The traditional cuisine of China and Japan is varied and amazing. Its distinctive feature is always that food must be not only tasty, but also healthy. It was in these countries that the industrial cultivation of shiitake, an edible and useful mushroom that has been known for more than 2000 years, began for the first time.
Is it possible to grow shiitake at home
Shiitake (shiitake), or imperial mushroom, grows in the wild in the territories of modern China and Japan. It was there that they first began to eat it, while noticing not only its culinary value, but also its beneficial effect on health. Numerous studies by mycologists have only confirmed the original hypothesis.
Shiitake is truly a natural dietary supplement that has a lot of positive properties. Therefore, attempts to cultivate, i.e. to start growing this mushroom under artificial conditions have been undertaken repeatedly. Over time, considerable experience was accumulated in the cultivation of shiitake, thanks to which this mushroom began to be cultivated in many countries. Now this can be done even at home, but it will take a lot of effort and money.
Important! Shiitake ranks first in terms of volume of cultivation in artificial conditions.
How to grow shiitake mushrooms
Shiitake belongs to saprophytic fungi that parasitize on decomposable plant debris. In nature, they grow on old stumps, rotten and dead wood. It is difficult to artificially create comfortable conditions for growing the imperial mushroom, since the shiitake mycelium ripens rather slowly, and besides, it is much inferior to other competitors in terms of endurance.
To grow shiitake under artificial conditions, either an extensive or an intensive method is used. The following describes the process of growing an imperial mushroom at home using both methods.
Growing shiitake on logs and stumps
The extensive method of growing is to create conditions for mushrooms to grow as close to natural as possible. This method is good only if the natural conditions correspond to the necessary ones. This applies, first of all, to the temperature and humidity of the environment. The method of growing shiitake on stumps and logs includes several stages:
- Harvesting suitable wood.
- Sterilization of logs.
- Infection of wood with mycelium.
- Further maintenance of the necessary conditions for the growth of fungi.
The extensive method of growing shiitake on stumps is quite long, but it produces the highest quality mushrooms. With this method of growth, fruiting bodies contain all the same components as when growing in the wild, therefore, they are as valuable as wild ones.
Important! About 2/3 of all Shiitake mushrooms are grown by the extensive method (on wood).
Growing shiitake on a substrate
The intensive cultivation method consists in using not whole wood, but various plant residues as a nutrient medium for the development of mycelium. The composition of such a substrate for growing shiitake mushrooms includes straw, sawdust of hardwood, wood chips, grain, bran, mineral additives.
The components are mixed together in a certain proportion, then sterilized and infected with mycelium.
How to grow shiitake mushrooms
The process of growing shiitake mushrooms at home is long and difficult, but interesting and rewarding, especially for beginners. Before doing this, you should really assess your strengths and capabilities. Any room can be adapted for growing shiitake, if it is possible to provide the necessary microclimate parameters in it for a long time.
How to grow shiitake at home
Of course, growing shiitake in a city apartment is unlikely to work. However, in a private house for this purpose, it is quite possible to assign a separate part of the house, for example, an isolated basement. In this room, it is necessary to provide for the possibility of regulating temperature, humidity and lighting. After the site has been prepared, you can start purchasing ingredients, the necessary tools and materials.
At home, it is better to use an intensive method of growing shiitake mushrooms. To do this, you need to purchase the mycelium of the mushroom. You can buy it either in specialized stores or on the Internet. Traditionally, shiitake mycelium is grown on grain or sawdust. For home use, the first type is recommended, experts consider it to be the most suitable for growing the imperial mushroom at home.
The very technology of growing shiitake mushrooms at home consists of the following stages:
- Selection of raw materials. Most often, cereals are used as a basis: rice, wheat, barley, rye. These components are favored by their year-round availability, as well as their relative purity. An important positive quality of grain mycelium is its rather long shelf life without loss of properties.
- Disinfection of the carrier. Shiitake mycelium is very vulnerable. If other fungi or bacteria settle on the nutrient substrate, then it will die, unable to withstand the competition. Therefore, the grain on which the mycelium is to develop is boiled or steamed for 20-30 minutes. Then the water is drained, and the grains are laid out in a thin layer to dry. You can take away excess moisture using chalk or gypsum; these materials are added to the grain in a ratio of 1: 100.
- Formation of blocks. The prepared grain is filled in sterilized glass jars with a capacity of 1-1.5 liters. About 1/3 of the volume on top should be left free, this will facilitate the work. From above, the jars are sealed with cotton-gauze stoppers, and in their absence, with boiled nylon jars.
Important! To grow mycelium, you can use special dense plastic bags with a fastener or with the ability to install a cotton-gauze filter.
- Sterilization. Even after disinfection in boiling water, the grain may contain pathogens of fungal or bacterial diseases that can destroy the shiitake mycelium in the future. To avoid an unfavorable development of the situation, the grain must be sterilized, i.e., all the microflora contained in it must be killed. This is achieved by heating and holding the substrate in an autoclave at a temperature of + 110-120 ° C and a pressure of 1.5-2 atmospheres. At home, it is unlikely that it will be possible to use an autoclave, so the grain is boiled over a fire in a bowl using an ordinary 200 liter iron barrel. If you keep the substrate in boiling water for 3-4 hours, the result may be quite acceptable.
