Wine Cap Mushrooms
Stropharia rugosoannulata, garden giant, burgundy mushroom or king stropharia, is an agaric of the family Strophariaceae found in Europe and North America
Wine Cap Mushrooms are a great choice for outdoor beds for the hobby grower and garden enthusiast. Not only can you get delicious mushrooms but they are also beneficial for the soil and plants around them. There are several methods for making your mushroom beds and a little research for your individual situation is part of the fun. But simply incorporating some spawn "Mushroom seeding" to your garden or landscaping with some wood chips and keeping it moist should do the trick.
Jane, one of my many great customers, shared her experience in the write up below. Enjoy the read and a Big thanks to Jane!
Mushroom-growing newbies hold visions of backyards festooned with edible mushrooms. My vision included; pink, gray and golden Oyster mushrooms surrounded by purple blewitts. I devoured books on cultivating mushrooms at home and I carefully followed the advice given by these mushroom gurus. I soaked and drained bales of wheat straw and lugged wheelbarrow loads of alder wood chips into the backyard then I carefully layered these substrates with mushroom spawn.
My vision of a bountiful mushroom harvest seemed a certainty when the first pearl gray oysters erupted from a small straw wattle. These beautiful pearl gray oyster mushrooms made a delightful feast. I quickly purchased a dehydrator and cleaned my dusty canning jars then I watched and waited.I watered the mushroom beds weekly and frequently inspected the woodchips for mycelial growth. White threads spread slowly through the straw/sawdust/wood-chip beds. I checked the beds daily and weeks turned into months but the carefully prepared beds remained barren. I finally dug into the moist beds and found little to no mycelial growth. I had failed as a mushroom grower.
Fortunately I had also inoculated other areas around the yard with a rather "interesting" ornamental mushroom: Wine Cap. I had never tasted Wine Caps yet; books state these are tasty mushrooms worth cultivating. I checked under the trees where I had haphazardly tossed wine cap grain spawn and untreated alder chips. Much to my delight vigorous mycelial growth coated these alder chips. I inoculated three more Wine Cap beds in early April and again in mid August. Eventually four beautiful mushrooms emerged on August 8. I picked these just as the caps were beginning to open. The large meaty stems and caps were delicious. The second and third beds yielded smaller crops but Rob has indicated next spring could yield bumper crops. I am keeping the dehydrator.
For now, my mushroom vision is limited to beds of delicious Wine Caps. I think this particular mushroom is a perfect crop for newbie growers. Wine Cap beds can be expanded by transferring mycelium inoculated wood chips from existing established beds to additional areas and Wine Cap beds can continue producing for years if fresh alder chips are added to the beds each spring.
Wine caps seem to be underappreciated. They are delicious and easily grown and Wine Cap mycelium enhance soil conditions by making nutrients more available to nearby plants. The struggling arborvitae trees under which I planted Wine Caps are now flourishing.
Last spring I also inoculated alder logs with a variety of mushrooms using plug spawn from Field and Forest. The logs may fruit next spring or they may fail as my oyster beds did but I am confident I will have delicious Wine Caps next spring and I can always buy other delicious varieties of mushrooms from Rob.
If you are a mushroom lover and yearn to pick delicious mushrooms from your own garden I suggest you contact Rob to purchase some Wine Cap spawn.