Wine caps and bedding materials
We've had lots of interest in our WineCap aka Kingstropharia outdoor mushroom grow kits over the past couple of weeks! With the interest comes lots of questions about the best ways to prepare your garden bed for mushroom growth.
We often get questions about what kind of wood chips to use. I will admit that though Darin and I are pretty good at working with mycelium in our lab and growing our primary fungi, we are less experienced with the intricacies of outdoor mushroom growing.
There are so many wonderful resources out there for information, and I came across this great thread on the Homesteading and Permaculture forum Permies.com the other day. Rather than try and summarize it here, I decided to link to it and share the full thread, with attribution.
Eric Hanson, gardener and staff member at Permies, answered just this question as follows (I must say, I am enjoying the heck out of the Permies forum, and am thankful that my WineCap question brought me to it!):
"Wine Caps will grow on just about any non-conifers. Probably should avoid black locust and cedar. I have used oak, hickory and lots and lots of autumn olive, my main food for wine caps.
"Aged chips help wine caps as they get a little upper hand as wine caps like to have some bacteria around, but I have also sown wine caps on freshly chipped wood. I have a huge pile of wood waiting to be chipped. I planed on chipping it by the end of January. But then February hit and with it, non-stop rains. I was wanting to get just a couple of months aging before inoculating with wine caps, but it now looks like I will inoculate fresh chips—no big deal.
"Often hardwoods are recommended because they will support the fungus for a longer time, but it will also take long to get a mushroom flush. Some people use straw for fast flushed of mushrooms, but wine caps will really devour the straw quickly.
"Even though it is not supposed to work, a member on Permies actually got wine caps to grow in black spruce as that was all she had in her spot in Alaska.
"I wouldn’t get too worried about the exact wood as long as it is not pine or locust. Almost anything else that rots will work and wine caps are pretty good starter mushrooms that don’t require huge amounts of care."
All our best to you as you begin your King Stropharia gardens! Can't wait to hear how it's going!
If you still haven't purchased your WineCap kit, you can order here.