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Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Anybody here know anything about mushroom cultivation?

Asked by Espiritus_Corvus (17185points) April 12th, 2014

I’ve been thinking about putting in a mushroom cellar and experiment with cultivating those hardy little cup champignons (so popular in the states), some big fat portobellos, and the difficult, succulent morel as a small commercial sideline and to compliment some of my green and bleu cheeses. Anybody have any experience in mushroom cellars and mushroom cultivation in general, and morels in particular? I’d like to read about your experiences and any stories you may want to share.

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16 Answers

janbb's avatar

I don’t know a thing but I guess the morels of the story are pretty compelling. (I have been in France in cepe region when they were in season and they were wonderful.) Actually, to be a little mroe helpful, in that region of France, they grew wild in the woods; I wonder if there is a way to plant them outside?

LuckyGuy's avatar

A couple of years ago I was given a mushroom kit in a box made by Mushroom adventures. It was fun and actually worked.
But… If you weighed the ample harvest it was still much more expensive than just buying them at the local grocery store.
The kit I tried was a mix of 2 or 3 types. That was much more interesting since each variety was on a different cycle.

cazzie's avatar

I spent several years as a mushroom. I was kept in the dark and fed manure. It isn’t has hard as people think, Shelves of soil, using kits. Use nice clean dirt and you are away.

ibstubro's avatar

Sorry, I do not know about mushroom cultivation, but I found your question compelling. Rather than simply following it, I’ll make a couple of comments.

I was not aware of any cultivation of the morel mushroom. Periodically I search for information, find none, and get sidetracked. If you have such information, I would appreciate reading it.

Don’t forget oyster mushrooms. A personal favorite of mine, as you can saute them in a bit of salted butter and have a meaty, flavorful treat. Sublime. They used to grow them in Missouri because I have eaten locally grown oyster mushrooms.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In the past few days I’ve been thinking about a mushroom cellar to go with the cheese cellar. There’s a guy on this end of the island suddenly in possession of a backhoe. Maybe he could use a few bucks. One must seize the day down here.

Wild morels have always been a favorite of mine, but like you, I didn’t think you could cultivate morels—until I googled Morel Cultivation just for kicks and was very surprised at what I found. You’ll find a plethora of info there. I think a taste test with wild and cultivated Morels is in order, however.

Hunting them was a favorite late-spring/early summer activity back in Sweden, but in the US mushroom hunting is nearly non-existent due to the many poisonous varieties which mimic the real thing as in the case of the “False Morel.” The diaries and letters home among European settlers to this continent, as in Brev från det Förlovade Landet 1840–1914 (Letters from the Promised Land), mention tragedies among whole families of naive mushroom hunters even up to the time of the First World War. So, in this instance, I can understand the American reluctance to adopt such a delightful and rewarding European pastime.

Anyway, thanks to a mycologist named Gary Mills, morel cultivation is said to be possible.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Have you had a good look at false morels? I’ve never found them to look anything like actual morels.

ibstubro's avatar

I’ve morel hunted all my life. There is a false morel known in some places as “Peckerheads” – mostly stem with a tent shaped head – that I eat anyway with no problem.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@dappled_leaves There are many different kinds of false morels. The ones I’m thinking of have a similar silhouette, but the cap is wrinkled, sometimes looks like a pile of earthworms on a stem, rather than honeycombed. Eaten in large amounts in one sitting in a large bowl after being sauteed in butter with garlic and other herbs and spices—like I and many Frenchmen do—they can be dangerous.You would think people could tell the difference., but evidently not.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Ah, but then you’re not saying that false morels are keeping you from hunting morels. I think the biggest obstacle to hunting morels in North America is their scarcity. If you life in morel country, you pretty much have to wait for a big fire to find a lot.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

False morels never kept me from hunting. In the States they are found all along the west coast. I’ve found them in forests from just north of San Francisco to the Canadian border. The frequent fires in that area are a boon to hunters. But when I asked around—this was in the ‘70s—nobody knew what I was talking about, except for a few hippies. There just wasn’t much of a mushroom culture left. Missouri and other plains states are known to have good groounds among commercial hunters. Some New Englanders and Nova Scotians find them as well.

dappled_leaves's avatar

That’s really weird. In western Canada, people certainly pick them – at least where it’s legal to. And sometimes where it’s not.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Legal? Are you shittin’ me?

dappled_leaves's avatar

No, in national parks here, it is forbidden to remove anything. I know, I know, there is nothing about picking a mushroom that in any way affects the mushroom’s existence or ability to grow or reproduce. It’s just that there’s a blanket ban on taking anything home from a national park.

janbb's avatar

My European sister-in-law is a mushrrom hunter on the West Coast. She is one of the original hunter-gathers.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I’ve grown mushrooms a couple times, it’s really not that hard as long as you keep everything sterilized in the beginning. Once the mycelium covers your grow material you’re pretty much good to go and aren’t likely to run into any issues.

@LuckyGuy If you instead bought a spore syringe and inoculated a mason jar(full of your growing substrate of course) once that was covered in mycelium you could use the one mason jar to inoculate ~10 use those 10 to do 100 and so on…..

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