PADDY STRAW MUSHROOM
Paddy straw mushroom, also called Chinese Mushroom (Volvariella spp.) is grown in South-East Asia. This mushroom is dark in colour and is very delicious. It is usually grown in raised beds, which are laid in open, exposed or shady places over which temporary sheds are built to protect the beds from direct sunlight and rain. If the beds are made indoors in a well ventilated room which is not very dark, the production of mushrooms is more steady and reliable.
Spawn of Paddy straw mushroom
Spawn of this mushroom is made on grains of cereals or millets and is called grain spawn. Sometimes it is also made on soaked chopped paddy straw. This spawn is called straw spawn. Spawn may be available locally from the Division of Mycology and Plant Pathology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi-llOO12 at nominal price. Spawn is also available from Plant Pathology or Microbiology Departments of the respective Agricultural Universities. One bottle of spawn is sufficient for one bed.
Substrate or Bedding Material
This mushroom is usually grown in paddy straw. Thoroughly dried and long paddy straw is preferred. The straw is tied in bundles of about 8-10 cm in diameter. The bundles are then cut to a uniform length of about 70-80 cm, and are soaked by immersing them in a tank of water for about 12-16 hours. Later, excess water is allowed to drain off.
Procedure for making the bed:
- Make a 15-20 cm h)gh foundation of soil or bricks. The size of the foundation is slightly larger than that of bed. The foundation must be strong and firm to hold the weight of the bed.
- Make wooden bamboo frame of the size of the bed foundation and place it on top of the raised bed foundation.
- Place four bundles of soaked straw side by side on the wooden/bamboo frame.Over these, place another set of four bundles similarly but the loose ends on the opposite side. These 8 bundles consitute the first layer.
- Scatter grain spawn about 8-12 cm from the edges of the first layer. If straw spawn is used, small pieces of the size of the thumb are planted about 4-6 cm deep and about 10-15 cm apart along the edges. Dust the spawn with powdered gram/arhar dal powder or rice/wheat bran.
- Now place a second layer of eight bundles across the first layer and spawn it as before.
- Again place a third layer of straw bundles across the second layer and spawn it all over the surface.
- Finally cover with a fourth layer of four straw dundles. Press it lightly.
- Completely cover the bed with a transparent plastic sheet, taking care that the plastic sheet is not in contact with the bed.
Care of bed
Remove the transparent plastic sheet after the mycelium has thoroughly permeated the straw. This would take about a week at 35°c. If the surface of the bed gets dry then it should be watered lightly by a sprayer at least once a day.
Mushrooms begin to appear within 10-15 days after the beds are spawned and continue to do so for about a week or 10 days. The total yield of the bed is about 2-2.5 kg. The mushrooms should be picked when the volva (cup like veil) just breaks to expose the mushroom inside. The mushrooms are very delicate and must be consumed fresh. If stored in fridge they can stand for 2-3 days. These mushroo~s can easily be air dried in sun or shade.