Everything you need to know about growing mushrooms

Mushrooms are highly valued mushrooms for their excellent flavor and versatility when it comes to making many healthy dishes. It is also loved for its high protein and mineral content.

The mushroom is a heterotrophic fungus, that is, it obtains nutrients from the soil since it does not carry out photosynthesis. As it does not have chlorophyll, it cannot carry out photosynthesis. There are numerous species of mushrooms and many delicious dishes that can be prepared with them. Do you want to know how to grow mushrooms and what dishes you can make?

Index

  • 1 Varieties of mushrooms
  • 2 How does the mushroom reproduce?
  • 3 Mushroom cultivation
  • 4 Diseases and pests that attack mushrooms
  • 5 Main dishes with mushrooms

varieties of mushrooms

natural mushrooms

Its scientific name is Agaricus bisporus and it comes from the basidiomycetes division. Besides, it also has other common names such as Paris mushroom or portobello . There are varieties of this species, the most common are Agaricus bisporus var. albidus , we also have  Agaricus bisporus var. avellaneus and that of Agaricus bisporus var. bisporus.

Mushrooms were very useful during the world wars, since they need darkness to grow and it was precisely in the shelters that it was quite dark. Its reproduction is relatively easy and due to its high content of minerals and proteins it became quite famous and widespread throughout the world.

Two main varieties of mushroom are distinguished. The first is the wild , which is born by itself in nature. It is white in color and sometimes has scales in the central part of the hat. We can find them in meadows where there is a certain level of darkness or shade, and they also need an abundance of organic matter in the form of manure. On the other hand, we have the cultivated mushroom, whose hat is covered by brownish scales.

Thanks to the almost non-existent care that the mushroom requires and the small space it needs to reproduce, it is not a bad idea to carry out our own harvest of mushrooms in our home garden.

How does the mushroom reproduce?

Reproduction of mushrooms

The Paris mushroom or Portobello is a type of mushroom that reproduces through the mycelium. The mycelium is the fungal nutrition mechanism that is made up of a set of filaments. The fertile part of the mushroom is the so-called hymenium . The hymenium is formed by plates that are located in the lower part of the hat. It contains spores through which, once cultivated, the new mushrooms will emerge.

When the mushrooms are collected in the field, baskets with nets are used so that, as they are collected and walked along the paths, the adhered remains are released and the mycelium unfolds. In this way, the mycelium spreads again on the ground and will serve for the production of subsequent crops.

mushroom cultivation

growing mushrooms at home

When we grow the mushroom we need to do it in dark places, such as caves, cellars, cellars, etc. Bags or drawers that have been built for this function can also be used. Some suitable measurements of the drawers can be half a meter wide, a quarter meter high and another quarter deep.

To use as a substrate for the mushrooms, we will use a mixture that we will place in the drawers and that we will arrange in layers. The substrate will be composed of:

  • The first layer to be placed at the bottom of the drawer that will be based on a third of straw. You can also serve wheat, barley or oatmeal.
  • A second layer that has another third of peat moss mixed with some sawdust . Peat is wet soil rich in organic matter.
  • The third layer is the one that covers the rest and is placed with well-shredded manure . In this way, we will be able to adapt the cultivation of the mushroom rich in organic matter and darkness so that it grows easily.

Once we have placed all the substrate in the boxes, we have to put the mycelium and crumble it on the layer of manure. The manure we use for mushrooms can also be horse manure. Once we have spread the mycelium, we cover everything again with a little peat and water, avoiding excess moisture. We have to take into account that being in dark places, the rate of water evaporation is much lower , so we have to control the amount we water well. To properly control the amount that we water, it is much better to use a watering can and not to water with a jet.

I have already mentioned it several times, but it never hurts to remember it. Light kills mushrooms . If we want to grow them, it has to be in a dark environment. We also have to use a place (as we said before, a cellar, a basement, etc.) that has a minimum of humidity. The humidity should be around 80%. To control the levels of environmental humidity we can use a hygrometer. On the other hand, it is also necessary that the room or place where the mushrooms are grown has good ventilation. The temperature at which they must be cannot exceed 30 degrees.

