Growing mushrooms – Chido’s workshop         (Notes from June 30 – July 2, 2010)         The basic idea is to turn waste i...
3.     Producing SeedsIn most settings, buying seeds from a professional producer is the fastest method.But if seed produc...
4.        Conditions in the Mushroom HouseConditions for cultivation of mushrooms are simple:             No direct sunlig...
6.     InoculationSubstrate and seed are mixed into small bags (best is thin, transparent plastic) atapproximately one qua...
growth (imagine a forest after it rained and the sun comes out again: they grow a lotthen).The bags are carried into the g...
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Chidos open source workshop notes

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The basic idea is to turn waste into food – since even the poor have organic waste in
abundance. Growing mushrooms has the potential for the poor, especially female
orphans, to escape their situation of abuse, find meaning and build self-esteem.

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Chidos open source workshop notes

  1. 1. Growing mushrooms – Chido’s workshop (Notes from June 30 – July 2, 2010) The basic idea is to turn waste into food – since even the poor have organic waste in abundance. Growing mushrooms has the potential for the poor, especially female orphans, to escape their situation of abuse, find meaning and build self-esteem. 1. What is a mushroom? A mushroom is the fruiting body of the mycelium. Different mushrooms grow in different environments 2. Why mushrooms? Because they are very healthy (high in protein, contain vitamins and minerals), many are good for medical use (i.e. for treating TB), they are good for your immune system (in case of HIV, cancer) and contain antioxidants. Mushrooms are also good for the environment: they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of soil, recycling carbon, nitrogen and even diesel oil. Cultivated mushrooms and types of mushrooms • Advantages: cultivation allows you to choose when you want them • Mushrooms grow on almost everything that is agricultural waste, cellulose is needed for the cultivation but they also grow on cow dung • The choice of mushroom depends which need you need you are serving ◦ Oyster is the easiest and fastest to grow (only 3-4 weeks before first harvest) ◦ Shitake: grows on hard woods, but also on coffee and other material (6 to 12 weeks before harvest) Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) King Oyster (Pleurotus eryngii) Golden or Lemon Oyster (Pleurotus citrinopileatus)Shiitake (Lentinula Chanterelle Reishiedodes) (Cantharellus cibarius) (Ganoderma lucidum)All pictures © Wikipedia © 2010 ZERI Germany e.V.
  2. 2. 3. Producing SeedsIn most settings, buying seeds from a professional producer is the fastest method.But if seed production is wanted or necessary, there are two different techniques:1) Spore culture2) Tissue cultureBoth require an absolutely sterile environment (usually a laboratory)!Spore culture: collecting the “dust”Look for mature (3-5 days old) mushrooms that have begun opening at the top. Cutoff the top and set it on a piece of paper. The spores then fall onto the paper (called a“print”) and canbe collected.Tissue cultureThese seeds are made from a young (2-3 days), fresh mushroom with the stembeing the best part. In order to get the speciment, open the stem in the middle andcut a small piece from there. It has to be from the inner part of the mushroombecause the outer part was exposed to the environment and thus contamination.Each piece (or a few of the collected spores) is then placed in a petridish with PDA(potatoe dextrose agar). Within 3-4 days the mycelium should begin growing: afterapproximately 2 weeks, the entire petridish should be white. This is called the“mother culture”. At this point, the mother culture can be dried or put in the fridge forlater use.In the next step, grain is introduced. The grain (wheat, barley, sorghum, spelt, rice ormillet) is watered over night and then decontaminated in an autoclave. This is filledinto sterilized 1 liter bottles with a little piece of the mother culture (ca. 20 perpetridish). The bottles are not closed entirely because oxygen is vital in the process.This subculture one is finished when the mycelium has colonized the grain and theentire bottle is white. This subculture can again be multiplied at one spoon per bottle(subculture 2), and once more to receive subculture 3.Do not create more than subculture 3 if you intend to sell the seeds, because theythis would mean a loss of quality for the seeds; anything beyond subculture 3 canonly be used for fruitification.When producing seeds for yourself (not for selling), a simpler method is possible:Put any kind of organic material (cardboard, cotton shirt, coffee waste…) in a small (1liter) bag (either paper or plastic). Add bits of mushroom tissue throughout and thenclose the bag. The seeds that you will get will not be entirely sterile, but stronger thanthe ones created under sterile conditions! © 2010 ZERI Germany e.V.
