Embracing the Fall Season for Mushroom Cultivation: A Comprehensive Guide

Embracing the Fall Season for Mushroom Cultivation: A Comprehensive Guide

As autumn approaches in Maine, we find ourselves in a season of shorter days, longer shadows, and brisk night air. The few months before snow blankets the ground are an excellent time for preparing your mushroom projects for spring. For those of you in milder climates, such as the West Coast and the South, mushroom cultivation can be a year-round endeavor. Join us as we explore some late-season projects including growing mushrooms in beds, containers, and logs along with tips for growing in different regions.

Mushroom Beds

Mushroom beds can be installed throughout the growing season as long as the mushroom mycelium has a couple of weeks to a month to establish itself before freezing temperatures set in. By inoculating in the fall, you’ll get a head start on growing for next season. With any luck, spring rains will bring luscious mushroom flushes! You can look up your region’s first frost dates to help plan your schedule, and learn more about the mushroom varieties most suitable for growing in beds by taking a look at our Mushroom Beds Pamphlet. Most of the species ideal for beds are perennial in temperate climates, meaning they’ll continue to grow year after year.

If you’re planting garlic in the fall, consider mulching with straw inoculated with oyster mushrooms. Likewise, if putting your garden to bed includes creating or maintaining wood chipped pathways, wine cap works well interspersed with garden plants. If you want to step up your game, you can grow Nameko mushrooms in beds of freshly chipped hardwood. This species incubates well in fall and winter and likes to fruit in cooler temperatures. By incorporating fungi into your garden, you’ll support soil and plant health in several ways, and gain access to gourmet, protein-rich food right in your backyard.


Similar to mushroom beds, containers can be inoculated almost anytime. Using this method is a great way to grow mushrooms at home with limited space and without specialized equipment. Growing cold-hardy mushrooms like blue oysters, snow oysters, or Italian oysters is easy in the fall! Depending on how much spawn you use, how big your container is, and the temperature, it should be fully colonized in about a month. Visit our article and video for additional information on growing mushrooms in containers. The cold snaps of fall often trigger fruitings, mimicking natural cycles. If temperatures dip below freezing consistently, the mycelium will...

Log Inoculation

The fall season offers some advantages for cutting logs, especially in warmer regions. Except for hemlock reishi, all tree species used for log inoculation are deciduous. Unlike conifers, deciduous trees go through a period of dormancy coinciding with shorter days and cooler temperatures. We may notice this when leaves change color and drop. Inside the tree, nutrients are being transferred from the foliage down into stems and trunks for storage. To prevent cracking from freezing temperatures, cells harden and replace some water content with sugars. In the spring, those nutrients and sugary sap flow back up in the tree to supply leaf and flower buds with enough energy to burst open and unfold.

While logs can be cut and inoculated nearly any time of year, strategic timing can increase yield and longevity. Planning wood harvests around sap flow maximizes available nutrients in the wood. During the fall, the optimal time for harvesting wood for bolts is after 30% of a tree’s leaves have changed color through full leaf drop. Then, sugars are highest, the bark is tight, and moisture content should be in a good range allowing the fungi to quickly myceliate the log.

Whether you’re interested in growing mushrooms in beds, containers, or logs, the fall season provides ample opportunities to kickstart your projects and set yourself up for success. By leveraging the unique characteristics of this season, you can maximize the growth potential of your mushrooms and enjoy a bountiful harvest in the months to come.

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