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August 2016

On Mushrooms and Soil

Critters arenít the only invaders in our container gardens, now moved to ground level against the white stucco wall in the sun. This entails schlepping lots of water but such is the joy of gardening!

The critters referred to are of the fungi kind: a member of the genus Coprinus, the Inky Cap mushrooms, and quite possibly Coprinus plicatilis, Japanese parasol mushroom. According to The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, this species is edible, though others range from poisonous to hallucinogenic and they are some of the most common urban/suburban fungi. Habitat ranges from decaying wood (trees) and lawns to garden soil bought at Walmart! (Why did I ever?)

Suffice it so say that everything has had a hard time growing in this soil, except for the mushrooms which appear every morning and die down by evening. They thrived among the kale and red French leaf lettuce. We eat both with no reaction, being careful to avoid the delicate fungi.

The tomatoes and peppers are catching up for lost time, though. Pompeii and San Marzano lead the pack, followed closely by poblano peppers and kohlrabi. Beefsteak tomatoes and cayenne are close behind and lettuce and kale and, finally, cabbage are bringing up the rear.

Parsley, Greek oregano and thyme are gorgeous, though one by one borage bit the dust after completely flopping every day, then standing back up again. We did manage to blend a bit in a smoothie, which was quite good.

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