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Button Mushroom Cultivation; Compost Formula

Button Mushroom Cultivation; Compost Formula

Button Mushroom Cultivation

The following information is all about Button Mushroom Cultivation; Composting Formula.

Button mushrooms are the ones which have the scope of commercial cultivation irrespective of the place. This is because the environmental conditions which are required for the cultivation of button mushroom can be easily maintained. The substrate material and the supplement material required for the cultivation are widely available. The cultivation of Mushroom includes two different types of activities.

  • Outdoor activities.
  • And indoor activities.

The outdoor activities will include steps like substrate pre-wetting and the composting. These two can be done irrespective of the season. Coming to indoor activities, the requirement of the temperature for the vegetative growth ranges between 20 to 25°C and for the production of crops, the temperature should range between 15 to 19°C.

If the temperature is very less, the growth of vegetation will be stopped and if the temperature is very high, then the weed fungus will start growing. The mushroom will need an environment which is almost saturated with the relative humidity of 90%. Anyways, if water is applied directly on the compost at the time of vegetative growth, then it is considered injurious to crop.

For the crop to be healthy, the rooms available for production should have good ventilation as the as this will help to maintain the environment which is congenial and also helps in the circulation of fresh air adequately. At the time of production of crops, the carbon dioxide levels should not exceed 0.10 % and this can be regulated by giving 5 charges of air per one hour or by introducing fresh air at the rate of 8 cubic feet per square feet area in an hour. It is important to prevent the drought as it removes moisture very quickly.

White Button Mushrooms.
White Button Mushrooms.

The rooms should also be given enough protection and also insulation. By doing this, there would not be a disturbance in the temperature such as fluctuations. The environment which is suitable for the production will be observed from the mid of February until the mid of May and from the starting of September yo the end of November. During September and November, a temperature ranging between 20 to 25°C is seen in the first two weeks and the same can be maintained by using the stoves which are sawdust based. These heating stoves are also called as Bukhari. From this, we can clearly understand that the first crop composting should be done at the starting of January and the second crop composting should be done at the ending of July. It means that composting for the first crop. The cultivation of white button mushroom will require the below steps:

Preparation of compost/Mushroom Compost Formula.

  • Spawn-run or vegetative growth.
  • Casing.
  • Plantation and the harvest.
  • Marketing.

Preparation of Compost in Button Mushroom Cultivation:

Compost is a substrate which is decomposed selectively. This helps in the growth of white mushroom. Composting will help in the degradation of microbes in organic wastes. The composting is a process which involves decomposition of microbes in the organic matter, synthesis of the proteins in the microbes and the condition of the materials which are fibrous. This will help in the absorption and retainment of moisture. The action of microbes will induce changes in the physical properties and chemical properties of the compost as well as, they will decrease the growth of the competitive microbes. The quality of the compost of mushroom completely depends on:

  • Nature of the material
  • Supplements which are both organic and inorganic
  • Managing the compost at the time of composting.

The nature of the material: Straw is the raw material which is a basic one used in the production of mushroom. For many years, wheat straw and mule dung are used by the producers of mushroom. Mule dung and wheat straw are collected from the stables. These days, poultry manure and baled straw are used as replacements to mule dung. Removal of mule dung completely has given rise to the synthetic compost, in which paddy or wheat is used as the substrates in terms of production. There are many technologies developed to make use of the agro-wastes which are very less in terms of cost. Few examples of these agro-wastes are maize straw, paddy husk, leaves of apple and mulberry. There are mainly used for the production of button mushroom.

Read: Mushroom Farming Project Report.

