Morel mushrooms are highly desired, but you have to work to find them out in the woods. Instead of spending hours searching for morels, try growing morel mushrooms indoors. Morels are prized for their flavor, putting a distinct earthy flavor. Unlike other mushrooms, morels are very expensive, and they only grow in areas burned by forest fires. They take a long time to fruit.
Growing Morel Mushrooms Indoors with a Kit
The easiest method to grow mushrooms indoors is with a kit. Mushrooms can be tricky, so kits are perfect for mushroom growing newbies. You purchase mushroom spawn, called mycelium, which is simply the vegetative growth of the mushroom. Spawn can come in different forms like grain, wood chips, sawdust and more. You use this mycelium-infused material to create larger batches to make a mushroom bed.
- You want to start the process between the summer and fall when the seasons are changing. Morel mushrooms prefer the change in seasons.
- Put your mushroom kit in a dark location. The location should have a temperature between 50 and 80 degrees F. Leave the kit there for one week, which allows the mycelium to recover.
- Wash out the containers you will use with a solution of one part bleach and ten parts water. Make sure that you rinse and dry, then set them aside.
- Next, mix all of the substrate ingredients together in equal amounts in a large container. Add water until moist, but not soaking wet, and mix well. Take out the morel spawn from the bag and put it into the container. Mix well; you might have to add more water.
- Prepare the soil; you want a sandy, soil mixture without rocks. You can add gypsum and peat moss to your soil. Try adding some ashes from the burned wood into the soil because morel mushrooms love to grow in areas with forest fires.
Put four to six inches of moist garden soil into pots. Then, add four to six inches of the mixture you created above. The amount you add will depend on the pot. You need to leave at least four inches at the top of the pot, in case you need to add more substrate mixture later.
- The pots should be placed in drip pans and put in an area that gets indirect light. Use a spray bottle to lightly water every other day. By the following spring, the morel mushrooms should start to fruit, but it can take up to a full year.
- Make sure you allow mushrooms to turn brown before harvesting. At first, the caps will turn grey, but that means they aren’t ripe enough for harvesting.
The Spore Slurry Method
Experienced morel mushroom hunters can attempt to skip purchasing a morel mushroom kit. This method is called the spore slurry method. A spore slurry is a mixture of water, salt, a form of sugar, and spores. The water suspends the spores and inoculates them, creating a habitat.
- First, you have to get wild morels. The mushrooms should be mature, but you don’t want any rotting or mushy mushrooms. All you need to is a few mushrooms for each gallon of water you plan to use.
- Use a food-safe container and add clean, non-chlorinated water. Add a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of molasses and mix. Salt stops bacteria from growing while the sugar helps the mushroom spores germinate.
- Add the mushrooms and let them sit covered for two days. Don’t let the mixture sit longer than two days or bacteria may start to grow.
- Strain and remove the mushrooms. You now have a container full of millions of morel mushroom spores.
- You can take these spores and spread them over a prepared bed. The bed would be just like you created with a mushroom kit above. Make sure to clean the container and create a garden soil mixture that is sandy with adequate drainage.
The spore slurry method is cheaper and great for those who want to do it yourself. It does have a lower rate of success. To increase your odds, you may want to do more containers.
Morel mushrooms need the right environment to grow and thrive. Don’t lose hope if your first attempts fail. Mushrooms are tricky to grow. If it is your first time growing mushrooms, try a kit. You’ll never have to hunt in the woods for fresh morel mushrooms again.
Kylie is the editor at Green & Growing. She enjoy the outdoors, especially when she can go on a fun hike or adventure. She likes to focus on the perks green living. She feels it is so important to take care of our earth and hope to spread more awareness as she edits and writes.