Baby mushrooms! I think I squealed when I saw them. I think I actually squealed.
It’s been about a month since I “planted” my oyster mushroom spawn, and it didn’t really look like anything was happening at all. But then I poked around in there and I could see all these white fibers spiderwebbing their way through the material. Mushroom mycelium! That’s the real body of a mushroom—that fibrous network that colonizes whatever material is being broken down. This hidden matrix can extend for acres in nature, I’ve read. The caps we eat are just the fruits of the larger organism, the gills of which house and disperse the spores for reproductive purposes. Yes, once again, we humans have been tricked into propagating the genes of another species. Color me happy to oblige.
Since we’ve had so little rain lately, I supplemented my daily misting with a few extra cups of water just for kicks. Mushrooms appeared the very next day. It shouldn’t be long now before the bucket is filled. Once the fruits are established, they grow by cell enlargement rather than cell division, meaning they basically balloon out in direct proportion to the available water supply. Within reason. I restrained myself from leaving the hose on all night for the good of the neighborhood. Property values are down enough as it is without having to explain the towering fungus.
I’ll tell you all about the shiitake logs next week.