Mushroom Production

Online course in Mushroom production, learn mushroom growing to start a mushroom farm, work on a mushroom farm, enhance self sufficiency or get reliable supply of mushrooms to a restaurant - home study mushroom growing course.

Course Code: BHT310
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Become a Mushroom Growing Expert

There are many different types of mushrooms. To understand the culture of one, gives you a head start on understanding others.

With this 100 hour course, you will focus on the most widely cultivated mushroom (ie. Agaricus). If your interests are wider than this, all is not lost. This course does provide a valuable introduction to a much wider range of mushrooms; and can be used as a starting point for growing any of these as well. The school has excellent and rare resources relating to growing a wide range of edible fungi; and can help set students on the right course for growing species beyond just Agaricus.

 


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • 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
    • Synonymous Names
    • 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
    • Coprinus fimetarius
    • Flammulina velutipes
    • Kuehneromyces mutabilis
    • Lentinus edodes Shiitake.
    • Pholiota nameko
    • Pleurotus spp "Oyster Mushroom"
    • Stropharia rugosa annulata
    • Volvariella volvaceae Edible Straw Mushroom.
    • Auricularia spp
    • Tremella fuciformis
    • Tuber spp.
    • Tricholoma matsutake
    • Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi)
    • Grifola frondosa (Hen of the woods, Maitake)
    • Resources, information/contacts
  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

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Classify different varieties of fungi which are commonly eaten
  • Determine the techniques used in the culture of edible mushrooms
  • Explain the harvesting of a mushroom crop
  • Explain the post-harvest treatment of a mushroom crop
  • Explain marketing strategies for mushroom
  • Compare the culture of a range of different commercially cultivated mushroom species from around the world

What You Will 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 different genra of edible fungi; including Agaricus
  • Describe an appropriate compost for growing of Agaricus bisporus
  • Explain how spawn is produced for different genra of edible fungi
  • Explain the use of casing in mushroom production
  • Compare different methods of growing edible fungi, in your country, including where appropriate:
    • Outdoor beds
    • In Caves
    • In buildings
    • In trays
    • In bags
    • In troughs
  • Describe different pests and diseases of mushrooms
  • Describe appropriate control methods for 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 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).

WHAT MUSHROOMS ARE COVERED BY THE COURSE?

Mushrooms that are covered to varying degrees in this course include the following, and more


Agaricus bisporus
(also known as the “Champignon”)

This is by far the most commonly grown mushroom world wide; and as such the course focuses heavily on this species. It is known in some areas, by other species names. Agaricus brunnescens is a former name for A. bisporus, and some references may still use this name. Agaricus hortensis is a synonym that is applied to pure white forms of A. bisporus

The species "Agaricus bitorquis", has some characteristics which make it more desirable than Agaricus bisporus (ie: longer shelf life, virus resistance and resists bruising). These characteristics have led to the species Agaricus bitorquis being used in breeding programs aimed at producing crops more suited to the fresh market.

 

Coprinus Fimetarius

Suited to freezing, canning and drying. It has excellent flavour and potential as a novelty vegetable. Whilst many species of Coprinus are highly ephemeral (they have an extremely short shelf life), C. fimentarius has the potential as a cultivated mushroom. It is easy to grow and can quickly produce good commercial yields.

 

Flammulina velutipes

This fungus is commonly known by names such as ‘Winter Mushroom’, ‘Velvet Stem’ and ‘Velvet Foot’. Cultivated Japanese varieties are known as Enoki and Enokitake, but bear little resemblance to wild populations. Whereas wild ones are dark in colour, the cultivated Japanese varieties are grown in low-light conditions and have pale flesh and skin.

This mushroom fruits in cold conditions. Fruiting bodies are small, but delicious. This mushroom has been eaten for centuries in parts of Asia. It grows naturally on wood and can be cultivated on sawdust.

