Most of us love to eat Mushrooms. It is also very nutritious. Moreover, the mushroom is quite easy to grow. No land or soil is required. You can easily grow them and start a mushroom farm at home.
The mushroom becomes ready to harvest within 6 weeks. As a result, your mushroom farm at home can fetch your income within just a few days. Before starting mushroom farming, you must have a good idea of how to grow the mushroom step by step.
Is Mushroom Farming at Home Profitable?
Mushroom farming is indeed one of the most profitable home-based farm businesses. Below we have listed some of the main reasons:
- Mushrooms need a very small space to grow. It can be as small as your 10 sq. m room.
- You do not need much money to start a mushroom farm.
- Mushrooms grow very quickly and give you a return.
- Freshly grown mushrooms have good local demand.
- Growing mushrooms is a simple process and does not need any high-end technology.
Once you start a home-based farm, you have to follow the steps and maintain the conditions with the utmost care. This will make your initiative of mushroom farming at home successful and profitable.
Now let us discuss the steps you should follow in starting a mushroom farm at home.
Here are the 10 Steps to Start a Mushroom Farm
1. Learn the Skills of Growing Mushrooms
It is advisable to learn the different aspects of farming mushrooms before actually jumping into the business. Learn more about mushroom varieties, cultivation techniques, and market demand. In addition, gather knowledge about the requirements for growing mushrooms. It includes ideal growing conditions, substrate preparation, and harvesting methods.
2. Get Trained
If you want, you can go for formal training in mushroom farming and have practical experience. If you don’t have the time to attend classes, there are plenty of books and online tutorials, and presentations on step-by-step mushroom farming. They are also quite helpful.
3. Choose your Mushroom type
Some of the common and popular mushrooms are Oyster Mushrooms, Shiitake Mushrooms, Button Mushrooms, etc. But for beginners, the best choice is Oyster Mushroom, since it grows fast and does not need much special care. Moreover, the demand for Oyster mushrooms is gradually growing.
4. Build the Mushroom Farm House
For running a mushroom farm at home, you need to select a clean dry room. Identify a suitable area in your home to grow mushrooms. It can be the basement, garage, or unused room. that can be converted into a mushroom growing space. An area of 100 sq. ft. to 200 sq. ft area is sufficient. It has to be clean, well-ventilated, have access to clean water, and with facilities for using electricity.
In home-based mushroom farms, you can grow mushrooms in plastic bags or wooden trays. In the case of plastic bags, you can hang them from stands attached to hooks. If you are growing mushrooms on trays, then you can place them on racks. This method will make space for a number of trays placed on top of each other.
If you have two rooms, then you can use separate rooms for incubation and fruiting. Otherwise, you have to change the temperature and humidity conditions at the time of fruiting.
5. Things You Need for Mushroom Farming
For your mushroom farming at home, you need the following things:
Substrate: Just as plants grow on soils, mushrooms grow on the substrate. It is the medium of growth of mushrooms. There are many kinds of substrates used in mushroom cultivation.
Rice or wheat straw sawdust, wood chips, coffee pulps, logs, etc. Among them, straws are most easily available and you get them free or at a minimal cost. So, you can go for straw.
Spawn: To explain in simple words, the spawn is the base that produces mushrooms. It can be compared to seeds, from which plants grow. Though, the composition of the spawn is different.
You can also make spawn yourself. But when you are going for mushroom farming at home, go for readymade spawns. Buy them from reliable local sources.
Containers: If you want to cultivate in plastic bags, then you would need such bags, but non-toxic of course. Otherwise, you need wooden trays or buckets.
Stands or holders: For plastic bags, you need a stand to hang them properly. For, trays, it will be better if you place them on racks having three or four tiers.
Sprayers: You need sprayers to spray mist or water, in order to keep the mushrooms moist.
Temperature Control Gadgets: Temperature is an important factor in the growth of mushrooms. So, to keep the temperature favorable, you need to have a ceiling fan, heater, humidifier, or dehumidifier as per your need. You can also use wet rugs to keep the room moist.
