I’ve been trying to figure out how to make this whole shady yard, black thumb, shadow of death thing work for me in a gardening sense. I feel compelled to plant things in the spring, but then equally compelled to neglect them come mid-summer. Surely, there’s some kind of activity tailor-made for such a person. And then it hit me. Fungus!
Yes, that’s IT. Why didn’t this occur to me before? I have the perfect conditions: heavy shade, mossy dampness, complete lack of supervision. The last time I tried to grow anything with this winning trifecta, I kept having to pick out all the mushrooms that were crowding out my poor, anemic sprouts. Turns out, I should have eaten the sprouts and cultivated the toadstools instead.
Now, before you start interrupting, I know that my explosive history with mushroom digestion doesn’t make me the most likely candidate for such an endeavor. But not all edible mushrooms make me sick. Only some of them. And maybe now would be as good a time as any to nail down exactly which ones. My running tally looks something like this:
Shiitakes: No problem
Portobellos: Veeerrrrry bad
Truffles: Call an ambulance
Everything else can go either way. So, I could pick a mushroom that I know I can eat and even idiots can grow, if there exists such a specimen. Surely it would beat the game of Russian roulette that would be me foraging for them in the wild. I certainly suffer no shortage of adoration for them, and since when do I have to justify my irrational love to the likes of you people? I say, if love is a battlefield, then let it be littered with mushroom caps.
One out of one husband agrees: “Now you can combine two of your favorite activities: gardening and vomiting, only one of which you’re actually good at.” With an endorsement like that, I knew I’d better high-tail it to the library. Unfortunately, the book I wanted, Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, was out and had to be specially requested from another branch. I was sure to whisper the word “Medicinal” to the guy behind the desk so he wouldn’t get suspicious. He just winked, which was weird because I looked like shit.
Now I’m waiting impatiently for my book to arrive. I hate waiting because then there’s ample time for reality to set in. And the momentum required to cut down and inoculate logs with shiitake spawn is dissipating even as I type this. And how will I control the field? Even if I cover my budding bed of oyster mushrooms with a tarp or something, what’s to stop a lone poisonous spore from squatting in the compost? Would I even notice? Or care? More importantly, will I even read this book?
As with all the important decisions in my life, I put it out to you. Is this a stroke of brilliance or the worst idea ever? I’m open to all viewpoints as long as they’re the ones I want to hear. Does anyone have experience growing mushrooms?