How to Grow Morel Mushrooms in the Garden

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Things You'll Need

  • Chicken wire fencing

  • Wood chips, sawdust, straw or compost

  • Mushroom nycelium

The morel mushroom is sought after by mushroom hunters and gourmets each season.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Morel mushrooms are avidly hunted each spring after the first frost by a legion of gourmets and "schroomers" who appreciate the applications of morel mushrooms, especially for French recipes. The mushroom grows up to 4 inches high and the top of the morel mushrooms have a bumpy appearance. The distinctive and meaty flavor of the morel leads many to growing the morel in a home garden instead of foraging in the woods on the chance of locating morel mushrooms. Home gardening of the morel requires a lot of effort and attention, and the first crop takes up to two years to grow. But many home gardeners are taking on the challenge.

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Step 1

Locate as flat an area as possible with sandy loam, well-draining soil at the base of naturally occurring hardwood trees such as oak, poplar, ash, maple, etc. Burnt, dying or dead trees indicate a good area for the mushroom patch. Locate the mushroom patch where it receives full sunshine at least during the morning hours with shade in the afternoon.

Step 2

Designate a patch of ground about 5-by-10-feet square to grow the mushrooms. Morel mushrooms require lots of care and anything larger is difficult to maintain.

Step 3

Fence in the mushroom patch with chicken wire to protect it from foot traffic and animals.

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Step 4

Till the ground at least 1 foot deep, working in chipped or shaved hardwood, straw, compost or sawdust as the mushroom draws nourishment from the decaying wood.

Step 5

Plant morel mushrooms in early spring after the last freeze for best results.

Step 6

Spread mushroom mycelium, available from garden centers and online sources, evenly on top of the soil, and cover with another 6 to 8 inches of wood chips, sawdust, straw or compost.

Step 7

Water the soil with a fine spray immediately after planting until the soil is moist to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Thereafter, water the mushrooms whenever the soil is dry to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Do not over-water, and take into account any rainfall that may occur.

Tip

Morel mushrooms can be grown from cuttings or the culture planted directly into trees.

Warning

Over-watering the mushrooms will kill them. Check soil by probing it with a finger as far as possible to check it for dryness.

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references

Tom Ross

Freelance writing since 2009, Tom Ross has over 30 years of corporate management and hands-on experience in the supermarket industry. Ross was featured on the cover of "Instore Buyer" magazine and his articles have appeared on various websites.