The Content Of The Article:
- Forgotten sites and nature conservation
- Win-win situation for mushroom and tree
- Truffle farming is afforestation
- Why dog instead of pig?
- Special demands on the ground
- The tree needs the right location
- Truffles grow slowly
- Better no competition!
Truffles are indispensable in the upscale kitchen. The delicious mushrooms - more precisely their fruiting bodies - bring a fine hazelnut aroma to many dishes, are processed in desserts and are extremely cost-intensive. About 50% of the world's most consumed truffles come from the breed and are not collected in nature. Also in Germany you can grow the mushrooms.
Forgotten sites and nature conservationTruffles are traded at 200 to 600 euros per kilogram, in the organic segment, the delicious mushrooms may even be more expensive. However, almost all truffles eaten in Germany are imported - the cultivation of mushrooms is considered very complicated, and natural occurrences may not be collected in Germany. For a long time Germany was quite a truffle country. The locations of the particularly sought after Burgundy truffles, which can be used very well in the kitchen with their hazelnut flavor, were forgotten at some point between the last two world wars. And when they became interested in truffles in Germany at some point, they were untraceable. Therefore, the mushrooms are now under conservation and may not be collected or excavated for any other reason. With one exception: For research purposes, special permits are issued time and again.
So far, the mushrooms have not been well researched. It is known that in Germany different types of truffles occur in nature, which depend on the one hand on the altitude and the climate, on the other hand also on the soil condition. The mushrooms do not live alone, but enter into a symbiosis with a young tree. If they get along with the seedling, they get used to each other for about five to seven years. Only then does the fungus begin to form fruiting bodies. Why which fungus with which kind of tree enters into a symbiosis (and why it sometimes does not work) is still almost unknown.
Win-win situation for mushroom and treeWhat many people do not know: each tree enters into a symbiosis with different fungi in its root system. The mushrooms form a fine network in the soil, which extends over many square kilometers and covers entire forests. Through this network, mushrooms help trees absorb nutrients and water. Conversely, the trees supply the mushrooms with carbohydrates, which the trees generate by means of photosynthesis and to which the fungi would otherwise have no access. A forest is thus always much more than the visible network of trunks, branches and foliage above the earth. Under the earth are the really important communities.
Trees do not just go with mushrooms from the truffle family of such communities. In question are many different types of mushrooms. When and why which tree with which fungus enters a marriage, one does not know exactly. But one knows that a grown-up tree does not make new communities, and that the fungus dies when the tree is felled. That applies to all such symbioses. Mushrooms that bind to trees in this way are also called mycorrhiza.
Truffle farming is afforestation
- different oak species
- different types of beech
Who is interested in the cultivation of truffles, can order here no truffle spores, but only seedlings. It is therefore with every private truffle breed to build a piece of forest.And so that feels comfortable at the new location, it will be investigated, where exactly the trees are to be settled. The type of truffle vaccinations ultimately depends on the location.
Tip: Truffle farming needs patience!
It will take a few years for the trees to feel so good that the mushrooms in their root system can form fruit bodies and be harvested. During this time, all future truffle farmers must exercise patience. Since both the root system of the trees and the fine mesh of the mushrooms are very sensitive, one should do without test holes in the soil around the tree. Better for the search is a truffle search dog, which strikes only where there really is a ripe fruiting body in the ground.
Why dog instead of pig?
- Dogs are easy to educate.
- Dogs are agile and motile.
- Dogs are playful and can be kept as family animals.
- Dogs dig well and do little damage to tree and fungus.
- Dogs do not eat truffles, but wait for their reward.
Special demands on the groundMushrooms are sensitive. If you think of mushrooms directly in mold, which settles pretty much everywhere, that may not be suspected: But truffle crops are very demanding in terms of the soil. They want calcareous soils that have a pH of more than 7. A value of 8 seems to be optimal. Truffles like it slightly alkaline, and the soil must be loose. Good ventilation is a prerequisite for healthy growth of tree and fungus. Tone-rich soils do not like truffles. The soil must not be too wet, because waterlogging does not tolerate the fungi. But they do not like dryness either. In Germany, burgundy truffles are usually grown because they get along very well with the climate, soil and the local trees. In general, however, other truffle species can be used in the garden.
Needle plants often leave the soil acidic, which is why truffles are rarely found near coniferous and mixed forests. A vegetation only with deciduous trees seems ideal, even if in Radolfzell spruce with truffle vaccine are offered. Climatically, truffles prefer locations with light ground frost, which always occurs only on short notice. Longer lasting minus temperatures in the double-digit range cause the fruiting bodies to die off, while minus single-digit temperatures promote the growth of the fruiting bodies.
It is generally said that truffles feel very good in the vicinity of aromatic herbs. This not only applies in the kitchen, but can also be considered as a rule of thumb for breeding in the garden: If the soil is suitable for the cultivation of tasty (and -fragrant) kitchen herbs, then truffles probably feel well there. The truffles must not stand too dry, especially their tree needs water. This is especially true in the phase immediately after planting.
The tree needs the right location
Now you should make sure that the growth directly under the tree is not too dense and the soil is well ventilated. In the field, the latter should of course be given thanks to the organisms living in the soil, namely earthworms and relatives. Incidentally, the ideal time to grow the tree is autumn. In the spring, even before the first leaf drive, this can happen. A location with summer temperatures of about 17° C to 40° C and in winter a temperature cut of about -5° C is considered ideal for truffles and trees.
However, winter temperatures should not be lower, mushrooms do not like it. Especially successful are mixed cultures of different deciduous trees, which were inoculated with the truffle spores. However, hazelnut shrubs are associated with a much higher workload: the soil around these shrubs must be cleaned in autumn.Falling leaves and branches acidify the soil, something the truffles do not like.
Truffles grow slowlyIf the roots of the young tree have been vaccinated with truffle spores, the fungus will form a fine network of hyphae in the coming months and years. This is the so-called mycelium. Five years will pass before the first truffles can be harvested, because the mushroom takes a long time to really form fruiting bodies. The best harvest time for the mushrooms is somewhere between autumn and winter. Depending on climate, soil and current weather conditions, it can extend from July to February of the following year. During all these months, the fungus underground again and again fruiting bodies, which can be harvested.
Whether there are ripe truffles under the ground, the truffle dog determines. If you do not have such a trained dog, you can carefully remove the upper layers of the earth yourself by hand and look it up:
- Do not use blades or other equipment!
- Gently loosen the soil with gloved fingers!
- Only move the upper layers of the earth!
- The earth again and again push back carefully!
Tip for the kitchen: Not every truffle is one too.