Team Mushroom? It’s tempting

June 24, 2009 | By | Comments (9)

We found a morel in the garden!

(We think it’s a morel.*)

Yes, right here in Sunset’s test garden, dried up and shriveled and attached to a piece of fir bark mulch.

Morel

Sometimes you plan for One-Block projects; other times, they come to
you. See, we’d been thinking about ways to expand our hand-grown,
handmade feast to include mushrooms for a while. For me, that had meant
lingering gazes toward shiitake logs and tiny oyster mushroom farms. And then, we find a morel. It’s not enough for a feast, but it’s enough to get us thinking.

In theory, at least, growing one’s own mushrooms shouldn’t be that hard, if you’ve got wood inoculated with mushroom spores and a cool, dark spot where the magic can happen. Now, it’s just a matter of getting the right materials.

*At least, we think it’s a morel. It looks an awful lot like a morel. It doesn’t especially look like a false morel. That said, I’m so incredibly freaked about the idea of eating wild mushrooms that I have just kept it in my desk for almost a month, in an empty box of Lady Grey tea.

by Elizabeth Jardina, Sunset researcher

COMMENTS

  1. ksb

    When I was a kid growing up in England my mum had a mushroom bucket in the cupboard under the stairs where she grew regular mushrooms. The bucket came as a kit with soil/humus (and I guess spores) already in it, you just had to keep it in a dark, cool place (and I guess maybe add water).
    Wonder if these kits still exist?

    June 25, 2009 at 8:01 pm
  2. Hank

    It is absolutely a morel. I get them in my mulch bark every March…

    June 24, 2009 at 8:29 pm
  3. BRB

    I got a mushroom growing kit at Christmas for Portabellos and it has been endlessly interesting to watch it grow. I would recommend you try it, a little pricey, but educational!

    June 24, 2009 at 7:23 pm
  4. tina_k-friend of Nuggett

    Yep, that sure is a morel. They sometimes grow in new landscape bark. You can find them now in certain of last years burn sites, currently fruiting around 6,500 feet. The later in the season, the higher elevation. Anyone interested in collecting wild mushrooms should join one of our local clubs. Mycological Society of San Fransicso http://www.mssf.org or Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz http://www.fungusfed.org

    There is also a Bay Area Mushroom group at http://www.bayareamushrooms.org

    June 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm
  5. Jess

    Pedroza family and anyone else reading–PLEASE don’t eat wild or backyard mushrooms without consulting a mushroom expert first. Many backyard mushrooms are in fact *extremely* toxic. No meal is worth losing your life.

    Pedroza family, the mushrooms in your yard sound like amanita mushrooms–these are the classic “fairy tale” mushrooms (either red or white capped). Amanita mushrooms are also known as death angels. (If it were me, I would remove the fruiting bodies as well as surrounding soil to make sure the mycelium is also removed.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_muscaria

    http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/sept97.html

    June 24, 2009 at 2:37 pm
  6. Jess

    It looks like a black morel to me. Yum! Ddan is right–false morels are reddish-rust colored and sort of big and gloopy looking. I don’t believe this is a false morel.

    If you’re concerned, call your local university and see if there is a mycologist available to help you I.D.

    Morel kits are available but morels are notoriously difficult to grow. Until a few years ago even scientists didn’t really understand them. Morels will grow best around dying ash, elm, or apple trees–it’s even better if you have an old burn site.

    Best of luck!

    June 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm
  7. ddan7

    It looks like a black sponge morel to me. It’s definitely not a false morel, they tend to get huge and are reddish. Some people eat them but we don’t. If I were you, I would eat your prize find!

    June 24, 2009 at 1:08 pm
  8. pedroza family

    I wonder if it’s mushroom season? My backyard is full of white “smurf house” mushrooms. They are sprouting up in places our dogs usually poop. beside the fact I don’t know anything about good vs bad shrooms, I won’t eat anything near dog poop!

    June 24, 2009 at 8:13 am
  9. chzplz

    not sure if its a scale thing, but the local mushroom grower near me says that the only crop harder to grow than mushrooms are orchids. “I’m sure glad I don’t grow orchids.”

    Manage your expectations…

    June 24, 2009 at 3:07 am

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