|Mushroom Cultivation in Thailand (Peace Corps, 1987, 85 p.)|
|5. Angel, oyster and abalone mushroom cultivation in plastic bags|
One of the most important steps in the cultivation of these mushroom varieties is the selection of the proper site for cultivation. The site must be warm and humid and have good ventilation. Bathrooms or areas near water storage jars are good sites, as water is always nearby and ventilation is usually adequate. However, these sites commonly limit the amount of spawn cultivated to several bags, lessening economies of scale and making profits more difficult to earn.
It is often best to convert an old chicken or pig house to a mushroom house or build a structure specifically for the cultivation of mushrooms. A large structure is not necessary: 4 x 3 meters is large enough for a beginning farmer. Obviously, if one wants to cultivate a large quantity of mushrooms, a larger house will be needed: an 8 x 4 meter house is large enough to cultivate 2,000-3,000 bags of mushroom spawn. While the length and width of the structure is not of great importance, the height of the building should be at least 2-2.5 meters. This allows for proper ventilation within the building, a necessary environmental factor for maximum mushroom production. The roof should be made of grass to further aid ventilation and help keep the house cool during hot days. The walls of the house can be made of grass or plastic. If grass is used, the grower will need to water the spawn more often as the moisture within the house will continually escape through the grass walls. If a good supply of water is not nearby, the farmer may choose to use plastic sheets to cover the walls of the house. The plastic (fertilizer bags or other plastic sheets of similar thickness can be used) will help keep conditions within the house humid, reducing the quantity of water needed to provide the mushrooms with the correct growing atmosphere. The floor should be of sand (3-8 cm thick, of any quality) in order to further increase the moisture retaining capacity of the house. (For further information concerning mushroom house preparation prior to cultivation, refer to the section entitled Mushroom Pests: Prevention and Eradication, p. 57).
Figure 27: Cultivation Site
Shelves or an A-frame rack must be erected inside the house to hold the plastic bags of spawn during cultivation (see Figure 28). Shelves should be approximately 20 cm (or more) wide, as long as is desired, and at least 50 cm apart, as less distance between shelves will make harvesting the mushrooms more difficult. Two to five rows of mushroom spawn are usually stacked on one shelf, each bag of spawn lying on its side. If an A-frame rack is used, two shelves are built, one at the base of each side of the A-frame, and bamboo is used as back support for the bags of mushroom spawn. Again, the plastic bags of mushroom spawn are laid on their sides in rows, the first row placed on the shelves constructed at the base of the A-frame. Subsequent rows are stacked on top of this row, up to the top of the A-frame. Either structure will produce good results, although the A-frame is less expensive to construct and allows for more bags of spawn to be cultivated per unit area.
Figure 28: Example of Mushroom Cultivation: A-frame rack
Figure 28: Example of Mushroom Cultivation: on shelves