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Learn to Grow

Growing Wine Cap Mushrooms

Learn to Grow

Wine Cap Mushrooms

When to Plant?

Early spring is an ideal time to start your outdoor mushroom bed, when snow has melted and you can sense spring on the horizon.  No need to wait until the danger of frost has passed.  Wine cap mycelium is very cold hardy and can survive even Canadian winters!

The sooner you plant, the sooner mushrooms will appear!  However don’t worry if spring is long gone – you can plant anytime.  A fall planting will ensure crops starting early next spring.

You can even grow indoors in winter, expanding mushroom spawn in buckets, in preparation of planting huge mushroom gardens next spring.

Wine cap mushroom in outdoor garden bed

Where to plant?

Select a location in your garden where you will water regularly, like between vegetable rows, the pathways, or under a fruit tree.  Alternatively, choose a shady location that will receive rain.

Lay down moistened straw and/or hardwood chips about 10 cm (4″) deep.  Crumble up the wine cap spawn and mix throughout. Your Wine Cap kit will inoculate an area approximately 1 m x 1 m (3 ft x 3 ft).

Water periodically if you can, particularly in the dry summer months.

After a few weeks white stringy strands of fungal mycelium will be visible, feeding on your wood chips or straw, gradually spreading throughout the entire bed. When kept well watered, giant burgundy mushrooms will sprout throughout the summer and fall.

Wine Caps

In most of Canada, Wine Cap mycelium will overwinter and produce year after year. Each fall mulch with a thick layer of fresh straw or hardwood chip to provide shelter from the harsh winter, and food for next year’s crop. Expand your patch by transplanting handfuls of mycelium into new beds at any time.

Warning:

Other types of mushrooms may also fruit in your outdoor mushroom garden. Some mushrooms are deadly poisonous, so make sure to correctly identify your Wine Cap mushrooms before eating. But that’s not hard as they are very distinctive!

How to Identify Wine Cap Mushrooms (Stropharia rugoso-annulata)

  • Large cap is wine red colour when young, fading to tan as it ages or dries out in the sun.
  • Surface of cap is sticky or slimy when moist; bald with no hairs or adornments
  • Gills are attached to stalk, at first grey or purple grey, maturing to black as the mushroom begins to release dark purple to nearly black spores
  • Stalk is at least 1/2″ thick, white when fresh
  • Veil is present, at first covering gills in your mushrooms, then breaking as the gills expand to leave a prominent ring on stalk
  • Ring on stalk is grooved or ridged on upper surface, forming a unique “cogwheel” shape
  • Flesh of stalk is white, not discolouring appreciably when bruised
  • White threads often emanating from base of stalk, no volva