Morel yellow, or common morel, has a bright mushroom smell and exquisite taste. It is very popular both in our country and abroad, especially since the morel bears fruit in early spring when there are no other wild mushrooms yet. However, in order to taste morel dishes, one must have time to capture the wave of mushroom fruiting. And, unfortunately, it appears only for a few days a year. But having collected fruiting bodies with spores, the morel can be completely bred in your garden.
Most often, morels are found in abandoned apple orchards, on sandy clearings and roads, forest fires. Morels grow in May and June. The fruit body of the morel is medium in size with a hollow, elongated-rounded cap. It is ocher-yellow in color, so the fungus merges with the soil and is invisible among last year’s fallen leaves.
Morel spores germinate quickly, and thin filaments of mycelium lengthen at a rate of 10 cm per day. But as soon as the mycelium reaches nutrient-poor soil layers, sclerotia form on it – a dense asexual mass that resembles walnut in shape and size. Morel sclerotia are located at some distance from the place of growth of fruiting bodies and act as a pantry, allowing fungi to overwinter. Grow mycelium from spore.
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Morel mushroom growing methods
Morels can be propagated in a variety of ways. The easiest is the American way.
American way of growing morels
A bed is made on a fire pit or bedding is formed from a mixture of peat with ash and gypsum. 500 g of grain or mycelium cooked on sawdust is sown per 1 sq.m. A sustainable harvest is possible with the re-sowing of mycelium the following year.
French way of growing morels
For the beds choose a dry place in the shade. Morels grow well under apple trees, among begonias and phloxes. If the site is open, then a canopy is constructed from burlap from the sun and wind. They remove the turf and the entire fertile soil layer and lay the substrate with a layer of 10 cm. To prepare it (1 cubic meter), 65 buckets of riding (brown) peat, 30 buckets of wood ash, 6 buckets of gypsum or alabaster are mixed. Please note: do not add compost or manure to the garden, as under champignons and oyster mushrooms. It is good to add old newspapers and apple waste to the substrate. Drainage grooves are dug around the perimeter of the beds to drain the melt water. The bed must be prepared for the moment when morels can be found in the forest or bought in the market.
Check out Different Substrates for Growing Mushrooms.
Before sowing, the bed is abundantly moistened. Then morel caps cut into slices 0.5-1 cm thick are scattered over the surface, mixed with the substrate. Everyone is covered with a layer (5 cm) of garden soil and again spilled with water. It is possible to replace the earth with a mixture of peat and gypsum (9: 1).
A bed can be made on an ordinary, but well-shaded fire pit, which has stood for at least a month. They dig up the burnt area, bring pieces of morel fruiting bodies to the depth of the bayonet of a shovel under a layer of earth, coals, and ash, and water it well.
Until next year, the bed is not watered or loosened, in the fall they are mulched with dry leaves and spruce branches. In order for morels to grow and bear fruit better, the garden bed is covered with a layer of apple pomace before mulching.
In April, the mulch is removed. Fruiting bodies grow, provided that within 1-1.5 weeks the temperature drops to 1 ° at night, and rises to 16 ° during the day. If the spring is cold or very early, morels will not grow. When the course of the daily temperature is optimal for fruiting, but the weather is dry, then the bed should be watered once a day.
Under favorable conditions, two or three years after the first fruiting, morels grow, sliding into the aisles. The mushroom feels especially good next to old apple trees, and apple trees benefit from such a neighborhood – the mushroom quickly processes rotten carrion.
German way of growing morels
The beds are sown with an aqueous infusion of spores, which is prepared from ripe (rather large, but still elastic) morels. Hats (0.5 kg) are cut into slices and dipped in a bucket of water, to which 1 teaspoon of salt is added (limits the growth of yeast) and 1 tbsp. a spoonful of granulated sugar (stimulates the germination of morel spores). All insist, stirring regularly, for 4 hours, filter through a sieve and leave the liquid in a cool place (10-15 °) for one to two days. A solution with spores is brought into the garden and covered with turf or gypsum peat.