To grow mushrooms you’ll need a place, almost anything will do because mushrooms are not pretentious. If well organized a little space may flood you up with mushrooms. If you’re on a low budget remember that mushrooms don’t need fancy equipments, just give em what they need and they’ll be happy.
My vision about a successful specialty mushroom farm
STAGE 1 -Familiarize yourself
Familiarize yourself with..what means to grow mushrooms (without equipment)
a) First I would suggest you to start growing – the easy to grow mushrooms: oyster mushrooms (common, yellow, pink & other collors). So, first you’ll need to learn how they’re grown- for this check out The Beginner’s Guide To Oyster Mushroom Growing
c) Grow some of the mushrooms of the Levels 1&2 and play around with different strains. Observe, take notes and get familiarized with the oyster mushroom growing process. Growing the Level 2 mushrooms requires a bit more attention -let me know if you need guidance.
You can actually grow mushrooms outside in your backyard’s shade (without any equipments) if you’ll match the right strain with the season. However, you’ll be dependent on the climate, and yes! this works if you want to grow em for fun, but if you want to turn your passion into profit you’ll need to make sure to provide the market with a continuous flow of mushrooms – which requires climate control equipment.
STAGE 2 -Farm setup
Farm setup or transformation into somethin real
a) Next you might want to set up your mushroom farm for a controlled climate environment
This will automatically boost mushroom crop yields – this is the point where you can actually start selling mushrooms. With little investment this may be done quickly. Many startups improvise by purchasing electrical parts then, they put them together and somehow succeed to provide what mushrooms need. Some others (with big pockets) invest more and go for the high tech.
Some folks wanting to stick growing only the Level 1 mushrooms don’t really need to go further than this, but what kinda grower is that if he or she wants to grow only one kind -actually met only one person that grew only oyster mushrooms.
At the end of STAGE 2 you should be able to grow the Levels 1, 2, & 3 mushrooms, get a decent crop yield for Level 3, and boost the crop yield of the Level 1 because you’ve created a proper climate for growing mushrooms. So, by following the steps described in these two stages you’ve got to a fully functional mushroom farm. However, at this point you’re still dependent on the market price fluctuation for spawn and probably use less to cut costs.
STAGE 3 – Make your own spawn
Adding a spawn making lab to your mushroom operation
a) Set up a spawn making lab
b) Learn the needed lab techniques
Learning the lab techniques will be useful for you so you can create a mushroom culture library, add new strains to it and trade with others, or sell.
c) Learn the spawn making process
Once you’ll have a lab next to your mushroom farm you will be able to produce your own spawn, and increase mushroom crop yields due to a higher spawn addition to you substrate recipes; you’ll also be able to play around with various strains, test them, and pick the best for your operation, and also sell spawn, and strains if you want.
So, you’ve got to a point where you could be happy with the yields you have or you might want to increase overall yields by 10% – 20% or more.
STAGE 4 – Increase yields
Boost your overall mushroom crop yield, and cut losses
a) Try new strains or run experiments on existing strains to achieve good yields
This is an essential step because even an increase with 2% when you have 1000 substrate bags will make the difference.
b) Establish a solid cultivation method that works
c) Minimize contamination issues, and keep them under 2%
Finally you’ve got to a stage when you want to expand, and increase crop efficiency. This is probably the pre-climax of your business.
STAGE 5 – Expand & explore