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increasing wine cap spawn in a plastic bin?

 
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I bought wine cap sawdust this spring.  I planted (seeded it, spread it? I don't know what the proper term is but you know what I mean) like it was suggested.  I'm not sure I kept it watered enough.  I didn't want to be to invasive, but in one spot I carefully removed the wood and looked to see if the mycelium was taking over.  There was some, but not much.  I'm not giving up.  But it is so hot and dry during the summer, and I have lots of other things to water, pluse I didn't mark it very well, so I think I know where I put it, but if I'm off a little, then it definitely didn't get enough water. So even though I should not have spent the money I ordered wine cap sawdust again.  It should arrive any day now.  I was thinking about buying a bin, (I will probably dig a hole and put the bin in the ground with just the top rim sticking out, so it doesn't dry out so fast.) putting holes in the bottom.  Filling it half way with a mixture of compost, wood chips, straw, and shredded card board.  then adding the spawn, then wood chips then spawn then straw, then more wood, straw cardboard on top.  I was thinking I would put this black screen material on top.  It will let air and water through, but give it some shade.  My thinking is this way I will know where it is and it will be easy to keep moist.  Hopefully in a year or so the tub will be tons to mycelium, and I can remove 1/2.  Place it in places I hope to be able to grow mushrooms.  With the second 1/2 I would repeat the same process as I started with.  If this works I should be able to have lots of wine cap mushrooms in the future, and maybe even be able to share with my family and friends.  What do you think?  Will it work?  Would you do something different?  I'm looking forward to your wisdom.  Thanks
 
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Jen, did you mix the spawn with wood chips, sawdust, straw or some other woody material?

Eric
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Eric the first batch I got I layered it the way you told me with wood chips, and put wet cardboard on top of some of it.  I made a sort of path around tomato plants.  Not only do I think I didn't keep it moist enough, I wonder if my kids walked on it not remembering I put the mushrooms there.  The new batch I ordered has not arrived yet.  It should be here soon, that is why I'm trying decide what I want to do with it so I will be ready.
 
Eric Hanson
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Jen I think you hit the nail on the head regarding the reason your spawn did not spread further.  Wine Caps are pretty hearty, but heat and dryness are not exactly their friends.  Also, if it was getting trampled while in its early growth phase I can believe that the little strands of mycelia were broken before they could get established.  However, I would not despair just yet.  You said that you could see some white strands correct?  If so, this means the Wine Cap fungi at least partially grew.  Correct me if I am wrong, but you planted in spring, correct?  If so, then right NOW is about the worst time to actually look for fungal growth.  I live in a more humid region than you and also sowed spawn in the spring.  By fall I thought my experiment was a failure.  But the real growth took place over late fall, winter and early spring--basically a cool, wet season.  So your fungi might still be viable but lying mostly dormant.  Actually, the fact that you found some mycelial strands is a good sign.

If you want to start again in a plastic tub, by all means do so.  I don't think you are going to have problems with Wine Caps becoming invasive, but it may with time spread throughout your garden, assuming it has a good supply of wood on which to feed.  If you do plant it in a tub, make certain that it stays as cool as reasonably possible.  In this case, it means keeping it in mostly shade (a little bit of sunlight is helpful though).  Keeping it shaded will also help it retain moisture.  You may, especially at first, need to continually add some additional water to keep it moist.  Also, keep the kids from walking on it of course (but you already knew that one).

It might be interesting to run these two projects in parallel--see how the old spawn grows over winter compared to the fresh spawn in a container.

Keep at it.  It took me a year to get my first flush of mushrooms and by fall, I was really thinking that I had done something drastically wrong.  I was just impatient and growing Wine Caps had taught me patience.

Eric
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thanks Eric.  I was just thinking with the tub I will have a bit more control.  I will keep watering what is in the chips, maybe I will get lucky. Thanks again.
 
Eric Hanson
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Not a problem Jen.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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I can't for the life of me remember why, but I never did anything with that wine cap spawn.  
It's probably a mistake, but wine cap spawn was on sale, so I ordered again.  It arrived today. Lucky it's cooled down a lot this weekend.  I watched a couple of YouTube videos on growing mycelium and decided to give it a try.  I have a plastic bin. In the bin I put chunks of soaked cardboard, a sprinkle of compost, and a sprinkle of mushroom spawn.  I repeated this for several layers. I put a large piece of soaked cardboard on top to help keep it moist.  It's outside in the shade with the lid on.  I will check it, maybe mist it to keep it moist. I hope I will end up with a bin full of mycelium I can spread in my garden, and around trees. If it works I will keep some and reseed (so to speak) with new cardboard.  Just keep growing it maybe till fall, which would be a much better time to add it to the garden. Now is probably the worst time to be doing this, but it was on sale, and caught me at a weak moment.
I did save some for a small spot in the veggie garden. I removed some of the soil so I had a deep enough space for the layers.  First layer is wood chips I chipped today it was a mix of English walnut fresh and cut from the tree a few months ago, and fresh almond wood. On that I sprinkled a little compost, and spawn, then a layer of soaked cardboard, compost and spawn, a layer of soaked straw, compost and spawn, then a layer of all 3 compost and spawn, and I repeated this again.  Topped with wood chips and straw.  It's in a shady spot that may get a tiny bit of sun I know where it is so I should be able to keep it moist.
With any luck at least on I hope both of my places will grow lots of mycelium, and someday get mushrooms.
IMG_20220701_184758347_HDR.jpg
The bin I used
The bin I used
IMG_20220701_185830912.jpg
Cardboard, compost and mushroom spawn
Cardboard, compost and mushroom spawn
IMG_20220701_211111073.jpg
Garden spot for wine cap mushroom spawn
Garden spot for wine cap mushroom spawn
IMG_20220701_213044724.jpg
Wood chip layer
Wood chip layer
IMG_20220701_213959451.jpg
Topped with straw and keep moisture in.
Topped with straw and keep moisture in.
 
Eric Hanson
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Nice job Jen.  You are on top of things better this summer than I am.  And you are right that this about the worst time of the year to get Wine Caps to grow but you are doing all the right things, especially by keeping that container in a shady place.

Maybe think about the lid.  Fungi need oxygen to grow so make sure they can breathe.  Maybe attach loosely?  At any rate, it looks great.  Thanks for the pictures.

Eric
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thanks Eric I was wondering about that. I have black shade cloth. I will cut a piece and replace the lid with that.  That will probably be easier anyway. I can mist it without having to disturb anything.  
I would like it to grow, but will be happy to just keep it alive until cooler weather.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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I was watering my garden this evening and noticed mushrooms right on the edge of where I pot the wine cap mycelium.  They don't look like wine cap, and it's to soon.  I think I read somewhere that wine cap are vigorous and will out compete other mushrooms.  I hope this is true.
IMG_20220729_193621.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20220729_193621.jpg]
IMG_20220729_193454.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20220729_193454.jpg]
 
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