Wednesday, March 8, 2017

We are what we eat: fungi!

Photo close up of a log with red-brown mushrooms
Wild mushrooms instead of tame
Ah fungus;  how we love them.  Not a vegetable, not a fruit.  I've read they have more in common with animals than plants, but of course, they aren't animals either!  Fungus are more than just edible:  they are excellent decomposers and work hard in the soil to break down wood and other tough materials, to make nutrients available for plants.  They can even help with remediation of toxic materials and heavy metals--though you wouldn't want to eat this kind!

But the kind we eat, whether white button mushrooms or something more exotic, can be cultivated in the garden or in the house, and it's time for me to get started once more.

Pictured is a mushroom log, innoculated with bought spores two and a half years ago.  It's sprouting mushrooms, but not the kind I innoculated!  I can't remember if it was oyster or shiitake, but I'm confident those cute little reddy-brown things are neither;  we won't be eating them, sadly.

However, I've successfully grown oyster mushrooms in the garden in the past, using strawbales.  This year, 2017, I'll be attempting to grow some more (maybe oysters, maybe other varieties), though maybe on a different growing medium than straw.  I don't have a concrete plan just yet, but I may grow them indoors in buckets/bags, and I may try innoculating some new logs too.

Mushrooms are something we buy fairly regularly, yet I'm sure we can grow them easily and cheaply.  I look forward to our own mushroom harvest again this year, and hopefully for many years to come.

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