 

Lentinus edodes, the Shiitake mushroom, is the most important cultivated mushroom in Japan. It is grown on logs of Fagaceae trees (eg: Oaks) and various other trees. The shiitake mushroom is said to possess many health benefits, including the presence of many polysaccharides and polysaccharide-protein complexes that have been isolated and utilised for therapeutic purposes (it has been reported as promoting health due to immunity stimulating properties against cancer, viral infection and high cholesterol). This mushroom is usually sold fresh or dried. There is potential for commercial shiitake mushroom cultivation, although many markets have high quality standards that must be met.

 

Pleurotus ostreatus

This and several other species of this genus are edible and have the potential for cultivation commercially. Pleurotus ostreatus is perhaps the most commonly cultivated species, known as the oyster mushroom, due to its appearance. The oyster mushroom naturally grows on dead wood, but can be cultivated on any cellulose material. Wood shavings, cellulose fibre, and waste hulls from agriculture are commonly used. This mushroom can even be cultivated on toilet rolls!

 

Stropharia rugoso-annulata

This species of mushroom, sometimes known as the ‘Garden Giant’ has been grown commercially in Germany, and grows wild in parts of Europe. It is cheap and easy to grow, but yields are variable.

It is not generally suited to commercial production, but is well suited to outdoor culture in the home garden. Indoor fruitings are possible but the King Stropharia requires an unsterile casing to stimulate mushroom development and is slow to fruit.

 

Volvariella volvacea

The edible Straw Mushroom originates from the tropics and sub-tropics, and has been cultivated and eaten for centuries in China and other Asian countries. This mushroom is traditionally cultivated on fermented rice straw. Due to the nature of traditional cultivation, yields have typically been low and variable. Modern cultivation practices utilising industrial waste from cotton processing have allowed increased yields and further development of the Straw Mushroom industry.

 

Auricularia auricula

This is one of the ‘jelly fungus,’ and bears the common name ‘Judas’ Ear’, based on a myth that it grew, as a result of a curse, on the tree that Judas hung himself on. It was eaten in ancient China, and cultivated on logs throughout Asia. Species of Auricularia mushroom can commonly be found dried in Asian stores.

NB:  There are many other cultivated fungi throughout the world

 
 

WHY STUDY THIS COURSE?


This course is aimed at those who would like to work in the industry, those who would like to set up their own commercial mushroom farm, those who would like to grow mushrooms for their own pleasure.

Be supported in your studies by qualified tutors well versed in this field of study.This is a comprehensive course written by experts in this field.
Learn mushroom growing from making compost through to harvesting your produce and all that falls in between.

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).

ACS is a Preferred Member Training Provider with the Australian Institute of Horticulture. ACS students meeting AIH criteria can join AIH as a Category 2 student member.

Long-term member since 1986.

ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason has been a member of the International Scociety of Horticultural Science since 2003


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
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What do I need to know before I enrol?

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Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Maggi Brown

Maggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture

Adriana Fraser

Freelance writer, businesswoman, educator and consultant for over 30 years. Adriana has written extensively for magazines including free living publications -Grass Roots and Home Grown; and has authored or co authored many books ranging from a biography

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

Leading horticultural expert in Australia.
Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Mitchell Skiller

Assoc. Dip. In Horticulture, Cert IV in Training and Assessment.

Mitchell has had over 25 year’s experience in the Horticultural Industry. He has held positions as a supervising horticulturist, landscaper, consultant, and a business owner growing cut flowers, specialising in tropicals.

Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt.

Over 30 years of experience in horticulture, education and management, Yvonne has travelled widely within and beyond Europe and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.

Kerry Claydon

BA-BSc (Psychology, Computer Science, Aquaculture), BSc (Hons Microbiology), PhD (Microbiology), Diploma in Brewing Science

Kerry has over 20 years’ experience in various fields of microbiology including aquatic microbiology, medical microbiology, agricultural microbiology, and brewing microbiology. Kerry has been the Director of several health programs within Australian and Asia and is a passionate teacher and tutor

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