Putu Wira Kusuma keeps busy harvesting oyster mushrooms in the backyard of his small home in Ubung Kaja, West Denpasar.
Having graduated from Jakarta's Atmajaya University with a degree in civil engineering, Putu chose to work at home cultivating oyster mushrooms.
"My parents were furious, they didn't think I could make money growing mushrooms," Putu recalls.
He did not give up. He took part in a short course on how to cultivate oysters mushrooms.
Oyster mushrooms are commonly cultivated across Asia, particularly in China and South Korea, for consumption.
In addition to being a popular food, oyster mushrooms are also considered to have medicinal properties because of their high levels of statins, such as lovastatin, which work to reduce cholesterol levels.
In the backyard of his house, Putu has built a small bamboo shed to grow the oyster mushrooms.
He bought 1,000 logs which he inoculates with mushroom spawn.
He says he was so happy the first time he saw the mushrooms grow healthily in less than a month.
"I started selling the oyster mushrooms at Rp 20,000 *US$2* a kilogram," Putu says.
Today, he can harvest from 5 to 10 kilograms of oyster mushrooms every day. Putu says the activity is perfectly suited to people who do not have much land to grow other crops.
"It's not a get-rich-quick farming venture, but it is profitable and still has a big market," he says.
Once his venture was up and running, he distributed mushroom mycelium or spawn to his closest neighbors in his village.
Most villager have followed in his steps and begun growing their own oyster mushrooms. "Small-scale mushroom production represents an opportunity for both urban and rural farmers interested in an additional enterprise, and is a specialty option for farmers without much land," Putu points out.
It takes four to 16 weeks to cultivate oyster mushrooms from start to finish. Putu buys the mycelium for Rp 3,000 a bottle, which he then puts into the 30 logs. The logs consist of wood chips, gypsum, sugar and other substances needed as nutrients by the mushrooms.
"Each log produces around 700 grams of mushrooms, depending on the mycelium quality, room temperature and other factors that can affect the growing process," he says.