Mushroom cultivation is increasingly becoming popular because it not only meets the dietry requirements but also adds to the income, especially of growers with insufficient land. It is considered to be a very rewarding and fascinating hobby for the retired persons as well as house-wives who can grow mushrooms in small boxes or other containers while attending to household chores. Today, mushroom cultivation facesless difficulties provided the grower will follow simple rules of growing.
It is really amazing that a small quantity of spawn when planted in suitable growing medium can, within almost six weeks, grow into a highly profitable crop inside a room, where no other crop would grow. Moreover, mushrooms have more uses in modern culinary cuisine than any other food crop. Mushroom cultivation is carried out indoor in any room, shed, basement, garage, etc. which should be well ventilated. However, paddy straw mushroom can be grown outside in shady places also.
Of the many mushrooms only three kinds namely button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), straw mushroom (Voluariella uoluacea) and oyster mushroom (Pleurotus sajor-caju) are suitable for cultivation in India.
Button mushroom is grown in winter. The most suitable temperature for the spread of the mycelium is 24-25°C, while 16-18°C is essential for the formation of fruit bodies.Higher temperature is harmful and low temperature retards the development of both mushroom mycelium and fruit bodies.
Paddy straw mushroom can be grown around 35°C. Temperature should not go below 30°C or above 40°C for more than 4-8 hours during growing period. In northern India it can be grown from April to September but the most suitable period is from middle of June to middle of September.
Dhingri (oyster mushroom) grows best between 22-28°c. It is grown in northern plains from October to March.