I had a chance to talk to a client I am consulting for yesterday he was worried why the mushrooms haven’t pinned yet and he looked quite stressed while I was relaxed and at ease because I knew all is under control. I will try put some of the points in the exact manner I did to him. I hope this helps you as a grower or as a new grower or perhaps you intend to be a grower.

a) Various Methods
The mushroom industry is so diverse and methods vary from grower to grower, country to country. This is made complex when you realise each and every type is grown differently but coming to the type this client is growing in Harare: button mushrooms – there are various ways of doing each and every stage from compost formulas, pasteurisation, choice of culture (tray/crate,shelf,or bag system), spawning, incubation,casing, and so on. My advise to the client was follow what I am doing and recommending and change after sometime. The danger is changing things every time a new technique is discovered (especially from the internet, for instance we did bulk pasteurisation, but we could have done that in the crates right in the growing room. One of the challenges I encounter with clients is when they read on the internet or visit a farm and then come and prove that I am wrong. I hate that but I take my time to teach and explain the different methods.

b) Correct Information
Whilst the internet is a great source of information it can be misleading if a grower wants to implement different methods on the same farm. My experience is failure is certain in such instances. I also encourage all those who think they will be saving money if they DIY (do it yourself) in most instances it leads to failure. If one can not hire a consultant then have someone experienced guide you even if its over the phone or online. Some even shock me when they reinvent the wheel.

c) Right Equipment
There is need to invest in the right kind of equipment equipment like I mentioned above do not reinvent the wheel. I have talked to someone telling them you can’t grow button commercialy without air conditioners, for instance pinhead initiation requires 17-18°c. Some underestimate the the need for humidity in mushroom growing, as such the right equipment must be acquired.

d) Capital
Last but not least one needs to have enough capital before starting the mushroom growing venture and plans must be made with spawn supplier well in advance, don’t forget that generator unless you have a guaranteed electricity supply. If you don’t want to invest in equipment then you may need
to grow mushroom in winter.

Happy mushroom growing Zimbabwe, what do you think, feel free to leave a comment.