March 26, 2020

Mushroom Fail

About a year ago, Dan and I prepared logs and planted about 200 mushroom plugs. (That post is here.) We read it could take up to a year for the harvest.

Well, the year has come and gone and, disappointingly, we have no mushrooms!

Mushroom logs one year after inoculating.

We followed the care instructions, but a couple of possible reasons for the fail come to mind. One is that even with a weekly watering, they probably needed more because our hot summer days tend to dry things out. The other is that the log location actually got more sun than we thought it would.

Not to be deterred, I bought a different kind to try, wine cap mushrooms. They can be grown in wood chips, which will be easier to keep moist. Plus they seem to tolerate a little more sun. Dan built a bed in the same spot as the logs and planted them.

Wine cap mushroom bed beside the path.

These, also, can take up to a year to produce so expect an update in March of 2021!

Mushroom Fail © March 2020


  1. I have never had any success with mushroom logs tried a few times

  2. That is too bad after all that work and waiting a year. Hopefully, these will bring you better luck and more mushrooms!

  3. I remember the original mushroom post, but had completely forgotten about it until now. :) Good luck with this batch.

  4. Dawn, hmm. Seems like it ought to be easy!

    Sam, I hope so! At least the mushroom bed was easier.

    tpals, thanks! Seemed like a follow-up was in order. :)

  5. Leigh,

    Sorry it didn't work out and wishing you better luck with the wine caps. I'll be interested to see the update in a year.

    Our state is a big mushroom producer so they are always really cheap; it's one of those things that with limited space, we wouldn't try, I did plant a bunch of snowdrops and not one came up, very frustrating.

    City Creek Country Road

  6. I give you and Dan credit for not being discouraged (or enough to not try again!) in your mushroom growing endeavor. Like everything else, it seems there's a learning curve to any new adventure and we all have to work to adapt the process to our own particular environment and weather of a particular year! You're ahead of us, though, since we've never tried growing mushrooms. Sending loads of luck for a great harvest in a year!!

  7. Although I haven't ever tried to raise them, I had a good friend that still raises them. I think using bigger logs will help them by not drying out so fast. The logs my friend uses are mostly about six inches or bigger in diameter. Also, I'm guessing solar radiation reflecting off the sides of the barn might make it much too hot for them in that location. All the ones my friend raises are in the middle of stands of trees where I'm sure it is much much cooler.

  8. I hope these work for you. I love mushrooms, but I'm a solo eater of them (what else is new?) LOL

  9. City Creek Country Road, it would be wonderful to get them inexpensively. I'd dehydrate a ton. :)

    Mama Pea, I figure I should at least try something twice, just in case the first fail was a fluke. :)

    Ed, good tips, thanks! I'd like to try this again some time, so I'll put your advice to good use.

    Renee, thanks! I hope it works too!

  10. That's a shame, Leigh. Good luck with the winesaps.

  11. I think I would throw up a mesh over this area (a foot or better off the ground) to provide shade? If they are woodland mushrooms this might help keep the area cooler and moister? I had chantrells volunteer one year when new mulch was spread on a north-side floor bed. Color me surprised.

  12. Leigh, good on you! I am the king of failing to grow things well or do things right. Not everything works all the time.

    I would try one more year. In some cases here, I have found that I simply cannot grow things due to the difference in climate.

  13. Jo, it is, but! It wasn't the first and won't be the last!

    Helen, that's a good idea. I'm game to try this kind again, and will certainly do things differently next time. The old live-and-learn.

    TB, I agree. Even things that supposedly do well in my growing zone sometimes don't like it here. House plants taught me that everything has a sweet spot, where it thrives. Outdoor plants seem to as well. I'm willing to give things a two or three year try before moving on.

  14. I’m with you on trying a thing or two more than once, Leigh. We grew mushroom very successfully, one year in Florida, and then the next year was a complete fail. We have not tried to grow mushrooms up here in the ridge, but have talked about it. We are having so much fun discovering what will grow in the garden here, and that may be another experiment...with perks! Thanks, and looking forward to the update!

  15. Wyomingheart, I like hearing that you had success growing mushrooms in Florida. I still may be able to have success as well!

    Starting over in a new place requires a lot of experimentation. Not only for kinds of plants, but for varieties too. It's amazing how some varieties are more suited for some situations than others. It's fun, but can be disappointing too. Still, it's worth it!

  16. Funny. In nature mushrooms seem to grow with gay abandon. But human intervention doesn't seem to work. Well ... I guess that is not entirely true. After all there are farms that produce mushrooms. I bet they would be interesting places to visit.

  17. RT, isn't that the way it is! We get a lot of types of wild mushrooms here, but cultivated seems to be more of a trick! I need to take a course on identification.

  18. Leigh, I know the conditions you're growing in, are the ones I have to constantly deal with too. Shade is at a premium, for anything to succeed! And the race is always against evaporation. I've found no other way around this, than using shade cloth.

    You could run some from the roof, and attached it to star-pickets at the end of the pile. I think you call them t-posts in the US. Even place some recycled pallets on either side, to encourage even more moisture retention. We only get natural fungi growing around here, in the monsoon season. When it's warm and moist. As soon as the sun comes out in earnest, they all die!

    Good luck with your subsequent attempts. Hope they work for you. :)

  19. Chris, a little shade cloth structure for mushrooms would be a good idea. We do have a few areas that are completely shaded, but like I said, they often get more sun than I'm aware. Hopefully, the winecaps will do well for us. Hoping so, anyway!

  20. I'm so sorry your mushroom logs didn't work out. We keep our stack under trees next to a creek to keep them cool and moist. When it's time to shock them (we grow shiitake this way) we roll a few into the creek and a day later stack them up again. We've had pretty good results. So you might try moving the stack closer to a water source if you have one.

    Another idea, if you drink coffee is to try growing blue oyster mushrooms on used coffee grounds. We drink a lot of coffee and this is a great solution for the used grounds. Each morning after we finish our coffee, we dump the cooled grounds into a five gallon bucket. If you use paper filters those can go in the bucket too. Every few days we mix a handful of mycelium into the grounds. When the bucket is full we let it inoculate about 2 weeks. When we see the white mycelium growing around the edges, we drill holes in the side of the bucket and a few days later the mushrooms start to sprout out of the holes. When the mushrooms are done sprouting and have all been harvested, the coffee grounds will be well on their way towards being composted and the bucket can be re-used.

  21. Flynn, thank you for the advice from your experience! That's the best kind. We put the logs near where we dump dirty water buckets, but it still wasn't enough.

    I really like your idea for growing blue oysters. Our coffee ground currently go into the compost, but they could certainly be used for mushrooms! Thanks!


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