Truffles are a famous delicacy admired by gourmets around the world. The unusual taste and complexity of cultivation make these mushrooms a rare and valuable product, the farming of which promises a decent profit. Mushroom lovers from different countries have been trying to grow truffles at home or in greenhouses for many years. But can you farm truffles?
Is it possible to farm truffles? It is possible to farm truffles. The planting site must contain soil that is saturated with air, hummus, and calcium. The substrate should not contain stones or rocks. The soil must be treated for parasites and diseases. The optimum temperature for truffle farming is 20-22 degrees.
Why Are Truffles Hard to Farm?
Why is it hard to grow truffles? Truffles are hard to grow because they are very capricious. The formation of fruit bodies occurs when exposed to favorable conditions such as an increase in temperature, moderate humidity, sufficient saturation of the soil with air. You will also need to purchase mycelium and prepare a nutrient medium in which the mushrooms will be grown.
Can I grow truffles at home? Yes, you can grow truffles at home. Truffles are grown in three stages:
- Transplanting the truffle mycelium to a place favorable for growth;
- Cultivation of planting truffle embryos from fruit bodies;
- Planting young truffle embryos.
Mushrooms are grown by transplanting seedlings of various tree species with developed truffle mycelium.
Can you grow white truffle? No, you cannot grow white truffles, you can only grow black truffles. White truffles grow only in some regions of Italy and France, in limited areas, which is why the price of truffles in the USA and around the world is so high.
Can you mass-produce truffles? Yes, you can mass-produce truffles. First of all, you must find land on which you will grow the truffles. You will need to purchase planting material, equipment, and fertilizers. Also, do not forget to register the truffle mass-producing business so that your activity is legal.
If you decide to mass-produce truffles, and you have the opportunity to wait for 3-4 years, then you can get a good profit. Up to 10-15 kg of mushrooms can be harvested from one hectare. There are usually no problems with sales, and elite restaurants buy this product with pleasure. If the quality of the truffles meets all the standards, then you can find a buyer abroad.
A truffle grown under artificial conditions will cost less, and you can sell a kilogram of mushrooms for about $ 500. This is a costly and long-term business, as it takes several years to wait for the first harvest, but it is interesting and profitable.
When harvesting comes, the mushrooms must be removed carefully so as not to damage the mycelium and the body of the mushroom itself. If it has an “illiquid” form, then its cost will drop sharply.
Truffle Growing Conditions
What conditions are needed to grow truffles? The soil must be saturated with air, hummus, and calcium. The soil should not contain any rocks or other plants or mushrooms. Truffles do not like winds, direct sunlight, and cold weather. Truffles require a temperature of 20-22 degrees. Animals and other plants should not be anywhere near the truffle growing site.
Choosing a Place to Farm Truffles
The natural habitat for truffles is in the southern regions of Europe, where the climate is not too hot and at the same time not too humid. Since these mushrooms are extremely demanding on the environment, only residents of the southern regions can afford to grow truffles.
What environment do truffles grow in?
- Open ground. As mentioned above, this option is only suitable for regions with a constantly warm climate, since during the cold weather there is a high risk of truffle’s “death”. What trees do truffles grow under? Truffles grow under the oak, walnut, and beech.
- Greenhouse. The truffle greenhouse can provide ideal micro and macro flora all year round. However, setting up a greenhouse will require a significant financial investment, which can only be justified if you plan to grow truffles as a business. Otherwise, spending on a heating system, ventilation, air humidification, and expensive soil will not pay off.
- In the basement. This is the best answer to the question “Where to grow truffles indoors?”.The basement is good because you don’t need to spend money on its construction, and it does not depend on the influence of wind, hail, snow. However, the equipment will also cost a pretty penny. Moreover, the basement will require additional disinfection and treatment with antibacterial substances.
It is better to plant the future mushroom in open ground in late spring or early summer when there will be no frost guaranteed. You can plant mycelium in the basement and greenhouse at any time of the year.
Modern mushroom pickers cultivate three main varieties of gourmet mushrooms: white, black, and Chinese. Each of them can be found in natural conditions and tried to grow planting material from the mycelium on their own.
Truffles grow on oaks and beeches. You can grow truffles on the sawdust of trees or their root system. The first method is easier because it is easier to work with at home.
Shredded trees are infected with mycelium and placed in a sterile, warm place until the formation of mycorrhiza — the union of the spores of the fungus and the tree. When the mycorrhiza has taken root, it can be used for planting. However, this will not happen earlier than a year.
An easier option would be to buy ready-made planting material from a trusted supplier. Such material is often sold already in a substrate, which is planted in the soil in small handfuls. To do this, dug holes 25–75 cm deep at a distance of 2 square meters. from each other. Before planting, pour the water into the hole, put a layer of hummus, and place a layer of hay or sawdust (up to 200 mm thick) on top of the mycelium.
The first harvest will be insignificant since it takes at least a year for the normal growth of the mycelium. At this stage, many mushroom growers become discouraged and stop growing truffles. The normal yield will be only for 3-4 years, and it will grow each year afterward.
Truffle Care and Growing Rules
Indoor truffles can benefit from supplements containing copper, boron, zinc, calcium, and iron. Nitrogen, phosphate, and potash fertilizers will be useful, too.
Truffle does not tolerate weeds, fallen and dry foliage, other plants besides those useful to it on the site. Poplar, spruce, and chestnut are especially harmful to it. Also, the mushroom does not tolerate interaction with animals, in particular pigs, which are considered “hunters” for truffles.
In winter, plants in open ground are mulched to protect the planting site from freezing as much as possible. In the spring, the land should be treated against parasites and pests.
The main pests for these mushrooms are pigs and hares, so care must be taken that they cannot enter the site. Insects such as black cockroaches and weevils can also be harmful.
A ripe mushroom has a bright earthy smell with a nutty flavor. If the mushrooms are not yet ripe, they will have a reddish tint. Dig up the truffles by hand using a spatula, but this must be done carefully and carefully to cause minimal damage to the mycelium.
It takes about 5 years to form the crop when the truffle l is formed at a depth of 20–45 cm underground. It is the fruit part that is eaten.
During harvesting, the mushrooms are carefully dug up. Any damage to the fruit negatively affects not only the appearance (the mushroom can rot)but also the taste. To avoid crop losses, dig up the truffles carefully and place them on a flat surface with a layer of soft straw.
The average weight of a mature truffle mushroom is 500–1200 g, and the total weight of the crop can exceed 9 kg.