Site selection is important. In our valley, a shaded site that will retain moisture is critical. This site is under a large apple tree. It is close to a water spigot, to make it easy to keep moist.
Removing the top-soil gives advantage to the fungi.
We used wood chips as a substrate, which is favored by the Oyster mushroom we were starting. Oysters are a good choice for beginners, as they are relatively easy to grow, and they have medicinal, culinary and bio-remediation properties.
The Oyster fungi spore
The wood chips are washed to minimize other bacteria and fungi that may out-compete the Oyster fungi spore. Non-fruitwood deciduous chips recommended.
Jim is covering the Oyster spore with cardboard, then with more wood chips. The purpose of both of these layers is moisture retention.