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So all these morels popped up in my garden...  RSS feed

 
jacque greenleaf
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Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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...or maybe they're false morels - by the time I noticed them, they were past eating.

Working on an existing garden, getting the organic matter up. Last fall, I put down a bunch of chicken poop and straw on a couple of beds, and covered it up with cardboard. The morels and some kind of cup fungus appeared around the edges of the cardboard. So yes, I wanted to increase the fungal activity in this former coarse fescue lawn, but I certainly didn't expect morels!

Are they likely to persist for the next few years, or is this a passing phenom? Now I certainly intend to repeat the poop/straw/cardboard combo, regardless of whether I keep getting morels, but if anyone has had a similar experience, I'd love to know!
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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How lucky are you?! I hunt them every year. They always come up in the usual spots. The past 4 years or so there haven't been many because the weather turned hot and dry right at picking time. All dried up at a small size. We left them to drop their spores and repopulate the area. I don't know if their spores were viable at such a young age. Whenever I have picked any, i wash them and pour out the water in one area at my house. They have been coming up there now for several years.
I talked to a friend who lives in Seattle just 3 days ago. She said they've been popping up where she dumps her charcoal grill ( uses organic brickettes).
Leave them and i bet they'll come back. You could also try to get them to grow in other areas.
Edit: We eat the false ones too.
 
Marco Banks
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White, black or giant? White morels tend to come back in the same spot, year after year. Continuing to feed that area organic material and NOT TILLING will increase the likelihood of them returning next year.

When you pick them, don't put them into a plastic bag. Put them in a wire-mesh basket, so the spores fall out and drop to the ground. Give them a couple good shakes every now and then, and let the spores fly.

There are few things better in the spring than cooking a handful of thinly sliced morels in butter in a frying pan, and then scrambling a couple of fresh eggs in with them.
 
Rue Barbie
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I too had morels springing up in my yard for the first time ever. (Coastal So. Calif) Alas I did not see them till they were past. They came up in my blueberry patch. Plants are in pots and the morels are either emerging from the holes in the bottom of the pots, or from the deep mulched area around them. I'm letting them be till any spores are spread about.

I thought they could be false morels, but judging by photos, they are not. If they return next year, I'll check them out more closely before eating them however.
 
jacque greenleaf
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Marco Banks wrote:White, black or giant? White morels tend to come back in the same spot, year after year. Continuing to feed that area organic material and NOT TILLING will increase the likelihood of them returning next year.

When you pick them, don't put them into a plastic bag. Put them in a wire-mesh basket, so the spores fall out and drop to the ground. Give them a couple good shakes every now and then, and let the spores fly.

There are few things better in the spring than cooking a handful of thinly sliced morels in butter in a frying pan, and then scrambling a couple of fresh eggs in with them.


Dunno what kind they are, but they're definitely morels - attached cap and hollow inside. The caps are a blondish brown. Some of them are pretty large, 4-5 inches.

By the time I noticed them, they had insect entry/exit holes in them. Anyone know which insects make use of them?

I'll be watching A LOT more closely next year!
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Ours always have tiny mites in them ( oat mites?). When you wash them the mites float on top of the water. Rinse several times until you don't see any more bugs. And always dump your water where you'd want more morels.
 
Deb Stephens
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Karen Layne wrote:
Edit: We eat the false ones too.


Karen, I couldn't pass up commenting upon this statement. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ!

Gyromitra esculenta (the false morel, or rather one of them--there are other species as well) should not be eaten, EVER! I know that some people seem to be able to tolerate them with no ill effects, but the fact is that these mushrooms contain Monomethylhydrazine (MMH), which is a kind of rocket fuel. Seriously. Not 'sort of like rocket fuel', but the real deal -- it is chemically identical to it.

The reason some people can eat them and get away with it is that depending upon species, where you find them, your own tolerances and pure luck SOME of them have less of this chemical than others. The chance that every gyromitra you find will be one of the relatively harmless ones is really low. You may be lucky once or twice, but eventually you'll get one that contains enough to make you very ill or even kill you. No kidding! This is not something to take chances with. If you merely get sick, you'll experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and some dizziness. If you get a whopping big dose you may just find yourself in a coma and you may never wake up again.

Be safe. Avoid ALL false morels and stick to the very tasty real ones.
 
Hans Quistorff
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if anyone has had a similar experience, I'd love to know!

I had this experience: In my work I had access to a lot of large corrugated paper boxes and above my garden was a grove of maple trees. The garden included fruit trees. The soil was sandy. I covered the ground with the box material then the maple leaves in the fall. The next spring along the edges of the cardboard Morels fruited. they were as you described light tan caps and a few darker caps. I made the assumption that the spore was in the cardboard but possibly the the mycelium was there and it just needed the conditions to grow. The interesting thing is how they fruit at an edge. So possibly experiment with different sizes of cardboard to see what produces the optimum production. The orchard garden was about 50x100 feet and I got a 5 gallon bucket full. I sliced them in rings and dehydrated them. lasted us for several years.
 
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