Saturday, April 14, 2012

our homestead: mysterious discovery

While weeding around my garlic patch this morning, pulling up big clumps of chickweed to give to the Muscovys, I accidentally pulled this up! A morel mushroom! My first thought was, "No way! This has to be a frozen morel I tossed in the compost by mistake!", but sure enough, after digging around under the chickweed I found its little stump in the ground. I have a few theories as to why this mushroom is in my garlic patch. 1) I used some cardboard to mulch this area while I was expanding my planting bed, so perhaps one box was from a case of morel mushrooms and some spores or mushroom fragments remained, or 2) There's something present in this soil that's conducive to morel growth, whether it be all of the straw and alfalfa I've worked into my bed or rotting wood hidden below. Last summer I did try to cultivate a morel patch under one of my old apple trees by starting a small log on fire at its base and then scattering morel bits all around the log and into the soil, working ashes deep below. I've read that morels love growing on the root networks of hardwood trees, especially old apple trees, and that they often show up after there's been a forest fire. So peculiar. I didn't eat this mushroom, as it could be a false morel. But I'm pretty sure it was edible! I buried it under my apple tree. In any case, this must mean that it's starting to be morel season, so if anyone is a good picker, I'd get on out there and look.

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