Hello everyone- how’s your pandemic going? (Never thought I’d start a post like that). I am one of the luckiest people I know: 2 weeks before our first Australian lockdown began, I moved house, up into the rainforest. I was blessed with an already-established veggie garden, and now I’ve improved it further.
I’m also expanding: moving into specifically-chosen, dappled sunlight zones, under trees, where I can grow mushrooms.
Not just any old mushrooms mind- and certainly not the ones which spring up round here after rain, gathered with glee by young folk who want to have a psychedelic experience… been there, done that, it was fun, no more thanks.
I’m talking seriously edible treats, commonly known as Wine Cap mushrooms, or King Stropharia– ideal for the home garden.
But first, the preparation. Mushrooms like to grow in the damp & dark; most of us who’ve survived share houses with cellars in our youth know this already.
I was advised by an expert: a layer of cardboard, then woodchips; another layer of cardboard, and another layer of woodchips. Dampen it all down, let it settle for a week, then insert the magical mycelium.
Onto it. (Let’s face it: not much else to do).
Once the bed was prepared (note artistic curve rather than straight line- again, not much else to do), I was given the treasured mycelium (which looked like mouldy old damp egg cartons, and that’s in fact exactly what they were).
But you see that white stuff? That’s the magic which is going to spread through my bed, talk to my trees, rejuvenate the soil, and gift me with a non–stop crop of mushrooms in about 3 months!
I just have to insert it, and wait. Water once a week if necessary. Add a thick layer of dark rich compost once the mycelium has spread its whiteness everywhere like snow, and watch the burgundy-topped mushrooms sprout up.
It feels a bit like Christmas anticipation, but not for mass consumption, over-spending, and overeating.
I’ve checked them once a week already: there is a little spreading to be recorded. Then my expert friend suggested I also use some mycelium-covered grain spores, so I’ve added them too (it was like feeding grain to the chickens
but without chickens).
The weather has been perfect lately, with sunny days and cool nights, plus scatterings of showers, so I’m looking forward to lifting a corner of the woodchip in a couple of weeks, and seeing what’s going on in there.
Nothing like a new hobby to help pass a pandemic. And also the messiest break up I’ve ever been involved in, but I’m not going to mention any more about it [What part of “Three months no contact please” is hard to understand?]
*sighs and rolls her eyes.
Despite the global disasters, Melbourne’s new strictest lockdown policy ever, and concerns for friends and family interstate or overseas, I’m feeling calm, quiet, focussed and playful.
Now bring on the magic of my mushrooms!
In gratitude for the ongoing abundance of Nature, despite humans, G xO