Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Mushroom Project

Along with the veggie growing expiriments, in 2009 I decided to try a new mushroom as well. Naturally I bought locally from my friends at Field and Forest Products , where I discovered a mushroom that grows in wood chips like you'd find in a regular flower bed! The mushroom is called Wine Cap Stropharia , and the catalog even suggested using an asparagus bed. I have one of those! Pretty weedy when I started this project June 22nd...
....putting down some of the hardwood chips that they recommended (luckily they sold them too, because often the bags at the stores don't say what kind of chips they are.) I ran out of their chips kinda quickly...

...so I grabbed what I had on hand to finish up. I looked all over this bag and nowhere did it say exactly what "western bark nuggets" are made from! Oh well...
...I got the coverage I needed. Now to innoculate the bed with spawn...I bought the pegs so I could just push them into the chips here and there. Now all that's needed is fairly regular watering (unless it rains of course) and let the mycelium run. Run mycelium, run! :)

In mid-September I had mushrooms! Very cool, since the instructions said I would likely get fruiting the following spring if planted later than spring this year. Of course mid-June kinda is "spring" in Wisconsin! :)The cap spreads out as the mushroom grows. If you let them keep growing.......and manage to forget about them long enough.........they can get quite large!I see why these are "wine" caps! Even somewhat "over-done" like this big one, they taste fantastic!
I got two more yummy mushrooms just three days after I harvested these! Another benefit of this expiriment was more vigorous asparagus, and I learned that I can prune back my asparagus ferns to thicken them so the mushrooms get more shade. (Also helping the asparagus.) Plus once the weather breaks, all I have to do is add some more wood chips and wait for the spring harvest. You can even transfer chips from an established bed to "innoculate" several more beds! This is my favorite "locavore" adventure yet!

9 comments:

troutbirder said...

What a neat idea Lisa. Of course I'll have to start a new asparagus bed first as my old one was left behind at our other house.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I am soooo jealous! Since you did all of this research already... do you think that I can grow mushrooms in my sandy-ish soil? I have an asparagus bed for something like this, so now I'm really tempted!

lisa said...

Troutbirder-Oh yea, you NEED a new asparagus bed! :) The catalog states "place in a shady outdoor bed that will remain partly or fully shaded at harevst time. In between corn or asparagus rows, under trees or along the raspberry patch are good sites.", so you may already have a couple suitable spots.

Kim-My soil is nearly exclusively sand, so I say go for it! I think siting and substrate (straw or wood chips, etc.) is more important, and my sand hosts tons of various wild fungi already. (They must like something :) The catalog from Field and Forest even suggests "seed wine cap spawn into a compost, soil, wood chip or sawdust mixture and trench it in with your garden leeks. Grow tasty mushrooms all season and keep your leeks clean, too!" And this year they offer wood blewit spawn that can be grown "in a pile of twigs, acorns, and assorted leaves and sticks" ...mushroom farming is getting easier and easier! :)

chuck b. said...

This is very cool. I've been hoping mushrooms would just come to me on their own, but that's not happening and I guess I should be more aggressive. I'm requesting a catalog.

I see mushroom kits in nursery catalogs but they usually cost around $40 which is way out of my budget right now. Sigh.

lisa said...

I know how you feel, Chuck. Even though I do have a lot of native/wild mushrooms, I'm scared to try them and prefer growing something I'm certain is safe. Field and Forest has a lot of inexpensive selections, and they are always happy to answer questions. (My budget is snug right now too, that's what I liked about these wine caps-I can move the mycelium and make more beds :)

Anonymous said...

Very Cool! You've inspired me to clean out my asparagus bed and try my hand at this mushroom thang. :)
v.

lisa said...

Awesome! Let me know how it goes! :)

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

You know, I've never grown asparagus (though I LOVE it) or mushrooms (though I like them). Hmmm... I am growing potatoes for the first time this year (or will...)

lisa said...

I'm trying potatoes this year too! It will either be fun or compost, but that's the way the garden grows, eh? :)