If you have not had the enjoyment of eating a truffle, it is impossible to know its flavour since this type of mushroom tastes like nothing else. Many people often consider it as a speciality with an exotic, earthy, and heady scent. Once you have tried truffles, you won’t ever mistake them for other foods like parsnips or portabellas.
Truffles are perishable, seasonal, and costly. Compared to other edible mushrooms, it can also be more difficult to grow them. But with a bit of patience and the right methods, your venture would be lucrative. Keep reading to learn how to grow truffles in your garden.
Choose the right type of truffle
Truffles can be divided into two main types, white and black. While the black might be more lucrative to grow, both of them are valuable. This means the final decision will be up to you.
Just keep in mind that they only thrive in those areas with four distinct seasons, so don’t choose them if you are living in a very hot or cold area. In these cases, burgundy truffles can be a great alternative since they can grow in moderate climates.
Once you have selected the right type, just find a certified grower to purchase inoculated seedlings, which are young plants injected with truffles spores.
There are some tree varieties which support the growth of truffles that you can choose. A few common options include oak, beech, hazelnut, hornbeam, birch, poplar, or pine.
Find a suitable location to grow truffles
The total area to grow truffles will mostly depend on the number of trees that you plan to grow. But ideally, you should choose a large and open space to plant inoculated seedlings. This will provide them with a higher amount of nutrients which are essential lucrative results.
Because of the high costs of these mushrooms, there might be occasional intruders. Therefore, make sure your chosen area is secure and within the border of your property. Avoid any crowded road or plot which you can’t monitor regularly.
Also, it is important to check the pH level of the soil to make sure it is ideal for proper growth. The recommended range is from 7.5 to 8.3. This test can be done easily with an inexpensive testing kit or by the local agricultural organisation.
If the soil isn’t in the recommended pH range, then you should choose another area to grow since it is hard to control and change the pH of a large space.
Prepare the growing area
Since your truffles will require a lot of water to grow and thrive, you need to design and build an efficient irrigation system for watering. Ideally, it should be able to provide your garden with 2.5 centimetres of water every week. For a smaller area, you can simply use a long hose to provide your truffles with enough water.
As said earlier, truffles are so expensive that there will be many people trying to steal them. Also, wild animals can be attracted by their unique flavours. Thus, it is advisable to build a good fence around your garden to keep out these intruders. For enhanced protection, consider installing barbed wire or constructing an electric fence.
If you are just beginning with truffles, then it’s better to plant around ten inoculated seedlings. They should be within several meters of each other. For a larger crop, grow from 100 to 1000 trees on the chosen area.
The higher the number, the more likely the fungus spores can spread and flourish. Avoid planting your inoculated seedlings near trees which would host other kinds of fungi, such as nut trees, conifers, oaks, or poplars.
During the first few years after planting, weeds and other plants would consume valuable nutrients in the ground. Thus, make sure to get rid of all of them to boost the growth of your truffles.
However, it is not recommended to mow during the first two years. Instead, you should dig up weeds with a hoe. Avoid using toxic chemicals like weed killers on the plants or surrounding areas because they might go into the soil and poison your trees.
Watch this short clip for more useful information:
Harvest the truffles
It often takes at least five years to harvest the first truffles from your garden. Some types might be ready as early as three years or not until ten years after growing, but five years is the typical average. Before this point, do not dig into the trees’ base because it might damage your plants and prevent them from growing properly.
The ideal time for harvesting truffles is early winter before the ground begins to freeze, making it harder to dig up the base. To make it simpler for you when harvesting, it is a good idea to train your dog how to find, collect, and bring the truffles to you. This can be done easily with some positive reinforcement techniques. Another option is a female pig, but it is necessary to oversee it and prevent it from eating your valuable truffles.