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In the spring I "sow" some mushrooms in a shady part of my garden - Blewitt (Lepista nuda), Wine Cap (Stropharia rugosoannulata) and Elm Mushroom (Hypsizygus ulmarius).

The mushroom spawn I sow came in the form of mycelium sprinkled on various kinds of seeds (at least looked like this). I prepared the mushroom beds as a mixture of straw, sow dust and autumn leaves depending on the requirements of the different species.

Yesterday I noticed that some mushrooms have just sprouted.

I would like to have the sown mushrooms as a permanent addition to my garden, so I am wondering whether to gather the mushrooms or let them get big and hopefully spread through the whole mushroom bed.
If I am to gather them, should I cut the mushrooms, or twist them?

I live in zone 6.

Part of the mushroom bed and the sprouts

EDIT: After letting the mushrooms get big enough, I realized they are none of the species I have bought, so I am not eating them. Nevertheless, when hopefully I get sprouts of let's say Garden Giant, what would you suggest doing with the first crop?

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What are they growing on? How did you sow them? What other species did you sow? What makes you think that they are "wine cap" (Stropharia rugosa-annulata)? –  David Jun 6 '12 at 3:37
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I have edited the question. After careful examination, it seems these are not wine caps at all. –  nettle Jun 6 '12 at 6:37
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I didn't think so. Wrong color and substrate. I'll try to answer when I get a chance but let me know if you have any luck. Stropharia generally like wood chips rather than sawdust. Where did you get the spawn? I would recommend Paul Stamets' book Mycelium Running. It will answer most of your questions and has lots of great ideas. –  David Jun 6 '12 at 11:21
    
Thanks for the tips. I got mine from mushroombox.co.uk Maybe the substrate was wrong indeed. –  nettle Jun 6 '12 at 11:41
    
Yeah paul stamets is the superstar of strange mushrooms. –  Grady Player Jun 9 '12 at 13:50

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

To answer your hypothetical question: wait until the mushrooms have developed to the appropriate point, don't worry about size...

Some indicators of development are if the flap covering the gills is still attached and the color of the gills, and the shape. Size isn't important as mushrooms are deterministic and won't get bigger than they were set up to in the primordia stage.

Then cut at the ground level with a sharp knife.

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