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Garden Giant Mushroom Patch

 Stropharia rugoso-annulata 

The SRA mushroom patch is best established in the spring to set up the chances of a fall mushroom fruiting. The SRA mycelium can run onto many substrates. It needs fresh wood chips and prefers hardwoods, like oak or maple, but will also grow on Douglas Fir (you’ll need to soak older wood chips for a few hours). Avoid using cedar, as it has anti-fungal properties. You will want to select a location that is in a shady area or will have tall plants next to it to provide shade if you are placing it in your garden. Alternately, you could grow the patch for a few months in a shady area and then move a portion of the mycelium into your garden when you have tall shade plants established. The idea is to take this mushroom patch and grow it onto a hardwood chips and cardboard substrate. The SRA mycelium will eventually consume all of the carbon material and join up with the soil microbes. Onset of fall rains and the change in temperature will signal the mycelium to fruit mushrooms. 

Step 1: Soak the old wood chips or use fresh cut wood chips. Preferably, use corrugated cardboard that is from the United States or Canada. It will have less chemical compounds in it. Remove any labels, stickers or tape from the edges. Soak the cardboard in clean water for about 30 minutes. This will allow you to separate the layers of cardboard sheets and expose the corrugated middle.  

Step 2: Place the cardboard with the corrugated side up in a shady part of your yard. This kit can cover a 4’ x4’ area. Cover the entire area you are making into a mushroom patch. Grass and other plants growing underneath is fine but try to avoid any area that are known to have mushrooms already growing there.

Step 3: Sprinkle the SRA sawdust spawn onto the wet cardboard in small handfuls. They will connect together as they grow. Add 2” – 3” of the soaked hardwood chips. Sprinkle more SRA sawdust spawn on the hardwood chips. Rake to make an even bed and water it in.

Step 4: Cover the woodchips with another layer of cardboard. This layer should consist of small pieces, so water can flow through with greater ease. Sprinkle more SRA spawn onto this layer, again in little handfuls that will connect together as they grow.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you have a bed that is roughly 6” deep. When you have reached this depth, cover your new mushroom patch with a layer of mulch that is 2” deep. It can be straw, leaves or other similar materials. 

Alright!! You did it!! Now all you need to do is water your new mushroom patch.

   Water it every day for the first week. Water it every other day for weeks 2, 3, and 4.

After this, you only need to water it about once a month, unless it rains and then you don’t even have to water it at all! 

In about 3 – 8 months, the SRA will have colonized the woodchips in the patch and spread into the surrounding soil! Check often for mushrooms, as they grow quickly. It may flush several times in a year!