27 March 2012

Mushroom Season

The Fuzzys still don't feel confident enough to eat any wild mushroom less distinctive than a Morel but we sure are fascinated by the wide variety of fungi we have on the farm.

I was out at Mr. Fuzzy's garden the other day to harvest some of the last mustard greens when I spotted a new sort of mushroom on last year's compost pile. It seems to like that old chicken litter! Then, last night, I spotted the little brown one in the pots of baby perennials.

We have become increasingly interested in what fungi do in the environment- which is a lot more than simply breaking down dead plant material or providing tasty chunks of fat absorbing deliciousness. "Exospores" bind to plant roots and break down mineral nutrients for their hosts, "endospores" move into plant tissues and neutralize poisons for the plant. When isolated, some species are even capable of metabolizing PVC or neutralizing lead by turning it into beautiful (chloro)pyromorphite crystals.

As before, I'm writing with a handicap so let's see what the fairies do with the pictures. AsI'm not able to embed links either, here are ones to the PVC discovery: http://www.psfk.com/2012/03/plastic-eating-fungi.html
and to the lead story:

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