Our Farm: Wine Cap Mushrooms

My friend, Julie over at Missouri Farm Girl, got started with mushrooms about a year ago.  She got me interested in growing mushrooms after hearing her talk about them.  So I started doing a little more research to see if mushroom growing might be something we could add on our farm.  I was definitely intrigued.  Then another friend emailed me and told me about a class that was taking place locally that focused on wine cap mushrooms (Strophariarugosa-annulata).  I decided I would go and I asked the kids if any of them where interested in attending the class with me.  Eli and Rebekah immediately said they would like to go.  (I wasn’t sure that Rebekah could sit through a three hour class though so she didn’t end up going.)  Eli and I attended the class.  We learned so much!!  We even came home with spawn for wine caps and golden oyster mushrooms!

wine cap package

We prepared a spot in the yard to start the wine caps.  Eventually, I want to have them growing under the elderberries and the fruit trees.  However, those plants are small enough right now that they don’t provide much shade.  So for now, we have a bed just dedicated to growing wine caps that has a shade cloth over it.

The first thing we did in preparing for the wine caps was to get straw and start soaking it.  The instructor recommended soaking the straw for 3-5 days.

We measured and flagged a spot that was 5′ x 10′.  (The spawn that we purchased was good for 50 square feet.)  Next we needed to get the plot down to bare dirt.  We used the skid steer to help make this project easier.

wine cap prep

We hit rock when we pealed back the sod so we had to add compost to the bed. We think that in years past there must have been a driveway here because it is white rock like what is put on driveways and roads.


Once we had it down to bare dirt we put approximately 1.5″ of wood bark/chips down.  On top of these wood chips we spread spawn.

Then we put a 1″ layer of the soaked straw down.  Followed by the rest of the spawn.

wine cap spawn

The final layer is another 1.5″ layer of of wood chips.

Wine cap mush last

The wood chips that we used are from a local saw mill.  These are the same wood chips that I have been using to mulch around the raised bed, the berry bushes and the trees.  The saw mill sells these wood chips considerably cheaper than we could get them from anywhere else.  The first load we got was equivalent to two full-size pickup bed fulls for $10.

Now we just have to wait patiently and see if we get any wine cap mushrooms.

We are hoping to try growing some other types of mushrooms in the future.  Have you tried growing mushrooms?  If so, what kind?




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3 Responses to Our Farm: Wine Cap Mushrooms

  1. Kristy Russum says:

    One of the mushroom growers at my farmers market sells a mushroom growing kit. It looks like a mesh laundry bag filled with hay, compost, etc and you’re supposed to hang it in your basement and the mushrooms grow outside the mesh holes. I’ve seen them sell button mushrooms and oyster mushrooms like that and I’ve been intrigued myself, so I can’t wait to hear how yours work out. How long will we have to wait before you have mushrooms to harvest?

    • Jennifer says:

      The instructor said we might get mushrooms starting in about 8 weeks. I hope so, but we will see. 🙂
      We also purchased golden oyster spawn but haven’t got it out yet.

  2. Julie Byers says:

    I hope this produces for you!

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