It seems that this fungus can sprout, almost miraculously, overnight into a full-sized more mushroom. You would think that because of this, they would be easy to grow in your own backyard. But cultivating and growing morel mushrooms can be daunting.
If you decide to grow your own morels, you need to be patient as it could take years to produce any mushrooms.
There are very specific conditions necessary for a morel mushroom to grow. Everything has to be just right including the temperature, soil conditions, sunlight, moisture levels and the growing environment. There is little room for variables when growing morel mushrooms.
Spore Slurry Method
You first have to start out with some mature wild morels. Make sure that they aren’t rotting or mushy. Once you have them, follow these steps:
- Using a food- safe container, fill it with clean, non-chlorinated water
- Stir in one tablespoon molasses and a pinch of salt. The salt stops any bacteria from growing and the molasses will provide the sugar for the germinating spores
- Add the mushrooms and cover
- Let sit for one to two days
- Don’t let it get too hot or cold and don’t let it sit any longer than two days
- Strain and remove the mushrooms. The liquid now contains millions of spores.
The Bed for Planting
It’s best to prepare the bed between the summer and fall season. If the area you live in doesn’t have real winters or springs, the mushrooms will be almost impossible to grow.
- Use a shady area and measure a 4′ by 4′ square
- Using sandy soil and adding some gypsum and peat moss seems to work best
- Because morel mushrooms are known to flourish after a forest fire, add some ashes from burned wood to the soil. The ashes will also add nutrients.
- Add the spore liquid to the prepared bed
If you happen to have a dying elm tree in your yard, you could try pouring the slurry at the base of it. You can experiment with different areas of your yard if you want.
This process seems easy but it’s also very unreliable. The reason is because these are spores and not spawns. You can also try this method to grow other kinds of mushrooms.
Using a Grow Kit
The most popular way of trying to grow your own more mushrooms is buy purchasing spawn.
The spawn is the mycelium of the mushroom, which is the vegetative growth of the fungus. The spawn is used to transfer the mycelium onto the substrate (where the mushroom grows).
The easiest method to get mushroom spawn is to purchase a morel mushroom grow kit. You can purchase a grow kit online and you will receive instructions for planting it with the kit.
Create the bed the same way that you would if you were using the slurry method. After the bed is prepared, it’s time to mix your spawn into it. You basically just spread it throughout the top layer.
You can now add some hardwood chips on the bed. Since morels grow near ash and elm, it is preferable to use those types of wood chips.
The waiting is the hardest part. If you are impatient, growing morels may not be the best hobby for you. In fact, it could take years before you see any kind of growth, so be sure not to be too disappointed if you don’t see anything the following spring.
You should continue keeping the area moist and adding nutrients to the soil.
There are no guarantees that you will get any morels. It’s up to you to decide if growing your own morel mushrooms is worth the effort. With a little luck, you could someday have your very own morel mushroom patch in your own backyard!