Mushrooms are delicious, delectable, and exquisite to eat. But, the gourmet varieties, like the chanterelles, can be quite expensive and difficult to find fresh, when not in season. So, what should you do as a beginner home gardener?
If you’re fond of using mushrooms in your dishes or you’re just a big fan of mushroom soup, you need to have a garden for growing this appetizing fungus.
When you have a source for this gourmet ingredient, you don’t need to forage in the wild, and you stock up your kitchen with dozens of chanterelle mushrooms.
You can even hoard and preserve them for weeks. Or, you can sell them!
Some varieties of chanterelles cost at least $80 per kilo. If you become a successful cultivator, then you can even make money from your prized shrooms!
Home growing mushrooms isn’t that difficult. In fact, all you need is a mushroom log and the right conditions for spore production and propagation.
Chanterelle mushrooms are rich in vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and copper. Plus, chanterelles are low in fat! What more can you ask for?
To acquire all of those benefits, you just have to grow them properly. When in season, they multiply on logs, in damp and shaded areas.
If you manage to stumble upon a cluster of chanterelles while foraging, then you’re in luck, but that won’t happen every day. So, you must learn how to grow them indoors, in order to sate that mushroom addiction in you.
Chanterelle Growing Conditions
Indoors, you can control the conditions of your mushroom garden. The amount of light and the degree of temperature are the factors that affect the growth and reproduction rate of chanterelles. To cultivate them properly, you must manage these external elements.
In the wild, the common name of the species of fungi that belong to the genera Polyozellus, Gomphus, Caterellus, and Cantharellus is “chanterelles.” Because of their colorful caps, they’re among the most popular of wild edible shrooms.
Collectively, such mushrooms are referred to as chanterelles. They come in different shapes and colors, like white, yellow, or orange. Most types have ridges and are shaped like funnels, instead of gills or pores, which go down the stem located on the cap’s underside.
There are lots of species that belong to the group. In fact, the family contains about ninety different types of mushrooms worldwide and more than forty of those can be found in the United State. Seven grow in Oregon’s damp and shady woodlands.
The Pacific golden chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus), one of the most priced species of foragers, grows among spruce, hemlock, and Douglas-fir. Its branching ridges, solid white flesh, wavy margins, and orange funnel-like cap make it very identifiable.
As a grower, you’ve to imitate the conditions of their natural habitat in your indoor garden. Take the Cantharellus formosus as an example.
To grow it inside your home, you need to have a mushroom kit perfect for it. If it isn’t cultivated on any of the tree log mentioned above, you will fail in growing the said mushroom.
In the wild, chanterelle mushrooms grow in abundance from late spring into early fall. But this depends on the region. June to September is prime chanterelle season. Chanterelles prefer hardwood forests where spruce and hemlock trees flourish.
Chanterelles thrive in hardwood trees, but sometimes, they also grow around white pines. In parks and forests, you can find them on the edges of roads or paths or near the edges of streams and wetlands.
Anywhere rich in moisture, shade, organic matter is an ideal habitat for chanterelles. If there was a tempest one or two days before a very humid day, you would surely find chanterelles sprouting in shaded areas in a hardwood forest.
Now, how can you replicate the optimum conditions for growing these shrooms inside your home? To do that, just take note of the essentials and follow the guide below:
1.You need trees
Yes, you need trees! The dead ones are better than the live ones. Wherever you want to place your chanterelles, whether inside or outside your home, a log or a piece of a dead tree is where they will grow. In the wild, they thrive on tree roots. For best success, choose Douglas-fir, spruce, birch, beech, or oak trees.
2. Get the right soil
Having a mushroom log doesn’t mean that you don’t need soil for your garden. Remember that mushrooms reproduce asexually, through spore production.
That means that aside from the log, they could also propagate around it or near it. This is the best advantage of having a garden. As long as you’re controlling the external factors, your mushrooms will multiply like skin fungi.
Chanterelles promulgate in soils with a low pH and that which have a drainage. If the soil pH level is too low, just add sodium chloride. In lay man’s terms, sodium chloride is table salt.
If the pH level is high, drizzle two tablespoons of lime to raise it. The most optimal pH levels for growing chanterelles are between 4 and 5.5, with 7 being neutral.
Getting the right alkalinity is integral for mushroom growth and reproduction. You can use a strip of pH paper to know the pH level of the soil around your grow kit.
3. Be timely even if others are not
If it isn’t July, August, or September, chances are you have to control the humidity and temperature of your indoor garden. In their natural habitat, rainfall greatly affects the size and growth rate of mushrooms.
In your man-made shroom garden, you can use a humidifier to produce a constant flow of water vapor. If you opt for a backyard mushroom garden, then plant during July.
4. Please loosen the soil
Unlike ornamental plants, you shouldn’t press down on the soil after placing mushroom spawns. Remember that they only grow well in a compact area. Before scattering the spawns, till or rake the soil first.
Make sure that it’s nice and loose. When you’re cultivating, don’t walk around the garden because your boots or shoes may compact the soil, preventing the spawns to proliferate.
5. Spread the spores
Sadly, chanterelles don’t produce that many spores when compared to other fungi. Therefore, the best method to grow a lot of them is to break an old chanterelle into pieces and spread the spores over your garden.
Alternatively, you can purchase a mushroom kit for cultivation.
When the conditions are just right, many mushrooms will grow. When it’s time to harvest, refrain from damaging the mycelium. Don’t just pull the mushrooms out. You’ll have to reuse your garden because mushrooms will definitely regrow on it again, so avoid damaging the growing areas.
Chanterelle Mushroom Log
The boxes of mushroom kits can serve as growing areas, but hand-cut logs are the most optimal environments. Some kits come with logs that have holes filled with spores. This is what you call a mycelium.
Whichever medium you choose, both are easy to maintain and setup. By covering them with cheese wax, you prevent insects from eating baby shrooms. Insects are the natural consumers of mushrooms.
Just keep them moist and you can harvest your gourmet delicacies in a few weeks. It’s that simple!
Jack O’ Lantern Mushroom Vs Chanterelle
Some mushrooms look very much like chanterelles. The most popular look-alike is the jack-o-lantern (Omphalotus olearius). Unlike common chanterelles, it’s bioluminescent and poisonous. Mistakenly eating one won’t kill you, but it can cause diarrhea and stomach cramps.
When distinguishing a jack-o-lantern from a chanterelle, look at the gills. The gills of the former are not forked; they are knife-like. Chanterelles, on the other hand, have forked gills. Their gills also appear melted.
You can also differentiate them from their colors. The color of jack-o-lanterns are darker than chanterelles, appearing orange-like. In contrast, most chanterelles have yellowish or whitish caps.
Chanterelle Grow Kits – What You Should Know?
What are they? What are grow kits? A grow kit is essentially a “fruiting block,” which can be activated at any time. The block could be the packaging itself (the box) or a pre-colonized log. When conditions are right, baby mushrooms will start sprouting from it.
You can use a grow kit on your garden, instead of foraging for old mushrooms and breaking them apart for planting. Or, you do both! Here are the best chanterelle grow kits for beginner mushroom gardeners like you.
Within ten days, you’ll see shoots sprouting from the block, and after ten more days, you can harvest shrooms for your next gourmet dish.
Some species of chanterelles are quite rare to find. And, for those who don’t know the basics of mushroom cultivation, their harvesting basket may just turn out empty even after days of preparation and gardening.
In truth, you don’t need to think much about mushroom cultivation. As long as you follow the guide and the tips and tricks above, surely, you’ll enjoy gardening for chanterelles and you’ll be able to reap the fruits of your labor.