How To Create a Mushroom Patch in Your Garden

Spring is a good time to think about creating a mushroom patch in your garden. Growing your own mushrooms can be a great way to add to the amount of food that you can grow at home and can help to add to the biodiversity of your garden space. You do not need a lot of space to grow some mushrooms in your garden, all you need is a damp and shady space, ideally in leafy shade beneath a hedge or deciduous tree, some cardboard, wood chips, bark or saw dust/leaf litter material and some mushroom spores or inoculated pegs which can be bought online.

One of the easiest and most readily available types of mushroom to grow in a mushroom patch in your garden is the wine cap mushroom (Stropharia rugosoannulata). Though not readily available in supermarkets, the wine cap mushroom is a choice edible mushroom that is delicious to eat and easy to recognise. It does not tend to be for sale commercially because it tends to break up in transportation. It naturally grows on wood chip and bark mulch across Europe and North America and can be cultivated in that medium in a wide range of home garden environments.

Mushroom bed preparation

If growing in an area that was lawn or scrub, first remove the turf and then lay cardboard over your bed. Soak the ground and the cardboard thoroughly, create small holes in the cardboard and stand your spore inoculated pegs in those holes. Then simply cover the cardboard and pegs with a thick layer of wood chip, bark, woody litter or sawdust materials and again, water well. Moisture is key to success so you should make sure that the area is thoroughly saturated now and kept moist throughout the summer months. This will allow the mushroom mycelium to spread throughout the material. Make sure that the tops of the pegs are buried within the thick mulch.

Mushroom patch and mushroom logs

Beds created now, in the spring, should see fruiting mushrooms in the same year. If you have chosen a good spot for your mushroom bed and given it sufficient moisture and shade then you should see the mushrooms forming in the autumn. The beds should keep fruiting as long as you keep them topped up with woody material. You should be able to enjoy wine cap mushrooms each autumn for years as long as the conditions for growing are correct.

Wine caps can be picked young when the caps are around the size of your fist and can be used in all your mushroom recipes with the other produce you have grown in your garden.