The Fungus Files

Watching Our Mushrooms Grow

THIS MONTH we received a ‘grow your own’ edible grey oyster mushroom kit, sent by Lemos & Crane from the generous Kew Gardens.  With a growing fascination for the world of fungi I was keen to see these wonders grow so eagerly put my hand up to be their caretaker. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing the progress of our Glazebrook mushrooms with you in a series of posts.

A FEW Fungus File Facts to shine a small light on fungi and why they are such incredibly fascinating beings:

  • it’s estimated there are more than 1.5million different species of fungi
  • fungus is the latin word for ‘mushroom’
  • fungi are more similar to the animal kingdom than the plant kingdom
  • you probably ingest them every day without realising as the yeast that makes bread is a kind of fungus & fungus is also used to make cheese
  • certain types of fungi act as networks below the ground connecting individual plants and trees together and helping them share water, carbon, nitrogen, other nutrients and minerals
  • they’ll eat almost anything that once was alive and are considered the ‘planet’s clean up crew’
  • many species have invaluable medicinal potential for us humans

 

Fungus Files: Part One

The process of setting up the mushroom farm started off with putting 2 kettles full of hot water over the bag of straw provided and then leaving it tied off for the night to cool.  After many incidents of burning my hands I’d suggest this is a two-person job in future!

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The following morning, 20th March – suitably, the Spring Equinox – I drained all the water off the straw and mixed in the packet of fungal mycelium, shaking it through the straw to ensure even distribution.

The beautiful warm nourishing smell of the soaked straw made me envious of their new home.  As I believe all plants, fungi, trees, animals are able to sense our intention and emotions I made sure I sang a joyful song to the mycelium as they settled into their new straw home…

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They now sit on my kitchen counter and each morning I peer in eager to see their transformation. Kew recommends weekly check ups so perhaps I’m being a little over eager. To be continued!

The Fungus Fan

 

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