King Stropharia (Stropharia rugoso)
Commonly known as the Wine Cap because it is a rich deep burgundy colour when it first breaks through the soil. Stropharia can grow easily on a wide variety of readily available garden, farm or forest products. Stropharia is native to Europe and the USA growing in forest leaf litter and rich woodland soil. Cultivation began during the 1960s in East Germany on straw-covered potato beds. It is difficult to produce commercially as the mushrooms are easily broken and hard to transport.
I like to grow it in a deep mixed mulch bed incorporating any of the following:- hardwood sawdust, straw, wood chips, cardboard, shredded garden woody prunings etc. The moisture is very important; if you cannot soak the components of the deep bed for 2 days once you have made it, run a hose on it for several hours. 1 pack of 16 pegs covers 2 sq meters
Supplied growing on large pegs, the tip of which can be pressed into the ground leaving the tops deep in the wet mulch to allow the mushroom mycelium to spread throughout the material. Early spring beds will fruit in the same year, autumn beds will fruit the following year. Beds will keep fruiting as long as you keep topping them up with fresh woody material. dding Stropharia will help break down the nutrients, feeding the plants, retaining moisture plus you get the bonus of a tasty crop of mushrooms.
Stropharia are best picked young at about a fist in size and can be used in all your mushroom recipes.