To collect the mushrooms we must wait about seven weeks from when we cultivate it. They must be collected every three days and before the ring that the mushroom has next to the cap cracks. It must be taken into account that both to cultivate them and to collect them, it has to be in the dark. When extracting them, a turn of the screw has to be made and they are also stored in the dark.

Diseases and pests that attack mushrooms

mushrooms with diseases and pests

Mushrooms can also be attacked by certain pests and diseases. The most frequent are some mites, some nematodes and various insects. Among the most frequent pests we find the whitish spider that causes irregular cavities in the foot and hat.

We also have the plague of the blonde spider that forms unfolding in the roots of the mushroom. These pests can be combated with acaricides such as dicofol, tetradifon, fenson, sulfotep, diazinon, etc.

Mosquitoes also form pests that spoil the mycelium of the fungus. They can cause cavities and tunnels in the foot and cap of mushrooms. In order to treat this, diazinon, malathion, lindane, chlorfenvinphos, etc. must be used. In addition to a good disinfection of the substrate.

As for the beetles, they can produce small holes on the hat. They should also be treated with lindane and malathion.

The most damaging pest that can attack mushrooms are nematodes , since they completely destroy the mycelium of the fungus. To know that your mushroom crop is infested with nematodes, you can recognize them by looking at the manure, which takes on a reddish color and when you touch it, it gives the sensation of touching a soapy paste. To eliminate this plague, the substrate must be sterilized together with the use of nematicides and the control of the environmental conditions of the crop.

Now we turn to talk about the diseases that affect mushrooms. The most serious of these is gout. It is a disease caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas toolasi Planie . When the mushroom suffers from this type of disease, it presents yellow spots on the cap, with a sticky appearance and in the form of droplets. To avoid this type of pest, it is necessary to treat the preparation of the manure and the substrate very well, since that is where, due to poor ventilation or excessive irrigation, this disease can occur. In order to combat it, it must be irrigated with water in which 250 grams of lime chloride have been dissolved for every 100 litres.

This bacterium also causes an effect called mummification. This consists of a series of swellings of the foot of the fungus that form a premature opening of the caps. To avoid this, the same as before is recommended, with an exhaustive control of the land in which it is planted.

Mushrooms can also be attacked by fungus. The best known is the fungus Verticillium malthoussei. To recognize it, you only have to look at the appearance of deformations in the mushroom and the appearance of a pinkish-white mold that causes rotting and a very unpleasant smell. We avoid the appearance of these fungi by not using previously used soil, disinfecting the soil with formaldehyde, water vapor, zineb or mancozeb mixtures, with benomyl, iprodione, etc.

Main dishes with mushrooms

stuffed mushrooms

Speaking a little about gastronomy, we can say that there are numerous delicious dishes that are made with mushrooms. Among them are cream of mushrooms, garlic mushrooms, mushrooms in sauce, etc. In short, a series of famous and very tasty dishes that we can cook. If we grow our own garden with mushrooms at home, it will be much more satisfying than buying them in the supermarket.

One of the dishes much enjoyed by people are stuffed mushrooms. It consists of using mushrooms, onion, cooked ham, cheese and seasoning (salt, pepper, oil, etc.) and filling the mushrooms with the ingredients. To prepare the ingredients we make a small sauce with a little pepper, onion and cooked ham. Once the sofrito has been introduced into the mushrooms, they are baked for a while until the cheese gratins.

As you can see, mushrooms are quite easy both to grow and to cook and they make quite delicious dishes. We only have to take into account some guidelines when cultivating and treating them. Sufficient darkness and humidity, not too hot, avoid pests and diseases, always taking care of the place where they are planted and harvest them seven weeks after growing them. Once we get our own mushrooms and cook them, it will be much more satisfying and delicious.

Everything you need to know about growing mushrooms

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