Morel - An elusive and enigmatic mushroom.

Morchella angusticeps, the morel, is one of the world’s most elusive and mysterious mushrooms, largely because its habitat is widely varied and not fully understood. One common name for the morel is the spongy morel, due to its honeycombed, conical shape that resembles a sponge. It has also been called the land-fish mushroom, black morel and Peck’s morel. While the morel’s mycelium is fast growing, it can take several years of growth until morels are mature enough to eat.

Morels are found only in the spring, usually from April to mid-May. You’ll find them in sandy soil near rivers, conifer forests, beneath cottonwoods and apple trees, and in burned areas, where forest fires and volcanic eruptions have provided the perfect habitat for morels to grow.

Preparing an outdoor morel bed

Morels have proven difficult, if not impossible, to grow indoors, so you’ll definitely want to grow them outside. When cultivating a bed, top a burned area with peat moss or hardwood sawdust supplemented with calcium sulfate. Water heavily.

Planting

Using the bag that contains Sclerotia, place 4-6 inches of moist peat moss and 10% gypsum over the morel spawn.

Temperature variation

The temperature change from day to night is important in growing morels. You need a temperature variation of 40° to 60°F, and seasonal changes are required. At least one expert (Paul Stamets) states that plantings in the fall have the highest success rates.

Protection

Be sure to protect your morel plantings from sun, as well as from wild animals.

Woodstoves or Barbecue Pits

You can also grow morels in a woodstove or barbecue pit—just mix 10 gallons of peat moss with 5 gallons of ash and 1 gallon of gypsum

Fruiting Cycles and Yield Potential

If you are successful in starting a Morel Garden, you can expect a yield of 1 pound of morels per square foot planted.  Morels fruit in the spring.