top of page

Wine Cap Mushroom Warriors: Defending Your Garden from Plant-Hungry Nematodes

Updated: Feb 8

Mushroom cultivation is an enchanting world filled with a diverse range of fungi, each with its unique charm. Among this fascinating array, wine cap mushrooms (Stropharia rugosoannulata), known as “Garden Giants", shine brightly, not only for their culinary versatility but also for their ease of cultivation and suitability for a garden space. These delightful fungi are the perfect choice for beginners and offer a plethora of benefits, making them a favorite among both amateur and experienced growers.

Wine Cap Garden Giant Mushrooms
Wine cap mushroom growing in garden

A Beginner's Best Friend

If you're just dipping your toes into the world of mushroom cultivation, wine cap mushrooms are the ideal companions for your journey. They're incredibly beginner-friendly, forgiving even to those who are new to the art of growing fungi. With their straightforward growing requirements, they provide a gentle introduction.

Speedy Growers

In the world of mushroom cultivation, timing is everything. Patience is often a virtue, but wine cap mushrooms like to break the rules. These fungi are known as the speedsters of the mushroom world, dashing towards the finish line of fruiting in record time. When grown outdoors, these marvelous mushrooms can grace your garden within a year, sometimes as early as 2-3 months if planted in the spring.

Nematode Slayers

What sets wine cap mushrooms apart is their secret weapon against harmful parasitic nematodes, those pesky microscopic soil-dwellers. The nematode-slaying prowess of wine cap mushrooms helps to ensure a thriving, disease-free garden. It has recently been found in a recent study that this mushroom can immobilize nematodes, specifically Panagrellus Redivivus and Bursaphenlenchus xylophilius, within minutes on agar plates. Notably, P. Redivivus can be completely degraded by the fungus within 24 to 48 hours.

The secret behind this nematode-attacking ability lies in the spiny acanthocytes – finger-like projections produced abundantly by the mushroom. Acanthocytes are the key players in the nematode-attacking process, effectively spearing, trapping and immobilizing the worm-like parasites.

Perennial Pleasure

Wine cap mushrooms are like the evergreen trees of the mushroom world. Once established in your outdoor mushroom beds, they'll keep coming back year after year. And if you ever worry that your mushroom patch is running low on energy, don't fret - you can extend their stay by adding more mulch or wood chips, allowing the mycelium to continue its hurried spread. In fact, you can move these wood chips around your garden to create new patches, ensuring that your wine cap population thrives.

Wine cap mushrooms growing in mulched bed.
Young wine cap mushrooms

A Garden's Best Friend

Wine cap mushrooms aren't just delightful in your culinary creations; they're also eco-friendly garden helpers. Their mycelium network has a remarkable talent for drawing nutrients from the soil to the surface, creating a nematode-free environment. This act of soil recycling benefits your garden by making more nutrients readily available for growing vegetables and other plants. Think of wine cap mushrooms as your garden's nutrient butlers, ensuring your soil is always well-stocked with plant-loving nourishment.

A Culinary Delight

When it comes to the kitchen, wine cap mushrooms are versatile stars. You can incorporate these delightful fungi into a wide range of culinary dishes, from stir-fries and soups to roasting or sautéing. Their earthy flavor and meaty texture make them a delectable addition to your favorite recipes, adding a touch of gourmet magic to your meals.

Preparing and cooking wine cap mushrooms
Cooking with Wine Cap Mushrooms

A Sustainable Choice

Growing wine cap mushrooms at home is not just about indulging your culinary desires; it's also a sustainable choice. By reducing your reliance on commercially produced mushrooms, you're contributing to a more eco-friendly and sustainable food system. This small step can have a big impact, aligning your kitchen with the principles of responsible consumption and supporting a greener planet.

Wine cap mushrooms growing close to one another
Cluster of Wine Caps


How to Grow Wine Caps

Choose your location. Clear an area of you desired size in a shady or semi-shaded location.

Define boundary. Though not necessary, consider using logs or boards to demarcate the boundaries of your beds.

Create a lasagna bed.

  • Layer 1: Lay down two inch layer of hardwood chips, mulch (mix in sawdust, as an option)

  • Layer 2: If using sawdust spawn, add a layer liberally

  • Layer 3: Add a two inch layer of straw, grass clippings, yard clippings (mix in leaves, as an option)

  • Layer 4: If using sawdust spawn, spread another layer of spawn

  • Layer 5: Top off with a layer of mulch or hardwood chips

  • If using Myco-Spikes instead of sawdust spawn, add spikes every 1 square foot

Sprinkle with water daily for one week.


Want to know how to cook wine caps? Try a simple recipe anyone can manage:

Sautéed Wine Caps Recipe Ingredients:

  • Wine cap mushrooms (make sure to wash them first)

  • 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil

  • Salt and your choice of spices

  • Red wine

  • Pork chops or your preferred protein

  • Optional: morels and shiitake mushrooms for extra flavor

Instructions: Step 1: Prepare the Wine Caps

  • Start by washing the wine cap mushrooms to remove any dirt or debris. Once clean, slice them up into small pieces, as shown below.

Cooking with Wine Cap Mushrooms

Step 2: Heat the Oil

  • Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat and add 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Let it heat up until it shimmers.

Step 3: Sauté the Wine Caps

  • Carefully add the chopped wine cap mushrooms into the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and your choice of spices for extra flavor. You can get creative with the spices; consider using paprika, garlic powder, or thyme.

  • Stir the mushrooms continuously and sauté for about five minutes. They should turn golden brown and develop a rich, savory aroma.

Step 4: Deglaze with Red Wine

  • Pour in a splash of red wine to deglaze the pan. The wine adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the dish. Continue to stir as the wine simmers and infuses the mushrooms.

Step 5: Serve

  • Once the mushrooms are tender and infused with the wine's flavors, remove the pan from the heat.

  • Serve your sautéed wine caps as a delightful side dish to complement your choice of protein, like pork chops. You can also pair them with other mushrooms, such as morels and shiitake, for an even more delightful and flavorful mushroom experience.

This quick and easy recipe allows you to savor the earthy and spiced goodness of wine cap mushrooms as the perfect accompaniment to your favorite main course. Enjoy!

81 views0 comments


bottom of page