One of the easiest mushrooms to start growing at home is the Wine Cap mushroom, also known as King Stropharia. Wine cap mushrooms grow as big as portobello mushrooms, and have a meaty texture and taste. The spawn can be grown on a bed of wood chips and soil, which makes them a lot easier for the beginning grower compared to some species of mushrooms that have to be inoculated into logs. Your Wine Cap mushroom bed will continue to produce large wine-colored mushrooms year after year as long as you continue to add wood chips each season. The wine cap can replace portobello in recipes, and is excellent grilled. When you order Wine Cap mushroom spawn it usually comes in a bag where it is growing on sawdust.
What You Need
Wine Cap mushroom spawn
Open your bag of spawn and pour it into a large bowl. Break it into smaller clumps about 2 inches wide.
Prepare a 4 x 8 sized bed by loosening the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Add compost soil to the garden area to a depth of about 2 inches.
Add about 2 inches of fresh wood chips over the soil. Take clumps of your mushroom spawn and evenly place them over the wood chips until it is all used.
Add another 2 inch layer of wood chips over the spawn. Cover the wood chips with about an inch of composted soil so that you can no longer see the wood chips underneath.
Water your mushroom bed well. Stop when water starts to run from the bed. Continue to keep your bed very moist for the next week after inoculation.
After the first week, give your mushrooms just enough water to dampen the soil. Be careful not to give your mushrooms too much water.
Watch for a white thread-like growth in your bed to confirm that the mycelium is growing on the chips. Mushrooms should appear after 3 to 4 months.
Harvest mushrooms once they reach at least the size of a half-dollar coin. After no more mushrooms appear to harvest, add another thin layer of fresh wood chips over your mushroom bed.