The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Morel cultivation

Morel plug showing spawnMy first attempt at home mushroom cultivation involved morels.  It was a dismal failure, although I'd like to try again this year with all of the new tricks I learned during my oyster mushroom propagation semi-success.  Meanwhile, Mark talked me into adding a few morel plugs to this year's spawn order.  The spawn arrived this weekend, and I quickly set out to plant the morels.

The factsheet that came with our order made planting morels from plugs seem extremely easy.  First, find trees that morels like (apples, ash, aspen, elms, maples, or birch.)  Make sure the soil under the trees is appropriate --- no long-undisturbed soil like you'd find in a mature forest, but plenty of organic matter and good drainage.  We have six young apple trees and six morel plugs, so it was easy to decide where to plant them.

Planting a morel plugNext, push the plugs all the way into the ground with your fingers at the tree's drip line.  Five minutes later, I was done planting.  It's really that simple!

Now, the trick will be getting them to fruit.  Field and Forest Products asserts that it's quite easy to grow morels in the soil (as long as you put them near an appropriate tree.) The difficult part is getting them to fruit.  No one's quite sure how to do it, so your best bet is to plant morels in several different areas to hedge your bets, then wait and hope.  For $7.50, I'm willing to gamble.

Stop by our chicken website to see our homemade chicken waterer which helps prevent chicken pecking.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I love your blog (and thanks for dropping in at mine)!

I am so excited about the upcoming wild morel season but I haven't tried cultivating them yet. I have tried oyster mushrooms, also with partial success. My discovery: fruit flies will eat them! Next time I'm not buying any bananas until my mushrooms have fruited. :)

Comment by Eliza Tue Feb 16 09:28:10 2010
I've actually had great success with growing oyster mushrooms in logs --- if you're willing to buy the plugs, it's quite simple and works well. I'm just trying to make the leap from buying plugs all the time to propagating my own, and keep getting stuck!! :-)
Comment by anna Tue Feb 16 13:01:09 2010
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