushrooms are grown on special beds called compost beds.
Polyhouse conditions for Mushroom farming
Polyhouse farming is a new agricultural technology that reduces dependency on rainfall and makes the best use of land and water resources. A small amount of light will not hurt mushrooms; they are best grown in darkness. To grow mushrooms in a polyhouse, you may need to make a few modifications to a portion of the greenhouse to block out light. You may need to take steps to ensure that the temperature stays fairly stable, somewhere between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the air in the polyhouse moist, and take precautions against strong drafts which can be fatal to develop mushrooms.
Crop specific polyhouse was developed according to the functional condition of the mushroom crop. Its roof was insulated and the walls were ventilated. The details of the structural components of polyhouse for mushroom farming are given below.
Orientation – east-west direction
Roof – Multi-layer roof composed of the iron net (half-inch mesh), polythene sheet (0.025 mm thick), jute sheet (3 mm thick), EPF thermocol sheet (8 mm thick) and UV stabilized polythene sheet (0.4 mm thick).
Floor material – Floor material will be single layer vertical brick. The floor of polyhouse farming should be kept at 1 m deep below ground level.
Door – double door frame was used to prevent the entry of insects and pests into the polyhouse structure.
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Successful mushroom production in polyhouse
Before making to start mushroom farming following factors have to be considered to become successful in mushroom production in polyhouse;
- The mushroom farm must be closer to the house of the farmer for successful participation and monitoring purpose.
- The farm must be from industrial pollutants such as chemical fumes,
- Availability of lots of water in the mushroom farm.
- Easy accessibility to raw materials at competitive prices in the area.
- Availability of power at competitive prices, as electricity is a significant input in mushroom farming.
- Simple access to labor at more affordable prices.
- There should be provision for sewage disposal.
- There must be provision for future growth in the farm.
Growing medium for Mushroom farming in polyhouse
While many edible plants and vegetables can produce in soil, mushrooms require a different kind of growing medium. Mushrooms cultivate best in organic materials that are rich in natural sugars as well as nitrogen. Horse manure mixed with straw makes an excellent growing medium for mushrooms as it is moist and nutrient-rich. It is possible to make your mushroom compost using corn fodder, straw, peat moss, and water. Unless you plan to grow a large number of mushrooms, however, making own growing medium may not be practical.
Process for Mushroom farming in polyhouse
Compost provides nutrients needed for mushrooms to produce. Two types of material are normally used for mushroom compost, the most used and least expensive being wheat straw-bedded horse manure.
Synthetic compost is generally made from hay and crushed corncobs, although the term often refers to any mushroom compost where the prime ingredient is not horse manure. Both types of compost need the addition of nitrogen supplements and a conditioning agent, gypsum.
In a tunnel, the indoor fresh compost is pasteurized at 57 to 60 degrees Celsius. This will kills all possible bacteria. The compost stays in the tunnel to mature for 6 days, after which the compost is mixed with spawn that will produce the mushrooms.
The compost is then moved to another tunnel where the mycelium can spread through the compost. The mycelium grows quickly; after 2 weeks it has completely permeated the compost. At this point, the compost looks like light brown peat.
Most mushroom growers do not produce their spawn, as it is a sophisticated process. The grain is sterilized first to stop the infection and it’s kept moist, exactly the way mushrooms like it.
The matured compost is extending onto long stainless steel boxes, the mushroom beds. The beds are inside special dark rooms called cells and the temperature in the cells is kept nice and warm, at about 23 degrees Celsius. A layer of peat casing material is added on top of the compost to maintain the compost moistly. Over six days, 20 to 25 liters of water is sprinkled on each m2 in each cell because more moisture is required. After this, the fungus has two days to produce through the covering layer of casing soil.
Mushroom initials increase after rhizomorphs have formed in the casing. The initials are small but can be seen as outgrowths on a rhizomorph. Once an initial quadruples in size, the construction is a pin. Pins continue to expand and grow larger through the button period, and ultimately a button enlarges to a mushroom.
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Harvestable mushrooms will appear 18 to 21 days after casing. Pins increase when the carbon dioxide content of room air is lowered to 0.08 percent or lower, depending on the cultivar, by introducing fresh air into the growing room. Outside air has a carbon dioxide content of 0.04 percent.
The timing of fresh air introduction is important and is something learned only through experience. Normally, it is best to ventilate as little as possible until the mycelium has begun to show at the surface of the casing and to stop watering at the time when pin initials are forming. If the carbon dioxide is lowered too early by airing too soon, the mycelium will stop farming through the casing and mushroom initials form below the surface of the casing. As such mushrooms continue to produce; they push through the casing and are dirty at harvest time. Too little moisture can result in mushrooms forming below the surface of the casing. Pinning affects both the potential yield and quality of a crop and is a significant phase in the production cycle.
Caring for Mushrooms in polyhouse
Several weeks after planting the mushroom spawn, the growing area must become covered in a white web of mycelium. To encourage growth during these weeks, raise the temperature in the polyhouse to between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Watering is important during this stage to keep the spawn moist the trays or logs with water twice a day for the best results. Once the mycelium forms drop the temperature range back down to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and cover the trays or logs with a thin layer of garden soil or damp newspaper. After another few weeks, tiny mushroom heads must begin to appear.
Cooling of mushroom polyhouse
Two evaporative cooling systems are fogger and fan-fad, were installed to attain desired temperature and RH conditions inside the polyhouse.
During spawn and case run polyhouse must be closed with no air exchange to achieve desirable CO2 concentration. So, during this period cooling is possible with foggers only. Fan-pad system would reduce CO2 concentration and thus may not be advisable. Six overhead foggers were installed along the ridgeline of the polyhouse.
Fan-pad system was useful during the fruiting period as air exchange is desirable during the fruiting stage.
Cropping the harvested mushrooms
Almost after 35 to 40 days of spawning or after 15 to 20 days of the casing, pinheads of mushroom start to appear. The right time to harvest is just 5 to 6 days later, since if the mushroom matures any more, then the pinhead pops up in an umbrella-like shape and are considered to be of lesser quality. The right process to crop the mushroom is by holding the bulb or the head with forefingers and twisting the mushroom to uproot it from the soil. The soil clinging on to the end stem could be chopped off. Using a sharp sickle to finely cut off the mushrooms from the base of the soil works gracefully.
The advantages of mushroom cultivation are given below;
- Wastes such as cereal straws are largely burnt, which causes air pollution. Though, these raw materials can be used for the cultivation of mushrooms. This type of bioconversion exercise can greatly reduce environmental pollution.
- It will provide the people with an additional vegetable of high quality, and enrich the diet with high-quality proteins, minerals, and vitamins which can be of direct advantage to the human health and fitness. The extractable bioactive compounds from medicinal mushrooms would enhance human’s immune systems and develop their quality of life.
- Mushroom cultivation in polyhouse is a cash crop.
- Some of the warm mushrooms Volvariella volvacea (Straw mushrooms) and Pleurotus Sajor-caju (Oyster mushrooms) are fast-growing organisms. And these can be harvested in 3 – 4 weeks after spawning. It is a short return agricultural business and can be of immediate advantage to the community.
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