  3. 3. 4. Conditions in the Mushroom HouseConditions for cultivation of mushrooms are simple: No direct sunlight No blowing wind but fresh air circulation; a place where you would feel comfortable yourself Dark; very dark during the incubation; in the fruitification phase there should be a bit more light so that you can read a newspaper HumidityNeeded: 3 rooms (should have concrete floor and be very clean)incubation room: 18-28° C (10-31° possible, but no t ideal)fruitification/ growing room 10-27° Cworking room (where the substrate is prepared and the bags are packed)When buying the seeds: ask the providers at what temperature the seeds were madeand what temperature they would recommend for incubation and fruitification.5. Substrate preparationMushrooms are a mould; they have to be introduced immediately to the substrateThe size of the substrate is decisive: the smaller the better, all pieces should be 4cmand below; thus coffee grounds are very suitable.The smaller the substrate, the fewer empty spaces/air. With too many empty spaces,the mushrooms cannot grow properly in the bag, it is also easier to absorb morewater when there are less spaces.The quality of the substrate is very important. In order to remove contamination fromthe substrate, there are 2 techniques:1) boiling (less preferred by Chido) or2) soaking in water overnight and steaming the next daySteaming and boiling also makes the “food” for the seeds in the substrate moreaccessible (breaks open the molecules).Coffee grounds as a substrate are already clean as boiling water passed through inthe coffee shop. Only import is to check the humidity – ideal are approx. 50-60%.Test: if you squeeze the coffee in your hand, no drops should come out.Use the coffee grounds straight away! You can also keep it in a cool place for up to 2days, otherwise it might be contaminated (then it has to be steamed to clean it).For steaming, put some bricks in a large pot or oil drum, add a few centimeters ofwater and then put a bag or large linen on top. Add the substrate and then boil thewater for about 2 hours (lid closed at all times). Wait for the substrate to cool beforeinoculation!If only a little dirt is to be washed out of the substrate, cold water can be used as well(not as effective). © 2010 ZERI Germany e.V.
  4. 4. 6. InoculationSubstrate and seed are mixed into small bags (best is thin, transparent plastic) atapproximately one quantity of seed to 20 quantities of substrate. Both layering aswell as mixing through and through are possible.The bags should be filled in portions, pressed down to squeeze out any air, until theyare very full. Ideally, substrate makes up the top layer to protect the seed fromcontamination.Knotting the top of the bag should leave a little hole are the top for air to circulate.Experts can prepare around 100 bags per day.7. IncubationIncubation is when the mycelium is colonising the substrate; this process is completewhen the whole bag is white. For oyster mushrooms, this takes about 3-4 weeks,shiitake may take 6-12 weeks to colonize the substrate.During this time, the bags are left to sit in the room. Check every day for signs ofcontamination (e.g. green or orange moulds) – separate contaminated bags from thehealthy ones and keep them under observation.Causes of contamination: – seed (low quality) – conditions of the incubation room – method of preparing the substrateIf you see a need for adding extra nutrients: mix brown sugar with flour and inject itinto the bag.Once the mushrooms begin growing, you have to water every day. Thus, if planningto leave for a weekend, possibly open the bag and add some new substrate in thecenter, giving the mycelium “more to do”. Alternatively, if you need to slow down thegrowing process, wait until the incubation stage is finished, then put the bags into afridge (5-7 degrees).Once the mycelium has grown throughout the substrate and the bag is all white,fruitification will start.8. FruitificationOnce the bags have grown entirely white, fruitification begins.Mycelium needs to be “shocked” to begin producing mushrooms. In the case ofoysters, normal watering is usually enough. Shiitake have to be soaked in water forseveral hours to begin this phase. Both causes a change in temperature, boosting © 2010 ZERI Germany e.V.
  5. 5. growth (imagine a forest after it rained and the sun comes out again: they grow a lotthen).The bags are carried into the growing room, the top is opened and water is sprayedon with a hose. (Never add any water during the incubation.) From now on, water thebags every day!If the bags are too dry, put them into water for a few hours and they will take as muchwater as they need! The top part of the bag should never go dry.A few days later mushrooms start popping out. Sometimes this happens naturally,without human intervention – in this case, one needs to begin watering immediatelybecause otherwise the bag will dehydrate.Important: No direct sunlight!If the mushrooms develop brown spots, this is a sign of either too much wind or toomuch light.9. HarvestThe best time for harvesting is in the morning. Water the bags AFTER the harvest, asthe mushrooms would soak up too mush water, losing quality.Keep the floor clean at any time! Make sure that after watering, all surplus water isswept away to avoid slimy moulds from growing all over the floor.When harvesting, take EVERYTHING of the mushroom out. In other words, do notcut the mushroom stem, leaving a piece behind (it will begin fouling after a few days)– but also do not take out chunks of substrate (creating holes that will fill with waterand then also begin fouling).When harvesting, always start with the good bags and then do the bad bags.Mushrooms keep for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. If you have excess production and wantto dry the mushrooms, do it in the shade. No additional heat is needed, just free aircirculation.10. Links and literatureOur seeds were bought via the internet on www.shii-take.deChido recommends the author Paul Stamets (e.g. Growing Gourmet and MedicinalMushrooms; Mushroom Cultivator: A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms atHome; Mycelium Running) – available on Amazon.Feel free to share your experiences and interact with all participants through themushroom-growing forum on www.community.blueeconomy.de. © 2010 ZERI Germany e.V.

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