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I'm not sure which is the best category: "In The Field" or "Cultivating Mushrooms" as my question is more-or-less, about "Cultivating Mushrooms In The Field".

Several years ago I discovered a fairly, good-sized but apparently past its prime Maitake. Revisited following years, I've usually found it already "in full bloom" and able to harvest enough for several nice meals. It's returned again this year having just popped up sometime in the last few days. In the past, I'd made attempts to try to encourage it to spread and grow more. (See my earlier posts). I have no idea whether I can take credit, if it's due to anything I did but, this year, I've found the beginnings of four growing ...so far. All are still relatively small.

When I'm fortunate enough to find morels, puffballs etc. I typically harvest them on the spot - my understanding being that they've already grown as much as they will at that point and, from there on, its all downhill (though I have read of some folks that don't pick small morels presumably coming back later once they've grown larger?).

I know that Maitakes can potentially grow very large but don't know what the best, most responsible or efficient strategy is to manage one found at early stages. Is it better to cut all that's up and wait for another entire cluster as some do with spinach (My hunch says no) or take a few bits that you'll use that day?

If the latter, is there a difference whether one takes the bottom or tops first? or simply whatever's largest or oldest?
With plants, when you pinch a "terminal bud", multiples will growback in its place. Is there a similar mechanism with these: pinch off one ear to get two?

"Letting nature take its course" is usually the best course of action and what I'm guessing most will suggest but I'm wondering if there's anything one can do to "assist"; to help it be healthier, grow larger, more productive, better tasting, etc?

For those that are just peeking out from under a layer of leaves, is it more beneficial to them to remain well mulched or better if I cleared away some of the clutter to allow for more warmth, light, air circulation, etc.? On the flipside, would those growing without much debris be made happier if I provided them with some nearby rotted wood, decaying leaves? I don't know what their ideal growing conditions are but they're near enough that I could "get them out of bed" in the morning and "tuck them back in" every chilly night, if it'll help.

Supplemental watering? ..a bit of molasses or other nutrients in the water?

Thanks

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Hmmm... just let it grow and come back at a later time? If they grew to prime successive years I'm sure they'll do the same this year. Mushrooms have a way of sorting things out.

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