Call us: +44 (0)1227 789 649 - Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
Mushroom Cultivation 100 Hours Certificate Course
Learn About Mushroom Cultivation
Mushroom Cultivation course online. This module covers 8 lessons on how to grow and cultivate mushrooms on either a small or large scale. Emphasis is placed on the Agaricus species (the 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. This is an excellent introductory course to understanding the cultivation of mushrooms.
Lesson Structure: Mushroom Production BHT310
There are 8 lessons:
- 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 & 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 tewmperature conditions for spawning and fruiting in most commonly cultivated edible mushroom species
- Cultivation of Pleurotus
- Cultivation of Stropharia
4 Making & 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 Growing Mushrooms Outside (Pest and Disease Management)
- 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 & 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 Special Assignment - Marketing of Mushrooms
- 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
Learning Goals: Mushroom Production BHT310
- 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
Practical (Set Tasks)
- Compare the scientific with common definitions for a Mushroom
- Explain the classification, to genus level, of ten different commercially grown edible fungi
- Produce a labeled 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 genra
- Describe the stages in the growing of Agaricus mushrooms
- Develop criteria for selecting growing media, for different genra 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)
Assessment is based on a combination of completing all assignments and sitting for a final short one and a half hour exam, in your own location.
If you don’t cope well with exams then you may elect to undertake a project instead. This is a popular option.
In addition, most modules have a Set Task at the end of each lesson placed before the assignment. This is an opportunity to undertake practical work to help you acquire knowledge and skills and practical experience. This ADL feature is an added bonus not found at most online schools. Set Tasks are not required for assessment.
Some courses also have optional Self-Tests which are available on our online learning platform. These are not available by correspondence or by USB, and do not form part of your overall grade.
How our courses work
- Choose Your Learning Method
You choose how you would like to receive your course material, i.e., Online, USB or Correspondence. The choice is yours. You may also work on online or offline.
- Tutor Allocation
Every student is assigned their own dedicated tutor who is an expert in their subject area. They provide as much or as little individual contact as you require. You can contact your tutor whenever you need – your hours are not limited.
- Feedback and Assignments
Tutor Feedback is an essential component in helping you understand the subject matter. Tutor feedback is given in the form of notes written on the assignment. We encourage you to contact your Tutor where help with clarification and understanding of course material may be required.
Your assignments are located at the end of each lesson. You submit them for marking whenever you are ready. There is no time limit.
- Set Tasks and Self-Tests
Most modules have a Set Task at the end of each lesson before for the assignment. This is where you get the opportunity to undertake practical work to help you acquire knowledge, skills and practical experience. Many modules also have short Self-Tests.
Once all assignments have been completed you may then elect to sit for a one and half hour exam in your own location. If you prefer not to take the exam you do have the option to undertake a project instead.
Once the exam or project part of the course is completed, your Certificate is then processed. Please allow approximately 4 weeks for this.
- Design Your Own Qualification
ADL offers students the flexibility to self-design their own qualification – bundling together a combination of 100-hour modules into a qualification higher than a certificate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Due to our years of experience and wide range of online courses, here are a list of our FAQs and Answers asked by Students.
Q. Do I need to buy text books?
A. No, you are not required to purchase expensive text books for any of our courses, since each module has been written by highly qualified tutors and writers, and our courses are updated on a regular basis, adding new information, methods and knowledge. You are supplied with all “essential” references. Extra books are always useful though, especially for special projects. Tutors will advise you what to buy if you decide you would like to have extra reading material, but it is not essential. Check out our eBookstore if you’re looking for a starting point.
Q. What sets the Academy apart from other institutions?
A. A unique feature of our courses is that we combine knowledge of the subject matter with practical tasks (set tasks, found at the end of each lesson). So you get to do practical components in each lesson. The benefits of this approach are immense: – your skills and knowledge are developed to a much higher level not normally found at other distance learning institutions.
Q. How do the practical exercises (set tasks) work?
A. The practical component of each lesson can be in the form of : Field Research, Networking and Analysis, Conducting Surveys, Growing, Collecting, Photographing and Processes.
Q. Can I pay by instalments?
A. Yes, you can view all available payment options here.
Q. Are there any hidden costs?
A. There are no hidden extras – the tuition fee covers all course material, unlimited tutor support, assignment marking/feedback and any text books where specified and exams. The only extras are for the public examinations fees for the ICB Bookkeeping course and the RHS (Royal Horticulture Society) exams.
