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Cultivation of porcini mushrooms
Porcino is certainly the most popular mushroom in the Italian culinary tradition. Famous for its risottos, for its escalopes and for various typical dishes, it has an unmistakable taste and can be used to prepare different specialties. Belonging to the Boletus mushroom family, porcini is found in the undergrowth of oak and chestnut trees and in areas where the main flora is made up of fir and beech trees. The environmental characteristics are fundamental for the growth of porcini mushrooms, in fact the fungus lives in symbiosis with the roots of the trees, therefore, its cultivation must be organized recreating the ideal conditions between undergrowth, soil substrate and climatic conditions.
There mushroom cultivation porcini is not very simple and can only be obtained through micorization, a particular technique used in agriculture and horticulture, which consists in transferring the roots of the fungus to a soil and creating a symbiotic relationship with other higher plants. In the case of the porcini mushroom, for example, chestnuts and oaks are used, creating a symbiotic relationship between the fungus and the roots of the plants so that the porcine can receive the nourishment necessary for its growth from the chestnut.
Cultivation of porcini mushrooms: the micorized plants
The ideal habitat of the porcini mushroom is a natural environment with particular conditions of humidity, solar lighting and temperatures. Of course it is the soil that must be made of soil where other porcini mushrooms have already developed. With these conditions, a micorized cultivation can be attempted.
It is therefore necessary to set up a vast area where there are favorable conditions, one must to bury in mycorrhized plants and porcini mushroom spores. For the supply of spores there are specialized companies that supply spores also for other plantations, from truffles to champignons. The presence of chestnut and beech in the area can help the cultivation. It is easy to see that this operation requires an economic feasibility study.
Before proceeding with a culture of micorized plants, the soil must be evaluated through chemical and physical analyzes and a climatic analysis of the area must be taken into account, especially as regards the frequency of precipitation. There mushroom cultivation porcini, as well as an economic investment, for the sale of the product, can also be used for reforestation operations. When choosing to create green areas and plant superior plants suitable for developing symbiotic relationships with fungi, burying porcine spores can help sustain the investment. In the early years the conditions will be created to grow the undergrowth and the largest plants, and later, even using specific cultivation treatments, the vegetation that can attack the roots will be eliminated leading to the development of a hospitable habitat for porcini .
This process requires a period of time varying from 3 to 5 years, certainly represents a niche market and some production years are needed to amortize the costs of the plant. Although research in the sector is evolving, the cultivation of porcini remains very difficult and in most cases it does not lead to production. Also for these reasons, generally no single plant is created of porcini but also truffles are grown which can lead to a production after 6 years, barley, lavender and other essences that have a positive influence on the growth mechanisms of the undergrowth.
Porcini mushroom cultivation in greenhouses
Modern agriculture techniques have been developing experimental greenhouse crops in recent years. Always taking advantage of the principle of creating the symbiosis between plant and fungus, a process at the base of porcine cultivation, there are companies that produce fungi from the Boletus family recreating the conditions of an ideal greenhouse habitat. Bales of straw are placed inside the greenhouses and specially selected porcini mushroom spores are placed inside them.
The spores inside the bales of straw require an incubation period between 70 and 90 days, in this period it is necessary to proceed to a regular irrigation, morning and evening and it is also necessary to prepare nebulizers from above to maintain a condition of constant humidity. With this technique, being studied by ecologists and experts in the field, a mushroom develops that is very similar to porcini, with a stem that has a ring and a chapel that can reach up to 15 cm in diameter.
If the porcine spores remain a few days longer inside the bales of straw, a fungus develops and is very similar to the Stropharia rugosoannulata, a fungus cultivated above all abroad and which is also marketed in Italy. This mushroom was born between May and October and has a mainly commercial production. As mentioned, this is an experimental greenhouse cultivation technique, but there are evidences that indicate a price of the fungus in some cases even higher than porcino.
Champignon mushrooms cultivation
If the cultivation of porcini is still under study and improvement,there is a type of mushroom cultivation that is fairly well run and with safe results: that of the champignons or champignons. For the cultivation of these mushrooms spores are in fact available on the market to spread on a ground or on a ball of hay, which once moistened will be an ideal substrate for the growth of mushrooms.
In some nurseries you can also find ready-made bales specially created for the cultivation of mushrooms and this solution is ideal for those with little time and want to see the first results immediately. Browsing the internet you can still find other interesting solutions for those who want to experiment.