Brief characteristics of the mushroom, features of its growth
Champignons are representatives of the champignon family of the same name, which includes over 60 types of cap mushrooms. Champignons can grow in forests, meadows and even deserts.
Various types of champignons can be found on all continents besides Antarctica, but their main habitat is the steppe or forest-steppe zone.
If we are talking about central Russia, then champignons can be found in fields, meadows, on the edges of forests. If the conditions for their growth are favorable, then champignons can be found in these places from May to October.
Champignons are pronounced saprophytes; therefore, they grow on soils that are rich in humus, are found near cattle pastures, as well as in forests with thick vegetation.
As for industrial mushroom growing, at present, two types of these mushrooms are actively grown: two-spore champignon and two-ring champignon (four-spore). Field and meadow champignons are less common.
Champignon is a hat mushroom characterized by a pronounced central stem, the height of which reaches 4-6 centimeters. Industrial champignons differ in a 5-10 centimeters cap diameter, but you can find specimens with a diameter of 30 centimeters and above.
Interestingly, champignon is a representative of hat mushrooms that can be eaten raw . In the Mediterranean countries, raw mushrooms are used in the preparation of salads and sauces.
In the first periods of the mushroom's life, its hat is hemispherical, but in the process of maturation it turns into a convex-outstretched one.
There are 4 main groups of champignons according to the color of the cap: snow-white, milky, light brown (royal) and cream. Quite often, whites and dairy are included in the same group. With a change in the age of the fruiting body, changes also occur with the mushroom plates. Light plates are inherent in young mushrooms. When the champignon reaches sexual maturity, the plate darkens, and it turns red-brown. Older champignons are characterized by dark brown and burgundy-black color of the plate.
Site selection and preparation
Champignons are distinguished by low requirements for the presence of light and heat, so their active growth is possible even in basements at an air temperature of 13-30 degrees Celsius. Also, these fungi do not need the presence of a host plant, since their nutrition is carried out by absorbing the decomposed residues of organic compounds. Based on this, in the process of growing champignons, the so-called. champignon compost, during the preparation of which horse manure or chicken manure is used. In addition, it is imperative to add rye or wheat straw and gypsum. The presence of manure gives the mushrooms the necessary nitrogen compounds, thanks to the straw, the mycelium is provided with carbon, but thanks to gypsum, the mushrooms are supplied with calcium. In addition, it is gypsum that is used to structure the compost.Additives to the soil for growing mushrooms in the form of chalk, mineral fertilizers and meat and bone meal will not interfere.
Each mushroom grower has his own formula for the best, in his opinion, compost, which is often based on horse manure.
To prepare such a compost, it is necessary to use 2.5 kg of straw for every 100 kg of horse manure, 250 g of ammonium sulfate, superphosphate and urea, as well as 1.5 kg of gypsum and 400 grams of chalk.
If a mushroom grower is going to grow champignons throughout the year, then the composting process should take place in special rooms, where a constant air temperature is maintained at a level above 10 degrees Celsius. If the mushrooms are grown seasonally, the compost can be placed under a canopy outdoors.
In the process of composting, it is necessary not to allow its constituent parts to come into contact with the ground. Otherwise, various microorganisms that harm fungi can get into it.
The first stage of composting involves crushing the straw, after which it is well moistened with water until it is completely wet. In this position, it is left for two days, after which it is combined with manure, which is laid in successively uniform layers. During the laying, the straw should be moistened with mineral fertilizers, which should first be diluted in water. Thus, you should end up with a rampart pile measuring one and a half meters in height and width. Such a pile should contain at least 100 kilograms of straw, otherwise the fermentation process will be very slow, or the low heating temperature will not allow it to start at all. After a while, the formed heap is cut with the gradual addition of water. Composting requires four heaps,and the total duration of its production is 20-23 days. If the technology has been followed, then a few days after the last interruption, the pile will stop emitting ammonia, the characteristic smell will disappear, and the color of the mass itself will turn dark brown. Then the finished compost is distributed in special containers or beds are formed from it, in which mushrooms will be sown.
Reproduction of industrial mushrooms occurs in a vegetative way, by sowing mycelium in prepared compost, which is obtained in laboratories. Among the methods of seeding mycelium, it is worth highlighting the cellar, inside which it is quite easy to maintain a high level of air humidity, as well as an optimal temperature indicator. It is necessary to purchase mycelium only from well-known suppliers, since a violation of the technology at least at one stage of mycelium production will jeopardize the growth of mycelium. The release of mycelium is carried out in granules or in the form of compost blocks that do not require self-composting. The mycelium must be sown into hardened compost, so it must be spread out in a thin layer until its temperature drops to 25 degrees Celsius. Recallthat immediately after sowing, processes occur inside the compost, as a result of which its temperature rises. For each ton of compost, about 6 kilograms or 10 liters of mycelium must be planted. For sowing, it is necessary to prepare holes in the compost, the depth of which should be 8 cm, and the step should be 15 cm. Holes in adjacent rows should be staggered. Sowing is carried out with your own hands or with the help of a special cutter and compactor.
When the mycelium is sown, the compost should be covered with paper, straw mats or burlap to keep moisture in it. To protect it from the appearance of various pests, it is necessary to process it with a 2% formalin solution every three days. In the course of using non-covering technology, the compost is moistened by irrigating the walls and floors, because if you water the compost itself, then there is a high probability of developing mycelium diseases. During its germination, a constant air temperature is required at a level above 23 degrees, and the temperature of the compost should be within 24-25 degrees.
Growing and harvesting
The mycelium, on average, grows in 10-12 days. During this period, an active process of the formation of thin white filaments - hyphae - takes place in the compost. When they begin to appear on the surface of the compost, they should be sprinkled with a layer of peat and chalk, 3 centimeters thick. After 4-5 days after this, the room temperature should be lowered to 17 degrees. In addition, it is necessary to start watering the upper soil layer with a thin watering can. During watering, it is imperative to observe the condition that water remains on the upper layer and does not penetrate into the compost. A constant supply of fresh air is also important, which will positively affect the growth rate of the mushrooms. The humidity in the room at that time should be stable in the range of 60-70%. Fruiting of champignons begins on the 20-26th days after planting the mycelium.If the optimal conditions for growth were strictly observed, the maturation of the mushrooms takes place en masse, with intervals between peaks of 3-5 days. Mushrooms are collected manually by twisting them out of the mycelium.
Today, the leaders in the industrial production of mushrooms include the USA, Great Britain, France, Korea and China. In recent years, foreign technologies have also begun to be actively used in the process of growing mushrooms in Russia.
Mushrooms are harvested at an ambient temperature of 12-18 degrees. Before starting the collection, the room should be ventilated, this will avoid the growth of humidity, as a result of which spots appear on the mushroom caps. By the very appearance of the mushroom, you can determine when it is time to remove it. If the film that connects the cap and the leg is already quite tightly stretched, but not yet torn, this is the time to collect the mushrooms. After collecting the mushrooms, they are sorted, the sick and injured are thrown away, and the rest are packaged and sent to the places of sale.