Oyster mushrooms are sold for as much as Rs 200 per kg, resulting in profitable businesses for several farmers. How to start growing them? Here are some tips from those who found success.
In contrast to other plants, oyster mushrooms being fungi, thrive in areas where sunlight is minimal.
1. Control the amount of light
Small amounts of light are needed to signal to the mycelium (the root-like structure of the mushroom) that it is time to fruit. But, direct sunlight can often hinder the growth.
Kota-based college student Yashraj Sahu and his friend Rahul Meena used this tip to harvest 1,000 kg of oyster mushrooms.
A temperature of 20 degrees Celsius and humidity of 70 percent is optimal for the fungi.
2. Cool the setup
However, Delhi resident Geeta Arunachalam found a way of growing them in a humid climate in shed walls built out of straw blocks, smeared with a coating of clay and cow dung, and then covered them with burlap sacking.
The wall needs to be regularly sprinkled with water to maintain the ideal humidity level between 50 to 70 percent.
Ernakulam’s Jitu Thomas and his mother run ‘Leena’s Mushroom Farm’ where they grow oyster mushrooms in a 5,000 square feet farm space earning thousands every day.
3. Find a rhythm that works
Jitu cautions, “Consider the first six months as the trial period. Level up only after that when you feel it’s manageable and profitable,” he adds.
While growing oyster mushrooms on a substrate, there’s a high chance that the media could become contaminated with bacteria and other fungi that hinder the mushrooms’ growth.
4. Sterlisation is key
Autoclaving the substrate helps achieve a temperature of 121 degrees Celsius, preventing any unfavourable growth.
Odisha’s Santosh Mishra used the trick of sterilisation to get a harvest of up to 7 kg from one bed.
Gujarat engineer Anjana Gamit, who runs a booming oyster mushroom farm, pitches in on how you can control pests.
5. Beware of contaminants
“To overcome the contamination problem, I use neem oil. And to prevent humidity from spoiling the spawns, I use an extra layer of coverage on the green shade net,” she says.
Anjana further adds that she moistens the curtains and hangs them on all four sides of the shed.