The wine cap mushroom, also known as the garden giant or burgundy mushroom is an agaric (fungus with a fruiting body that has a cap differentiated from the stalk with gills on its underside) mushroom native to North America and Europe. Although it is now present in Australia and New Zealand as well. It can attain a height of 20 centimeters with wide spore-printed caps having diameters measuring up to 25 centimeters. You can easily grow them in a greenhouse, here is how:
- Start by making a layer of hardwood mulch measuring between 1 and 2 inches thick. Add a layer of fresh wood chips or straw then sprinkle mushroom spores on this layer. Add other layers of hardwood chips, straw and sprinkle some more spores over this layers as well.
- Alternatively, you can use a mixture of fresh wood chips and compost in the ratio of 1:1. Make a layer using this mixture then apply mushroom spores over the layer before adding a 2-inch layer of compost.
- Ensure you spread the mushroom spores as evenly as possible. Use about 12 ounces of mushroom spores for every 6 square feet of planting surface.
- Water the layers generously ensuring that the layers are always moist.
- Wine cap mushrooms grow well in temperatures ranging between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so set the temperatures inside your greenhouse accordingly.
Tips and tricks
Wine cap mushrooms grown in a greenhouse will be ready about four weeks after spawning. You should allow them to open their caps and spread spores because this will give rise to fresh mushrooms so you harvest for longer. They are wine-colored, turning yellowish brown when the start to mature. If you want superior flavor, however, harvest them just before they start turning yellowish brown.
Scuttle flies and dark-winged gnats may be problematic. These two pests lay eggs in the compost and their maggots can damage the mushrooms.
Wine cap mushrooms require relatively less water compared to other mushroom species or varieties. You should apply between 4.5 and 6.5 inches of water every two days.
Wine cap Mushrooms prefer a combination of hardwood mulch and straw. However, they also thrive on composts substrates as well.
While mushrooms generally require little light because they lack chlorophyll, wine cap mushrooms tolerate and actually do better in well-lit environments. However, ensure the greenhouse is dark during spawning. Greenhouse kits that have features that control lighting are therefore preferable for growing this variety of mushrooms.
Harvest wine cap mushrooms about four weeks after spawning or when they start turning yellowish brown by picking them from the growing substrate.