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Question on growing king stropharia

 
Shawn Harper
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Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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So I think I finally narrowed down what fungi I want to grow in my garden next year to king stropharia. But I have a few questions. First I heard these mushrooms don't mind sunlight, is this true? Second, everyone I red said to use wood chips if you can straw if you cant... However my source of mulch is grass clippings (organic, mostly) would these be ok to use for the growing medium?
 
Devon Olsen
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so long as they were dried and yellowed beforehand, then grass clippings are like small straw

but its best to have a combination of small to large stuff imho so if you can throw in some other stuff

if wood chips and straw are recommended though i would assume its a saprotrophic fungi (havent looked it up myself yet) which means it eats decomposing things, throwing in some dry, carbonaceous food scraps may work out pretty good, like pinapple tops or grape stems etc mixed in with the browned grassclippings might work pretty good, and sticks work for wood chip replacement somewhat
 
M.K. Dorje
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In my experience, pure grass clippings will not work as a primary substrate for king stropharia. The shaggy parasol (Chlorophyllum rachodes ) WILL grow well on grass clippings, however. Fresh hardwood and doug-fir chips are the best substrate for king stropharia, pre-soaked oat and wheat straw (unsprayed) are also excellent. Do not use grass seed straw (common in the Willamette valley), as it contains lots of herbicide residues. Hay will probably not work well, either.
I use grass clippings/weeds to mulch king stropharia beds. This mulch is called a "casing layer" by mushroom growers. It helps retain moisture and it is a signal to the mycelium that it is time to begin fruiting.
King stropharia likes some sun, but not 8 hours every day. On my farm, I grow king stropharia in the semi-shaded areas under raspberries, blueberries, apple trees and peach trees. It is a great species to naturalize in your food forest or orchard, good luck!
 
Devon Olsen
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from my understanding... MK has more experience than i do lol
 
Shawn Harper
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Wow thank you for the quick reply. If that variety of mushroom isn't as good in sun, do you guys have a few to recommend to me that can grow on the mulch in my annual garden that can handle the full days light, give or take some plant shading?
 
M.K. Dorje
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I would say that very few mushrooms like a lot of direct sun all day long. A moist, semi-shadey location is very important for outdoor growing. But you could start some king stropharia in a cardboard box of chips inside your house, dig a shallow trench in your garden, and when the mycelium fills the box, just stick it in the trench and cover with more fresh woods chips. Plant tall vegies such as corn, pole beans or tomatoes in a raised bed row along the south side of the trench. Keep the bed moist by using a clear tarp in late spring, then switch to a blue one early summer. Monitor the temperature closely, above 90 or 95 degrees might kill the mycelium. Remove the tarp in mid summer, then mulch the area with grass clippings, oat straw, peat moss or bark mulch. Mist the area in the evening. This method has worked for me. I just prefer planting king stropharia in the shadey mulch around fruit bushes and fruit trees so that they'll come back every year.
 
Devon Olsen
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yeah if youre going for mulch mushrooms then a cornfield is a good location, or under a tree/bush
wine cap mushrooms are also recommended for mulch mushrooms last i checked
 
Calvin Mars
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I'm glad I found this thread. I've been interested in this particular mushroom for some time.

I've heard that this is a mushroom that can consume animal poop in addition to wood chip like material. Got me to wondering if this might be a good mushroom to grow on my composting kitty litter pile. I am using a pine based litter which could present some challenges. Anybody have any thoughts on this? I picked pine because I wanted something that would be a little harsh as I am trying to use this litter compost as a possible method for controlling Bermuda grass. The dappled shade and liberal application of this kitty litter does seem to be severely stressing out the Bermuda. I'm sure the urine has something to do with it as well.

I occasionally put stem butts of mushrooms in this pile but so far haven't seen any indication that they took. Tried oyster and king oyster so far. I have not tried a liberal application of some type of spawn at this point.

I'm not against the idea of layering hardwood chips on top of this pile as I shift my focus to other areas. I do eventually want this spot to revert to stable soil as this isn't a permanent compost spot. Compost in place, let it mellow, move to a different spot with fresh stuff, etc. I'm patient. This is an area that I don't have immediate plans for, so multi-year plans are fine.

I did get some advice to try some lactating mushrooms in the pine, but that's not the sort of thing one easily finds online.

Heh, it would probably work better if I just let it be and let nature take its course. Get a couple of gnarly lichen covered logs from the forest that are covered with God knows what kind of spores to throw into the mix.... I do have a preference for an edible variety so it can start mixing with my budding eco-system. No worries about eating something growing on kitty litter. That's not my intent. I look at this as a potential beach head to start a run from one location to another.
 
