COMMONLY CULTIVATED SPECIES IN NEW ZEALAND
There are a decent selction of species available for cultivation in New Zealand. Due to our strict biosecruity regulations, there are a few species that you may read about in overseas material which are not available here. Take note that attempting to import spores or spawn from overseas can land you with hefty fines if not run through the correct legal channels. The safest option is to purchase spawn from NZ based suppliers, such as MycoLogic.
Oyster mushrooms are one of the easiest mushrooms to grow at home. They are also delicious, versatile in cooking, and have a number of nutrients in them with associated health benefits. The two main species you will find to cultivate here in NZ are Phoenix Oyster (Pleurotus pulmonarius) or Wavy Oyster (Pleurotus parsonsiae) and there are now a couple of other native Pleurotus species being trialed in cultivation here. All of them can be grown either on pasteurised straw or wood logs with reliable and consistent results.
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is another popular choice for home cultivation. With its delicious flavour, meaty texture and well researched medicinal benefits, it is easy to understand why. Shiitake is slightly more difficult to grow than oyster mushrooms. Growing them on wood logs is the most sure-fire method. Growing on sterile woodschip or sawdust blocks will give quicker yields, but requires more skills and equipment. The process for making sawdust blocks is not covered in this booklet but plenty of info can be found online.
These easy to grow mushrooms are a common feature in asian cuisine. Enoki (Flammulina velutipes) grow wild in NZ forests, however they look different when grown outdoor compared to the cultivated versions you may see in the supermarket. The cultivated versions are often grown in darkness (causing them to be very pale) and in a high CO2 environment (causing them to stretch out long and thin with small caps). Whether they’re grown in natural or controlled conditions, they’re delicious either way. They can be easily grown on wood logs or sawdust blocks or even straight from grain.
CORAL TOOTH FUNGUS
This delicious edible and medicinal mushroom (Hericium novae-zealandiae) is a native to New Zealand and it is a close relative of the more well-known Lions Mane mushroom. Both species share the same medicinal benefits – being used worldwide for neruological support and to ward off dementia. They are also delicious with some people describing their flavour as being similar to crab or crayfish meat. They have a unique savoury / ‘umami’ flavour which is highly satisfying. They can be grown on wood logs or sawdust blocks.
TAWAKA (POPLAR MUSHROOM)
These mushrooms are one of the few known to have been consumed by pre-european Māori. Tawaka mushrooms (Cyclocybe parasitica) have a strong savory flavour and large, chunky fruit bodies. They most commonly grow on poplar or plane trees and the easiest way to cultivate them is on logs of these species.
This mushroom (Trametes versicolor) is grown and foraged for its prized medicinal properties. While not strictly ‘edible’ (the mushrooms are hard and woody with a slightly bitter taste), they are brewed into a tea for their immune boosting and anti-cancer properties. Easily grown on wood logs using dowel spawn.
These garden giants (Stropharia rugoso-annulata, also known as burgundy mushrooms or wine caps) are impressive in their size and huge crops from outdoor woodchip / mulch beds. Flavour is similar to a button mushroom.
BUTTON / FIELD MUSHROOMS
Your common supermarket mushroom (Agaricus bisporus). These are not commonly cultivated by hobbyists in New Zealand, due to the fact that the cultiavtion process is quite involved and they are easily and cheaply available at any supermarket. It is possible to cultivate them, though, although the process is not covered on this website.