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Question for David Sewak about Morels

 
Posts: 41
Location: SW Washington. zone 8a
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Hi David - I'm excited to hear about your book - it looks to be an easier (and more entertaining) read than some of the other mushroom books I have in my library.
My question is about a morel discovery on our property. We hauled fresh dairy cow manure in to build giant compost heaps. We mixed it in with Douglas fir branches we chipped. On two of the raised beds we built using this compost - now aged almost two years - morels popped up. I thought they only grew in places there had been wildfires - which is not the case with our property or the dairy farm (at least in the past 40 years). It was quite a welcome (and delicious) surprise. Do they generally come back in the same spot? Can you grow morels or do you just have to wait until Nature decides to bless you with them? Anything we can do to "encourage" that they come back in those two spots?
Thanks!
 
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Laurie,

Mother Nature has smiled upon you So enjoy them, I would say keep feeding the bed as you have been, make notes of temps, rain etc. when they popped, and try and replicate that in future years, they should pop again!

Which morels are they?The black ones are the ones you are thinking of that pop up after a fire. The yellow ones we find here around cottonwoods on the river bottoms. In Virginia I would find grey, yellow in old apple orchards and around hickory stands, elms. I do cover morels in the book, primarily how incredibly tough they are to cultivate. I can't express in my reply how many different methods I tried to no avail. Well now I live in Montana, the couple that bought my place probably has them popping up every where!

Before I plug my book I would just keep adding your aged compost, and again stress that you should make notes of your conditions so you can try and watch and replicate next year

Hope this helps some- and with that www.mycelialmayhem.com

Enjoy your morel blessing!

Dave
 
laurie branson
Posts: 41
Location: SW Washington. zone 8a
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Thanks David! They were black morels. Guess I'll have to adjust my original plans for those raised beds - I don't want to "crowd the mushrooms" (is it just me or is anyone else hearing Julia Child in their head?)
 
Posts: 50
Location: Tonasket, WA
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fungi trees chicken
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Thanks David and Laurie for bringing up the topic of Morels.
I'm also very interested in black Morels. Since the big Okanogan Complex wild fire swept over our land last August, I've been looking forward to the small silver lining of finding them on my land.
I started in early spring, but nothing!
Some woods wise friends came and looked last week and found a handful, of kinda dried up ones ( but still edible).
My question is, do you know if deer or other animals eat Morels?
I'm thinking perhaps I had too much competition...
Thanks for coming to the Permies forum.
Barbara
 
david sewak
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Barbara,

Black morels are a little more random than yellows, greys etc. Depending on elevation, slope facing etc. they can pop spring into late summer on north facing subalpine areas. Cats are more predictable! One tool I have found that is really helpful http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ you can type in the fire and see "how it burned" when looking for black morels start where the fire burnt the least intense. This is your best starting point.Also keep in mind your elevation, face of slope etc. Whenever there is a rain event, you should go back out and see if anyone has popped up to say hello! Also if you know where your friend found his, I would go back to that area and expand my search arc.

Deer, Mice etc. I'm not 100% sure on, I have seen caps that have been "nibbled" on, I'd assume if a deer, bear bigger animals were munching the whole thing would be gone.My biggest issue has always been slugs, bugs and flies. Nothing makes me sadder than seeing a prime mushroom only to cut it open and see it is infested with larvae!!

Since we were never able to cultivate morels, I'm just a hunter like the rest.
Hope it helps!

Dave
 
Barbara Greene
Posts: 50
Location: Tonasket, WA
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Thanks Dave!
We had a gulley washer event yesterday!
I'll go back out today with renewed searching eyeballs!
Barbara
 
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I have been trying to convince my husband we should try to grow morels here in Florida. Trouble is, when the rainy season is here, it's like living on the surface of the sun. When the temperature is actually bearable, the rain goes away. He says I am nuts and it can't be done, that you can only grow them in cooler places. But I really, REALLY like morels and every time he says it can't be done it only makes me want to do it more just out of spite. Any advice?
 
david sewak
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Tracy, I hate to tell you but I think your husband is right! I only say this because my Brother-in-law runs a mushroom operation outside of Gainsville. In addition, I have not found anyone who successfully cultivates morels with any consistency-ANYWHERE! I do know through my brother-in-law that Florida is an excellent place to grow a wide variety of mushrooms. Where as I struggled to grow Piopinnos in Pa they do well in the southeast if you have trees in the poplar family you should be able to grow them- they are one of my favorite! Shiitake do well, the pink oyster would do much better also. You live in a natural climate to grow mushrooms-probably not morels though

We cover a lot of the species I mentioned in our book www.mycelialmayhem.com, and it is for beginner, hobbyists and small niche farmers.

Dave
 
Tracy Smith
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Thank you for the advice. Can't say I'm not disappointed though ( and a wee bit irritated that the husband is right). I don't have any poplars but I do have several oaks. I will just have to try a different mushroom. I'll just tell him I changed my mind.
 
david sewak
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I kind of figured that. Just tell him you are more into Shiitake (which love oak) so you can use what you have Besides one is allowed to change their mind. I have all the details in our book to help you have success, if you have a bunch of logs fruiting he'll forget all about the morel thing! But you do need to have a working knowledge for success, there are a LOT of bugs and other things that will want to eat/attack your logs,
 
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Would goat manure work as well as cow for mushrooms?
 
david sewak
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Melinda I can't answer that, we only grew mushrooms on logs, wood chips, straw, compost pile or grow blocks.White button, Portebello grow on manure, I never really dabbled with it. I figured the big industrial mushroom growers do that so I didn't see how I could compete. Sorry I couldn't help you better
 
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