All of you who have heard about a video game called Super Mario know that when he eats a mushroom, things are getting serious. Although eating morel mushroom won’t grant you an ability to shoot fireballs, it can significantly improve your cooking recipes.
Because of that, allow me to show you how to grow morel mushrooms since the procedure is not complicated or confusing.
What Are Morel Mushrooms?
To be clear, morel are mushrooms (of course) which are most famous for their sponge or beehive-like cap. Recently, their usage in cooking had increased, but it is known for some time. In any case, here are some of the facts about this exciting fungus.
Why Should I Even Bother With These Mushrooms?
There are three main reasons why you could start growing morel mushrooms.
● The first one is profit because 1 lb of dried morels can cost about 150-200$, depending on the seller and region. In case that you can sell them, this can be a profitable hobby.
● The second reason is that you love unusual tastes in your kitchen. Although morels are most often connected with the Provençal cuisine, there is no reason for you not to try them.
● The third reason is just that of your knowledge. Since mushrooms are grown differently than vegetables and flowers, this will be one great experience.
In any case, even if you don’t have a reason, you shouldn’t worry. You have decided to try these fungi, and that is the only thing which matters.
What Will Be Required For Growing These ‘Shrooms?
Well, besides essential tools which can be found in your garage or shed already, a few more items will be needed, but luckily, there will be no need for something extraordinary or unusual. Water, molasses and a pinch of salt are required for one way of growing morels,
It would be a good idea to burn timber if you have any since it can kickstart the growth of these mushrooms. If you have wood ash at hand, you will need just a couple of handfuls, not more. If not, you can prepare in advance.
What will certainly be needed is patience. Morels are not fast growers and can stay dormant for three or four years, without the sign of growing. Furthermore, be prepared that even after this period, they might not grow at all. Of course, this shouldn’t discourage you.
How Should I Prepare?
Since morels are grown outdoors, first be aware that not every climate is suitable for these spongy little guys. The areas which are considered as tropic, with overall high temperatures are not suitable for growing them, and if you live in such area, you will either have to mimic four seasons or to consider raising some other kind of mushrooms.
But, if you live in continental climate area, you will still have to make some preparations. Shade will be required for morels, and this is the first thing you should consider. Choose an area which is shaded during the day in the summer, or you can choose a shade of the tree.
When Should I Plant The Mushrooms?
Luckily, there is no specific deadline on when during the year to sow morels. However, there is still overall frame that soil should be prepared in late summer, or at the beginning of autumn. Sowing spores in this terminal will make them go dormant during winter, and they will gather strength in this period.
As I mentioned, there are many different kinds of morel mushrooms, and they differ significantly. Some of them will be ready to pick in spring, while others will mature in autumn. In any case, if you are buying spores online, read the description, and plan accordingly.
How To Prepare The Soil?
Have you ever take a look at the ground in the forest? If not, let me tell you that it is rich in organic matter and nutrients, dark, loamy and puffy. This is what I had aimed to achieve when I prepared the bed for morel mushrooms.
First of all, if it is possible, find a spot which is close to a tree. Leaves which fall off in the autumn will provide an excellent source of food for mushrooms, and the tree’s crown will shield them from intense sunlight. On the other hand, if you have no trees, just go with the location with the shade.
Regarding additives for the soil, I have worked in a few shovels of sand, some wood ash, and wood chips. Some people might recommend using sawdust, but this can make pH go wild, and since I didn’t want this to happen, I decided on chips instead. Also, peat moss had proven to be useful in growing morels, and if you can, include it as well. Spread the ingredients and till the garden once in a while. This will mix them rather well, and make the soil well-aerated.
So, How Should I Plant And Grow Morels?
As I said, there are several ways in which you can grow these mushrooms. Depending on your situation, preference and simple choice, you can try either one, or all of them. Without further delay, here are three of the most common ways which you can consider.
Growing Kit – The Most Comfortable Approach
When it comes to growing morels from kits, things can’t be simpler. You will have to find spores and buy them, and because of that, this approach is the best for inexperienced users and gardeners.
After preparing the bed for morels in the way shown above, you should water bed from time to time, to keep it most, but not overwatered. The next thing is to buy morel spores. You can find them in well-equipped gardening centers, or you can buy them online. In case that you decide to take the second approach, you will have to order them a bit earlier, because it takes some time for delivery to arrive.
Usually, kits are sufficient for about 16 square feet of space. However, just to be sure, I recommend using more than it is prescribed. After this, there is not much to do. Water from time to time, and you can add wood chips from ash or elm since these are the most suitable for morels to grow.
Making Kit On Your Own – Requires Some Hunting
In case that you can’t find spores to buy anywhere, or you just love more of a “hands-on” approach, this option will be the best for you.
First of all, you will have to go to the forest, since this is the place where morels are growing. However, this approach should be considered by those who can identify it with certainty. Now, after picking a few mushrooms, head back home, and prepare a container. My preference is to use kitchen dishes since they are the cleanest ones.
The mushrooms must be mature, healthy and without damage. A few of them are sufficient for a gallon of water. Non-chlorinated water is essential, since chlorine will kill spores, and we don’t want that, do we? Add just a pinch of salt and one tsp of molasses. Salt will eradicate the microbes, while molasses will keep the spores going. Cover the container and leave it for a couple of days.
After sitting period, just pour the water over the area where you wish to grow morels. This method will also work for other kinds of mushrooms as well.
The Tree As A Support – A Fun Way To Teach Your Kids A Thing Or Two
As it is mentioned, these mushrooms grow particularly well near trees such as ash or elm. You can pair these two, and make a happy commune in your yard.
There are two ways to apply this approach, and for both, you will need tree seedlings. In the first case, the seedling is already in the ground. Use the second method to extract spores and water the seedling with this water. Don’t be afraid; the mushrooms won’t damage the tree.
The second approach is to extract spores with water and to soak the seedling in this water for a couple of hours. Then, continue with planting as you would. Also, you can add soil in the hole around the seedling and when the hole is almost full, add spores from the kit and cover them. Watering rhythm of trees and mushrooms is similar so that you will be doing two jobs instead of one.
What To Do After?
There are only a few things you should do once the spores are in the ground. Just water the area lightly, so that it is nicely moist, but not damp. Of course, don’t walk over that part of the yard, because it will make the soil dense so that sprouting will be impossible for spores.
Also, if you have pets or domestic animals, try to keep them away from that area. They won’t kill the entire harvest, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Other than these couple of things, you will need the patience to wait for next three or four years. Unfortunately, this process cannot be accelerated, so some good faith and optimism won’t hurt.
Since you know how to grow morel mushrooms now, there is no reason not to try some of those methods. Mushrooms are easy to grow, and this is not a job, but more of a hobby. As they say, find something that you love, and you won’t work a day. Feel free to use this article as a guide, and to give these wonderful morels a try.
As always, if you have comments, opinions or doubts, leave the word in the comment section below.