Site Location of a Mushroom Patch

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Growing Mushrooms at Home

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A suitable site for a mushroom patch is easy to choose. The best clue is to simply take note of where you have seen mushrooms growing during the rainy season. Or just observe where water traverses after a heavy rain. A gentle slope, bordered by shrubs and other shade-giving plants, is usually ideal. Since saprophytic mushrooms are non-competitive to neighboring plants, they pose no danger to them. In fact, plants near a mushroom bed often thrive—the result of the increased moisture retention and the release of nutrients into the root zone.

An ideal location for growing mushrooms is in a vegetable, flower, and/or rhododendron garden. Gardens are favored by plentiful water ing, and the shade provided by potato, zucchini, and similar broad-leaf vegetable plants tend to keep humidity high near the ground. Many gardeners bring in sawdust and wood chips to make pathways between the rows of vegetables. By increasing the breadth of these pathways, or by creating small cul-de-sacs in the midst of the garden, a mushroom bed can be ideally located and maintained (see Figure 14).

Other suitable locations are exposed north sides of buildings, and against rock, brick, or cement walls. Walls are usually heat sinks, causing condensation which provides moisture to the mushroom site as temperatures fluctuate from day to night. Protected from winds, these locations have limited loss of water due to evaporation.

Mushrooms love moisture. By locating a mushroom bed where moisture naturally collects, colonization is rapid, more complete, and the need for additional water for fruiting is minimized. The message here: choose your locat :ons with moisture foremost in mind. Choose shady locations over sunny ones. Choose north-facing slopes rather than south-facing. Choose companion plants with broad-leafs or canopies that shade the mid-day sun but allow rain to pass. The difference in results is the difference between a

figure 19. Giant Oyster mushrooms fruiting from stump.

bountiful success and a dismal failure.

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