I emailed a vendor who sells the big sawdust spawn blocks but I thought I would also ask you folks, can you just rake/till in sawdust spawn into the soil of your garden and have any chance of these types of mushrooms colonizing the soil?
We have had terrible luck trying to grow mushrooms which we think is mostly our fault (neglecting in keeping them moist constantly) and we are hoping that by putting it in our raised beds where we are going to grow tomatoes and carrots that we can help them and give them a place where they will get sufficient moisture and nutrients themselves.
Is this just a case of us wishing instead of reasoning? If this doesn't work I may try another log spawn attempt (third time is the charm) and covering it with leaves to keep it from drying out since we can't really water our non-garden areas.
We took one bag of sawdust spawn (from Field and Forest, Peshtigo, WI) and put it straight away into a pile of mixed woodchips (fairly fresh) simply by placing spawn in thick sections of newspaper (Wall Street Journal was the best - not kidding). Placement was late summer in timing.
We got abundant stropharia (WINE CAP) in the very next season. And we could also dig into the mulch, retrieve sections of the newpaper and move those pre-inoculated sections to new mulch piles. They all took with vigor.
Stropharia seems to me to be an especially robust species. Easy to spread as long as I had wood chips and newspaper. And HUGE mushrooms ! Many as big as dinner plates. Some two pound mushrooms.
The mulch of woodchips were almost always associated with the mulch system around trees. I think the shade of the tree was an environmental benefit for the mushroom vitality.
The newspaper was a great way to multiply and spread the spawn. I never bought but one small bag of spawn. After that the operation was easy to grow without additional inoculation expense. Add new newspaper to a producing mulch pile and it automatically became new inoculation material.
Thanks for the great replies! I am just interested in hearing about experiments involving directly applying stropharia directly to soil and not to mulch or newspaper. I am curious to see if it will work with my garden as it is without having to significantly change my garden (I use sawdust not mulch in my garden and not a deep layer) so that I don't have to increase the amount of watering I do.
I don’t think it will work reliably, or at least it wouldn’t here. I haven’t tried not using any mulch, but I have tried using a thin layer of mulch. It didn’t work. I had mycillium growth, but it never fruited. I think it probably didn’t stay moist enough.