29 January 2014

Wine Cap Mushrooms

For the first time in our garden program, we are cultivating mushrooms! We cleared two semi-shaded plots at St. Anne's and today the Third Grade Thatchers spread wood chips and Wine Cap spawn.

I've been storing the spawn in my fridge every since it arrived from Field and Forest Products. The spawn is a carrier (in this case saw dust) for the mycelium. Mycelium is the vegetative part of fungus. The whole thing resembled a large loaf of bread.

First the children measured the plot to figure out the total square footage. We only had enough spawn for 50 square feet, and luckily our two plots totaled 34 ft squared. Then, we spread many bags of woodchips down and measured their depth. We needed 2-3 inches of chips on top of the soil. Here you can see Elizabeth measuring the depth.

We needed to crumble the spawn before spreading it. It looked like bread crumbs and felt similar to that as well.

Next, we moistened the wood chips and spread the spawn, gently raking it in. 

Lastly, we added another two inches of chips and then watered both plots. Hopefully by late spring we'll have our first crop of Wine Caps!