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The wine cap mushroom won’t be contained. If you have an outside garden and have thought about including a variety of mushrooms in it, the wine caps are a great choice.
In most cases when gardening, you have your different varieties of vegetables and fruits growing in their own sections or raised beds.
But the wine cap mushroom is one of those “free roamers” that likes a little latitude, and can make themselves welcome in any garden.
So, can you grow them in your garden? Yes you can and don’t stress, it’s not that difficult.
In fact, once you grow them the first time and follow the steps below, they’ll make themselves at home and keep popping up year after year.
And you’ll have a steady supply of wine cap mushrooms to enjoy most times during the year.
Tip #1 The Wine Cap Mushroom Growing Surface
The first thing you need to consider is what type of surface you will use to grow your wine caps.
One of the best substrates I’ve come across is straw. Fortunately, straw is not difficult to get, either off or online.
Wine caps aren’t fussy about where they grow but if you can provide them the best surface conditions from the start, they will thank you over and over by continuing to produce.
Another growing surface you should consider is wood chips. I’ve used both straw and wood chips and prefer working with straw but if you are “in a pinch” and none is available, wood chips are a great alternative.
The great thing about straw and wood chips is they are inexpensive and in many cases, you can get them for free.
One thing to remember is that with base straw or wood chips are forever substrates and wine caps have the ability to quicken the decomposition process. Expect to change out the surface once or twice a year because of this.
Tip #2 Inoculate With Mushroom Spawn
The next step is very important in this process and amazingly, some will want to avoid it. Please don’t be intimidated by this.
What is mushroom spawn? It’s basically the lifeblood of the mushroom growing surface. By adding mycelium to the substrate, you’ve basically seeded it. It’s like the background the mushroom needs to sprout.
So why do you need to inoculate the substrate? It’s a sterilization process that decreases the prospects of contamination.
If the contamination within a substrate is too high, you’ll struggle to encourage the mushroom to grow.
In fact, chances are that they won’t and if you manage to get any to grow, the yield will be negligible.
So make sure to inoculate your substrate with wine cap mushroom spawn.
Tip # 3 Best Time To Grow Wine Caps?
There are a couple of things to consider here. One of them is the weather in your area and the other is the length of the seasons.
Mushrooms prefer a warmer climate but not hot. They also like some shade but not total shade. And they like lots of moisture.
If frosts are an issue in your area then wait until the last frost has come and gone. I know this can be a little hard to judge but today, technology has given us some pretty good tools to predict long range weather.
Planting when temperatures are between 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit is preferable. You could go lower but definitely avoid planting under fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Soil temperatures should be above fifty degrees.
My favorite time to plant is about four weeks into spring. By doing this, I’m giving winter a chance to completely blow itself out as there is always overlap in the seasons when one runs into the other.
So in the northern hemisphere, about early April. I’m in the United States south in a subtropical climate which is ideal for growing wine cap mushrooms.
Tip #4 When Can You Expect Mushrooms?
Provided you inoculated in the early spring as suggested above, you could reasonably expect to harvest by fall.
I’m talking about October. Once again, don’t be intimidated by this. Mushrooms will grow when the conditions are right and all you are doing is providing them with the right conditions.
If they don’t find the conditions to their liking, they won’t grow.
Imagine how many times you’ve seen wild mushrooms growing in the wild. Do you think they were attended to and looked after? Of course not.
If mushrooms can grow without the intervention of human hands, imagine how much better they’ll grow when you provide them with the perfect growing environment.
So provided you inoculated in early spring, expect to see wine caps ready for consumption early to mid fall. The following video is one of the best I’ve seen in going over the growing process of the wine cap mushroom.
The Benefits Of Wine Cap Mushrooms
There are many benefits to growing and eating the wine cap mushroom. In fact, many gardeners don’t plant them with consumption in mind, they plant them to aid other varieties of vegetable and fruits in their gardens.
It’s common for gardeners to tell you they’ll plant mushrooms as a way of enriching their soil.
You know how great mushrooms grow in the wild. Well, it’s this ability to “mingle” among other varieties of produce that makes them so beneficial in your garden.
It’s an almost “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” scenario.
As far as eating wine caps, they are a mild protein and calcium source.
One of their biggest benefits and most will not even realize this is that wine cap mushrooms are good for dietary requirements. Fat is not a factor and they are very low in calories. You might want to consider them if you are on a mission to shed a few pounds.
Conclusion: Ready For Wine Caps
In conclusion, the wine cap mushroom is a great edible mushroom to grow and for. They are easy to identify and have a delicious, earthy flavor.
Wine caps are a great addition to any dish and have a mild flavor which is appealing.
Be sure to properly identify the mushrooms before eating them, and always exercise caution when foraging for wild mushrooms.
If you’ve never thought of growing wine cap mushrooms but like the idea of having them “on tap” in your own garden, what are you waiting for!