“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” — Aldo Leopold
I have no intention of growing all of my own food. I also know that I am not going to heat my house completely with a wood stove. That said, there is a satisfaction to be had from having a meal with food you have grown, or building a fire with wood that you split with a maul. It gives us a connection to the earth that is otherwise lost to the convenience of grocery stores and climate control.
I love having a yard full of trees and shade, but those trees have led to multiple gardening failures. My tomato plants languish in the shade. I can grow some peaches, but the squirrels eat them long before they are ripe enough for human consumption. Raspberry vines grow but lack the sun needed to flower and fruit.
Instead of continued failures with gardening, or cutting down a tree or two to gain sunlight, I thought I would try my hand at growing a mushroom garden. It’s easy to go online and find some spore to get started. There is more than enough information on the web about how to grow edible mushrooms. Other than that, all I needed was a shady, moist environment, some hardwood logs without decay, a drill, and time.
Drilling and plugging the logs with spores goes fairly quickly. After that mushroom growing is largely a waiting game with some occasional watering when it occurred to me. After a year, I got a small batch of snow oyster mushrooms, not much, but a tasty treat. I was about ready to give up on my mushroom logs this fall, after 18 months, when I looked out my window to see a big batch of shiitake mushrooms showing me that I just needed more patience.
After a fine breakfast of mushrooms and eggs, I am going to hit the computer and find my next batch of mushroom spores. The logs I have should continue to produce more mushrooms, but I’ve got the urge to expand my mushroom garden. Due to the fact that I can find wood in abundance, and have ample shade, my fungal garden will expand. Yours can too with shade, water and some simple internet searches. Or better yet, shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.