How to Grow Wine Cap Mushrooms

Discover a simple way to grow wine cap mushrooms in your garden this spring and summer.

| February 2016

Mycelial Mayhem (New Society Publishers, 2016) is a no-nonsense resource for aspiring mushroom growers. Authors and avid mushroom growers David and Kristin Sewak have selected regionally appropriate species for the home garden, farm-scale production or edible landscaping. The following selection shares one of the most effective ways the Sewak’s have found to grow wine cap mushrooms.

How to Grow Wine Caps (Stropharia rugoso annulata)

Growing Wine Caps Outdoors: Easy
Growing Wine Caps Indoors: Moderately Easy

You will hear them referred to as the wine cap, garden king, king stropharia, burgundy, and holy that thing for real? When allowed to grow to its full maturity, it is a 3–4 pound specimen, a foot or more in diameter, with grey gills and thick stalk, that will wow you and your farmers market customers. (Note: A wine cap this large is no longer tasty, so you could just use it for display purposes.) Stropharia is a hardy mushroom that travels well, has the traditional mushroom appearance, and offers a mild taste.

There are many ways to grow this beauty. Here, we offer one of our favorites.

Wine Cap Lasagna

Although wine cap lasagna from the oven would be great too, here we offer a gardening recipe. For best results, you should first look long and hard at your garden. Stropharia likes a rich substrate of woody debris, a shaded locale and moisture. In our garden, we found that spot in our vegetable beds. The most in-demand product we were growing was kale (red Russian to be exact). The shade provided by the plants was just what the stropharia wanted, so we grew it in between our eight 28-foot-long rows of kale. To establish the colony quickly and have mushrooms in the fall, we installed a “lasagna” of substrate and stropharia spawn in the early spring when the kale was planted.


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