Morel Mushroom Cultivation – How to Grow Them Yourself

It’s a fungus that seems to sprout, miraculously, almost overnight, and appears to instantaneously develop into a full-sized morel. So, it would be logical to assume that morels would be as easy to grow as mold on bread. But, as even the most skilled mycologist knows, cultivating morels is extremely daunting.

Morels develop in very specific conditions that include the ideal range of temperature, soil conditions, moisture levels, sunlight & daylight hours, and growing environment. Unlike common white button mushrooms, there is little room for variability in that milieu.

But let’s begin our cultivation process. Collect mature-sized morels early in the day, and, as soon as possible, put them in cool storage until you are ready to work with them. daddy long legs mushroom review Using a sterilized wire or paper clip in a clean, isolated area (perhaps your bathroom, or quiet corner of the kitchen), pierce the narrow end of the morel, then use the wire to hang the morel over a Petri dish with agar mix in it. Gently stroke downward on the morel (as if milking a cow, but more gently) to release the spores into the Petri dish. If no spores fall, let the morel hang for a few hours. Seal the Petri dish and store at 60-80F.

After a day or so, you should see a spider-like filament starting to form. Once a good web has developed, prepare a growing media of 5 parts annual grass seed that has been soaked for 24 hours and drained, 1 part potting soil. Put 2c of medium in quart jars, fit with filter disk and ring, and sterilize jar for 1 hour. Using a sterilized knife, cut and place a few pieces of the agar mix in the moderately cooled jar, shake to mix, cover, and place the jar in a cool (68F) dark place for 4-6 weeks. A rust-colored schlerotia should develop.

Prepare clean screen-bottom trays and layer with a 2″ mix of 20% sand, 30% potting soil and 50% organic matter (5% sphagnum moss, 5% canola or soybean meal, 10% grain hulls, 80% wood chips & leaves). PH should be 7.1-7.3. Soak & drain. Prepare solid-bottom trays with a 1″ layer of soaked, drained grass seed, and set first tray on top. Sterilize for 1 hour. Place in resealable bag (still in trays).

Using sterilized spoons, mix 1/2c of the culture into the top tray, seal and store in a cool (68F), dark draft-free, high-humidity (90-95%) area for 4-6 weeks. If hard lumps have formed on the surface, remove grass seed tray from bag, reseal and refrigerate spawn for two more weeks.

Remove from refrigerator, saturate with water for 10-15 hours,, drain for 24 hours. Layer a rich casing soil, place tray in soil and leave in a dark, cool room with moderate air flow for 1 week. In an area with 12 hr. light cycle, soil moisture 60%, humidity 90%, air temperature 75F and moderate air movement, let morels grow until matured. If you prefer, you may grow morels outdoors using this last process and employing a sawdust casing base under ash or elm trees, etc.