Mushroom Production

Course CodeBHT310
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


Learn to Grow Mushrooms

  • Learn Mushrooms about different types of mushrooms
  • Understand different growing techniques
  • For the farmer, professional horticulturist, student, or anyone passionate about mushrooms

Here is a comprehensive 8 lesson course covering how to grow mushrooms on either a small or large scale. Emphasis is placed on the Agaricus bisporus (ie. Champignon), though other commercially important edible fungi are also considered. Growing, harvesting, marketing, storage, pest and diseases and even ways of cooking and using mushrooms are covered.

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 temperature 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


  • 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 mushrooms

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 labelled 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 genre
  • Describe the stages in the growing of Agaricus mushrooms
  • Develop criteria for selecting growing media, for different genre 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)


Commercial Growing offers Real Opportunity. Mushrooms are best when sold fresh, within hours of picking. This means that the best mushrooms are always those grown close to their final destination.

For the home grower, the way to get the best tasting mushrooms is to grow them yourself.

For the enterepeneur farmer; mushrooms are a crop that you can retain an advantage with over competing growers from other regions. It is impossible for a farmer from even 200 km away to be able to harvest, pack, and deliver their mushrooms to your local buyers in as good a condition as what you will be able to.

Commercial mushroom farming of Agaricus bisporus growing has been an industry in most developed countries since the early 20th century (some places longer).

In the 1950's mushrooms were many commercial farms grew mushrooms in compost heaped into beds in dark places like caves or disused railway tunnels. They were not sealed from the outside environment as commercial farms are today.

Over recent decades, there has been considerable change in both the scale of production and the methods used producing mushrooms for the table.

Mushroom growing today generally requires a high level of investment in insulated buildings and temperature control equipment, humidity and ventilation equipment, among other technologies. With sophisticated, highly controlled growing environments, pests, diseases and other disorders are controlled in the large scale mushroom growing operations, giving a much higher quality product, and less risk than was seen earlier.

By 1984/85 for example, there were approximately 80 commercial mushroom farms in Australia, producing around 14 million kg of mushrooms. (NB: The 20 largest growers produced 80% of the total production). In addition to the 14 million kg produced in Australia, a further 8 million kg was imported from other countries. The position will have changed somewhat since 1980, however, as the demand for mushrooms continued to expand.  The scale of commercial farming in Europe and other places was far larger.

Most of what was grown then was the common Agaricus bisporus mushroom, which we are all familiar with; but toward the end of the 20th century, interest was expanding in other types of mushrooms such as the Oyster Mushroom, Pin Mushrooms and Shitake. 

Today, an increasing range of varieties are grown commercially; but the Agaricus bisporus (ie. Sold as Chamignon, Button Mushroom etc)


Twenty Eight Ways to Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms feature on many hot breakfast menus. Mushrooms are on of the foods which stimulate an umami taste. They can be used to impart a pleasant, earthy flavour in stews and soups, add texture and richness to casseroles, pastas, and carbohydrate dishes, or simply to add important nutritional factors to any meal.  Below are just a few of the ways mushrooms can be used for your next meal.

  1. Pan seared mushrooms on toast.  This can be served with oven-baked marinated Roma tomatoes, baby spinach with a balsamic glaze reduction.  
  2. Mushroom stroganoff
  3. Mushroom omelette
  4. One pot mushroom and vegetable curry
  5. Quiche, pies, tart/tartlets, strudels and pastries - mushroom and vegetable.  The combinations are limitless!  
  6. Mushroom and spinach tart
  7. Rice, noodles and pasta – mushroom and vegetable.  The combinations are limitless!
  8. Mushroom, walnut and tomato stuffed roast capsicum.
  9. Stuffed mushroom caps – mushrooms can be stuffed with many different fillings and then baked.  
  10. Mushroom risotto
  11. Mushroom and spinach lasagne
  12. Mushroom and herb Ragout
  13. Add to a pizza as a topping
  14. Add mushrooms to tuna mornay
  15. Mushroom soup
  16. Mushroom pate
  17. Mushroom and herb bread
  18. Mushroom and goats cheese salad
  19. Lemon mushroom pilaf
  20. Mushrooms are great added to gravy (mushroom sauce)
  21. Top grilled steak or chicken with sautéed mushroom
  22. Moroccan mushroom couscous
  23. Garlic, herb and mushroom spaghetti
  24. Sauté any type of mushroom with onions for a side dish
  25. Add raw sliced mushrooms or white mushrooms to top any salad
  26. Battered, fried mushrooms
  27. Add sliced mushrooms to omelettes, breakfast scrambles and quiches
  28. Grill or sauté mushrooms and use them on sandwiches or in wraps.



  • Anyone with a passion for mushroom growing - amateur, trade or professionals
  • Farmers/ Growers who are considering serious mushroom production
  • Staff training/professional development for people working on a mushroom farm, or broader crop production
  • Businessmen exploring new business enterprise options
  • Students of horticulture expanding and deepening their knowledge
  • People with a passion for being more self sufficient - mushrooms can be a serious source of protein, and for some an alternative to meat


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