Supplements which are both Organic and Inorganic:

In the compost which is synthetic, the NPK i.e., Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium should be in a perfect ratio. For the compost to be good, the carbon and nitrogen ratio should be 16:2. The nitrogen content should be in such a way that the nitrogen should be at a percentage of 2 in the material. It is better to go with the nitrogen sources rather than the ones which are inorganic. This is because the inorganic nitrogen sources will supply carbon, phosphorus, potassium instead of nitrogen and show healing capacity.  The nitrogen sources which are organic and also available easily are wheat flour, rice bran, Cottonseed meal, soybean meal, linseed meal. The materials which supply inorganic nitrogen is cyanamide,  ammonium salts and urea. These are used by following specific precautions. The manure collected from poultry can be used as a substitute in place of organic nitrogen to achieve good production. It also adds up a very important number of dry matter which is fine. This addition is done to the compost which will in turn help in the texture improvement. There should be a perfect ratio of dry matter, water, and air at the time of composting so that the heating of the compost would be optimum. In the synthetic compost. If the straw is fine, then very less amount of poultry manure should be used. The process of composting should be maintained and controlled in such a way that it yields a high quantity of protein and less amount of ammonia.

Managing the Compost at the time of Composting:

There are two important methods of composting-

  • Long method of composting.
  • Short method of composting.

The long method of composting takes a period of one month to one and a half month, whereas the short method of composting gets completed in three weeks.

Long Method of composting in Button Mushroom Cultivation:

  • In the long method of composting, the compost is made on a cement floor which is cleaned well.
  • It can be made in a field which is open and also it can be made under a shed. If the composting method is chosen to be done on a field which is open, then the protection of the heap should be done from the rains by covering it with water. Chopping of straw into pieces is done and the pieces are chopped at a size of 20 cms each.
  • Then the straw will be spread on the floor and water is sprinkled on it to make it wet. Or the straw is left for an entire night in water, which is filled in the tubs or large containers.
  • Ingredients such as rice bran, poultry manure are mixed with the straw which is wet and made into piles of height 2 meters and width 1 meter.
  • This heap is made to compress by using a little pressure. These ingredients can be added to the wet straw while forming a pile in terms of layers.
  • This pile can also be prepared by making use of a wooden mould. This will have three boards made of wooden. One will be for the end and the other two to the sides.
  • The boards which are at the sides are separated from the end board with the help of clamps. The ingredients of the compost which is mixed are put together in the wooden mould and will be compressed in a subtle way.
  • The sideboards which have been separated from the end board will be moved forward according to their lengths. The ingredients in the mixed compost are again placed in the wooden mould. In the same way, long pile of the composts is prepared.
  • If the pile is long, then the pipes which are perforated will be placed in a vertical position in the pile for the purpose of aeration or circulation of oxygen.
  • It is very important to turn the pile or rotate it many numbers of times possible and it should be in such a way that each and every part of the compost should come to the middle where the decomposition is quick and compost can be heated to the maximum which is essential to manage the diseases caused by pests.
  • After completing each turn, the sprinkling of water should be done to replace the loss of water caused by evaporation. When the compost is available for the spawning process, it should have the below features.
  • The appearance of the compost should be light brown.
  • There should not be any smell of ammonia in the compost.
  • When the compost is squeezed in a subtle way by using the hand, the moisture which is present in the compost should come out in the form of dampness and the fragments of the compost should get bonded.
  • There should be a complete decomposition of the compost and the Carbon and nitrogen ratio should be at 6:2 and the contents of moisture in the compost should be at a percentage of 66%.
  • If at the time of composting, the moisture is less than the required percentage, then the action of bacteria will be blocked and the escape of nitrogen takes place in the form of Ammonia or other forms of it which are volatile.

Short Method of Composting in Button Mushroom Cultivation

The process in which the mixture of straw converts into a selective medium which is suitable by using composting takes place in two different stages.

Stage 1 will take place after the pre-wetting is done and the mixing of raw material with the straw is done. This is done as per the long method of compost. To make the composting process quick, the heap will be introduced. The stacks will be prepared in an open field or in a shed which is open on one side. The material will be rotated a number of times. This particular stage will take up to 2 weeks for completion after pre-wetting is done. The temperature of the stacks middle portion will be at 67% by this time, which is sufficient for the death of the pests to occur. The layers of the pile which is external will not have that much of temperature.

Stage 2 is considered as pasteurization or a peak-heating stage. The process of composting is done in an environment which is controlled and will be continued until the compost is tested in terms of nutrition and can be considered selective for the mushroom growth. This particular stage takes 12 days for completion. The main thing that differentiates stage 1 and stage 2 is environmental control. The compost conditioning will happen at a temperature of 50°C.