David Hartley
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Hmmmmm... If it were me making the attempt: I would corral the "kitty-pine" with bunker spawn* and then put down an appropriate mulch of 2~4 inches across the bunker spawn and kitty-pine pile



*made by mixing colonized substrate with fresh substrate (I do 50/50) into burlap bags. Though, there are many different methods to making "bunker spawn bags"
 
Devon Olsen
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i was reading something about a particular mushroom last night that does ok with fir and such, might work good for pine, but alas i forgot what it was called
 
M.K. Dorje
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According to paul stamets, phoenix (Italian) oyster (Pleurotus pulmonarius) will grow on pinyon pine, fir and spruce. I've had good luck with growing the Italian oyster strain from Field and Forest (fieldforest.net) on Douglas-fir chips, so you might want to give this one a try. King stropharia will grow on Doug-fir chips (maybe pine?) and will also consume animal manure to some extent.
 
Cj Sloane
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Anyone grow wine caps on pine chips? I'm going to give it a shot.
 
Shawn Harper
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I have fed mine christmas tree trimmings in addition to their other mulches/food. I don't think they really like the acidy stuff; it breaks down a lot slower.
 
drake schutt
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Cj Verde wrote:Anyone grow wine caps on pine chips? I'm going to give it a shot.


should work if they've been hanging outside for a few months. a year might be ideal but...
 
John Saltveit
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I hate to say this but I think that pine is not a good substrate for Wine caps. Pine, cedar and redwood are often recommended to not use for growing mushrooms. I have grown Phoenix oysters on fir trees (Christmas trees ) before and it worked. Wine caps grow really well on hardwood chips. There are mycorrhizal fungi that grow well with young, living pine trees. These three conifers have too much pitch in them to fight off fungi. It works too well and it's very difficult to grow even when they're dead. I believe Stamets when he says this.
Sorry,
John S
PDX OR
 
Peter Ellis
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Good timing for me on this thread coming back up to the surface
Have just started considering King Stropharia for my property and I think it makes a pretty promising match.

Wonder about timing on starting the spawn - Is it likely to overwinter well if you start it in the fall, or does it want a spring start up and the full warm season to get going before winter?

I am in NJ, near the shore, and the last few winters have had some substantial snowfalls and extended periods below freezing.
 
John Saltveit
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It grows like a weed in your area, but it has to be established before it can withstand your winter. Then it really can. What I did, and makes sense for me, is to buy the spawn in January, say, then multiply it by adding fresh wood chips. It should multiply in your garage or heated storage by say, April in your area, March in mine. We have a milder climate. I did it four times, then lay out the layers of cardboard, spawn, wood chips, etc.
John S
PDX OR
 
Cj Sloane
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So I was just looking around for a spot to plant some Sun Chokes I harvested (with permission) off the side of the road and I thought maybe I'd plant them by the apple tree/blueberry comfrey area when I found that the Wine Caps I had written off have fruited:

I guess these are OK to eat because I watched a video from field and forest about it. But at what point are they to far gone to eat? Slimy?

Here's the vid on IDing the Wine Caps:


Also, these were mostly grown on pine chips with a little hard wood chips thrown on top afterwards.
 
John Saltveit
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Hi CJ,
They are ok to eat. The biggest issue is that when they are giving off a huge spore load, the taste will not be as good. Like most mushrooms, they are better to eat when young and firm. Paul Stamets urges people to take a break after eating them for two days because he once witnessed someone have an upset stomach after eating a lot on the third straight day. They're often huge, so it's a good idea.
John S
PDX OR
 
Cj Sloane
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John Saltveit wrote:Paul Stamets urges people to take a break after eating them for two days because he once witnessed someone have an upset stomach after eating a lot on the third straight day. They're often huge, so it's a good idea.


Yeah, I just read that. I don't know why they don't warn you about that when purchasing the spawn! Guess I'll dehydrate the rest. Or maybe cook and freeze.

I cooked them in butter with salt and pepper. It does taste like potatoes (good for me because I'm extra low carb for the next few weeks) but they're a little gritty. I didn't wash them, just brushed them.
 
Bill Bradbury
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King Stropharia grow well for me in my apple orchard. I started with mixed source wood chips from the dump, but since then I have only been using tree trimmings and leaves. I have only a few conifers, so I don't grow them myself, but in the fall I go look in the mountains, under the Engelmann Spruce and Douglas Fir to find King Boletus(Porcini) that grow there.
 
