ONLINE HOME STUDY COURSE - MUSHROOMS
Learn about growing, harvesting, marketing, storage, pest and diseases and even ways of cooking and using mushrooms.
There are thousands of different fungi which have at some stage or other through history been tried as a food by some group of people. Obviously, some people have been poisoned at times in the process of working out what is and what is not edible.
It is the fruiting bodies (called "Sporocarps") from the more advanced (ie: complex) types of fungi which are eaten. Some of these sporocarps are deadly poisonous, so be careful not to eat anything which is not first accurately identified. All edible fungi fall into either the "Ascomycetes" or "Basidiomycetes".
While the Agaricus species (Champignon) is the main focus of this course, other commercially important edible fungi (eg. Straw mushroom, Oyster Mushroom, Shitake, etc) are also studied as a foundation for any scale of serious production.
Many of the principles are similar in growing, spawn production and/or harvest and post harvest treatments. Gaining a foundation with the culture of any type of edible mushroom is in this way a step toward knowing how to approach production of others.
Get Serious about Mushroom Growing
- Studied by hundreds of students over 20 years
- Course revised and updated regularly
- Access advice from highly qualified, expert tutors
There are eight lessons as follows:
- How Fungi are Named: Review of the system of plant identification
- Characteristics of all Fungi
- Three Fungi Kingdoms: Zygomycota, Basidiomycota and Ascomycota
- Agaricus campestris and Agaricus bisporus
Review of significant edible fungi including; Coprinus fimetaris, Flammulina velutipes, Letinus erodes, Pleurotus, Stropharia, Volvariella,Auricularia auricula
Distinguishing edible fungi, Mushroom structure, tell tale characteristics of the genus Agaricus, etc.
History of Mushroom Cultivation
Commonly Cultivated Edible Fungi
Agaricus bisporus, Agaricus bitorquis
Lentinus edodes Shiitake.
Pleurotus spp "Oyster Mushroom"
Stropharia rugosa annulata
Volvariella volvaceae Edible Straw Mushroom.
Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi)
Grifola frondosa (Hen of the woods, Maitake)
2. Mushroom Culture
- Options for obtaining Spawn
- Steps in Growing Agaricus species: Preparation, spawning, casing, harvest
- What to Grow Mushrooms in; growing medium
- Growing media for different edible fungi: Agaricus, Auricularia, Copreinus, Flammulina, Letinus, Pleurotus, Volvariella, etc
- Understanding Soil and Compost, components and characteristics
- Acidity and Alkalinity
- Making Compost
- Making Mushroom Compost, and mushroom compost formulations
- Moisture Level in Compost
- Cultivation of Agaricus bitorquis
- Cultivation ofCoprinus fimetarius
3. Spawn Production and Spawning
- Finding Spawn Supplies
- Overview of Spawn and Spawning
- Obtaining Smaller Quantities of Spawn
- The Process of Spawning
- Spawn Production; typical rye grain method
- Storing spawn
- Problems with Spawn
- Using Spawn
- Comparing tewmperature conditions for spawning and fruiting in most commonly cultivated edible mushroom species
- Cultivation of Pleurotus
- Cultivation of Stropharia
4. Making and Casing Beds
- Growing Methods; Caves, bags, houses, outdoor ridge beds, troughs, etc
- Casing; biological process, characteristics of casing material, procedure
- Techniques; spawned casing, ruffling, scratching
- Review Auricularia and Volvariella
5. Growing Conditions for Mushrooms
- Fungi Nutrition: carbon, nitrogen, essential elements, vitamins and growth factors
- Casing to Harvest of Agaricus
- Growing Indoors
- Components of a Built System and Determining Your Needs
- Factors Influencing Fungal Growth
- Environmental Control, equipment to measure and control the environment
- Siting a Growing House
- Managing the Growing House or Room, cleanliness, heating, cooling, humidity, etc
- Review of Tuber (Truffle) and Tremella
6. Pests, Diseases and Growing Mushrooms Outside
- Overview of Pests, Diseases and Environmental Disorders
- Prevention of Problems
- Review of Bacterial and Fungal Diseases and their Control
- Review of Insect Pests, Mites, Nematodes and their Control
- Weed Moulds
- Safe, Natural Sprays
- Summary of Problems found on Agaricus bisporus and other edible fungi covered in this course
- Cultivation of Flammulina velutipes and Kuehneromyces mutabilis
7. Harvesting, Storing and Using Mushrooms
- Harvesting Buttons, Cups and Flats on Agaricus bisporus
- Fruiting patterns for Agaricus bisporus and other edible mushrooms
- Cool Storage of Mushrooms
- Freezing Mushrooms
- Dry Freezing Mushrooms
- Drying Mushrooms
- Canning Mushrooms
- Harvesting Agaricus; method of picking
- Handling Agaricus after harvest
- Controlled Atmosphere Storage
- Cultivation of Letinus (Shitake), Pholiota, Tricholoma
8. Marketing of Mushrooms and Special Assignment
- Review of Marketing options for mushrooms
- Fresh Mushroom Sales
- Processed Mushroom Sales
- Production and Marketing of Shitake, Oyster Mushroom and Straw Mushroom
- Research and Determination of Marketing Opportunities and Strategies in Your Region
