Morel mushrooms are incredibly rare and very expensive. This is because they are so delicious that everyone wants them and will do anything to have them.
Luckily, there is a way that you can grow your own morel mushrooms. Unfortunately, the process isn’t easy and can take you a lot of time to get the hang of.
There is a specific process that you need to follow to ensure your morels grow properly. If you have the proper conditions, your morels will grow perfectly. If not, they won’t grow at all.
Planting the Morels
The first, and hardest, thing you need to do is figure out where you are going to plant your morels. They will only grow under specific conditions, so you need to make sure you choose a spot in your yard that will accommodate them.
The best place to try to plant your morels is going to be by a dying tree. This is because morels need tons of shade with a little sunlight during the day. Dying trees will provide plenty of shade and just the right amount of sunlight through the branches.
When you plant your morels, the ideal daytime temperature should be between 60 and 70 degrees. Morels grow best in cool seasons, specifically between the end of winter and the middle of spring.
Preparing the soil for planting is the next thing you need to do. Get some wood chips and burn them until all you are left with is ashes. Next, you are going to mix an equal amount of ashes, whole wood chips, and peat moss to the soil.
Dig up about one-quarter of an inch deep and in a four-foot by four-foot square. This will give the morels plenty of space to grow without being crowded and on top of each other.
After you have your growing area prepared, you will need to get your morel growing kit. You can either buy one or you can make your own. If you are going to make your own, start by boiling one gallon of distilled water.
When the water reaches a boil, add a tablespoon of molasses, one-quarter of a teaspoon of salt, stir, and bring the water back to a boil. Once it reaches a boil again, let it cool down to room temperature.
Add some spores of some morel mushrooms to the mixture and let it sit in a corner of your house for about 44 hours. After this time has passed, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth and keep the liquid mixture.
Take the liquid to your prepared growing spot and pour the liquid over the plot. Cover with about one-quarter of an inch of leaves. Now all you have to do is wait for the mushrooms to start growing. If you don’t see any growth within ten days, you will need to try again.
Growing the Morels
When you start to notice the morels growing in thin sticks, pay extremely close attention to the area. The morels can go from these thin sticks to harvest-ready in as little as six days. This means you need to watch the patch every single day until they are ready to harvest.
While you are checking the area, test the ground. If it seems dry, you can water it. If it’s not dry, it is best to leave it alone.
When the morels grow to about three inches, they will be ready to harvest.
Harvesting the Morels
It is extremely important that you harvest the morels carefully. You will need to take a very sharp knife and cut the caps off the top of the morel. It is highly preferred to harvest the caps when they are about three inches tall.
You will need to use a soft bristle brush to remove any dirt and potential bugs from the mushroom. They will then need to be placed in a container that is safe for food. After harvesting, morels can remain in a refrigerator for up to three days.
Washing the morels right before use is the best way to keep them fresh longer. If you wash them too soon, the mushrooms can deteriorate much faster and you might not get to eat them.
Morels can also be frozen if you want to keep them for longer than three days after you harvest them. Unlike keeping them in the fridge, you will need to wash the morels before you freeze them.
If the mushrooms are wider than one inch in diameter, you should cut them in quarters before freezing. It is also not recommended to freeze raw morels, so you will need to blanch, steam, or sauté them first.
Problems You Might Run into During Growing
Although you know how to grow morels, you still need to know what kind of problems you might run into during the process. The most important problems to be aware of are moisture and temperature problems, as morels will only grow in the most ideal conditions.
The first issue you might experience is lack of moisture. Morels need moisture to grow, and if there isn’t enough moisture, they won’t grow at all. If you notice the area is dry, water the growing area some.
Another issue you might run into is having too much moisture. This happens if you let your morels stand in water or water them too much. Standing water is an invitation for bacteria and mold to grow, which will prevent the morels from growing.
Temperature might also be a problem you will face. Morels will only grow in conditions where the soil stays between 55 and 59 degrees. This will usually occur when the daytime temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees.
Finally, you might have some contaminated spawn. There could be something in the genetics of the morels that is preventing them from growing how they should. If this is the case, you will need to start over completely and preferably in a different area.