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wine cap compost observations

 
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Hugo, that is some amazing growth you are getting from your spawn!  It beats the speed that mine spread hands down.  I think you will be pleased with both the mushrooms and the qualities of your vegetables growing in the spawn infused region.

I am getting some good growth, but vertically, not horizontally.  I put 8-12” of fresh chips on top of old chips, add no water aside from rain, and when I poke my fingers in I am surprised by how fast the new chips are being colonized.

But you really hit onto something with giving your chips a top layer of cardboard and that is now a standard part of my wine cap growing process.

I am really glad we have this forum so as to compare notes on how to do this best.  I am happy to share what worked for me and I love finding tips and pointers on how to do it better still.

Great work Hugo!  I can’t wait to see how your mushrooms do when they decide to flush!

Eric
 
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Hi Eric, my friend wants me to come over with the tin man to make bio char at his place. And coincidentaly he's also experimenting with wine cap. He wants to inoculate it with the spores. Or would it be better to inoculate it with mycelium. What do you think?
 
Eric Hanson
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Hi Hugo,

I have never used spores to spread fungi, but both of us have used the vegetative bodies, so I would think that using the spawn would give you the best results.

Good Luck,

Eric
 
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Just got the news that my order of 3kg of grain spawn  has been dispatched. I guess it will be here on Monday. My local tree surgeon mate is going to drop a load of fresh hardwood chips for me some time next week. I'm really excited to get this project going as we already use LOTS of woodchips for our paths and around fruit trees. If this works as well as I hope we should get a good regular crop of mushrooms with no extra effort beyond what we already do.

Questions:
How long will it be ok to keep the spawn before using it? I'm not sure exactly when the chips will arrive.
Any tips for preparing the bed? I have an area ready and am expecting him to simply back up and trip the truck directly on to the spot.
I have the back edge bounded by a couple of huge thick logs. Is edging necessary/useful?
Should I till the soil before putting the chips down?
How deep a layer? From past experience a full load is LARGE
 
Hugo Morvan
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It depends:
3 kg is how many liters/ gallons? They might sell you more water than mycelium... I had 3 liters arrive amonth or so back. I suspect 3 kg is more liters. Which would be handy when you start. I believe Eric wished he had started with more in one of his posts. More is good! But that's why i create more first!
My instructions said to keep it into the bag until it turns white. That vague! Do they mean completely white or touched by the threads of the white mycelium. I tend to be not patient, so i decided to wait longer than naturally. It sat in the closed bag for ten days about-ish then i had to break it all up, husstle it and let it regrow. Then after some time it became what i call white and used it in the way i described on page one of this thread.
I decided to create a place where it's sure to invest a small place completely and dispatch it into my veggie patch pathways from that. Because summer is coming and the pathways might dry out, killing the mycelium.Wasting my time and money.
I think i will dig some two feet down in the shadier bits of path on the land and fill it with wood chips, so the mycelium will have an escape root if it needs to sit the summer out. A place relatively cool and wet. I hope for it to reappear and grow in autumn, when i will be filling all path on my 1/8 acre vegetable garden, with it. I believe in concentrating lumps of it and from there layer the stuff. I think if you spread too thinly it might get lost. But i don't know anything about this, really hard to get information , and a lot contradicts, i am just applying logic and playing it safe and talking on Permies to Eric, who hopefully will come online and answer you soon, he knows more.
It's up to you which road is best suited. UK has quite wet summers and summer temperatures akin to our autumns in Fance, so it might be ok for you to infect the whole lot with it. Depends on how your life is organized, if you're unemployed or retired you might have more time to monitor it.
UIt depends, it depends, it depends.
 
Eric Hanson
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Michael, Hugo, everyone,

So to start, the 3 Kg in question is about half the 11 pounds that I started with on my first bed that was about 6’ x 16’ (roughly 2 meters x 4.5-5 meters).  My chips were about 1’ or 30cm deep.  Given that the spawn load is about half of what I started, I would aim for about half the surface area.  This might sound small, but fear not, it will spread and in time it will give ample new spawn of its own that can be spread around.

Key to my success was making certain that the chips stayed moist—no easy task while in full sunlight.  My approach was to cover the inoculated chips in straw as a way of keeping sun and wind off the chips.  Hugo’s approach of keeping a cardboard top layer sped up colonization dramatically and I strongly suggest that this be a part of any new woodchip/fungal inoculation method.  Hugo’s chips became thoroughly inoculated in a matter of a couple of weeks.  My chips without the cardboard layer took 6-9 months to achieve the same.  You might consider adding a layer of cardboard followed by 2-4 inches (5-10cm) just to keep the cardboard in place.

The last point I will try to make—I was encouraged to make little clusters of spawn, and then connect them with little highway trenches.  As I was told, the clusters start the fungal growth off—think about a sort of fungal spark—and the highways connect the sparks to start a fungal fire.  This is all metaphor, but I hope it begins to make sense.  And again, having a cardboard top layer drastically speeds up fungal growth, but if you don’t have cardboard, consider newspaper, printer paper, or other similar materials.