DURATION: 100 hours (study at your own pace, the average time to complete this module is 4-6 months part time)
On successful completion of the course you should be able to do the following:
Classify different varieties of fungi which are commonly eatenDetermine the techniques used in the culture of edible mushroomsExplain the harvesting of a mushroom cropExplain the post-harvest treatment of a mushroom cropExplain marketing strategies for mushrooms
EXAMPLES OF WHAT YOU MAY DO:
- Compare the scientific with common definitions for a “Mushroom”
- Explain the classification, to genus level, of ten different commercially grown edible fungi
- Produce a labeled illustration of the morphological characteristics which are common to different edible fungi of the genus “Agaricus”
- Compare the physical characteristics of different commercially cultivated edible fungi
- Distinguish edible Agaricus mushrooms from similar, inedible fungal fruiting bodies
- Compile a resource file of sources of information regarding edible fungi, including: *Publication *Suppliers *Industry associations/services
- Determine the preferred conditions for growing two different specified mushroom genra
- Describe the stages in the growing of Agaricus mushrooms
- Develop criteria for selecting growing media, for two different genra of edible fungi; including Agaricus
- Describe an appropriate compost for growing of Agaricus bisporus
- Explain how spawn is produced for two different genra of edible fungi
- Explain the use of casing in mushroom production
- Compare different methods of growing edible fungi, in the learner’s country, including where appropriate: *Outdoor beds *In Caves *In buildings *In trays *In bags *In troughs
- Describe ten specified pests and diseases of mushrooms
- Describe appropriate control methods for ten different pests and diseases of mushrooms
- Analyse hygiene and exclusion regimes used in mushroom production
- Prepare a production plan, based on supplied specifications, for Agaricus bisporus, including: *Materials required *Equipment required *Work schedule *Cost estimates
- Grow a crop of Agaricus bisporus
- Identify the stages at which Agaricus mushrooms can be harvested
- Explain how mushrooms are harvested
- Develop guidelines to minimise damage to two different types (i.e. genra) of mushrooms during and immediately after harvest
- Describe ways to extend the shelf life of two different mushrooms crops
- Explain three different techniques for processing mushrooms
- Produce dried mushrooms from fresh ones
- Analyse industry guidelines for the post-harvest handling of a specified mushroom variety
- Determine the different ways mushrooms are packed for retailing
- Outline industry generic marketing strategies for mushrooms
- Suggest strategies for marketing a separately identified mushroom product (e.g. branded, regional)
How the payment Options Work
You can be either pay fees in one or two parts.
- If paying in 2 parts, the first part is paid on enrolment, and the second part two months later (You are sent a bill when you enrol).
- If you pay the full fee on enrolment, we offer a discounted fee (commonly around 8% lower)
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEARNING ABOUT MUSHROOMS CONTACT US TO SPEAK WITH ONE OF OUR COURSE TUTORS.
TIPS FOR GROWING SHITAKE MUSHROOMS
Lentinus edodes (Shiitake)
This is a commonly cultivated fungi from Asia, the most common next to Agaricus.
- Lentinus is grown on logs and sold either fresh or dried (but not canned).
- Drying both enhances the taste and allows it to be kept for a very long time.
- They are cultivated in Japan, China and Korea, but in other Asian countries is mainly collected growing in the wild.
- Cultivation is known to have occurred over 800 years ago. There are various varieties, normally divided into spring growing and autumn growing types.
• Carried out on wood of dead deciduous trees (mostly from Fagaceae family)
• Ideal species for cultivation are Quercus serrata and Q. acutissima
• Logs 5-15cm diameter and 1-1.5m long are ideal.
• Pure cultured spawn are introduced to sawdust, or small wedge shaped wood pieces (commonly late winter/early spring).
• After mycelium has grown through the wood plugs or sawdust, logs can be “planted” (one method is drilling holes and filling with wood plugs or sawdust) and the fungus begins to grow
• Between 15 and 20 holes are made in each 1-1.5m long log.
• Holes and impregnated wood or sawdust is generally sealed to prevent moisture loss after planting with a dab of hot wax on a paint brush.
• Logs are next laid out in a laying yard (stacked or stood up
• Logs must remain moist, so if humidity is low or wind high, they may be covered to prevent moisture loss
• After mycelium has grown throughout the wood (between 6 and 18 months) logs are moved to a raising yard, for fruit to develop and be harvested.
• In the raising yard, logs are typically stood upright against a fence.
• With temperatures ideally between 12 and 20 degrees C (usually early spring or late autumn), the fruiting bodies develop
• During this final stage moisture levels must be higher, and usually shade is provided
REASONS TO STUDY WITH ACS DISTANCE EDUCATION
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