- Inoculation. At this stage, the so-called "sowing" of mushrooms is carried out, that is, the infection of the nutrient medium with shiitake mycelium. After cooling the substrate and keeping it for a certain time in a container with a nutrient substrate, add a dry powder containing spores of the fungus. The process must be carried out very quickly in order to protect containers with a substrate from foreign microflora getting into them. After that, the containers are placed for incubation to form a full-fledged mycelium. At this time, the temperature in the room is maintained at about + 25 ° C and the air humidity is 60%.
Important! All work must be carried out under sterile conditions using gloves.
- Incubation. At this stage, active growth of mycelium is observed, spreading to the entire nutrient substrate. The development of the mycelium can take from 1.5 to 3.5 months, it depends on the quality of the spores of the fungus, the substrate itself and the conditions of detention. For normal development, the optimum temperature is + 25 ° C. All mushroom blocks at this stage should be erected or suspended in order to avoid carbon dioxide poisoning of the mycelium. The normal process of colonization will be indicated by a change in the color of the substrate, at first it will acquire a white color, and then turn brown. At this stage, mushroom blocks can be illuminated for several hours a day with dim, diffused light.
Important! An increase in the ambient temperature above + 28 ° C greatly increases the likelihood of mycelium death due to the sharply increasing activity of molds under such conditions.
- Ripening and harvesting. To give an impetus to the formation of shiitake fruiting bodies, the duration of illumination of the mushroom blocks is increased to 9-10 hours, while the ambient temperature is reduced to + 15-18 ° C. After the start of active growth of primordia, the air humidity must be stabilized at around 85%, and the temperature regime must be adjusted to the characteristics of the strain. It can be thermophilic or cold-loving, then the temperature must be maintained either + 21 ° C or + 16 ° C, respectively.
After the full-sized fruiting bodies appear, harvesting can begin. To keep the mushrooms longer, it is advisable to lower the air humidity at the fruiting stage to 70%, and then to 50%. In total, there can be from 2 to 4 waves of mushroom ripening with an interval of 2-3 weeks.
How to grow shiitake mushrooms in your garden
It is quite possible to grow shiitake mushrooms in the country, but this can be done only in a suitable climate or an artificially created microclimate. To do this, use hardwood bars that do not have damage and rot. You can simply cut the trunks into lengths of 1-1.5 m. The bars are laid horizontally on stands or trestles. Then the mycelium is introduced. To do this, holes with a diameter of 2-3 mm are drilled in the bars to a depth of about 10 cm, grain or sawdust containing mycelium is quickly poured into them and immediately covered with wax or paraffin.
For the further development of the mycelium, the bars are placed in any room in which the desired microclimate can be provided: a temperature of + 20-25 ° C and a relative humidity of about 75-80%. Subject to the necessary conditions, the development of the mycelium can take from six months to one and a half years. Usually there are 2-3 waves of shiitake mushroom harvest. In the interval between them, it is recommended to cover the bars with a layer of special covering material that maintains optimal conditions for fruiting. In total, active ripening of fruit bodies can last from 2 to 6 years, while about 20% of the wood mass is assimilated by mushrooms.
Important! It is better to look for detailed instructions on growing shiitake mushroom mycelium in specialized literature. This article is for overview purposes only.
Shiitake mushroom harvesting rules
Shiitake mushrooms are harvested when they reach the stage of technical ripeness. At this time, the caps had not yet taken a flat shape. 5-6 hours before the planned collection of mushrooms, the air humidity is reduced to 55-60%. Otherwise, the fruiting bodies will be watery, and bacterial brown spots may appear on the underside of the cap. A decrease in moisture helps to dry the upper skin of the cap, which makes the mushrooms more transportable and resistant to mechanical damage.
The mushroom caps are carefully cut with a sharp knife and placed in wooden boxes or baskets with a layer of no more than 15 cm. It is allowed to twist the fruit bodies together with the stem from the mushroom block, if they are later sorted. The crop is covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying out, and then sent to storage. Mushroom blocks are cleaned of the remains of the legs and particles of the fungus, otherwise mold may develop in these places.
Important! Storage and transportation of shiitake mushrooms should be carried out at a temperature of + 2 ° C.
An interesting video related to growing shiitake at home can be viewed at the link:
Growing Shiitake as a Business
Growing shiitake mushrooms has long been a lucrative business. Moreover, they are engaged in it not only in China and Japan, but also in many other countries. The main area for industrial production of shiitake is Southeast Asia. At the end of the last century, interest in the cultivation of these mushrooms in European countries increased significantly. Now the production of shiitake has been established in Germany, Austria, Italy, since the 70s of the XX century it has been grown in the USA and Australia.
From the beginning of this century, a noticeable interest in the industrial cultivation of shiitake began to appear in Russia. However, one should not expect an exuberant demand for these mushrooms. In many regions, residents traditionally prefer local wild-growing mushrooms, the price of which is incomparable with the cost of shiitake. In stores, the price of these mushrooms can go up to 1000-1500 rubles / kg, which is unacceptable for most segments of the population. Mushroom growers also prefer less labor-intensive and more popular oyster mushrooms and champignons, the demand for which is hundreds of times higher than for shiitake. Therefore, in Russia, imperial mushrooms continue to be exotic.
Growing shiitake at home or in the country is possible, but this will require quite significant costs. This is due to the need to provide a microclimate similar to natural growing conditions. In addition to this, the imperial mushroom is much more capricious and demanding than, for example, oyster mushroom. However, if you take into account all the subtleties and nuances, the result will be positive.