Cartons for Packing Mushrooms: After harvesting the mushrooms, you need clean and sterilized cartons to keep the mushrooms and carry them to the markets.
Plucker or Small Knives: You have to cut Mushrooms very carefully to keep their bloom and shape intact. So, you may need some equipment for this.
6. Evaluate the Cost of Growing Mushrooms at Home
The cost of growing mushrooms depends on the variety and production capacity. Below we provide you with a cost calculation for farming Oyster mushrooms.
In a 500 sq. ft. room, you can produce 12,000 pounds of oyster mushrooms annually. The substrate will cost you minimal. The spores will cost around 20$. The plastic bags, trays, racks cartons will add up to 400 $. If you need a heater, humidifier, or dehumidifier, it will cost you up to 200$.
7. The Climatic Conditions for Growing Mushroom
Just like crops need certain conditions for their growth, mushrooms also need certain conditions for quick and healthy growth.
During the growing stage of a mushroom or the incubation stage, it needs a temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius. No natural light is allowed. You have to keep the bags or trays in a closed dark room for the mushrooms to grow.
In the fruiting stage, you have to allow natural light for the bags. The temperature has to be between 20-25 degrees Celsius. A lot of moisture is also needed, keeping the humidity at 80-90%.
8. Mushroom Production Process
Now let us see the mushroom farming process step by step:
- You have to sterilize the substrate. In the case of straws, cut them into small pieces, boil them for 30 minutes and then strain them and make them cool.
- Arrange the spawns on the substrate. First, put a layer of substrate and then spread spawn on them. Then again substrate and spawn on it. Repeat the process till the plastic bag or tray is full.
- In the case of a plastic bag, make some pores on the surface, once it is filled. This will help in the full growth of the mushroom.
- After you can see small mushrooms starting to bloom, you have to make the necessary arrangements for fruiting./li>
- Adjust the temperature, keep the mushroom bags or trays in natural light for 12 hours a day, and keep the room moist.
- After some time, you will see the mushrooms fully grown. Now it is the harvesting time. The entire process takes 6 weeks.
- After harvest, pack the mushrooms properly and arrange for quick delivery to the selling point. Remember, mushrooms are highly perishable.
Suggested Read: How To Start an Ornamental Fish Farming Business
9. Where to sell your Mushrooms
Fresh mushrooms have high demand in local markets. You can also sell them to individual customers nearby. The neighboring hotels and restaurants are also good customers for you as fresh mushrooms will be good value additions to their menu.
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10. How to Make Your Mushroom Farm More Profitable?
In order to make your mushroom farming at home more profitable, you can follow certain steps. Firstly, make your farm popular through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. You can also go to your own website.
If you have space, you can open a small eatery with your mushroom farming center, serving different kinds of mushroom dishes. You can also offer home delivery of fresh mushrooms or catering services for mushroom dishes.
You can also go for drying or processing mushrooms so that they last longer and you have time to sell them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Things to Remember When Farming Mushrooms From Home?
Keep your farming room very clean Wash your hands before you touch the mushroom spawn, bags, or tray.
Sterilize the room regularly and also check them daily to prevent the attack of any pests in the enclosed room. If you find pests in any of the mushrooms, remove them immediately to check the spread of pests.
Then apply pesticides, obtained from registered chemists, and carefully learn the dosage. Mushroom farming at home is an easy method to earn money. Before starting, you have to do thorough market research to know the demand locally.
How Much Can I Earn from Mushroom Farming?
The wholesale rate of Oyster Mushrooms is between 6$-8$ per pound. So, if you can grow, 12,000 pounds in a year, you can easily calculate your income from your mushroom farming at home.
If you can afford more space, or build up a separate farming center, your income will obviously be higher. But that will increase some costs also. Anyway, profits will be higher.
How Long Does it Take to Harvest Mushrooms?
The harvesting time for mushrooms varies depending on the variety and growing conditions. However, on average, it takes around 2-4 weeks from the initial spawn inoculation to the first harvest.
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