I hope this helps out, if I was less than clear, please ask.

Eric
 
Michael Cox
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Thanks guys, that is very helpful.

The space I have in mind is about 2m by 2m... I can adapt the size of the final bed to suit the amount of chips I end up using, or getting given.

Cardboard we have plenty of at the moment, so I can definitely cover the whole thing with cardboard, and it is in a spot I can easily get a garden hose to once a week to give it a good watering. Our soil here is chalk, so prone to getting pretty dry in summer as any rainfall just soaks away. I'm currently thinking I will lay chips on the whole areas I have available, to a 1' thickness, but focus on inoculating the central area properly and letting it grow out to the surrounding chips?  I don't really want to go through the process of hauling chips and building beds more than necessary. Think that would work?

The other option I was thinking of was to prepare a much smaller bed - say 50cm by 50cm and use it as a grow bed to rapidly expand my grain spawn. When that is well colonised I could break it up and use it to colonise the full sized bed? Or am I over thinking this? from what I have read wine caps are so aggressive that this may all be moot.

Any thoughts on inocculating older piles of chips that have been sitting around for 6 months or more? I have some that have partially broken down.
 
Eric Hanson
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Michael,

Older chips should not be a problem.  In fact, most of the chips I have inoculated have been aged about a year, sometimes more.  As long as they still basically look like chips, having some initial decomposition (especially bacterial) can actually be helpful.

Great that you have all that cardboard, I think it will be put to great use.

By now, when I want more spawn, I take a shovel full of finished mushroom compost.  This has double duty effects.  First, I get to spread mushroom spawn.  Second,  I refill the hole with new chips and partially refresh the old bed.  I think you can adapt this to your intended bed.

Good Luck and please keep us updated.

Eric
 
Hugo Morvan
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I use rainwater, no chlorinated water, it can be bad for development. You can fill a few buckets with it and let it sit a couple of days, it will evaporate.
Yeah, let us know what's happening! Pictures please.
 
Michael Cox
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Hugo Morvan wrote:I use rainwater, no chlorinated water, it can be bad for development. You can fill a few buckets with it and let it sit a couple of days, it will evaporate.
Yeah, let us know what's happening! Pictures please.



Our garden is on borehole water, so no chlorine to
worry about :)

Pictures will happen
 
Michael Cox
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Everything arrived yesterday and was assembled today.

We ended up with enough chips for a bed three times larger than I had spawn for. I just raked what I needed out of the main pile. I figure the spawn can just spread from the bed into the rest of the pile given time. Area is approx 1.5m by 3m, which is stretching it a bit beyond the recommendation. I hope it will be ok. I assembled it in layers chips/spawn/chips/spawn/chips... to a total depth of around 30cm. From past experience I know that these fresh chips will lose volume quickly over the first two weeks.

Finished off with a thorough soaking with the hose. Photos are on my other device. I’ll post them later.

The whole process was quick and easy, especially so because I got the chips dropped in just the right spot and didn’t need to move them.
 
Hugo Morvan
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The plants started to look really pathetic, snails were on the attack and they're yellow. It hasn't been warm and it's been very rainy for weeks. It didn't work with the carton , i figured the snails hid under it, so out with the carton. The carton was infested with mycelium , i've put it elsewhere on top of woodchips with some plant pots on top so it will stay put and wet and in close contact with the woodchips.
I noticed the tomato in the middle of the white mycelium plaque was the most vibrant, or least sloppy of them all. I might have put the best one in there anyway, i don't remember, but anyhow, the thick white plaque i've cut it back a bit, harvested some mycelium pulp and dug it in close to the other plants where the mycelium had not colonized yet.Filled up the hole i cut out with woodchips from around the plants. Hope to boost the plants, mycelium is running that's for sure.
WINECAP-MYCELIUM-TRANSFER-3.jpg
[Thumbnail for WINECAP-MYCELIUM-TRANSFER-3.jpg]
 
Hugo Morvan
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The mycelium is going berserk. I just dug out the second full bucket of this week for transplanting to the production garden woodchipped pathways. The mycelium has filled all the way to the bottom. The first hole i filled in with woodchips and the mycelium is running back in ever so vicious. It's foaming at the mouth.
The tomatoes still look bad, but some peas are on the mend! It's too shady a place for the tomatoes, my bad.
All in all it's going a lot better than i had expected.
 
Michael Cox
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Checked my mycellium today. Moved some chips an a few places and saw mycelium everywhere, spreading through the chips. Nice and even over the area.

I'm very happy with progress so far, about 3 weeks in.
 
Hugo Morvan
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They have come already! Thanks Eric for being a great help!
The holes i dug in the food garden's path and filled up with Wine Cap mycellium and wood chips have shrunk in on themselves. They're hard to miss that way. It has rained quite a bit after a long hot summer and now the temperatures are slowly rising a bit again. I stumbled across these guys and raced home to take a photo, when i watered the holes i found more mushrooms. Check it out!!
WINECAPS-1.jpg
[Thumbnail for WINECAPS-1.jpg]
WINECAPS-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for WINECAPS-2.jpg]
 
Eric Hanson
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Hugo, those are some impressive looking wine caps!

