Alexander Tsarev
Mushroom industry


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Mushroom in the basement (second part)

23 2010

home-made, mycelium, compost

Mushrooms growing in artificial conditions include two fazes:
The compost production;
Mushrooms growing.
This assay will speak about compost production (what is don by special technology). Quality of compost will have consequence on future mushrooms production.
Process of compost production we can divide on next steps:
  • Straw preparing;
  • Straw wetting;
  • Mixing with chicken manure;
  • Carefully mixing straw and chicken manure;
  • Pile stacking.
Let we consider each of this phases more precisely.


Straw what we use to make compost, is transported and preserved in bales.
These bales can be round or rectangular. It is more comfortable to work with straw in bales. They are pressed by high pressure baler. They can be 15 kg/ one rectangular bale.
The round bales can be 150 kg or more in weight. But we must consider that bales can be different in weight, what is depending of many factors. Before we start to use bales of straw, to make compost, we must first weight, some bales, and find meddle weight, of them, before we start to use them. Because of it, we have to know how much straw we have to have, before we start to make compost. Quantity of compost what we will produce, will depend of growing surface, it is 100 kg. spawned compost by m2.The 1 ton, of fresh straw will give us, 2,0 2,5 tons of spawned compost.

The bales of straw are opened, by cutting plastic strings what was used to bale straw.
When we open straw bales, it has to be controlled and cleaned of peaces of ground, moldy straw, (this straw is black colored). Bales are opened, and in this way straw is ready to be used, and start to wet.


Straw watering has to be don on concrete floor (watering has not to be on plain ground). Cement floor has to be smooth, with small slope, to have possibility to collect water.
If is possible, if surface of compost yard is large, straw bales mix and make layer 0,5 m high, and start sprinkling water, using recirculated water.

In case that compost yard is not large, straw watering is don, partially, on same principle. (Difference between first and second way, is that in first way chicken manure is mixed in total amount with straw, in second way, partly amount of chicken manure, is mixed with straw, ) and after that all straw is accumulated in compost pile.

First indicator does straw is sufficiently wet, is that we used about (1 ton of straw / 2m3 of water). Second indicator is straw heating, how fast straw became hot
If all is regularly don, sufficient water quantity and chicken manure in proper quantity, straw will start to heat very fast. Next day temperature in straw would be 40-50C and we can see chimney effect, as indicator of fermentation...

If composts temperature is not get up, as has to be, or get up, slowly we have to check next:
  • Compost is to wet, (especially during cold weather),
  • Compost is ready dry and pile is rather fluffy (it happened during summer, mostly)
  • Lack of chicken manure, or smaller content of Nitrogen in the chicken manure (rather big lost of Nitrogen does happen, when chicken manure is long time in the stoke,
  • Because of this, its suggested not to kip chicken manure more than one month on deposit.


It is very important do supply exact quantity of chicken manure to the straw, and do it as more homogenously as possible. To know how much of chicken manure we mix with straw, we must know his weight, and to calculate how much is weight of Payloaders bucket. When we weight one bucket, later on, we would know how much chicken manure would give, how much bucket needs to be given. With Payloader will be easy to give chicken manure, as much as it is necessary.


Straw and chicken manure has to be mixed thoroughly. This premass what is made, has to be accumulated, in form of parallelepiped,( windrow) with base around 3,0- 3,5 m. toll 2,5 m.

Compost cone
Lateral walls are from 1,2 m 1,5 m vertically. Top of form is round.
How long windrow will be, depend of compost quantity.
Turning of compost (4 5) will make windrow narrower, smaller, at end, last windrow dimensions will be 2,2 - 2,5 m, high 1,8-2,0 m


Compost production is aerobic process, and has to provide sufficiently quantity of Oxygen, to get this process in proper way. After some of time, lack of Oxygen, causing
processes in compost anaerobic .To avoid these we are turning compost regularly.
Compost turning, is with one day of pause, but if compost is cold and fermentation is not going well, temperature of compost are low and then compost turning happen every two days. Normally 5 turning are sufficient to make compost ready, especially if is projected compost pasteurization. In case of spawning on nonpasteurizated compost,*in the first faze, because pasteurization does not projected, then compost turning has to be don more times, and compost will be turned before smell of ammonium is completely out of compost. Compost production will be longer, in case of nonpasteurizated composting process.


During compost turning, we must ad water, but very carefully. To wet compost doesnt work, because have not sufficiently Oxigenium? In this case it is very big possibility that compost fermented anaerobicaly. This compost has acid smell, unpleasant!

Normally compost has specific smell, sweet, with Ammonium smell .Maximal temperatures in anaerobic compost are 60 - 65C, but in aerobic compost temperatures are 70 75C, and get till 80 C.

Compost humidity control: take small amount of compost, squeeze it hard. Water has to drop down from compost.

Compost humidity control
We have to control compost humidity before we start turning over windrows. If has not water drops from compost, we have to add more water, during compost windrow turning. We have to control, few times, compost humidity during compost turning.

We must recon that water will leak from compost windrow, after compost stack.
If water is leaking long time, more than few hours, we must take account, that there is to much water is in the compost, that we gave to much water during compost turning.
In this case, next compost turning will be with less water or without water.
On beginning of compost turning, we have to give big quantity of water, because when compost became very hot, absorbs very big quantity of water, but also has to provide necessary quantity of Oxygen, to avoid anaerobic process of fermentation.


During compost mixing, we must give gypsum. Normally, at first turning gyps is added. Calculated quantity of gypsum, scattered on compost surface and after that, turning machine is mowing down, turning compost.
At some technology gypsum is added together with chicken manure, in the compost pile and after that compost is thoroughly mixed.


Mushrooms need different materials to vegetative growth and to form mushroom's carpophores.
To mycelium growing, needs to provide Nitrogen resources. This material stays in compost in form of Lignin Humus complex, with Nitrogen incorporated. That mass is dark brown or nearly black colored. Mycelium, during growing period, eats this complex molecules, this mass, and because of this, compost change color, and became light colored.
To make carpophores mushrooms needs, organic mater, carbohydrates and proteins
Mushroom yield will depend on quantity of organic mater what rest in the compost.
Ting is, that composting process is production of microbes, what are feeding on organic mater. In case of longer fermentation process, microbes will eat more organic mater, in compost, and less organic mater, will stay for the mushrooms.
Compost has carbohydrates, in the form of: easy degradable, middle degradable and
Complex molecules, of carbohydrates what are difficult to disintegrate.
It is important to finish process of composting, at the moment when microbes et easy degradable carbohydrates, as food source. Other organic compounds should stay as food, for the mushrooms. These molecules needs to mushrooms for mycelium growing and carpophores formation.

In practice it is possible to control, at this way. Small amount of compost, watered under tap water, and after that are check structure of the straw.
Easy degradable carbohydrates are compounds of straw cells and parts of cells walls.
If straw is decomposed, its should be separated on fibrous parts, and they will be accumulated under straw. At that moment fermentation of compost has to be finished.


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