Growing edible mushrooms in your garden beds can be super easy and cost-effective. You don’t need any special equipment, just a shady spot, some mulch and a hose. Our DIY Mushroom Garden Bed Kit will teach you how to incorporate edible mushrooms into your backyard or garden in three easy steps.
How to grow a mushroom bed in your garden - a quick guide
Now, team, this is just a summary to give you an idea of what’s involved. We really recommend watching the video tutorial start to finish and playing along step by step. The video contains extra tips and helpful hints to get your fungi flourishing. You'll be able to watch it as many times as you like until you feel like you're ready to start your mushroom garden bed.
Spread a layer of straw in a clear, shaded spot and wet down with water.
Distribute mushroom inoculum across the bed.
Add a layer of hardwood chips on top and water well. Keep the bed moist.
Choosing which mushroom species to grow
Species name: Stropharia rugosoannulata
The Wine Cap Mushroom can grow as big as your head! That's why it's also known as the Garden Giant or King Stropharia. It can produce mushrooms in as little as 8 weeks and keep fruiting for several years once established. This big boy can't be found in the grocery store so why not try and grow it for yourself.
Wine Cap mushrooms like all sorts of woody debris so hardwood chips are an ideal substrate to use when making your mushroom bed. You can use a mix of straw and hardwood chips - if straw is hard to find, sugarcane mulch can be substituted.
Make sure there’s a mix of particle sizes so the bed doesn’t get too compacted but avoid large branches or other large pieces of wood as these will slow down the colonisation of the bed.
If you can, source freshly cut wood chips as these are less likely to contain potential competitor fungi. A bag of hardwood chips from your local garden centre will do the job and be the perfect amount for a 1x1m bed.
Choose a nice shady spot for your mushroom bed. Wine Cap mushrooms can tolerate some direct sun so partial shade is OK. If you’re in a hot dry climate, full shade is best.
Ideal locations are around the base of trees or as part of the mulch in and around vegetable gardens where larger vegetables will provide shade.
Wine Caps like contact with the soil so make sure you lay your bed down on a clear patch of dirt.
HOW TO IDENTIFY
Before you pick and eat any mushrooms from your garden, it's extremely important to correctly identify them. While unlikely, it is possible for other native fungi to pop up in your bed so best to be sure what you’re picking. Thankfully, Wine Cap mushrooms are quite distinctive and easy to identify.
The Wine Cap is characterised by its medium to large size compared to other mushrooms. It has a large cap, often 10-15cm or more in diameter. The caps are wine-red and bell-shaped when they first appear and fade to duller reddish brown as they mature. When fully mature the caps will flatten and can be a straw or tan colour. The gills start out white and turn dark purpley black in maturity. There is a toothed ring around the stem which is thick, usually 3-4cm wide and a creamy colour and bulbous at the base. The spore print of a Wine Cap is dark purple-brown, almost black.
There are some great identification resources available online and mushroom foraging forums on social media can also help with identification.
Once you’re 100% sure on your identification, harvest your mushrooms before the caps upturn and release their spores - this can affect the flavour.
Species name: Pleurotus djamor
Oyster mushrooms are the most vigorous cultivated species and super robust. They're not too fussy about what they grow on and can handle tropical and subtropical climates. Oyster species are the easiest to grow in straw mulch or sugarcane.
Oyster mushrooms will grow on a range of organic materials including straw, sugarcane, coffee grounds, wood shavings and other agricultural byproducts. For garden bed cultivation we recommend straw or sugarcane mulch. Don’t use hay or green material as these contain seed heads which will sprout in your mushroom bed.
Choose a nice shady spot for your mushroom bed. Full shade is best. Ideal locations are around the base of trees or as part of the mulch in and around vegetable gardens where larger vegetables will provide shade.
HOW TO IDENTIFY
Before you pick and eat any mushrooms from your garden, it's extremely important to correctly identify them. While unlikely, it is possible for other native fungi to pop up in your bed so best to be sure what you’re picking. Thankfully, Oyster mushrooms are quite distinctive and easy to identify.
Oyster mushrooms form clusters of multiple fruiting bodies. They don’t form much of a stem, instead the caps are all joined together at the base. The edges of the caps curl down and flatten out and upturn once mature and releasing spores.
The Pink Oysters have a very distinct pink colour which starts off deep pink and fade to a blush pink as the mushrooms mature.
Although Oyster mushrooms are relatively easy to identify, there are some lookalikes that you may want to be aware of. This will depend highly on your location, so the best bet is to ask your local mycological society, or pick up a guidebook that is specific to your region.