Morel mushrooms are fairly common in the spring and early summer in the United States. Morels are often found near dead trees, especially elms and can be found in woodland habitats or old orchards. The morel has a classic slim cap with webbing on the skin and can literally appear on the surface of the soil overnight. The mushroom is the fruiting body of the mycelium which grows underground. Morel mushrooms are an adventure to hunt for, but for convenience and fun they can be grown in the home garden.

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Morels have a spongy appearance and a buttery earthy taste.

Step 1

Prepare an area of soil outdoors where there is shade. The morel mushroom grows in moist shady areas, so you need to make the mushroom bed as similar in habitat as possible. Top a 4-by-4-foot area of soil with 1 inch of gypsum, 1 inch of peat moss and 2 inches of sand and till in. Mix the three components in with the soil completely. Use the rake and rake the mushroom bed smooth and remove any rocks or debris.

Step 2

Spread the ashes on top of the bed to simulate burned forests where morels like to grow. Mix the mycelium spawn evenly across the bed and then top with the wood chips until just covered. The spawn is the mushroom's "seed," but mushrooms spread through spore and not seed. Mist the bed and then keep it damp by misting daily in warm weather and about once a week in cooler weather.

Step 3

Wait two years. Morel mushrooms take a long time for the mycelium to grow underground and become mature enough for fruiting. The first year will probably not yield any fruit, but by the second year there should be many for harvest. Harvest by using a clean sharp knife and cutting the mushroom off at the ground. This will preserve the mycelium so it can fruit again.