Are you facing loss due to diseased and delayed mushrooms? Want to earn more in less time? Want healthier mushrooms? The answer to all these questions is Hydroponic Mushrooms!
Yes, you can grow your mushrooms hydroponically using growing media and nutrient solutions instead of soil based and compost based substrate that is used conventionally.
There are a plenty of reasons why hydroponically grown mushrooms are in trend, to name some are, it takes less time to grow and mature than usual, rich in nutrients, less prone to soil borne diseases and so on.
Mushroom Industry Overview
Mushroom farming is the best option whenever someone wants to start an agri-business with low investment and space. Mushroom farming has been in trend and proved to be successful business for many.
Some of the mushroom farms which have successfully established their roots in mushroom farming are mentioned below:
|S.No.||Name of Farm||Place||Source of information|
|1.||Philips Mushroom Farm||Kennet Square, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.||DCED, Pa|
|2.||Greenwood Farm||Millville, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.||Forbes|
|3.||Ellijay Mushrooms||Georgia, U.S.A.||Ellijay Mushrooms|
|4.||R&R Cultivation||Minnesota, U.S.A.||R&R Cultivation|
|5.||Cascadia Mushrooms||Bellingham, Washington, U.S.A.||Starter Story|
Importance of mushroom farming
Mushroom farming in is gradually increasing as an alternative source of income for many people as it requires less space and low investment. Cultivation of mushrooms not only acts as an extra income source but also it serves the purpose of:
- Recycling of farm residues
- Creates self employment opportunities
- Innovative food products
- Medicinal use and more
The demand for mushrooms has increased as mushroom is highly nutritious because it contains handsome amount of protein, majority of the minerals and vitamins along with most of the essential amino acids, like leucine, valine, tryptophan, lysine, theonine and methionine.
Importance of hydroponics
In hydroponic farming, plants are grown in nutrient solution and are completely soil-less. Being soil-less makes the plants free from soil borne diseases and produce healthier and nutritious crop. Hydroponic crops are easy to manage and more profitable. This system of farming is a wise choice for developing countries where food safety is a major concern.
Some of the merits of hydroponics over conventional farming are:
- Excellent yield
- Herbicide and pesticide free
- Less water consumption
- Lower contamination
- Adaptable to adverse conditions
Steps to Hydroponics Mushroom Farming
1. Hydroponic Mushroom Growing Set-Up
A hydroponic mushroom growing setup should contain a tank filled with growing media and nutrients along with this there must be an air pump for proper aeration. The setup should be installed in a dark place.
2. Selection of Mushroom Suitable for Hydroponic Farming
Some of the mushrooms suitable for growing in a hydroponic system are button, cinnamon cap, oyster, shiitake, nameko and enoki.
3. Nutrient Solution For Hydroponic Mushroom
A mixture of unbleached flour along with perlite and vermiculite is best nutrient for mushrooms grown in hydroponic system. The ratio of vermiculite to perlite in mixture is roughly 1:1.
4. Climatic Requirements for Hydroponic Mushroom Farming
Temperature should be 24-27OC for germination and 27-29OC for growth. The humidity should be maintained at 90% for best results. Mushrooms grow well in cold water and one can harvest a plenty amount of crop in very less time.
The best way of harvesting the mushrooms is to gently hold the caps with forefingers and lightly twist them off. The mycelia threads and nutrient residues from the base of the stalk must be chopped off.
Methods of Growing Mushrooms Hydroponically
There are two methods of growing mushrooms hydroponically
- Populating a growing medium with spores
- Using a mushroom growing kit
Populating a Growing Medium with Spores
First of all the mycelium has to be grown carefully, from which the fungi will grow. To grow the mycelium one can use a purchased mushroom culture or cereal seeds coated with mushroom spores. These cultures or seeds are kept in a petri dish in a dark place.
The thread like mycelium will grow out of this. Mycelium, in the initial stages is susceptible to bacteria therefore the environment should be sterilized properly. The mycelium is then transferred to the growing media and after a few weeks fungus starts to develop and your mushrooms are ready to be harvested.
Using a mushroom growing kit
A mushroom growing kit can be easily purchased from a local gardening supply store. The mushroom blocks or cakes are to be kept in a container containing cold water. It should be completely immersed in the water; water should cover the top of the block completely.
Let the block soak in water for 4-6 hours to make it completely saturated. The container should be kept in a cool and dark place. The mushrooms are ready to be harvested in 3-5 days.
A single block can be reused multiple times until it gives off no more mushrooms. A block can be reused after every week. Once the block is completely out of nutrients it will no longer produce any mushrooms and then it can be decomposed off into compost for gardening purpose.
Merits of Hydroponic Mushrooms farming over the conventional mushroom cultivation
There are multiple reasons as to why hydroponic mushroom farming is better than the conventional cultivation. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Efficient and less use of water
- Hydroponic mushrooms are of high quality
- Preparation and sterilization of soil is eliminated
- Higher and faster yield in smaller place and low investments
- Cost of pesticides are eliminated as the environment is controlled
- Improved taste and quality
- Chemical free product
Hearing about growing mushrooms hydroponically might surprise many because everyone is quite familiar with the cultivation of plants using hydroponic systems.
Hydroponic mushroom cultivation might seem a bit difficult to carryout but once you get familiar with it, it can earn you double your profit in half the time, with higher quality mushrooms.
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