Cj Sloane
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Bill Bradbury wrote:... have only been using tree trimmings and leaves.


What size tree trimming? What's the largest that the mycilium can digest?
 
Leila Rich
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I've never grown mushrooms, but I think it's time!
The stuff I'm reading gives me the impression king stropharia:
a) is quite tasty. I'm a bit worried about this; I'm sensing some faint praise...
can anyone assure me that if I fry a young, firm specimen in butter with a touch of garlic, I'll be happy?
b) will grow in my woody mulch, and I don't need a special substrate
 
Cj Sloane
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I wasn't totally thrilled with the taste but the ones I ate were a little old. My husband liked them. They were easy to grow. I "planted" them in late May I think, and they just started coming up a few weeks ago. I did use mostly pine wood chips which people said wouldn't work.

They yield more & quicker than shiitakes but I do like shiitakes better.
 
Bill Bradbury
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Hi CJ,
I only trim a little, mostly I let the trees do what they want, so there aren't any big branches going in the Stropharia bed. I just throw the whole trimmings on top of the bed(leaves, apples and all), then cover with a thin layer of straw. The bed itself is up against a barn, with hugels on the other 3 sides all draining toward the Stropharia bed with a mature apple tree in the middle.
We had a good flush this year, but the freezing temps overnight have wreaked havoc on the poor little guys. They look like deflated balloons. I'm hoping for another flush now that the weather is better.
My family is not big on eating mushrooms, so they go in many dishes, but I'm the only one who eats them sauteed. I think they are not quite as tasty as other mushrooms by themselves(they have a slight dirt flavor), but cook up wonderfully and are the easiest, largest mushrooms I have grown.
 
Cj Sloane
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Bill Bradbury wrote:(they have a slight dirt flavor), but cook up wonderfully and are the easiest, largest mushrooms I have grown.


Yeah, I think the dirt flavor is OK when it tastes more like potatoes than dirt but I need to experiment more.

Have you dehydrated any? Does that change the flavor texture?
 
T Wilson
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I have a question on growing king stropharia. We're starting a mushroom bed for the first time and I've been chipping wood like crazy from around the property (we intend it to be a big bed for king stropharia mushrooms!). I've read a lot about pasteurizing and sterilizing wood chips in prep for growing mushrooms - but this doesn't seem to be overly practical for large scale production. I haven't seen anything specifically related to sterilizing chips for king stropharia mushrooms, and if people grow (and presumably eat) these mushrooms growing in manure then something isn't adding up! You never 'sterilize' poo before growing tomatoes in it after all.

So before we grow anything I want to be certain (so no one dies or gets sick from our mushroom experiment) do you have to sterilize/pasteurize wood chips for a king stropharia bed? If so, what method is recommended? Would soaking the chips in chlorinated water do and let the chlorine evaporate off before inoculation?

Thanks!
 
Cj Sloane
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Tony and Tatyana Wilson wrote:do you have to sterilize/pasteurize wood chips for a king stropharia bed?

Not if you're purchasing spawn.
 
T Wilson
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Cj Verde wrote:
Tony and Tatyana Wilson wrote:do you have to sterilize/pasteurize wood chips for a king stropharia bed?

Not if you're purchasing spawn.


Yes that's what we will be doing. I know some of the wood I've been chipping has started to decay some and may have some sort of mycelium action going on. That won't be a problem either?

Thanks for responding CJ
 
Cj Sloane
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Not sure if the pre-existing mycelium is a problem. I used wood chips that were a few months old but they were pine chips which you're not supposed to use anyway. Then I threw a bit of hardwood thru a chipper and put that on top.
 
Cj Sloane
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Found my first Wine Caps of the season.
.

I was in that spot checking to see if the comfrey tractor worked. It occurred to me that I'd have a hard time spotting the Wine Caps under fully grown comfrey and started looking around. Sure enough...


What do ya think? Is it better to harvest the comfrey weekly to check for shrooms? The pig & cows would eat it. Will the comfrey still benefit the apples tree if it's harvested often? Polycultures can be tricky! Here's a broader view of this polyculture. Grapes, Apple tree, comfrey, Wine Caps (bottom left of comfrey) garlic, Blueberries!
 
Cj Sloane
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Oh yeah, how often do you have to feed them and how much do you have to feed?
 
Cj Sloane
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So it looks like every spot I planted these last year worked, even with mostly pine wood chips. Not my favorite mushroom but if it helps build soil I'm in favor of keeping them happy.
 
I think I'll just lie down here for a second. And ponder this tiny ad:
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