I thought I was doing well when I saw several mushrooms pop their heads up.  But you have whole clusters making their appearance all at once!  I think you have me beat for most impressive wine cap example.  

I am willing to bet that your use of the cardboard top layer really helped in getting the wine caps to not only grow so quickly but so large at the same time.  Have you tried any of the mushrooms yet?  I only had one problem with wine caps, and that was the fact that they taste best when they are small, but they grow so fast that they are hard to catch at this phase.  I really liked the taste of the mushrooms when they were a couple inches (call it 5 cm) across.  I call these the baby giants.  I tried a large one, but it tasted about as good as my shoe or maybe a piece of cardboard.  But they are still awesome to watch grow.

Did you grow tomatoes or any other veggie with them?  I am curious as to how fertile your wood chips are now.  Mine became just fantastically rich compost and really produce better than any other soil or garden bedding I have ever had.  I am willing to bet that you get similar results.

Great job and congratulations!

Eric
 
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Nice job both of you, I highly recommend blewit as a secondary spawn. They are delicious!
Much more so than winecaps. I also like the fact that they are easily identifiable as they are purple.

I now have three gardens spawned with both- winecaps as a failsafe from old mycelium and new blewits. I'm not sold on mycorrhyzal association with blewits, but the existing patch (wild) was growing fine with squash and berries, so I have expanded greatly in my community garden patch. By greatly I mean I expanded the patch to about 20m x 40m or 60'x 120'. Im trialling some other cultures like almond agaricus as well but these are all good starter mushrooms,  Without intentional spawning we  get inedible mushrooms.
 
Eric Hanson
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TJ,

Thanks!

So regarding the Blewits, can they tolerate a sunny area?  If I were to try this, it would be in the sun.

Eric
 
Tj Jefferson
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I don’t have any gardens in the shade...

I do have really thick mulch BtW like about 12-14”
 
Eric Hanson
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OK TJ, you officially have me intrigued.  

Are there any steps I need to do?  Do I just take the spawn, mix into the already-decayed chips, sit back and wait two years, or are there other steps I should take in the meantime?

Eric
 
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https://mushroommountain.com/growing-blewit-mushrooms-in-your-garden-or-on-your-patio/

Very similar to winecaps with the difference being these tolerate deeper mulch. My best winecaps are in 3-4” of chips. The blewits also seem to be fine with pine and cedar. The wild colony is in a hodgepodge of chipped species.

Winecaps for me are only on hardwood.
 
Eric Hanson
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OK, I am going to see about getting blewits into my mushroom compost.

I am glad that the blewits like deep compost.  My compost is typically 10-12" thick, depending of the time of the year.  Basically it starts off 12" thick or more and over the year it decomposes down to about 8-10  inches.  By this point, the chips are thoroughly broken down and are very fertile, apparently just what blewits want.  And if the blewits can decompose this even more and give me a crop for their efforts, so much the better.

Eric
 
Hugo Morvan
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Hi Eric, i've had them this morning, only the smaller ones  as you said, fried them in butter, they were delicious!
Blewitz adventure sounds good!
 
Eric Hanson
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Hugo,

Glad you liked them.  I too like the small ones.  They are tricky to catch small like that aren’t they.

Eric
 
Hugo Morvan
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Young winecaps are better than button mushrooms in my opinion. They are difficult to harvest young though. The winecap nurserie close to the house is easy to keep an eye on than the production field, but this is the first half year and i've got more than i can eat. I've got two permie friends i am going to give mycellium to.
WINECAPS-3.jpg
[Thumbnail for WINECAPS-3.jpg]
 
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Your posts have encouraged me to propose wine caps as a primary school project. We will put the spawn in when we mulch newly planted fruit bushes. In giving them some oyster mushroom spawn for a classroom project too. I love mushrooms! Best way to educate people to stop digging.
My nursery is the outside edges of the Polytunnel. Needed weighing down anyway and gets all the run off!
 
Eric Hanson
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Excellent Susan!!

I love the idea of making this a class project.  I am a teacher too, but I teach American history and psychology so I am hard pressed to find a way to incorporate a garden be into one of my classes.

BTW, you mentioned oyster mushrooms.  Those too are excellent mushrooms for a newbie who wants both mushrooms and compost.  Blue oyster mushrooms are known to make actual mushrooms in 1/2 the time of a Wine Cap.  This might actually be better for a school project as you have more time to see the actual mushrooms.  Wine Caps have a reputation for being pretty bulletproof, but they also take a bit longer.  Just one word of warning:  don't mix Oysters and Wine Caps.  They are both so aggressive that they will try to arm wrestle each other to death and then nobody wins.  But you can certainly try different mushrooms in different beds.

If you are interested, I have a couple of techniques that can speed up the fungal processes of the Wine Caps so that you may actually get mushrooms in the school year.

Best of luck and please keep us informed!

Eric
 
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