Spawn run or Vegetative Growth in Button Mushroom Cultivation:

After the compost is prepared in either long method or short method of preparation, it would be set for spawning with mushroom mycelium. The spawn will be prepared on the wheat grains, which are sterilized and will require regular check in terms of quality. It can only be produced in the spawn laboratories which are established and can be done by specific specialists who are concerned with this field.

The success in the cultivation of spawn and the yield, which it produces is completely dependent on the quality of the spawn which is used in the process.

Spawning is considered as the process of combining the spawn and compost prepared. To the compost which is prepared in the earlier stage, the spawn will be added at the rate of 0.6% and will be mixed. According to the system of growing which is chosen, spawning will be done in several methods:

  • Double layer spawning: In this method of spawning, spawning will take place in two phases. The first stage will be done by separating the spawn on the beds when the beds are filled to half by the compost and then the containers will be filled completely. The spawn will be pressed in a gentle way and the containers will be covered with the sheets of newspaper.
  • Top layer spawning: In this method of spawning, the plantation of the spawn is done on the surface after the container is filled with the compost and this filling is made up to the brim. After this, a very thin layer of compost is scattered all over the spawn. This top layer spawning is mostly preferred when the compost is way wetter.
  • Through spawning: the grains present in the spawn will be combined all over the compost.
  • Shake up spawning: In this type of spawning, the compost is shaken after seven days of spawning is completed and is substituted in containers. Then the casing is done after a few days.
  • Spot Spawning: The grain spawn is kept in the holes at a particular distance with sticks which can be used as pointers. Specific care has to be taken in order to make sure that there is very clear contact of the inoculum with the compost which is surrounding so that the development of the mycelium is done rapidly.
  • The conditions of the environment which are necessary for a successful rate of spawn-run are as below:
    1. The temperature of the compost should be about 25°C
    2. The relative humidity should be very high in order to avoid drying of the compost.
    3. The level of CO2 should increase at the rate of 2%, which can be attained by the recirculation of air which is present in the spawning room.
    4. The temperature of the room should be between 20 to 26°C at the time of spawn-run.
    5. Watering is necessary and should be done by sprinkling the water on the paper.
    6. The spawn – run will require almost two weeks for the colonization of the compost to complete.
    7. The spawn which is taken directly from the growing room grows more quickly than the spawn which is stored at a temperature of 3°C.


In order to promote the production of the sporophore in the button mushroom, an inert material which is biological will be introduced as a surface layer of the compost which is colonized completely. This layer of the casing will be having a depth of 4 cms to 4 cms and the application of this is done after 14 days of spawning is completed. This layer of the casing should have a pH which is alkaline or at least neutral. Adding to the stimulation of fruiting, the casing also provides anchorage for the sporophores and helps in holding the water. The layer of casing avoids the spanned compost from drying rapidly. After the casing is done, a time span which is called as a case-running takes place where the casing will be colonized with mycelium. The environmental conditions which are optimum for the two phases of the mycelial – run will almost be the same. Pseudomonas which is a bacteria is found and it is the one which involves actively and helps in the growth of fruits in the button mushroom. The activity which is taken up by P.putida in the soil is due to the climate which is created by the mycelium which is growing. P.putida is the one which helps in the stimulation of fructification by releasing iron. There are many mixtures which can be used as casing soil such as:

  • Soil and peat mixture in the ratio of 2:1.
  • Sand and soil mixture in a ratio of 1:2.
  • Cow dung which is rotten well can be combined with soil which is light at the ratio of 3:1.

It is always suggested to get the soil, which is presenting the barren land.

Features of casing material:

  • The water holding capacity of the casing material should be good.
  • The capacity of aeration should also be good for the casing material.
  • The texture of the casing material should not be changed after watering.
  • The reaction of the casing material should be neutral with the pH level ranging between 7 to 8.
  • The casing material should not have any diseases and it must be completely free from the pests and vegetable matters which are not decomposed.

