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Growing Portabellows in the 'wild'

 
pollinator
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Location: Western Washington
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I already jumped the gun on this one I'm curious what my chances of success are and what I can do to improve those chances.

This evening I pored portabella on pretty much every bed I'm used a significant amount of goat poo/straw compost on.

The main bed I'm hoping they catch on is a layer of straw on top of soil, with compost and a little earth over it, with straw over that, and compost and soil over that again - pounded for a bit with a digging bar to insure that the layers all mesh. Nothing is currently planted in it - but the frame of the bed is made out of alders which I am pretty sure I have another mushroom species running in.

The bed currently gets about 4 hours of afternoon sun, but will get less as the semi-dwarf ornamental (japanese?) maple leafs out. Nothing is currently planted in the bed so I could theoretically put a piece of plywood or something over it.

Thanks All
 
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Portabellas are simply the wild-type Agaricus bisporus that is the most common mushroom sold in America. The more common white variety is a genetic defect that for some reason had more market success. Now they can sell the original brown meadow mushroom with a fancy name at a higher price.

Agaricus is a genus of field mushrooms, so you are on the right track with straw and goat poo. As long as it looks like a luxurious, healthy lawn, the hyphae will probably be happy and reward you with a flush of mushrooms after a heavy rain.
 
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Landon, I've never had any success with trying to grow portabella/crimini mushrooms from spraying/dumping spore emulsion onto compost. But I hope your plan works! However, I've had great success growing Almond Agaricus (Agaricus subrufescens) from spawn. First, I purchase freshly-made-to-order spawn from Field and Forest Products in Wisconsin (fieldforest.net). Then I just get a few organic banana cardboard boxes, some lawn and garden lime (limestone powder) and some fresh leached cow manure compost from a local dairy farm. I mix a few cups of lime into several gallons of fresh leached cow manure, wait until it cools, then layer this mix in with layers of the fresh spawn into the boxes. I use 2 boxes of manure compost mix for each 5.5 pound bag of sawdust spawn. Then I spray the boxes with water and cover loosely with black plastic bags and leave them in a warm (70 degree) room for a month. Then I open the black plastic bags, then "case" (mulch) the boxes with pre-moistened peat moss mixed with lime. I continue spraying, cover loosely with clear plastic, and at 75 degrees the boxes will produce 2-4 nice flushes of big mushrooms over an 8 week period. The boxes can be overwintered indoors and can be used as spawn to start new boxes in the next year.

Other folks can grow the Almond Agaricus outdoors on raised beds of compost during the summer, but the cool summer nights here in Oregon are not very suitable for this species. I've had limited success with this one outdoors. In my opinion, Almond Agaricus is one of the most delicious mushrooms I've ever tried! It is similar to the Prince (Agaricus augustus), but easier to grow. Field and Forest also carries spawn and kits for portabellas, but Almond Agaricus is said to be much better for your health.

One more tip, all Agaricus species of mushrooms LOVE calcium- especially limestone, but not dolomite or gypsum. I hope all this info helps!
 
Landon Sunrich
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Cool! I've been putting well rotted wood chips which where most certainly in the spore spray zone of a bunch of Prince Agaricus into just about every bed and soil mix I make. They smell almondy too. I also have plenty of shaggy parasols and shaggy manes that I've been tracking around everywhere
 
Landon Sunrich
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Just a little update. I got my hands on a bunch of horse manure, and despite having read horror stories here I'm pretty sure this stuff is a'ight. It has plenty of red wigglers a wiggling around in it. I lightly spread around 3.5 wheel barrows full a drizzle here and a dusting there over much of the lawn. The parts where I haven't had edible mushrooms coming up. I also made one wheelbarrow of char/horse manure/ mushroom slurry. I've been splashing around gallons and gallons of spore slurry around and am doing a grass kill with a tarp which I just put around 2 inches of manure over. I paid special attention to the grass/new bed edge with even more spore slurry. Further updates if I begin to have some success. `
 
John Elliott
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Landon Sunrich wrote: I've been splashing around gallons and gallons of spore slurry around and am doing a grass kill with a tarp which I just put around 2 inches of manure over.



You s-s-s-s-sound as ha-ha-ha-ha-happy as a pig in sh-sh-sh-sh-sh--manure.

 
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