Cultivation of Milky Mushroom – Bed Preparation
The cultivation of milky mushroom is usually carried out in transparent polythene covers. The size of the cover should be 60 x 30 cm, with a thickness of 80 gauge.
- Wash hands thoroughly with antiseptic lotion.
- Take the polythene cover and tie the bottom end wit a thread and turn it inwards.
- Mix the dried straw thoroughly to get a uniform moisture level in all areas.
- Take out well-grown bed spawn, squeeze thoroughly and divide into two halves.
(Two beds are prepared from the single spawn bag)
- Fill the straw to a height of 3” in the bottom of polythene bag, take a handful of spawn and sprinkle over the straw layer , concentrating more on the edges.
- Fill the second layer of the straw to a height of 5” and spawn it as above.
- Repeat this process to get five straw layers with spawns.
- Gently press the bed and tie it tightly with a thread.
- Put 6 ventilation holes randomly for ventilation as well as to remove excess moisture present inside the bed.
- Arrange the beds in side the thatched shed, (Spawn running room) following Rack
system of hanging system.
- Maintain the temperature of 22-25° C and relative humidity of 85-90 % inside the shed.
- Observe the beds daily for contamination, if any. The contaminated beds should be removed and destroyed.
- Similarly, observe regularly for the infestation of insect pests viz., flies, beetles, mites etc., If noticed, the pesticide like Malathion should be sprayed in side the shed @ 1 ml per litre of water.
- The fully spawn run beds can be shifted to blue coloured tent after casing for
initiation of buttons.
Precautions to be observed
i) Keep the spawn running room dark so that spawn running will be faster.
ii) Periodically place Rat-baiting to kill rats as they are attracted by the spawn.
iii) Periodically sprinkle water on sand layer to maintain the required conditions.
iv) Never spray any insecticides on the mushroom beds.
Milky Mushroom - Casing and Cropping
In the case of milky mushroom, an extra process called casing has to be done to induce button formation. After casing operation the beds should be arranged inside the Blue polythene covered pit tent for the growth of the mushroom. The fungus requires an optimum temperature of 30-35° C and relative humidity of 80-85 per cent for the better growth and production of sporocarp. In addition, the fungus needs a light intensity of 2500- 3000-lux for production of buttons, and the cased beds should be kept inside the blue tent.
Casing nothing but application of thin layer of sterilized soil on the surface of mushroom bed to induce buttons formation. For casing, garden land soil rich in calcium is preferable. Instead of that soil and river sand , mixed in equal proportion can also be used. Sometimes the soil is mixed with Calcium carbonate @ 100 g/ kg and used as a casing medium. The soil used for casing process should be free of stones and stubble and has to be sterilized before casing. The soil is taken in a mud pot or a vessel and steamed in an autoclave or pressure for 45 minutes. (Soil can also be mixed with a little quantity of water and sterilized for this purpose). The soil is used for casing after cooling.
- Take the fully spawn run bed and cut horizontally into two equal halves.
- Compact the beds as much as possible by pressing firmly with hand.
- Apply casing soil to a height of 1 cm and press it gently.
- Spray the water sufficiently to wet the cased soil.
- Place the beds inside the blue tent.
- Observe the beds daily and spray water, if necessary, to keep the beds wet.
- Watch for any contamination and insect pests. If noticed take necessary steps. (Ten after casing the small pin head buttons develop and with in another 7 days mushrooms are ready for harvest)
- Harvest the mushroom, clean it and pack it in a polythene bag for sales.
Stir the top of the bed after first harvest and spray water regularly. (Second harvest can be obtained in another 10 days)
- Disturb the topsoil after second harvest and spray water as regular. (Third harvest can be done after 10 days and for commercial cultivation a maximum of three harvests is recommended).
- The mushroom yield of 350 –400 g can be obtained from 250 g dry weight of the straw, providing all optimum conditions inside the mushroom shed.