Growing Mushrooms in Beds
Making a mushroom bed is a great way to enjoy the benefits of growing your own mushrooms. Growing mushrooms in beds also allows you to take advantage of space you may already be using for a garden by companion planting your crops with fungi! Like with all mushrooms, make sure to find a place where the mushrooms will be shaded and protected from the wind. Here are the varieties that work best for bed cultivation.
Wine Cap mushrooms thrive in wood chip beds. Hardwood chips (especially the soft hardwoods) work the best. We recommend avoiding pine, conifer, or other softwood unless they are very aged or only represent a small portion of the total Wine Cap bed. Construct beds easily by layering spawn between wood chips in a shady area directly on the ground. You can also use soaked straw as a bed base to lead to quicker production. One of our favorite ways to make is bed is to layer straw, then spawn, then wood chips. Watch the video below to find out how we do it!
The Almond Agaricus is a heat loving Portobello mushroom variety that grows quickly and can fruit as soon as one month after planting. This mushroom pairs perfectly with garden beds, container gardens, or landscape pots as it loves regular watering. We like to companion plant ours in a high tunnel along with leafy vegetation such as bell peppers, summer squash, and tomatoes.
Wood Blewit grows well in beds constructed in a shady area outdoors. These mushrooms prefer a bed built with a mixture of organic materials - some fresh, partially or even fully composted. We recommend a mix of compost, bark, leaves, and/or grass clippings. Wood Blewit proves to be one of the trickiest mushrooms to grow as it is quite temperamental with bed composition and fruiting temperatures. If you hit it right though, expect a bounty of beautiful lavender-colored fungi in the fall of the year.
Mulched Mushroom Block Beds
Another option to reliably grow mushrooms outdoors in beds is to mulch in ready to fruit blocks. One of the easiest ways to grow mushrooms, you can purchase an 8-block set, which is typically used to indoor cultivation, and adapt it to the outdoors! Simply remove the blocks from their bags and cover them with several inches of wood chip mulch or sawdust. This method works best with oyster varieties and the chestnut mushroom. Less so with shiitake, Reishi, Pioppini, and Lion's Mane. Check out the video below to preview the method!
A note on oyster mushroom beds...
If look around the internet you may be convinced that growing oyster mushrooms outdoors in straw or wood chip beds is an effective and simple way to grow mushrooms. While burying ready-to-fruit blocks can lead to high yields, we do not recommend inoculating straw or wood chip beds with oyster mushroom spawn. If you do choose this cultivation method keep in mind that yields will be low compared to growing oyster mushrooms in containerized substrates (ie straw packed into buckets or sleeves).