wild about mushrooms

I can hear the rain outside and my iPhone link to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather site, NOAA, says chance of precipitation is 100%, which means a day off in estate gardener parlance. And the mushrooms are absolutely everywhere.  About three or four weeks ago, I suddenly realized how completely cool they are (where have I been, right?) and I’ve been researching them like crazy. All the women at work (fellow travelers, soul mates – those wild weed wenches!) have been presenting me with specimens and dragging me off to see particularly choice examples.

It seems like there are workshops everywhere.  I have already taken one and my second one, this Saturday, sounds like it is going to be absolutely fantastic. Today I found not one but two edibles, at least I think they are, a parasol mushroom at one client’s whose lawn soil came from a mushroom farm and puffballs in the driveway of another. Don’t worry, I’m not going to eat them, I’ll take them on Saturday to get the instructor’s opinion and then if they are good, I’ll strew the spores about our property in hopes of getting some of our own.

I discovered an incredibly entertaining and instructive read by Bill Bakaitis exploring the dangers of picking morels in old orchards (they used to spray with Lead Arsinate- who would have guessed!). It is a lovely in-depth article and I was thrilled to hear that people are using mushrooms in reclamation projects.  I just have to give you one lovely quote, “saprophytic fungi, especially those that can degrade lignin and produce white rot are known to be quite effective in degrading a wide range of herbicides and pesticides by external enzymatic degradation.” Wonderful huh! If you are interested in this, he pointed to Sarah Maloney (Pesticide Degradation, Ch. 8) in Fungi in Bioremediation by Geoffrey M. Gadd.

Many, dare I say most, of the estate gardeners that I know on the coast of Maine are doing their best to be cutting edge in the organic gardening front and have been since I first became an estate gardener (way back when, sonny). In fact, our area is such a hotbed of organic gardeners and farmers that I can pick up organic veggies and meats any day of the week from any number of my neighbors. As I was nursing ten minutes ago, I was feeling so grateful and relieved that I work and eat in such healthy environments.


2 Responses to “wild about mushrooms”

  1. Since our names are so similar, I had to reach out to you. I am also originally from Maine. Can you tell me your ethnic background? I am curious. I guess I’m looking to see if we might be distantly related.

    • Hello Bill- thank you so much for commenting! I am afraid I was merely gushing about a Bill Bakaitis who wrote an article on soil remediation with mushrooms, my name is not remotely anything like Bill Bakaitis. But Maine is a lovely place and I do understand wanting to connect in some way. It was a while ago that I wrote the article but I think if you were to look up mushroom soil remediation and Bill Bakaitis you would come upon him readily enough.

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