What’s more, growing morels indoors is almost impossible for anyone but professionals working in laboratories equipped with modern equipment and ideal growing conditions for morel mushrooms. To grow good morels, it is necessary to reproduce favorable natural conditions for their growth in the open air. If you are not successful in the first season, try again, as morels are full of surprises and can grow back when they are forgotten.
How do morels Mushroom grow in nature?
In nature, morels grow in spring in forests, parks, gardens and steppes, like champignons. Nature take care of ideal growing conditions for morel mushrooms. In large quantities, they can be found in the third year after forest fires or in the place of cut down forests. It is believed that morels can form mycorrhiza with certain types of trees.
Morels are saprophytes, that is, plants that live on dead, decaying organic matter. This is clear to everyone, but it will be much more difficult to explain what mycorrhiza is, but we will try.
Mycorrhiza (fungal root) is a symbiotic association of fungal mycelium with the roots of higher plants. Three types of mycorrhiza are known: ectotrophic, endotrophic and ectoendotrophic.
Ectotrophic mycorrhiza occurs when fungal hyphae wrap a dense network around the root, forming a sheath or mycorrhizal tubes. (Hyphae is a filamentous formation in fungi, consisting of many cells or containing many nuclei. The main function of hyphae is the absorption of water and nutrients).
The hyphae of the fungus penetrate the root rhizodermis (the primary integumentary tissue of the roots of all plants). They form root hairs and spread through the intercellular spaces without penetrating into the cells. This type of mycorrhiza is characterized by the absence of root hairs and the reduction of the root cap down to one or two layers of cells. The hyphae of the fungus divide the root into zones in the form of a network.
ideal growing conditions for morel mushrooms
Here we will explain ideal growing conditions for morel mushrooms one by one.
soil for growing morels
In the wild, groups of morels grow around dead, rotting, or burned trees, that is, in the presence of nutrients released by dying or already dead trees and the forest floor. When cultivated, they need to create similar conditions. They will breed rapidly in loamy and well-draining soil that is slightly acidic to neutral, PH 6.8-7.0.
Lighting Conditions for morel mushrooms
Since the Morel fungus naturally grows in the filtered light of forests, it does not form chlorophyll, unlike plants, so sunlight plays a role only in warming the soil, and does not help its growth.
Stable humidity is very important for morels. The growing area should be about as wet as a wrung-out sponge. Watering mycelium with rainwater collected in barrels is preferable to chlorinated tap water.
Morels grow best in cool, damp weather. As a rule, the peak of their activity falls on the end of April the beginning of May, and the first rains will extend the growing and harvesting season. Conversely, when the season is dry and hot, morels die quickly.
Morels can be grown using one of two technologies: French in specially created beds, and German in the garden. These methods require large areas to obtain a high yield.
American scientists are working on the cultivation of the Morel mushroom on nutrient substrates indoors, but this method has not yet been widely used.
Ideal place to grow morels
It is better to breed morels in an orchard or in a specially designated area of deciduous forest, where the natural shade from the trees provides the mushrooms with the necessary level of illumination and at the same time protects them from direct sunlight. When creating beds, it must be taken into account that mushrooms do not tolerate spring stagnant water, therefore, in a dedicated area, a good drainage system is required to drain meltwater.
Substrate Preparation for morels mushroom growing
Before you start growing morels on the site, the topsoil must be replaced with a prepared substrate. It is prepared from garden soil for flowers mixed with sawdust and ashes according to the following formula: for every six volumes of garden soil, half the volume of sawdust and one volume of ash should be added. The prepared soil mixture should be mixed and laid out in a 10-centimeter layer on the equipped beds. The laid substrate must be watered at the rate of 10 liters of water per 1 m² of beds.
Each morel contains hundreds of thousands of microscopic spores capable of growing new mushrooms. In nature, these spores are spread through the air. In the farming of morels, the planting material is the mycelium purchased from trusted suppliers.
Experienced “morel growers” grow mycelia on their own. To do this, soak a freshly cut morel in a bucket of distilled water overnight. This suspension should then be spread around the area where morels have been found growing, or around the base of mature or dead ash, elm, oak, or apple tree. In 3–5 years, the process of formation of underground mycelial filaments (mycelial forms) will be completed at this place. But back to our garden.
Cover mycelium with soil
After the bed is prepared, the mycelium is distributed over its entire surface, then it is covered with a 6-cm layer of soil removed from the beds during the construction of the beds. The soil is slightly moistened with a small watering can or sprinkler, after which the bed is covered with straw mats, small branches and foliage. The French use apple pomace because morels love the nutrients in apples.
monitor Soil moisture level for morel growth
After sowing the beds with mycelium, it is necessary to monitor the moisture level of the substrate, while moistening the soil with nutrient concentrates that promote accelerated and enhanced growth of fungi. One of these compositions is the biological product.
sprinkle thin layer of ash on top
To enhance fruiting, the bed is sprinkled on top with a thin layer of ash. When using apple pomace, ash can be omitted additionally. Fruiting occurs a year after sowing, lasts in one place from 3 to 5 years, and practically does not require large expenditures and is especially suitable for small mushroom farms or amateur mushroom growers. In autumn, beds sown with mycelium must be additionally covered with straw, grass and leaves. In the spring, immediately after the snow melts and the positive temperature is established, this protective cover is removed, leaving a thin layer of plant material. As a rule, 2-3 weeks after the removal of the protective cover, the mushrooms will show you their porous caps.
best food for morels is wood ash
All that morels need for complete happiness is good soil. Compost, dead leaves, wood ash, and composted manure are suitable habitats for them. Wood chips, wood ash, and sand are also desirable soil additives.
what size to pick morels?
Morels do not need to reach their maximum size to reach maturity. Old mushrooms are just as tasty as young specimens, but the longer they grow, the more likely they are to become the object of desire for the ubiquitous worms.
Morels are collected very carefully, slowly twisting the mushroom, holding it by the leg or cutting it off with a knife. Ready-made mushrooms can be dried or put on the market fresh, but morels, due to their fragility, quickly lose their presentation during transportation.
When you follow and take care of ideal growing conditions for morel mushrooms. You will get morels of your desire. Growing morels or any mushroom is labarious and care seeking process. So before starting mushroom indoor or in garden you must know all conditions and step by step process.