How to Grow Mushrooms on Old Pallets

Written by mindy mcintosh-shetter
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How to Grow Mushrooms on Old Pallets
Morel mushrooms thrive in a garden soil full of oak mulch. (John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Morels are prized mushrooms that have some distinct requirements. For example, they like to grow near oak trees and also like their soil to be made from oak wood. Location is important because they thrive in the shade of an oak tree on a north-facing slope. They also require a constantly moist mulch through all the layers. Even though morels have unique requirements, they can be harvested as soon as the next season rolls around. However, if conditions are not perfect, harvest can be delayed years.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Hammer
  • Wrecking bar
  • Wood chipper
  • Old, oak pallets
  • Hatchet
  • Morel mushroom culture
  • Ash from burnt wood
  • Watering hose or can

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  1. 1

    Take apart oak pallets and remove all nails, screws, and staples using a hammer and wrecking bar.

    How to Grow Mushrooms on Old Pallets
    Creating oak mulch from old pallets is a great recycling project for the morel garden. (dumpster and pallet image by Lucid_Exposure from
  2. 2

    Run oak pallet slats through a wood chipper or strip pieces off with a hatchet.

    How to Grow Mushrooms on Old Pallets
    If a wood chipper isn't available, create oak chips with a hatchet. (hatchet in a green grass image by Ivo Velinov from
  3. 3

    Pick a shady location on a north-facing slope to build a 4-by-8-foot bed. Remove all grass and weeds from the area.

    How to Grow Mushrooms on Old Pallets
    Morels in the wild can be found in the shade of oak trees. (oak tree image by Zlatko Ivancok from
  4. 4

    Mix the oak-chip mulch with wood ash. Moisten the mixture, then lay a thick layer of the mulch on the bedding area.

    How to Grow Mushrooms on Old Pallets
    Save ash from a fireplace to help create the morel "soil.' (fuoco image by guby20 from
  5. 5

    Sprinkle morel spores evenly over the prepared garden area. Cover the bed with 3 inches of premoistened oak-chip mulch.

    How to Grow Mushrooms on Old Pallets
    Premoisten the mulch and ash soil before applying it to the prepared garden. (pine bark mulch image by robert mobley from
  6. 6

    Water the prepared bed until all layers of the oak mulch are moist. Check the layers with your fingers and water accordingly.

    How to Grow Mushrooms on Old Pallets
    Use a watering can or hose to water the morel garden. (watering tools image by palms from

Tips and warnings

  • Rent a wood chipper from a local garden centre or home improvement centre.
  • Before planting morel spores, check to make sure they are still viable. If they are green, they are no good.
  • Burn some of the oak planks and apply the aches to bed to mimic the natural growing conditions of morels.
  • When planning the morel garden, make sure there is a water source nearby or enough hose to reach the bed.

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