Mr Jimmy Lim is one of the persons-in-charge of mushroom production in Zenxin’s farms. He is the assistant production manager in the Zenxin Production Department.
Ever wondered how Zenxin grows its organic white oyster mushrooms? Many steps and procedures are required to produce delicious, high-quality organic white oyster mushrooms.
Mr Jimmy Lim describes the meticulous process below:
“To grow mushrooms, firstly, you have to keep your mushroom house clean. Secondly, maintain your room moisture level around 80% – 90% (we do this by having room sprayed three times a day as indicated by the moisture meter). Thirdly, maintain the room temperature around 25 – 28 degrees Celsius (same with above and keep good air ventilation inside the mushroom house). Keeping things clean and hygienic are one of our main priorities as all workers have to follow the stated protocol in handling mushrooms.
Mushroom production is usually estimated one week beforehand. A small sprout of mushrooms growing on the tip of the opened mushroom bag are an indication if the mushrooms are ready to be harvested. The white oyster mushroom is a variety of mushroom with a rather complicated growing behavior as compared to other mushrooms. Most cultivated mushrooms’ production involves exposing the mushroom bags to the atmosphere (and oxygen) or increasing the moisture levels of the room, but in the case of the white oyster mushroom, changes in temperature and moisture can determine the production. Vast changes in temperature and moisture levels during both daytime and nighttime will most probably impact the production of the white oyster mushroom.
The calculation starts from the day a mushroom starts to sprout out of the mushroom bags and it normally it takes 4 – 6 days for the sprouts to develop into mature mushrooms ready to be harvested.
There are a few pests and mushroom diseases found in the mushroom house. Common pests include cockroaches, snails, ants and spiders – but these are not the most dangerous. The most dangerous disease which can destroy all the mushrooms is the green mold fungus. Wood ears (Black fungus) is one species that is most susceptible to the disease. Fortunately for us, the white oyster mushroom has a better defense mechanism against the green mold disease and only 3% or lower than that are affected.
Mushroom waste or what we call “spent mushroom substrate” or ”mushroom media residues ” is a good source of carbon. After being sucked of all its nutrients by the mushrooms, the waste is basically emptied of important nutrients. Thus, it only serves as a carbon source where they will be mixed with a high nitrogen source waste to increase its nutrient content. This can be done by adding any animal waste in the ratio of 1 animal waste to 20 mushroom waste and composting for 3 – 6 months. After the period, the compost is ready for use and is enriched with compatible nutrients for plants.
Currently we have only white oyster mushrooms in our mushroom house and a few experiments have been conducted. Among the tests conducted are methods to control mushroom growth using several test materials to induce the production. We are using pH nature in the tests – lemon is used and served as acidic media whereas hydrated lime is used as alkaline media.
Other than that, we use cold water to run the test. All the media are sprayed twice a week with a safe amount of cold water and mushroom production will be recorded. The experiments are still in progress and we hope we can have positive outcomes for our experiments. As the main hot spot in Zenxin Organic Park, we have fully utilized the land beyond the mushroom house.”
Mr Jimmy Lim (left) with one of Zenxin’s farm workers.