This mushroom is simple to grow and has excellent flavour and texture. It is very popular in many countries particularly in South-East Asia, where cultivation of button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) is not possible under natural climatic conditions. Besides its delicious taste, it is known to be very nutritious and is recommended to control obesity and is reported to be beneficial for diabeties. Its low fat content makes it an ideal diet for the blood pressure patients.
Substrate or growing material
It can be cultivated on a wide ranging of cellulosic farm wastes or other materials. Cereal straws, banana pseudostems, waste paper, cotton waste are particularly suitable.However, paddy straw is the most commonly used material.
1.Oyster growing in polythene bags
- Paddy straw is chopped into small pieces 3-5 cm long. It is soaked in water for . about 8 hours, after which water is squeezed out.
- About 200 g grain spawn (half litre bottle) is mixed thoroughly with about 5-6 kg of wet chopped straw (= lY2 kg dry straw).
- A polythene bag 45 cm long and 30 cm diam. is used. It is perforated with 2 mm diam. holes, about 4 cm apart, all over the surface. Spawned straw is filled about 2/3rd of the capacity of the bag and mouth tied.
- The bags containing spawned straw are placed in shelves in the growing room (RH. 80-85% and room temperature 24-26°C).
2.Growing in rectangular blocks
- A wooden tray mould (50 cm x 33 cm x 15 cm) without bottom is required. A one m2 piece of transparent polythene sheet is spread so that it forms the bottom of the tray mould and also lines the sides from inside. The loose edges hang out from the tray mould.
- Fill in the wetted chopped paddy straw (as described for bag method above) to make a 5 cm thick bottom layer. Scatter spawn uniformly. Lay another 5 cm thick layer over the top of bottom layer and spawn it in the same way. Finally, lay the third layer (final layer) over the second and repeat spawning. Spawn is covered with more wetted straw to bring it in level with the top of the mould. Compress it firmly by hands or a board. Two hundred grams (Yz litre bottle) spawn is sufficient for two blocks.
- Fold the loose hanging edges of plastic sheet over the straw block, fasten with a string. Remove the rectangular block from the mold.
- The spawned bags/blocks are placed on shelves in the growing room where RH. is maintained at 80-85 per cent and room temperature is about 24-26°C.
- Spawn run is complete in about 10-12 days and is indicated by white cottony mycelium which permeates throughout the straw. As a result the straw becomes compact and does not split when handled. At this stage, polythene covering is removed by cutting it open in case of bags and by untying the polythene sheet in case of blocks. In case of bags, the straw gets compacted in the form of a cylinder.
- The cylinder/blocks are neatly arranged on shelves and gently watered at least twice a day.
First mushrooms appear about 18-20 days after spawning. Two or three flushes appear at an ,interval of about a week. Dhingri should be harvested when the cap starts becoming folded. Harvesting can be done by cutting with a sharp knife or by twisting it off with fingers from the substrate. Dhiilgri is best consumed fresh. It can be dried in sun or in a mechanical drier, and stored in polythene bags.
About one kg mushroom can be obtained from 1Yz kg dry straw (=5-6 kg wet straw).