Bed Farming

roundhead, Stropharia mushroom
Roundhead, Stropharia mushroom

Another, though somewhat rarer, way that farmers could be growing specialty mushrooms intentionally outdoors is bed farming.

  • Growers construct planting “beds” using a mixture usually consisting of straw, woodchips, finished compost, and occasionally topsoil, and leaves.
  • Growers layer combinations of this substrate with layers of inoculated, fully colonized grain spawn or sawdust spawn that can be either purchased or created in a lab on-farm.
  • Just like with log or totem farming, after a rain or weather fluctuation, this can initiate fruiting of species that can grow in beds in the Midwest.

Species that can be grown and harvested for sale in this way include but are not limited to:

  • Wine Cap mushrooms, aka King Stropharia, aka Garden Giant Stropharia rugoso-annulata
  • Morel mushroom (Morchella species) are currently being grown in this manner
    • NOTE: growers that grow morels in this way may need to provide documentary proof that their morels are not wild-harvested, to sell to certain outlets, like farmers markets, where they are currently prohibited

Cornell Small Farms has outdoor specialty mushroom cultivation website