Gardening Mulching Mushrooms

Put Your Mulch to Double Use: Grow Mushrooms!

Edible mushrooms grown in ordinary garden mulch. Photo: Etienne Durand

E-mail message: I’m a big fan of your blog and read it daily. I wanted to share with you a really great gardening experience from last summer.

Following the advice in your blog, I used mulch for my vegetable garden and flower beds for all the usual reasons: keep weeds down, maintain even soil moisture, keep plants cooler in summer, fertilize the plants, etc. Except I went one better.

Wine cap mushrooms thrive in ordinary garden mulch. Photo: Etienne Durand

I inoculated the mulch (fresh straw and wood chips resulting from tree pruning) with the mycelium of wine cap strophia, also called king strophia (Stropharia rugosoannulata), that I bought on the site Homegrown Mushrooms

Part of my harvest. Photo: Etienne Durand

I had impressive harvests of excellent mushrooms all summer long, including plenty to dry and store for winter, while still being able to harvest a very large number of vegetables from my garden.

I’ve sent you some pictures.

Etienne Durand

Answer: That’s a wonderful idea: two birds with one stone!

Homegrown Mushrooms is a Canadian company and offers their product in that country. American readers could obtain wine cap strophia spawn from Field & Forest Products. In the United Kingdom, try Mushroombox, and in Australia, Forest Fungi.

There are many other companies worldwide offering wine cap strophia (king strophia) spawn and other mushroom spawn as well. Maybe even your local garden center carries it!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. After studies at the University of Toronto and Laval University where he obtained his B.A. in modern languages in 1978, he succeeded in combining his language skills with his passion for gardening in a novel career as a garden writer and lecturer. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He is a regular contributor to and horticultural consultant for Fleurs, Plantes, Jardins garden magazine and has written for many other garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Rebecca’s Garden and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 50 other titles in English and French. He can be seen in Quebec on French-language television and was notably a regular collaborator for 7 years on the TV shows Fleurs et Jardins and Salut Bonjour Weekend. He is the President of the Garden Writers Association Foundation and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. An avid proponent of garden tourism, he has lead garden tours throughout Canada and to the gardens of over 30 countries over the last 30 years. He presently resides in Quebec City, Quebec.

1 comment on “Put Your Mulch to Double Use: Grow Mushrooms!

  1. Wild mushrooms are very popular here. Those who hunt them have secret collection sites, like fishing holes. Alder logs are also popular among those who grow their own. I don’t know what is so special about such logs.

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