Mushrooms are not actually complete plants but the flowering part of a mycelium, a type of fungus that forms colonies and feeds on decaying matter. The reliable way to move these primitive plants is to spawn and infuse them, using a process that corresponds to some extent to vegetative reproduction. Bill Blakaitis, founder of the Mid-Hudson Mycological Society, offers a less complex process for transplanting compost-loving mushrooms that depends in large part on luck for success.
Things You'll Need
- Hardwood leaves
- Well-rotted manure
- Hand trowel
- Plastic bag
Start a leaf compost pile the autumn before you plan to transplant your mushrooms. Locate your compost pile in the shade, preferably under low-growing trees. Use leaves from hardwood trees such as oaks, elms and maples.
Supplement your compost pile with well-rotted manure to introduce extra nitrogen and keep it moist, not wet.
Locate compost-loving mushrooms such as spring Morchella esculenta (Morels), autumn Lepista nuda (Blewits) or Stropharia rugoso-annulata (wine caps) that have been grown in a kit or that grow wild in your area. Find mushrooms that are just beginning to bloom.
Dig straight down around the mushrooms to raise a clump. Lift at least 6 inches of earth to capture the little filaments called hyphae that are the actual fungi that send up the blooms.
Put the clump in a large plastic bag, mushrooms included. Keep the contents moist as you carry the colony to its new home. Do not seal the bag because the temperature of the compost will begin to rise, killing the hyphae.
Open a space near the edge of your compost pile. Scrape up a bit of earth and turn out the colony onto the earth.
Re-cover the colony with compost. You may find mushrooms growing next spring or fall, depending on species.
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