I will confess right now that I am exuberant about growing mushrooms after a year of angst and anxiety. But it was worth the wait!
I just got back from my woodchip/mushroom compost bed and the mushrooms keep popping up. For the last 6 months I was worried that I had done something wrong and that my attempt to convert woodchips down to high quality garden bedding would be a failure. But really all needed was patience.
If you are thinking about trying mushrooms, wine caps are an easy beginner’s mushroom as they are aggressive and not as picky about their exact location. Basically I just mixed the spawn into my chips and then waited. Starting about two weeks ago mushrooms started popping up one by one. Now I am seeing entire patches of mushrooms all pop up at once and the process is only growing faster.
For me, the wine caps are there for their compost first and edible mushrooms second. The mushrooms are growing so fast that I have a hard time finding a small one to eat. As I probe into the “chips” I find that the wood has turned into a dark, crumbly substance that looks like a cross between coffee grounds and dark, fine sawdust. The bed is *almost* ready for direct seeding, something I will probably try next year.
In the meantime I am planning on inoculating three additional beds. I will probably have to add more chips to the surface of the bed as that surface has dropped by at least 3” since December.
Really, I did not do much to the bed after I spread the spawn. I watered a couple of times in the beginning and for a long time it seemed as nothing was happening. But a (very) little patience and time and the wine caps are doing exactly what they were supposed to do—break down woodchips.
If you are just thinking about mushrooms or on the fence, wine caps are a pretty easy way to get started.