Q. Are your courses up-to date?
A. Our courses are continually updated. The course content is rapidly updated and improved without the red tape and bureaucracy experienced at other educational institutions.
Q. Do you have a Cancellation policy?
A. We have a cancellation policy that is fair and equitable. For further details please click here.
Q. What Recognition do you have?
A. The Academy for Distance Learning has various forms of recognition:
These include TQUK (Training Qualifications UK) – an Ofqual Awarding Organisation – ADL is an approved TQUK Centre.
IARC – International Approval Registration Centre, approved member. Accredited Training Provider for ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) and Approved Distance Learning Provider for the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) and many more. Our graduates come from many parts of the world and have used our qualifications for successful employment and progression onto higher education. To view our full list of recognition and memberships please click here,
Q. Will I have any opportunity to engage with other students?
A. We have a Student Community group based on facebook! If you don’t have a facebook account already, you could make one just for talking with fellow students on the group.
Q. Why should I enrol with the Academy for Distance Learning?
A. Here at the Academy our students are our priority – we treat every student as a unique individual. This philosophy allows us to nurture those who are “slow and steady” learners rather than letting them fall through the cracks, while catering for those who are in a hurry to complete.
Q. Can I study from anywhere in the world?
A. Our courses are available to anyone, anywhere in the world from the comfort of your own home. The course content is relevant to any country, culture or economy.
Q. Completing the course- how long will it take?
A. Completion of modules varies from student to student. Many factors come into play such as work commitments and family life- there are always distractions. Some students work quicker than others. For a 100 hour module many students will take up to 3- 6 months, others take less time and some are even longer. It’s all up to you. There is no pressure to complete or deadline to finish. Naturally, longer courses will take more time.
Q. What learning formats are there?
A. Your enrollment comes with the Online Classroom study option by default. For a small additional cost you also have the options of USB or Correspondence.
USB: Your course is sent to you on a USB stick, so that you can carry it in your pocket. Ideal for those with unreliable internet connections. This option is an additional £5/module
Correspondence: You download the course content and then print your own copy to your requirements. You can then bind the lessons to suit your needs.
Q. Assessment – how does it work?
A. For each 100 hour module you are assessed by assignments (at the end of each lesson) and a final one and a half hour exam (or you may elect to complete a project instead of sitting the exam) – the choice is yours – you sit for the exam in your own location, or you can visit us in Canterbury, England to sit the exam if want to. Exam fees are included in the tuition fee you paid. You can read more about the examination process here. At the end of each lesson, there is an assignment. You submit it to the academy who then submits it to the tutor for marking, comments and feedback. Our policy is to have a grade for you within 5 to 7 days.
Q. How many assignments do I need to complete for each module?
A. At the end of each lesson, there is an assignment – so if a course has say, 10 lessons there would be 10 assignments. The number of lessons per module varies from module to module. See the course content from our website for further details.
Q. When do I have to hand in my first assignment?
A. There is no deadline for handing in the first assignment. Submit when you are ready. There are some students who hand in assignments within the first couple of weeks of enrolment – while there are others who submit their work 6 months later. It’s all at your own convenience to suit you. Everyone has different work and home commitments and we cater to these needs.
Q. I am having difficulty attending workshops/industry meetings, what can be done?
A. If your course requires attendance at workshops, conferences, or industry meetings; alternative arrangements can be made in your country; however, there may be an additional expense. We can appoint an appropriately qualified person anywhere to work through curriculum documentation supplied by us, to satisfy the requirements set down in a course.
Q. What qualification will I receive?
A. For individual modules, you would receive a Certificate (providing you complete all assignments and the exam). If you just want to complete the assignments only, then a Letter of Achievement would be awarded. For more details on qualifications awarded please click here.
Q. Is there a next level to progress to?
A. Yes – you can progress from one module to a combination of many modules and to higher qualifications i.e. Advanced Certificates, Diplomas and Higher Advanced Diplomas. Read more about course levels here.
Q. Can I customize my diploma/higher qualification?
A. Not all educational institution’s certificates /diplomas meet everyone’s needs. The opportunity to design your own diploma at the Academy (subject to our approval) is an added bonus, not found at other colleges. It’s a very popular option and widely used by many students. You quite simply choose the appropriate number of related modules needed to complete the qualification and submit them to us for approval as a custom diploma.
