Yesterday I finally got around to building a bed for the wine cap mushroom spawn I ordered.
I followed the procedure laid out in Paul Stamets’ excellent book on mushroom ecology, Mycelium Running. To reduce competitor organisms, he recommends making a bottom layer of cardboard, then adding several inches of relatively fresh wood chips. I had a dead mimosa tree taken down a couple of weeks ago, so that was no trouble at all.
Once your bed (or “lens,” as Stamets calls it) is created, inoculate with the spawn.
Then I added a few more inches of wood chips to cover it. I tried, as Stamets recommends, to then cover it in cardboard, but we were experiencing gusting winds up to 27 MPH last night, and all that stuff blew off to the side. Looks like rain this morning, but I may try to get the cover back on before it hits.
Oh, and after playing with wood chips for a couple of hours, I woke up this morning with gooey eyes and no voice. I think the lesson here is not to skimp on allergy meds when you decide to make sawdust airborne. Just sayin’.
That’s a close up of some of the contents of the spawn bag, spread out on the wood chip row. The white is the fungus, which hopefully will thrive in the media I’ve provided and produce two or three flushes of mushrooms this year.
As for placement, this row of wood chips is a few feet away from the two primary garden beds I built. My hope is that a thriving colony of stropharia will develop in this pile and ultimately interact with the green plants in the garden, sharing nutrients and adding fertility to my urban soil.