Apart from being a good source of fiber, minerals and vitamins, mushrooms are a reliable source of income.
Samson Kisekka, the proprietor of Hello Mushrooms, says they can be grown in the tiniest of places. Ensure the corner is cold because mushrooms prefer cold conditions to flourish.
“You can set up a temporary structure from local materials. Shade off sunlight and maximise humidity,” he advises.
The structure should also have partitions and support material to hold the fruiting beds.
What you need
Justus Muhumuza, another mushroom grower says one needs to prepare raw materials and equipment. These include; Plant waste materials such as cotton husks, coffee husks, soybean or bean husks, wood shavings, rice straws and maize cobs among others.
You also need mushroom seeds (spawn), maize bran, agricultural lime, plastic bags and disinfectant. Others requirements include; metallic drum, firewood, fire place and a clean working area.
How to grow mushrooms
Kisekka takes you through the steps;
Soak a bag full of plant waste of your choice for 24hrs.
After draining them from the drum, add 4kgs of plain maize bran and one cup of lime and mix well.
Steam the mixture for 5 -7hrs to kill any possible microbes and when the mixture cools down, break up the seeds and mix together while ensuring maximum hygiene around the working area.
After, pack the waste and seed mixture into appropriate plastic bags of your choice and seal well but leave some breathing space.
Ensure to transfer the packed bags to the dark room to allow seeds to grow from the steamed waste mixture.
After about 21 days, the mixture would have turned white into fully colonised gardens. These are then transferred from the brooder to the growing house with suitable conditions for fruiting.
Muhumuza advises to ensure proper management practices. For example, maintain low temperatures in the growing house with high humidity of about 80%.
Also, keep the room tidy and clean and Irrigate the gardens daily throughout the fruiting phase to ensure maximum productivity.
“Isolate infected gardens or dispose them from the farm,” he cautions adding that, “Avoid using any chemicals around the mushroom room like pesticides, insecticides and strong perfumes. These may affect or kill the mushrooms.”
Kisekka advises to harvest early in the morning before irrigation. Also, store the harvested mushrooms well because they deteriorate fast.
“Keep them in a place with good aeration or in an air-tight sealed bag under refrigeration,” he says. Avoid compacting them to maintain quality and easy marketing.