So I just found about 8 morels here on the farm. I'm hesitant to harvest them, because I'm worried that will stop that spot from propagating more mushrooms in the future. My crude understanding is that the existing mycellium network in that spot is likely to live on in years to come but that if I harvest the fruiting part of the mushroom, that it won't be able to spread to other spots. I figure that it's ok to harvest a few but just wanted to check here to see what others think. Thanks!
Travis Philp wrote:the existing mycellium network in that spot is likely to live on in years to come but that if I harvest the fruiting part of the mushroom, that it won't be able to spread to other spots
I think that observation is spot-on. You could however harvest a few (no more than half) and prior to using the 'shrooms take out the spores by resting them on a white piece of paper for a few hours (or cutting out some of the spore-bearing parts) and manually spread that at an other suitable spot. Won't work always, but it's fun to do, imagining spreading more and more delicious 'shrooms around the grounds.
Thanks Kat. I think I'm gonna try propagating them using the slurry method, spreading the slurry around recently cut poplars and/or a dying apple tree since I've read that they enjoy those habitats. Here's the link to the slurry method, it's half way down the page:
I've had some limited success with the spore slurry method by dumping buckets of Black Morel (burnsite) slurry water around a bonfire site. Several Black Morels came up in the same site the next year. Currently, I'm trying to plant big Yellow Morel stem butts around the bases of Apple, Poplar and dwarf Peach seedlings in 1 and 4 gallon pots in my greenhouse. My goal is to establish mycorrhizal morel patches in my orchard and greenhouse. I also ordered some White Morel spawn a few months ago, but the supplier is having problems with the culture, so I'm putting that idea on hold for now. Sepp Holzer's latest book also mentions how to cultivate mycorrhizal mushrooms as well. There are some other threads on this site about this topic. Good luck!
Paul Stamets in his new morel garden:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RssNIRwAko
Edit: although this link didn't link up correctly, if you go to youtube, look up "Paul Stamets" and "morel' and you can see his latest videos about morel cultivation- interesting stuff.
About 3 yrs ago, I found some "science" on harvest impacting future production.
Under "field sampling" they explain dividing plots into harvest/no-harvest plots and how they measure and estimate weight/harvest. Under "productivity results" it's determined that harvesting does not impact the following years' production.
In Sepp's book, he states that pulling, not cutting is the way to go. Cutting leaves an entry way for disease. Makes complete sense to me. I'd been unconvinced about cutting, but trying to be a good hunter, I've been cutting. Not anymore! Sepp even suggests that the miss-information on cutting is being purposely disseminated by commercial interests. *hmmm*
I'm also a fan of the idea that as we harvest mushrooms, we are participating in the dispersal of spores as we jostle our baskets through the forest. I definitely promote active spore shedding.
Hmm, I would have suggested harvesting some and leaving a few to produce more spores. If the patch is mature enough to fruit, the mycelium should be fine for next year so long as the harvest is done without causing much damage below the surface. Also, if the patch was established naturally, the spores are already in your environment and are probably just waiting for the right conditions to spread further.
I had a patch of beautiful big morels pop up this spring in a hugel-row bed in my orchard. I only found one other morel on our property, so it seems the fungus likes the conditions in that particular bed. It is very interesting to observe and see what the preferences are.
"Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari
Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7