We are experimenting with cultivating this interesting species of the same genus of the closed cup/chestnut/portabello, the agricus bisporus. Similar in appearance and flavour it’s easier to grow than the bisporus and, potentially, has more health benefits. However, it requires warmer temperatures so we are suggesting that this can be grown as a mulch layer around tomatoes in greenhouses and polytunnels. Participants will need to provide 1.5 cm3 of compost and have an undercover tomatoe cropping scheme.
Finished garden compost is sufficient to grow this mushroom. Techniques can be used to create ideal composted substrate using different animal manures, leeched cow manure is of particular interest. However, the use of a well prepared garden compost will suffice or indeed municipal compost.
The bued vcan be made in April. The sawdust spawn in broken into small clumps and placed into the mulch compost layere 10-20cm deep. Tomatoes can then be planted through this layer. A covered layered of straw ensure less moisture loss.
The bed will take 1-2 months until it will fruit. The fruiting temperature range is between 20-25cc. This means, in a polytunnel you can expect to see a first flush in late May early June.
The cropping may be sporadic, however it is likely that a first flush of a well prepared a 10msq bed will produce over 10kg of mushrooms during a period of 1-2 weeks.
Stem butts are removed and can used for propagation. Ideally eaten fresh this mushroom also has value dried and sold for use medicinal applications.
Once established the fungus will continue to thrive in a polytunnel environment under areas of mulch. This means that subsequent incoulations require less spawn. Spawn can be made by the grower using the stem butts after harvest.