Q. What do I get when I complete the course? Will I receive a transcript?
A. At the completion of a 100-hour Certificate course and providing all assignments and exam have been completed, you will receive a Certificate and Transcript. The Transcript will list your GPA. Each 100-hour module is worth 3 credit hours.
Q. Do I have to sit for an exam?
A. Exams are optional but need to be undertaken in order to receive the Certificate or higher qualification. Exams are one and a half hours long. You appoint an adjudicator (subject to our approval) to supervise the exam. You sit for the exam in your own location. Its that simple.
Q. I don’t cope well with exams – what can I do?
A. If you feel you don’t cope well with exams you may elect to undertake a Project (set by the tutor) instead of sitting the exam. Many students prefer this option as they find researching the material for the project sharpens their research skills.
Q. If I don’t sit for the Exam do I still get a qualification?
A. If you don’t sit for the exam but complete the project alternative, you will still receive your endorsed qualification. If you don’t sit for an exam or complete a final project, providing you have completed all the assignments you will be awarded a Certificate of Achievement.
Q. Do I have to sit for the exam at the Academy?
A. No – whilst you are more than welcome to come to our location in Canterbury, U.K. and sit the exam in our classroom; the more popular option is to sit for the exam in your own location. You appoint an adjudicator to supervise the exam. Click here for more information on that process.
Q. Our tutors – who are they?
A. We only employ tutors who have are currently active in their industry with at least 5 years of real-world experience. Not only are they highly qualified but also experienced, knowledgeable, and professional- experts in their chosen fields from all parts of the world.
Q. Can I contact my tutor at any time?
A. Yes- you have unlimited access to tutors. We strongly encourage students to develop a dialogue with their Tutor. This is why we encourage students to submit their first assignment fairly quickly at the beginning of the course.
Every Academy student is assigned a tutor who supports you throughout your course and beyond. Your tutor is there to guide and facilitate your learning and provides as much or as little individual contact as you would like. When you submit your coursework the tutor will give you feedback that helps you develop your ideas and provides motivation. For those who do like to have interaction with other students, the ADL discussion forum connects you to students from all over the world.
Q. How do I contact my tutor?
A. You have direct contact with your tutor by email through the Online Classroom. Alternatively, you can write, fax, email, or phone the academy. Leave a message if your tutor isn’t available and they will phone, write or fax back; whatever suits you.
Q. If I don’t understand a question or a lesson may I contact the tutor?
A. You may contact a tutor as often as you like. There is no additional charge or restriction on this service. Contact can be made via the Student Zone, email, or by phone.
Q. Practical work – How is this done?
A. To find out more about this part of the course please visit the section on How Our Courses Work here.
Excerpt from the Course
Spawning is the procedure where spawn is added to the prepared compost. The following things are most important:
*Grains of spawn should be separated from each other as thoroughly as possible as the spawn is spread over the surface of the compost.
*Spawn should be mixed evenly through the compost.
*Conditions should be kept as sterile as possible (Wear clean clothing and footwear, wash your hands before carrying out spawning, tools should be sterilized in detail, formalin or some other antiseptic which will not damage the mushroom).
In many larger and sophisticated mushroom farms, the practice is to mix spawn throughout the compost thoroughly using machinery. The older system involves spreading the spawn over the surface and mixing it in with forks.
Do not add spawn to compost while the temperature of the compost is above 30 degrees centigrade. (34 degrees will kill the mycelium). If there is any ammonia present in the compost (i.e.: through composting being incomplete), the mycelium is likely to not grow at all.
Normally 6 to 10 litres of grain spawn should be used for every tonne of compost.
The optimum temperature for the mycelium to grow is 25 degrees centigrade. Three or four days following spawning, a cottony growth should appear around the grain, and depending on conditions, the mycelium should have thoroughly grown through the compost after about 2 weeks.
Once the mycelium has grown to this point it will generate increased heat in the compost. It is important that the temperature be held down, and this is normally done by ventilation or by a cooling system.
Spawn – consists of living mushroom mycelium growing on sterilised wheat or sorghum grain. This is sown onto the compost.
