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What mushrooms can tolerate dry conditions?

 
pollinator
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I want to grow mushrooms to break down my woodchips, but I'm afraid that if I get spawn I'll just waste money and time.

Agaricus grow just fine, in the lawn that gets watered all summer. In the woodchip areas I've seen morels and ink-caps, but only in early spring. Then everything dries out early June and I see nothing else until late fall or the following spring. Usually the following spring.

I'm trying to create a dryland forest garden, so much of the yard doesn't get supplemental water. The part that does get water is the gardens and the one remaining area of grass. The rest is under deep woodchips.

If I start mushrooms, will the mycellium die or will they survive the summer? Are there varieties of (preferably edible or medicinal) mushrooms that can grow and thrive under these conditions? Or should I look for something else to work on the woodchips? There are worms under there, but I seldom see them after mid spring.

Water: 12 inches per year (apx)
Little to no rain from May to September
Soil is primarily sand.
 
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Look at a mushroom with a short lifespan, they can generally tolerate more drought. It also usually means that they are less meaty.

As the forest develops the microclimate is likely to change and keep the site more humid. Also consider a pond to increase humidity in a microclimate.

I would suggest inoculating species during a time of year that correlates with the spawn run temperature of the mushroom you want to grow.

Start with a small patch of area where you can observe mycelial growth. There is no reason why you should ‘lose’ a mushroom species that you’ve introduced, unless it is not in a compatible environment. If it’s in happy growth conditions it should stay forever.

Starting with a small patch would ensure more intentional observation and acclimatizing the species to your environment.

I’ve found that wood mulch creates a great microclimate for mushrooms to fruit in.

You could also consider polypores (bracket type mushrooms) as they tend to grow through the season and tend to be less dependent on rain, getting their nutrients from trees.

When I coppice trees I usually inoculate them. Usually they will continue growing and provide mushrooms and woody biomass for a few years to come.
 
Lauren Ritz
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Leigh Martin wrote:I would suggest inoculating species during a time of year that correlates with the spawn run temperature of the mushroom you want to grow.

Start with a small patch of area where you can observe mycelial growth. There is no reason why you should ‘lose’ a mushroom species that you’ve introduced, unless it is not in a compatible environment. If it’s in happy growth conditions it should stay forever.

Starting with a small patch would ensure more intentional observation and acclimatizing the species to your environment.


I got another load of woodchips last fall, so there are several places where the woodchips are 12+ inches deep. The walnut is the biggest tree in that area, but it's at the lowest point of the property and any wind would carry spores AWAY from the rest. The other trees in that area are just seedlings, two or three feet tall at the most. But I have new woodchips under the ash as well, and that's an area that needs a LOT of soil fixing. And the little garden behind the greenhouse also has new woodchips, with afternoon shade but gets no supplemental water. It's also the highest area on the property and in line with seasonal winds, so any spores would be carried down over the rest of the property. And it's relatively close to the house, in an area I check on daily (greenhouse).

Leigh Martin wrote:Also consider a pond to increase humidity in a microclimate.


I'm in an area with extremely low humidity as it stands, so I'm not sure a pond would really help. Raise the humidity, yes, but high enough? My neighbor has a pond and it appears to be a great deal of work--I'll think about how it might be done without all the fuss that they put into theirs. I'm more of a casual neglect type person. Although it does result in a great deal of water running under the fence into my garden when they do their filters. :)
 
Leigh Martin
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Mushrooms will primarily spread through mycelial growth and not spores.
I successfully grow mushrooms in-between my vegetables.
I would inoculate a patch in the vegetable garden and under the larger trees.
Pick a mushroom with a cap and a veil. Oyster type mushrooms are horrible to grow on the ground and you spend 90 percent of the time trying to get all the bugs out.
Look into cardboard sandwich spawn if you want to spend the least amount of money on spawn and make it go the furthest.
Most people will tell you to break up the spawn and spread it around. I would advise against that.
Mushrooms, like plants, like to grow with friends (in community). I'm going to guess it has something to do with quorum sensing.
I would just bury a chunk of cardboard spawn in one spot, and maybe make some effort to water that one spot. It will spread from there.
The mycelial network should assist in soil health as it will provide a food source for microorganisms and enable nutrient cycling.
Mycelium is also basically a micro irrigation net, as it transports water between plants and also give off water as a byproduct of growth.
If you're into thermophyllic composting, you can opt to feed your patch some compost tea. some of their favourite foods include humid an fulvic acids.
 
Lauren Ritz
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I should be getting wine cap spawn in the mail within the next month. I have several areas I want to use, but the main choice at the moment is my "fallow" area. It's got deep wood chips under a thick layer of leaves and will not be planted until a year from now. Next fall I'll cover another area with leaves. The wood chips are several years old but it's part of the garden so it gets watered.

I have two other areas that have 12+ inches of wood chips but no leaves. Those two get no water during the summer but one is partially shaded. The woodchips in those areas are new last fall.

Can wine caps break down leaves? Would it be better to use the drier area with just woodchips, or the wetter area with leaves over woodchips?
 
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Thanks for this Thread!

I am in N. CA. bottom of the foothills S/E of Sacramento. I was asked by the PG&E contract tree crew if they could park on our land for "a few weeks" to ssave from lots of driving to the other area where they usually park. I said sure if you can bring me lots of chips! HaHaHa!!!

So I have over 200 cubic yards of chips...

All sorts of wood, from Grey Pine to Oak, to Black Walnut to well whatever was growing near the power lines...

I am hoping to find a broad use inoculate that I could spray on the piles to really get them going.

We dry out pretty soon also, but I could figure out a sprinkler system.

Any ideas?
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