Wine cap mushrooms, also known as Stropharia rugosoannulata, are a tasty and versatile edible mushroom that can be grown in a garden bed. These mushrooms are not only delicious, but they also have the added benefit of being able to remove E. coli from the soil. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of growing wine cap mushrooms in a garden bed, and explain the benefits of these mushrooms for both your garden and your kitchen.
What are Wine Cap Mushrooms?
Wine cap mushrooms are a type of edible mushroom that is native to Europe, but can also be found growing wild in North America. These mushrooms have a distinctive wine-colored cap and grow in clusters on wood chips or other organic material.
Wine cap mushrooms have a delicious, meaty flavor and a firm texture that makes them a popular choice for vegetarian dishes. They are also high in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins.
Benefits of Wine Cap Mushrooms
In addition to their culinary benefits, wine cap mushrooms also have some unique benefits for gardeners. One of the most interesting benefits of wine cap mushrooms is their ability to remove E. coli from the soil.
E. coli is a common bacterium that can be found in the soil, and can sometimes cause foodborne illness in humans. While E. coli is not harmful to plants, it can be harmful to humans if ingested. Wine cap mushrooms have been found to be effective at removing E. coli from the soil, making them a useful tool for gardeners who want to reduce the risk of foodborne illness in their crops.
Another benefit of wine cap mushrooms is their ability to break down organic material and convert it into rich, nutrient-dense soil. Wine cap mushrooms are saprophytic, which means that they feed on dead organic matter like wood chips, leaves, and straw. As they break down this organic material, they release nutrients into the soil, making it more fertile and productive.
When is the best time to start a mushroom bed?
Spring, after last frost, through mid-fall, 3 weeks before first frost. The mushrooms will take between 2-10 months before you will see your first harvest of mushrooms. Spring planting typically results in a fall harvest, and fall planting typically results in summer harvest the following year.
How to Grow Wine Cap Mushrooms in a Garden Bed
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of wine cap mushrooms, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to grow them in a garden bed. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Wine cap mushroom spawn (you can create your own spawn using Myterra Labs Wine Cap liquid culture and Organic Rye berries)
- Wood chips or other organic material (straw, leaves, etc.)
- A garden bed with well-draining soil
- A pitchfork or other tool for mixing the spawn with the organic material
STEP 1: Choose a location
Wine caps require a well-draining, organic-rich soil to grow. Choose a location that receives partial to full sunlight and has good air circulation. The ideal soil pH for wine caps is between 6.0 and 7.5. Till the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches and remove any weeds, rocks, or debris. If the soil is sandy, mix in some compost or aged manure to improve its water retention capacity.
STEP 2: Make Wine Cap Spawn
Wine Cap spawn is easy to make, but does require some patience. Simply inject your Myterra Labs Wine Cap Liquid Culture into a bag of Organic Rye berries, wait for a few weeks for the white mycelium to colonize your grains until the entire bag is white, and voila! you have successfully made your own wine cap mushroom spawn. For full details on how to make grain spawn: Click Here.
STEP 3: Create the Mushroom Bed
After making the spawn, the next step is to create the mushroom bed. You can use a variety of organic materials to create the bed such as straw, hardwood mulch, hardwood chips, shredded leaves, or cardboard. Spread a layer of the organic material on top of the prepared soil to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Mix the spawn or spores with the organic material thoroughly. Add another layer of the organic material on top of the spawn-spore mixture, making sure that the bed is at least 6 inches deep. Water the bed thoroughly to ensure that the spawn-spore mixture is well-hydrated.
STEP 4: Maintain the Bed
Wine cap mushrooms require regular watering to keep the bed moist. Keep the bed covered with a layer of straw or shredded leaves to retain moisture and to prevent the growth of weeds. Wine caps can also benefit from periodic fertilization with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer such as blood meal or soybean meal. As the mushrooms grow, harvest them when they reach their mature size of 4 to 8 inches in diameter. Leave some mushrooms on the bed to drop spores and promote the growth of new mushrooms.
Above is a picture of Stropharia mushrooms pushing through the soil. The caps will start off as a cream-light brown color before changing into a deep burgundy color.
STEP 5: Troubleshoot Problems
If you encounter problems with your wine cap mushroom bed, there are several possible causes. Overwatering can lead to the growth of mold or the depletion of oxygen in the bed. Underwatering can cause the mushrooms to dry out and become tough. Pests such as slugs or snails can damage the mushrooms, and birds may eat them. You can cover your mushroom bed with netting to prevent larger pests from getting into the mushroom bed. If the mushrooms appear deformed or have an unusual color, they may be infected with a disease or pest.
In conclusion, growing wine cap mushrooms in a garden bed can be a fun and rewarding experience. With a little bit of effort, you can produce a bountiful harvest of fresh mushrooms that are a great addition to salads, stir-fries, and soups. By following these steps and maintaining the bed, you can enjoy a continuous harvest of wine cap mushrooms for years to come.