Spores – these are equivalent to the reproductive ‘seeds’ of mushrooms (technically are not seeds). They are produced when the mushroom breaks the veil and the gills are exposed, thereby releasing the minute dust-like spores.
Spawn of Agaricus bisporus is produced by growing the mycelium of the mushroom on sterilized cereal grains under sterile, laboratory conditions.
Virtually any type of grain can be used, though rye and millet are most commonly used in commercial situations.
Spawn suppliers often claim millet is better because it produces more inoculating points per unit weight than larger grains. Another argument is sometimes put that larger grains such as rye, provide greater food reserves for the mycelium than the smaller grains such as millet.
TYPICAL METHOD OF PRODUCING RYE GRAIN SPAWN
1. Grain is boiled in water (Use hard type grain so it doesn't burst in boiling). Moisture content of the grain will be increased by 10 - 40% at this stage.
2. Drain off excess water and mix with 2% gypsum (by weight) and 0.2% calcium carbonate (by weight). This both adjusts pH and reduces the tendency for grains to stick together.
3. Grain is then placed into containers and sterilized in an autoclave (i.e.: steam sterilized under pressure ‑an autoclave is a device similar to a steam cooker). Treat for 1.5hrs at 121 degrees centigrade and at 15 p.s.i. Grain is then allowed to cool.
4. Spawn which has been grown on a special (different) substrate is then added to a container of prepared grain. This provides a "master culture”. The master culture is grown at 25 degrees C. for 11 to 14 days. Over this period, the spawn is shaken in its container at least twice to ensure thorough mixing. The containers used might be glass or polypropylene jars, or perhaps autoclavable bags.
5. Samples of inoculated grain is then taken from the master culture and added to containers of prepared spawn to produce larger numbers of "secondary cultures".
Numerous hybrids and varieties of Agaricus spawn are available from spawn suppliers. These are generally known by numbers rather than names (such as are used for varieties of green plants).
A range of commercially successful hybrid strains were developed in both Holland and Taiwan in the early 1980's.
Dutch hybrids released in 1981 were called U1 and U3. These have since been given names U1 being called "Horronda" and U3 being called "Horwitu". These two were the result of breeding aimed at combining the desirable characteristics of the off white and the pure white spawn types.
The off white produce better size and weight than pure white. The pure white produce a smooth, more attractive, white cap. These varieties have been very successful in the western world producing high quality and high levels of production.
FAQ - RHS Theory Qualifications
If you require further details about any of the RHS industry recognised qualifications please, call one of our friendly RHS Course Advisors on +44 (0)1227 789 649 or email: [email protected]
Q: When can I Enrol/Start My RHS Course With ADL?
A: Anytime, Anywhere. There are no enrolment deadlines.
Q: I live Overseas. Can I Study From Overseas?
A: You can study any of the RHS theory qualifications overseas. All courses are offered in English. You will need to email RHS Qualifications direct to arrange sitting for your examination overseas.
Q: Is There a Time Limit for Completing an RHS Qualification?
A: At present there are no time limits. However, RHS is contemplating in the future, the introduction of course time-lines.
Q: Are There Any Entry Requirements (Pre-Requisites)?
A: The RHS Theory courses do not require prerequisites, previous experience or any knowledge of horticulture. You just need passion for all things horticulture.
Q: What Course Should I Start With First? I Am New To RHS Qualifications.
A: We highly recommend that you start with Level 2 – Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance.
Q: What Does ADL Course Material Include?
A: Includes Power Point Presentations, Videos and written course lessons.
Q: When Do Exams Take Place?
A: Exams are held on fixed dates in February and June of each year. You should register as a candidate at least 3 months before these dates, so please do not leave exam registration to the last minute
Q: Where Do I Take My Exams?
A: UK: You take the exams at the RHS Wisley Centre, located between Cobham and Ripley in Surrey or at other authorised RHS centres around the UK.
Overseas: please email RHS qualifications direct for centre information.
Q: Exam Pass Marks?
A: Module – pass 50%. Commendation 70%.
Qualification: 50% pass for all modules.
Commendation awarded for all modules.
Each question carries a value of 10 marks.
Q: I’m Not Happy With My Exam Results?
A: You have the opportunity to re-sit your exam at the next opportunity.
There are no restrictions on the number of re-sits you can take. The highest mark you achieve will remain.,