Materials Required

1. Paddy Straw : Fresh golden yellow paddy straw free from moulds and properly stored in a dry place not exposed to rain.
2. Plastic Sheet of 400 gauge thickness : 1 sq. m. of plastic sheet is required for making one block.
3. Wooden Mould : Wooden Mould of 45X30X15 cms size each having no top or bottom but having a separate wooden cover 44X29 cms dimension.
4. Hand Chopper or Chaff cutter for cutting the straw.
5. Drum for boiling straw (minimum two).
6. Jute rope, coconut rope or plastic ropes
7. Gunny bags.
8. Spawn or mushroom culture: which can be obtained from the Office of the Assistant Pathologist, Mushroom Development Center for each block.
9. One sprayer.
10. Straw Storage Shed -10X8m size.

Process: Compost Preparation

Agricultural by products like cereal straw (wheat, barley, paddy, oat and rice), maize stalks, hay, sugarcane bagasse or any other cellulose wastes can be used for compost preparation. Wheat straw should be freshly harvested, shining yellow in colour and should not have been exposed to rains. The straw should be in about 5-8cm long pieces, otherwise heap prepared by long straw would be less compact which may lead to improper fermentation. Conversely; too short straw makes heap too compact to allow enough oxygen to enter the centre of the heap and lead to anaerobic fermentation. Wheat straw or any of the above materials provide cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, which are utilized by the mushroom mycelium as the carbon source. These materials also provide physical structure to the substrate needed to ensure proper aeration during composting for the build up of microflora, which is essential for the fermentation. Rice and barley straw are very soft, degrade very quickly during composting and also absorb more water as compared to wheat straw. While using these substrates, care should, therefore, be taken on the quantity of water to be used, schedule of turnings and adjustment to the rate and type of supplements. Since the byproducts used in composting do not have adequate nitrogen and other components required for the fermentation process, compounding mixture is supplemented with the nitrogen and carbohydrates, to start this process.

Harvesting

Usually 3 to 4 days after opening the bags, mushroom primordia begin to form. Mature mushrooms become ready for harvesting in another 2 to 3 days. An average biological efficiency (fresh weight of mushrooms harvested divided by air-dry substrate weight x 100) can range between 80 to 150% and sometimes even more. To harvest the mushrooms, they are grasped by the stalk and gently twisted and pulled. A knife should not be used. The mushrooms remain fresh for up to 3 to 6 days in a refrigerator/cool place.

Mushroom house / rooms. :Cube preparing Room

An ideal room should have an R.C.C. floor, well ventilated and dried. An R.C.C. platform of 2 cms. height should be constructed inside the room for placing the wooden frame, for making cube and another R.C.C. platform, according to necessity for draining of pasteurized bags of straw. Only those materials needed for cube making are to be kept inside the room. Care should be taken to allow inside the room, only persons preparing the cubes.

The yield of the first flush is more and then gradually decreases, giving a total yield of 1.5 kg to 2 kg of fresh mushroom from one cube. Then the cube is discarded and dump in a pit situated far from the cropping room or can be used as manure in a garden or field.

Precautions

The very first requirement in mushroom growing is sanitation and hygienic conditions. Most of the problems in mushroom growing arise due to improper hygiene

1. The room where mushrooms are to be grown should be thoroughly washed and then whitewashed with lime. The floor should also be limed.
2. The surrounding of the house should be devoid of stagnant drains, shrubs and other weeds as these harbour harmful diseases and insect pests.
3. At the entry of every room, there should be a trough filled with 2% formalin solution, wherein the shoes or feet must be dipped before entering the room.
4. The workers should be clean and preferably wear clean overalls.
5. No trash or surplus straw etc. should be left around the house.
6. In case of contamination, the contaminated block should be remove to a spot well away from the house and buried in a pit or burnt.
7. At the end of every cropping process, the room should be washed again and white- washed and fumigated with formalin.
8. The plastic sheets should be washed thoroughly and then soaked in 2% formalin as a final wash and then dried out, after every lot is removed.
9. Any fallen bits of straw or mushroom should not be left on the floor of the room. Cleaning and cutting off of the base of the mushroom stalk should be done outside the growing room and properly disposed off.
10. Broken pieces of the mushroom stalk, while harvesting, should not be left on the blocks. If the stalk breaks, it should be removed entirely from the bed.
11. Clean straw is important for mushroom growing. While preparing the block, care should be taken that it is properly compressed. The more the compression, the better will be the spawn running.

Objectives

The main focus of the project should be motivation, Training, Information dissemination, Technical and Financial assistance for preparation of culture/spawn cultivation, harvesting, storage, processing, packaging, marketing linkages with farmers to increase employment opportunities and generating income