Maybe two of the most often asked questions to The Great Morel are "Can I grow morels?" and "How do they grow?"
You'll also find a few responses that The Great Morel has recieved from other visitors regarding growing tips and cultivating them yourself. You can take what information you would like from this page and see what comes of it. The Great Morel makes no claims, so best of luck!
Also check out the Questions and Answers page where visitors to The Great Morel have posted questions in search of answers from other morel hunters.
It is always a question that intrigues even the most weathered morel hunter. How many shoomers have made the statement or asked the question "wouldn't it be great to have a camera on one?" and oh wouldn't it be great! While there are some who are blessed to have been able to watch the progress of the morel in its growth cycle, most of us are left to wonder.
We have all heard the theory that they just "pop" straight up, well let The Great Morel make one thing clear...rest assured this is far from the truth. By no means is The Great Morel going to get scientific on you here (why start now?), so if you want pure scientific data to this question then head over to the Info and Links page. What you are about to read is pure shoom'n chatter and a few known facts, as well as self-proclaimed "shroom'n scientific data".
It is believed and proven by most that the morel fungus will sprout (so-to-speak) as any other living organism and with the proper nurturing from Mother Nature, it will proceed in a progressive growth pattern. There are a few very good sites out there which break down this biological process in great depth, of which The Great Morel will refrain from doing. The Great Morel has never attempted a study of its own and therefore, it can only gather data from other sources - of which many can be found on the Info and Links page.
Many us have found them curled up as if they didn't quite stand up nice and tall, or got hung up by a root while trying to stand erect. Why so? What actually happened in this morel's short but wonderful life? In a way, maybe we don't really want to know the answer to this question. Maybe knowing will erase some of the mystery that surrounds this spring pasttime. Just rest assured they don't just POP!
If you have already visted the FAQ page then you may have seen The Great Morel's personal "shroom'n scientific data". Below are some comments from other great morel hunters who they themselves offer their perspective and observations.
Tim from northwest Ohio sends this along:
"Hey, just found your page and wanted to let you know, I have been trying this for about ten years and yes it works to about a 90% succsess! When trying to see if a morel will continue to grow, there are a couple of factors that must be used in order for it to work. The color will indicate when the shroom is done growing. If it is still grey, it is NOT done. Once it is yellow, its done! Also, leaving a grey sit to see if it will grow, allows it to dry out. It MUST be covered as soon as you find it with at least 6 inches of leaves. This keeps the sun and wind from drying it out. It also keeps my brothers from finding them also! when the conditions are right, they WILL grow!
I have had some grow over night, and some take as long as THREE WEEKS! Most of the greys I find are about a 2 inch average in height. When allowed to grow, they usually achieve a height of 5 to 6 inches. I have seen them go through 3 growth periods and still be grey. As stated before, once yellow they are done.
Yes I do have pictures of this through the stages. As far as unfolding, once you find the shroom, it will keep the shape as seen the first time, only it will increase in height and diameter. One thing I have noticed though, if it dries (the weather) before the color changes, it probably won't grow very much. I have not tried watering them through a dry spell, but intend to this year if it happens!the largest growth i have seen was one that i found that started out at one inch, grew to eight inches before the color change. Try covering them....IT WORKS!! PS. I am from northwest Ohio."
This also in from Joe in Kansas:
"I found a small yellow in my pasture put a quart jar over it kept water aroud the outside of the jar. It grew up in the jar we had to break the jar to get it out. Just thought this might be helpful. Thanks, Joe from Kansas"
You may also want to click here to see images that were taken by Mike Wolfe, a well renowned shroomer from north central Indiana. Mike had taken a series of images of a small grey morel over a 6 day period and once again is proof that depending on when you first spot the morel, they do in fact grow.
The Great Morel is pleased to present this 2009 study from Clint Ely, in West Virgina. The scope of Clint's study is to attempt to document PH content along with soil temperature of various morel patches. Many morel hunters have often wondered the impact the ground temperatures have on the morel and Clint has kindly offered the scoop.
The Great Morel also suggests seeing this partial 2008 study of the growth of the Maine morel. David Guillemette, who is a well renowned morel hunter located in Maine had so kindly agreed to share his personal study of the growth cycle with visitors of The Great Morel. What follows are the documentation and images in which Dave had compiled. The scope of Dave's study was to take daily photographs, document daytime and nighttime temperatures of several known morel patches. For the many morel hunters who have often thought of doing this type of study here it is,so click here. Unfortunately for all of us, Dave's data fell a little short in the amount of data he was able to collect and we all hope that it can be continued in the future.
As stated before, we've all wondered this I'm sure. Below are some of The Great Morel's favorite sites regarding this infamous question. It may be the answer for all of us when we get to old in our age to enjoy wondering through the woods.
Check out this great page from the people at TheFarm.org: This technique was developed by mycologist Gary Mills after much trial and error, and observations of morels growing in nature. What follows is a sequence which Gary demonstrated for the PBS series, Scientific American Frontiers. The temperature, humidity, substrate and other detailed parameters were placed in the public domain by George Robert Trager.
If you are entertaining the thought of starting your own morel garden right out your back door, then you may want to consider visiting these various websites. Fungi Perfecti, which is a family-owned, environmentally friendly company specializing in using gourmet and medicinal mushrooms to improve the health of the planet and its people. They also market several growing kits, with books and needed materials. Another site to visit is BuyMorels.com which offers a morel growing kit with other items. Also, visit Gourmet Mushrooms and Mushroom Products for "The Morel Habitat Kit which was developed so everyone could enjoy growing their own morels" and other products.
One may want to check out Thomas J. Volk's article on "The Morel Life Cycle." Thomas J Volk is a well recognized expert in the field of mycology and a member of the Biology Department at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He has a well written piece on morel cultivation which attempts to answer some of the mysteries as to why it is so difficult to repeat this magic of nature.
Michigan State University is on the forefront in the biotechnology arena as it uses its research and high-tech laboratory to mass produce the ever elusive morel. To quote their news article posted on their website...."DNP has used science and entrepreneurism – much of it from MSU – to transform an abandoned bean cannery in the fields of northwestern Michigan into a high-tech biotechnology plant and laboratory." You can check out the University's News Release Biotech brings mushroom hunt indoors for the news article. Unfortunately, the original web page which had detail of the project, along with amazing images is no longer available.
The website of Morel-Farms.com has a patented process for morchella cultivation, developed by Stewart Craig Miller, a native of Lafayette, Indiana. This website offers trees for sale that have been inoculated with the morel fungus. The discovery is protected by Patent for "cultivation of morchella and cultivation of morel ascocarps respectively. Morel cultivation is briefly outlined in this website and is described in detail in the patents."
You may also check out the latest edition to the Info and Links page called MyMorels.com - "A non-skilled male attempts to grow delectable fungi in his backyard." Don Garber is attempting to grow two habitats separately, one spore kit is from Fungi Perfecti (fire morels - m. angusticeps,) the other is a m. esculenta spore kit from... Gormet Mushrooms. He has videotaped and photographed the process so far. This is the first spring (2008) since the habitat's creation in October ’07. This is a great site - a very interesting online documentation of the progress and techniques of one person's attempt to cultivate morels. Including logs and photos. The Great Morel believes this is Worth checking out!
The Great Morel is not making any endorsements or getting kick-backs from any sites mentioned on these pages, however, tell them you found them on The Great Morel and let The Great Morel know if you have success.