How To Grow Wine Cap Edible Organic Mushrooms: Wood Chips & Straw -Identify, Cultivate, Preserve


Hi YouTubers. I’m Al Gracian from albopepper.com. It’s the beginning of September. I’m out here in the garden. And many people may be closing up shop here. But I have a nice crop of kale, broccoli. But something in particular that I want to
show you today. In this edible landscape… what’s this? Check it out guys. We have our second harvest now that’s come
in of these wine cap mushrooms. How cool is this!? Check out over here too, another spot where
I put some. Just mushroom after mushroom, all these guys,
tucked all inside here. Isn’t this great? So, let me show you a little bit about what
I did to set this up this Spring. And maybe you might get a few pointers to
help you out. We’re looking at Wine Caps (Stropharia rugosa
annulata). Great for beginners, these mushrooms are easy
to identify. They’re perfect for applying to in-ground
beds. As they break down cellulose, they quickly
build rich, black soil. And earthworms absolutely thrive! My preferred supplier for mushroom spawn is
Field and Forest Products. That’s field forest dot net. They provide lots of great tips and information
to get you started! I split an order with my Dad, reserving half
of a 5.5 pound bag of sawdust spawn for myself. In smaller areas they recommend peg spawn. But if you keep it moist, the sawdust can
work too, providing quicker results! I’m in Western PA, here in Zone 6b. In mid April a friend of mine dropped off
a load of mulberry branches from a tree he cut down. I chipped them up in my small wood chipper
and selected the areas I wanted to inoculate and began by spreading my first layer of wood
chips. In my set up, I didn’t use any cardboard. Just fresh wood chips, along with some old
straw from my strawberry beds. These substrates will serve as the fuel for
my mushrooms. Wood chips laying in your beds makes them
look a little different. But in the end, we’ll still be able to keep
them looking nice – good enough even for people in an HOA! One 5.5 pound bag can cover up to 50 square
feet on wood chips. But with my half bag I’m covering 16 square
feet, which matches the application rate for straw beds. That’s 2.75 ounces per square foot. I’m applying that in 3 layers. So 0.9 ounces per layer, per square foot. Patch sizes ranged from just 1 square foot
to as much as 4 square feet. These are all areas within my existing edible
landscape beds. Under fruit trees, berry bushes, asparagus
and so on. Let’s look at how I put this all together. Layer 1: I applied 2 inches of wood chips
and marked off my inoculation areas. I watered the chips. Applied sawdust spawn, mixing it in and then
watered it. For Layer 2, I applied 1 or 2 inches of straw
that had soaked in water for 3 days. I applied more sawdust and water. Then Layer 3 was more wood chips with the
last application of spawn. I mixed and watered it in and prepared to
make the bed look a little nicer. By adding a 4th layer, you create a protective
skin that can improve moisture retention. But in my beds, this layer was a conventional
wood bark mulch. The result was a bed that looks like any other
landscape bed. No less attractive wood chips or unsightly
chunks of straw. If you live in an area that is heavily policed
by a Home Owners Association, this solution is for you. Guerilla gardening at it’s finest! I set these beds up on April 17th. Our Spring came early and was fairly wet. After 8 weeks on June 12th I had my first
crop of Wine Caps! These were just a foregleam though. Now it’s September 8th and a much larger batch
of mushrooms has emerged with more on the way. I prefer to slice them at the base to avoid
disturbing the mycelium. You can store them in a brown paper bag in
the fridge, unwashed for couple days. Just dust off the dirt before cooking. We took the smaller buttons and added them
to a homemade chicken noodle soup. You can sauté these too, of course. Or the caps could be stuffed. I had too many though, so I dehydrated my
extras including the stems. I sliced them thin and ran my food dehydrator
at 120 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours. The low temp preserves the nutrients. And if they snap when you bend them, you know
they are totally dried out. Seal them tight in a glass jar, away from
heat and sunlight. Well guys, how cool is that, huh? Even though it’s September, here I am, having
more and more things coming in, including things I’ve never even been able to think
about growing in the past. I’m utilizing existing space and putting in
multiple functions within that space. Stacking those functions. Not only am I getting a harvest of mushrooms,
but I’m also taking a resource that might have been dispensed with otherwise, such as
those wood chips. And I’m also building soil and helping beneficial
micro-organisms. So it’s a win, win, win! And even if you’re in one of those HOAs, those
Home Owner Associations, where you can’t seem to get away with doing anything. Well, taking some wood chips, putting them
down, covering them with a nice ornamental mulch is a great way to disguise this little
project. And then, months later, lo and behold… BOOM! You have this little ninja harvest that comes
along. I hope that this video has inspired you and
given you some cool ideas of some things that maybe you might try, in your home, in your
garden. I appreciate you taking time to watch and
for supporting my channel. Please subscribe if you haven’t already. As always, Happy Gardening!

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