Ever wanted to grow mushrooms and didn't know where to start?

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 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.

Learn about Mushroom Farming 

Edible fungi of all types are commonly called mushrooms. The most commonly grown are species of Agaricus - sold as champignons or button mushrooms. An increasingly diverse range of mushrooms are being grown and sold though in our markets.

There are ever increasing opportunities for farming mushrooms for niche markets -both the common Agaricus and other types as well. Different types of mushrooms are cultivated in different ways; but there is also common ground shared between all types of fungi. The pest and disease problems, biological characteristics and nutritional requirements of one type of fungus is much closer to all other fungi than to other plant types.

Learn the commercial cultivation of one type of mushroom and you will have a foundation for learning about other types.
This course concentrates on Agaricus because that is the most commonly cultivated fungi; but it also gives information about a wide variety of other types.



There are eight lessons as follows:

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 of Coprinus 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

100 hours


On successful completion of the course you should be able to do the following:

  • 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


Here are just some of things you may be doing:

  • 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 genera
  • Describe the stages in the growing of Agaricus mushrooms
  • Develop criteria for selecting growing media, for different genera of edible fungi; including Agaricus
  • Describe an appropriate compost for growing of Agaricus bisporus
  • Explain how spawn is produced for different genera 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. genera) 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)


Take a look at this extract from the course:

Temperature conditions

Type of Mushroom

Temperature Requirement for spawning and fruiting (°C)



Agaricus bisporus


optimum 22-25, will grow between 2-32 (very slow or very quick)

Lower to 15-17 (can fruit between 9-22)

Agaricus bitorquis

During mycelium growth 28 to 30 °C

After casing and once mycelium reaches top of casing drop temperature to 22-24 °C

Auricularia spp

25-28 °C for A. auricula and A. polytricha

22-26 °C for A. auricula

24-27 °C for A. polytricha

Coprinus fimetarius

35-40 °C preferred (As low as 20 will produce fruit, but not commercially)


Flammulina velutipes

Winter Mushroom - Enokitake

22-26 °C preferred for mycelial growth,

then 10-12 °C for fruiting body initiation in dark, then 5-8 °C for development of a good quality harvest

Ganoderma lucidum

25-30 °C preferred for mycelial growth, although the range is wider, 5 to 34°C

24-28 °C optimum temperature for fruiting. It can fruit also (but lower crops) between 20-30 °C

Grifola frondosa

Hen of the woods, Maitake

21-24 °C (70-75F) optimum for mycelia development

10-18 °C (50-65F) optimum for fruiting

Lentinus edodes


25 °C is ideal for mycelial growth, but can develop from 5 to 30 (70-80F), depending on the variety (cold or warm)

Lower while fruiting –anything from 12-20 °C (50-70F) for cold varieties and 21-27 °C (60-80F) for warm varieties

Kuehneromyces mutabilis (sin Pholiota mutabilis)

Vegetative phase at 17-20 °C for up to 2 months or longer at slightly lower temperatures


Pleurotus spp

25 to 30 °C most species

20-25°C for P. citrinipileatus

26-30 °C most species

20-27 °C P. citrinipileatus

Pholiota nameko

Nameko (Japan), Huagu, Guanmaosan and Huazimo (China)

24-26 degrees °C for mycelial growth

generally between 8 and 15 °C for fruiting

Stropharia rugosa‑annulata

Wine-red stropharia, Verdigris agaric, Daqiugaigu (China)

21-27°C for mycelium growth

Initiating temperature 10 -16°C, then raise for fruiting to 16-21°C

Tremella fuciformis

White Jelly Fungus or Silver Ear

Mycelium growth at 25-28 °C for 3-5 days to favour Hypoxylon (accompanying helping fungus), then keep at 23-25 °C for 7 to 10 days to favour Tremella

Induction of fruiting at 18-23 °C. Fruiting body development at 20-27 °C for Tremella

Tuber sp.




Tricholoma matsutake


Fruiting bodies start to develop in the wild when soil temperatures fall below 19°C, and stop below 10°C

Volvariella volvaceae

Straw Mushroom

32 -35 °C optimum for mycelial growth. Can grow between 15-45.

28-32 °C for fruiting, although it can fruit between 22 to 38 °C




Just go to the top of this page for pricing and enrolment options. If you have any questions you can contact us now, by:
Phone (UK) 01384 44272, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

Email us at [email protected]