Sterilizing the casing soil:

The soil is considered as a medium for microbes which include both the parasitic ones and the competitor moulds. To make use of soil as casing material, it is very important to sterilize it in such a manner that the microbes which are hazardous will be killed. Sterilizing the casing material can be done with the help of chemicals or heat. It can also be done by sending the steam from the boiler into the soil with the help of pipes which are perforated. Here, the temperature will get increased to 58°C and the same temperature is maintained for about 5 to 6 hours.

Chemical sterilization of soil:

The soil is mostly sterilized by applying formaldehyde at a percentage of 3%. Dilution of formaldehyde of about a half liter is done in water of 11 liters. This mixture is used for 2 cubic meters of the casing soil. The casing material will be scattered on a sheet which is plastic and spraying is done with the help of formalin. The soil, which is treated is piled as a heap and that is covered for almost 2 days with another sheet of plastic. Then the cover is removed from the soil and the soil is mixed on a regular basis so that the traces of formaldehyde with disappearing. This type of casing material can be used one week after the treatment is done.

Solarization of soil:

The casing material is polarized in order to decrease the population of the moulds which are parasitic and also the competitor. For this to be done, the casing material is kept on a sheet of plastic at a depth of 6 cms and water is sprayed lightly on the casing material. This will be covered by using a polyethylene sheet which is transparent and will be left for a month in that way. The casing should be done in an even manner. If this is not done evenly, then the sections where the casing soil is found to be thin is occupied by mycelium and there would be a formation of stoma which again results in the formation of a pinhead. When the casing is uneven, there would also be uneven watering.

Read: Growing Mushrooms In Containers, Pots, and Indoors.

Plantation and Harvest in Button Mushroom Cultivation:

  • As soon as the mycelium reaches the casing surface, the mushroom will be injected into the fruit by decreasing the temperature of air to 18°C and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air will decrease to 1200 ppm.
  • Water should be sprayed finely on the casing so that the humidity will be maintained at 75%.
  • The circulation of air is mandatory in and around the container. The humidity should not be exceeded as it increases the concentration of CO2.
  • The requirement of the fresh air completely depends on the mushroom grown in the room.
  • The fruiting of mushroom will take place in breaks which are well-defined. The first break will start after 21 days of the casing and the same thing repeats every week. It would take 1 week, in general, to reach the stage of the button from the pinheads.
  • The humidity of the house of the mushroom tells us if the bed should be watered. Water should be sprayed in a gentle way by using a fine jet. If this is not done properly.
  • The casing soil gets distracted, there would be the development of hard pans on the casing surface and the supply of oxygen gets affected. Picking up of mushrooms is done by twisting the head of the mushroom in the clockwise and anti-clockwise directions.
  • If you find any pinheads while picking the mushrooms, then is better to use a knife which has a sharp edge to cut the mushroom. By doing so, the pins will not get disturbed. When the picking of the mushrooms is done, the holes which are formed due to picking should be filled with the soil which is sterilized as soon as possible.
  • Levelling of the bed surface should be done and if you find a casing which is being disturbed and new, it should be patted in a gentle way in order to make it firm. The time of cropping changes depending on the circumstances which are currently prevailing.
  • If the tray system is used, it will change for every 8 weeks and if the system is a shelf, it would change for every 9 weeks. In the farms, which are commercial, picking of almost five flushes or breaks is done and this is done before the removal of the crop so that the next crop can be raised.
  • The breaks or flushes which are individual will produce few mushrooms. In the first flush or break, mushrooms with great weight are produced.

Marketing of Mushroom:

Selling of mushrooms will be done when they are in fresh form or when they are freeze-dried form. A mushroom which is fresh is packed in polyethylene bags whose density is low and will be sold in the market. The shelf life of the mushroom is approximately 48 hours. The mushrooms, which are freeze-dried will remain for almost one year, but the technology of freeze-drying the mushrooms is a costly one.

Read: Pregnant Goat Care Information.

Last Updated: February 19, 2019
Author: Jagdish


  1. Hello Mr Reddy. You have done an amazing job by providing such detailed information about mushroom farming.. It’s One of the best explanation I have ever read in the internet.

  2. Thank you Jagdish for such detailed information. I am a beginner and if I have to take a training for Mushroom farming, which Institute you would recommend as the best institute.

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Thanks & Regards,


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