Mushroom farming in Nigeria is a very lucrative business; this article contains a comprehensive guide on what is needed, and how to get started as a beginner.
A mushroom is a form of fungi that grows on the soil or on the body of decaying tree trunks. There are edible and inedible mushrooms.
Mushroom farming is the practice of growing mushrooms on a large scale for commercial purposes.
The steps involved in mushroom farming include the following: making the compost, finishing the compost, spawning, casing, pinning, and cropping.
Making the Compost
This process is carried out in an enclosed structure. It usually lasts from 7 days to 14 days. This depends on the nature of the starting composting material and the feature at each turn.
It is frequently followed by a putrefying odor of ammonia followed by a moldy and pleasant smell.
Finishing The Compost
This stage is carried out to kill pest fungi, insects, nematodes, and other pests that may be living in the compost. This is done through the process of pasteurization.
It is as well carried out to get rid of all forms of ammonia produced during the first stage of making the compost.
This phase involves the introduction of the compost with introduced with mushroom spawn for the mushroom to grow.
Mushrooms are made up of microscopic spores inside the cap through which it grows.
The spawning process would run for 14 to 21 days, and the moment the compost has fully grown with the spawn, the next phase is then carried out.
The casing is a type of dressing that is applied to the top of the spawned compost, which the mushrooms ultimately form on.
The pinning occurs when the mushroom starts to form after the rhizomorphs have developed in the casing. As soon as the first growth reaches roughly four times its size, it becomes a pin and can be harvested around 18 days to 21 days after casing.
This is the harvesting period. It can be done for 3 days to 5 days repetitively. This cycle goes on till all the mushroom has been harvested around 35 days to 42 days or occasionally for 60 days.
Types of Mushroom
There are four types of mushrooms. These include the following:
1. Saprotrophic mushroom
These types of mushrooms grow on putrefying wood, plants, and animals. Saprotrophs are made up of acids and enzymes that assist in the decomposition of dead organic matter to enrich themselves. Examples of saprotrophs are Oysters, Shiitakes, Morels, and so on.
2. Mycorrhizal mushroom
This type of mushroom has a symbiotic relationship with the trees they grow on and are difficult to grow. Examples are Chanterelles, Porcini, and many more.
3. Endophytic mushroom
This type of mushroom is related to the mycorrhizal mushroom, but the only difference is that they are much easier to grow. They can be cultivated outside the natural host.
They provide the host with nutrients and resistance to pathogens while the host supplies them with support and nutrient.
4. Parasitic mushroom
The parasitic mushroom has a one-sided relationship with its host. It infests the host and kills it. Examples of this type of mushroom are the Honey fungus; Caterpillar and Lion’s mane are all good examples of parasitic mushrooms.
For mushroom farming to be successful, you must choose the best species that is commonly consumed in your locality.
Edible mushroom for Mushroom Farming in Nigeria
For mushroom farming, use the edible form of mushroom. Examples of edible mushrooms you can grow on your farm include the following:
1. Chanterelles (Cantharellus Cibarius)
This type of mushroom has a large quantity of vitamin C, D, and potassium. It is mostly grown in Asia, North America, and northern Europe.
2. Shiitake (Letinula Edodes)
Shiitake (Letinula Edodes) is mainly grown in Asia, particularly in Japan. It is used as a remedy for tumors.
3. Morels (Morchella Esculenta)
Morels have good contents of vitamin C and antioxidants, which help it to protect the body from poisonous materials. It protects the liver.
4. Psychedelic Mushrooms
These types of mushrooms are referred to as magic mushrooms and shrooms. They are mainly used in the production of leisure drugs and are dark-spored mushroom that is made up of gills.
They grow in meadows and woods of the subtropics and tropics normally in soils with rich humus content and plant debris. They grow in all continents but thrive most in humid subtropical forests.
Mushroom species that thrives best on wooden logs or sawdust are:
- Laetiporus Sulphureus
- Hericium Erinaceus
- Pholiota Nameko
Mushroom species that can be grown on manure, compost, straw, or a mixture of the environment are:
- Agaricus Campestris
- Macrolepiota Procera
- Coprinus Comatus
- Lentinus Edodes
- Agaricus Bisporus
- Lepista Nuda
- Stropharia Rugoso-annulata
How To Grow Mushrooms
There are basically 2 different mediums for growing mushrooms. You can grow mushrooms on sawdust (straw), or you can choose to cultivate it on logwood.
If you decide to grow mushrooms on sawdust, follow the steps below:
- Make sure the straw or sawdust is totally free from any kind of micro-organisms or any other thing that may disturb the healthy growth of the mushrooms.
- Spread your medium into a big container that can provide adequate room for the proper growth of your mushrooms.
- Mix up the mushroom spawn with the medium inside the container.
- The mushroom spawn needs a particular amount of heat that enables its roots to settle in the medium. Thus, you must heat the container with the mushroom spawn and the medium or place it under direct sunlight for a little while.
- Put the mixture in a dark room, this could be a drawer or cabinet, but it must be a darkened environment where the temperature is not much high.
- Finally, You must leave the mixture in the cabinet or drawer for between 3 to 4 weeks for it to grow. Make sure that you cover the mixture with soil and continue to spray water to keep it damp even as the mushroom continues to grow.
Health Benefits of Mushroom
Mushroom has a lot of health benefits that should never be ignored.
- Weight loss, remedy for tumors,
- Good source of vitamin,
- Fighting infections in diabetic patients,
- Regulation of the levels of blood cholesterol,
- Prevention of breast and prostate cancer,
- Boosting bone health and improving the immune system,
- Regulation of blood pressure,
- Stimulation of iron absorption and a lot more.
Mushrooms mainly grow in a moist or damp environment and have to be grown under shade to shield them from the effect of sun and wind. It requires oxygen to survive.
Mushroom farming is an excellent agro-business to invest in, especially if you want to invest in agricultural production that has great export potential. It has a great market both internationally and within the local environment.
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