How to Propagate Morel Mushrooms

Miss Chen
12-04
Prized for its taste and texture, the morel mushroom grows wild in many areas of the United States. This quality fungus emerges naturally in the springtime along sections of decomposing trees and rich, loamy patches of soil. Until recently, this type of mushroom defied attempts to cultivate it in a garden environment, making it necessary to search through the woods to find wild specimens. Propagating morel mushrooms with purchased spawn provides an interesting activity that provides an edible produce. The process of growing this type of mushroom requires careful preparation and patience.

Step 1

Prepare the site for your morel mushroom garden. Select a shady spot that measures approximately four feet by four feet. Choose a location that does not receive animal or foot traffic. Remove all existing vegetation and debris. Turn the top three to four inches of soil to loosen the surface. Spread equal amounts of sand, gypsum and peat moss over the surface of your soil, creating a layer about an inch thick. Work these into your loosened topsoil to create a rich, sandy medium.

Step 2

Scatter a fine layer of wood ashes over the prepared soil. Morel mushrooms grow naturally in forested areas after fires, thriving on nutrients in the ashes.

Step 3

Plant your morel spawn into your prepared soil by mixing and spreading the substance according to the package instructions. Sprinkle small pieces of hardwood chips and bark over your planted mushroom bed. In their native habitat, morel mushrooms grow among elms, ashes and apple trees, so try to use those types of hardwood. Keep the area slightly moist.

Step 4

Mark and protect your mushroom garden by placing gardening stakes along the outside edges of your site. Pound the stakes about halfway into the soil and tie strings or ribbons around the stakes to avoid accidentally walking over the area. Your planted spawn may take a few years to begin producing morel mushrooms.
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