Morels are one of the most prized mushrooms around. Utilize the step-by-step process outlined in this article if you want to discover how to grow morel mushrooms
Growing morel mushrooms is one of the most sought after processes in mushroom cultivation right now. People are starting to do it! People are actually starting to fruit morel mushrooms using cultivation methods. This is amazing and exciting and reminds me how much there is for humans to develop through working with fungi. Morels are one of the thousands of foraged mushrooms that people would LOVE to cultivate. Developing the strains and systems to do so takes time. BUT NOW with this process outlined below you will become the teacher of how to grow morel mushrooms. Your lawn will be filled with morel mushrooms and everyone will be coming to you wondering how in the world you do it! AND not to mention the riches, fit for a king, selling this mushroom at $170/lb dried or $40/lb fresh, early retirement is right around the corner. Before diving into the process let me discuss the basics of cultivation, basic of what a MOREL is and then I will unveil the process of how to grow morel mushrooms.
What is a morel?
What is a morel is an important question in this quest to grow morels. For not all morels are created equally. This is the interesting intersection where Latin names and common names become confusing. There are actually many different species in the genus Morchella that are called the common name morel. Are all these species the same? Do they all taste the same? Store the same, grow the same? The beautiful Morchella esculenta grows abundantly in the midwest (one reason to spend time in corn country) and more sporadically on the east coast. Certain Morchella species (M. eximia, M. importuna, M. tomentosa and others) are termed “burn morels” because they typically fruit after burns mostly on the west coast. The species that has been cultivated so far is a completely different species from these and reportedly has a totally different texture and flavor. According to this report about Chinese morel cultivation Morchella importuna is the most common species cultivated.
From Mycelia, a huge spawn producer in Europe: “This much is sure: they love ashes and they can be shocked into fruition, the mycelium grows fast and aggressive and fully colonizes a medium in no time. But Morels are Ascomycotina, they are just as happy reproducing asexually as sexually. They don’t even need to produce mushrooms for their survival.”
How to grow morel mushrooms: A step-by- step
Growing morels is not an easy to do thing right now. IF you are interested in growing morels, I recommend starting out with shiitake or oyster to see if you can successfully cultivate these mushrooms. IF you are looking at buying spawn of morel mushrooms ASK THE SPAWN PROVIDER FOR PHOTOS OF THEM FRUITING. As far as I know no spawn provider in the USA is selling a successfully fruited strain of morel mushrooms. STRAIN is an extremely important aspect to successful cultivation. The picture above taken in China illustrates one of the few places in the world where these mushrooms are actually being cultivated. Going to China and getting the strain and substrate mix would be the easiest and best way to start growing morel mushrooms. And even then the mushrooms are not being fruited constantly. Even if someone comes up with a consistent method to produce the mushrooms many consumers will still prefer the wild foraged mushrooms. SO without further ado below, how to grow morel mushrooms.
This flow chart again from the Penn State report (Fig. 4) shows the widely-applied techniques used in morel cultivation in China. Adding the nutrient bags is a key recent breakthrough that has increased morel production, but levels are still too low for consistent production.
Fig. 4 Image: Sigi Ge, Penn State
Sigi finishes her report on the industry stating most farmers are losing money and only spawn providers and training agencies are the real ones making money. This can be a common result of implementing a new crop before it is commercially ready.
Is it worth trying to grow morel mushrooms?
You are better off spending your money for a trip out to California or Montana or Illinois and foraging them in the wild then trying to cultivate them. Or just buy these amazing mushrooms from us dried!