Morel mushrooms are delicious and very nutritious. Naturally, they grow in woods, and it’s not an easy task to get and collect them. Due to their high demand, they are costly. It is very rare to get fresh morel mushrooms in the market, as most are usually imported.
If you want to enjoy fresh morel, grow them in your open garden, indoors, or a greenhouse. Growing them will come with several advantages, as you will not have to spend a lot of money on buying the mushrooms. Still, you will have the confidence that you are taking safe products, since some mushrooms are usually poisonous. At least you can trust what is growing in your garden, unlike what is offered out there for sale.
Below is a step by step guide on how to grow morel mushrooms from spawns.
Table of Contents
- 1. Buy a Growing Kit
- 2. Growing Area
- 3. Prepare the Soil
- 4. Spread the Spawn Seeds from the Kit over the Growing Area.
- Spore Slurry Method
- Watering Morels
- Adding Fertilizer
- Harvesting Morels
- Storing Morels
- Serving Morels
- Common Issues in Growing Morel Mushrooms
- Health Benefits of Morel Mushrooms
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Buy a Growing Kit
Although one can make a morel growing kit, it is better to buy a ready-made one. Making one will take a lot of time, and you can easily make some mistakes, especially if you are a beginner in growing mushrooms. A growing kit will have the instructions on its usage.
The chances of growing healthy mushrooms will be higher if you follow the instructions carefully, provided you take good care of them in all their growing stages. The kit will have spawns.
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2. Growing Area
The fungi will do well under trees. The best trees for this will be ash, oak, elm. Morels are fungi. They do not require chlorophyll, unlike plants.
3. Prepare the Soil
Mix equal amounts of wood chip ash, wood chips, and peat moss. Spread the mixture around the growing area.
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4. Spread the Spawn Seeds from the Kit over the Growing Area.
Spread them evenly and ensure that you follow all the instructions indicated on the kit.
Growing morels requires a lot of patience. The seeds may fail to germinate. To be on the safe side, replant if ten days are over, and there are no signs of germination. The good thing is that you will have a chance of harvesting mushrooms for several years to come, without replanting them.
For maximum yields, be adding manure in your garden at least twice a year.
Not only does the compost help in the production of healthy morels, but it also prolongs its longevity.
Spore Slurry Method
- Collect some mature morel mushroom or buy them from reliable dealers.
- Boil filtered water and put it in a clean container. Never use unfiltered water, as it contains chlorine, which may derail growth.
- Add a teaspoon of salt to the water. Salt kills bacteria that may harm your plants.
- Add a teaspoon of molasses in the water and salt mixture. Molasses contains sugars which encourage the growth of spores.
- Put the mushrooms in the mixture and tightly close the container. Place it in a warm room for two days. Keeping it longer encourages the growth of bacteria.
- Let the mixture settle, and then remove the mushrooms. You will be left the spores.
- Spread the spore mixture over your morel mushrooms growing area. Use wood chips to cover them.
This method is cheaper. However, be careful to follow the instructions, as a little mistake will hinder the mushrooms from germinating.
The growing area should be moist all the time. Always use unfiltered water.
You do not require to add organic fertilizer on your mushrooms. Wood chip, ashes, and peat moss are enough for proper growth.
Cut the caps of the morels using a knife. Harvest them when they attain a height of around 3 inches.
If you do not cook the delicious, meaty fungi in the same day, store them in a refrigerator, so that they don’t go bad.
If you want to store your morels for more than three days, wash them, steam them and store them in a freezer.
- Morel mushrooms should not be eaten raw; they should be properly cooked, to avoid stomach upsets.
- Clean them thoroughly using hot, salted water. Rinse them with cold water to get rid of the salty taste.
- Sliced morels can be added to pizzas and pasta. They can also be cooked together with other foods, or be added on soups.
Common Issues in Growing Morel Mushrooms
Many people try to grow morels and fail to succeed. Here are some of the reasons that might result in failure
1. Inadequate or Excessive Moisture
Morels will not grow under dry conditions.
If you over-water them, they might not even germinate. And if they do, they won’t grow to maturity. Excess water encourages the growth of bacteria, which hinders development.
2. Unfavorable Temperature
Morel mushrooms do well when the average temperature of the soil is around 57F.
Health Benefits of Morel Mushrooms
1. They have Antioxidants
Morel mushrooms contain antioxidants that prevent several health problems such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
2. They are Rich in Vitamins
They have vitamin D, which promotes proper immunity and the development of strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D also lowers the chances of getting type 2 diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure
3. They are Rich in Minerals
The mushrooms are good sources of beneficial minerals such as iron and phosphorous. Iron helps in the formation of red blood cells, which prevent anemia. Phosphorous is responsible for the formation of strong bones.
4. They have Low Calories.
Eating morel mushrooms will make you feel full, without having to consume several calories. If you are trying to lose weight, this might be a perfect diet choice for you.
Growing morel mushrooms is not difficult. If you fail for the first time, do not give up. Identify what you did wrong. Try again, and avoid similar mistakes. If you master the art, you will be enjoying a fresh supply of nutritious mushrooms without having to dig very deep in your pockets.
Frequently Asked Questions
False morels greatly look like real morels. They are poisonous and could lead to death when consumed. When picking morels, one should be careful not to confuse the real ones for the false ones. To identify the right one, pick and cut the morels. The Center part of the actual morel will be hollow while that of the false one is not.
A few years ago, growing morels indoors was deemed impossible. People would try and fail. Thankfully, the first success story of growing morels indoors was first reported in 1982. Since then, growing morels indoors is achievable, under special conditions.
Bad morels have lesser pits. Their ridges are wavy, and their stems tend to be longer than their caps.
Soak the mushrooms in salty hot water before cooking them. It will kill bugs that may be present, especially when the morels have been collected from the forest.
When provided with the right conditions, morels will be ready to harvest within 12 days after planting. If the ideal conditions are not provided, they will take longer.
Morels are usually found in forested areas, mostly under the trees of aspen, oak, ash, and elm.