Time to put out mummy berry plots for next year

Now is the time to collect mummy berries to put out your own plot.  It is easy to set out plots and it will provide you with valuable information next spring on when the fungus is active in your field.  You will need to look at the plot in the spring about 2 times a week.

  1. Collect about 60 to 150 mummy berries (20 to 50 for each mummy berry plot).  Mummies can come from crop fields, from the process line or winnow piles if you have them.  Some clones or the edges of fields will have more mummies.  There are usually  more mummies under plants with a few visible mummies on the stems. If you need to store the mummies, keep them in a paper bag in the shade.
  2. Find three locations in next year’s crop field.  Locations in flat areas among the plants work best. Choose areas  (3” by 3”) that look like they have damp soil most of the time AND will be easy for you to access next spring.  If you have different exposures, soil types or large shaded areas in your field you may want to place your mummy berry plots around your field to get the full range of when the mummy berries develop. The areas should not be on slopes where the mummy berries will be washed away, in hollows where they will be water-logged or in areas with lots of frost-heaves.
  3. Place the mummies in the plots.  Scrape off the leaf litter to the side, then scrape off the  top 1/4” of hard packed soil and put aside. Place about 20 to 50 mummy berries on the surface of the soil and press the mummy berries firmly into the soil (with your fingers or step on them).  Cover the mummy berries with a small amount of dirt (1/4”) on top and press them firmly down again. You should just have the mummy berries covered with soil. Replace the leaf litter over the mummy berries again.
  4. VERY IMPORTANT: Stake or flag the plots on either side so you can locate them in the spring.  Two stakes or flags makes it much easier to figure out where to look in the spring.

We are looking for growers who are willing to check their mummy berry plots twice a week and report to me on the development of the mummy berry cups. We want to place our weather stations in fields with monitored mummy berry plots next year. Please let me know if you would be willing to put out a mummy berry plot and have a weather station in your field.

If you want to put out a plot and want some help setting it up, we can give you a hand.  Please contact Seanna Annis at 207.581.2621 or via email at sannis@maine.edu  if you need any help or have any questions.

mummy berry 50 mummy berries before being covered by soil; 3 inches