06 July 2011

Wild Mushrooms for Ecosystem Development

Found in a tucked-away corner of the garden, just near the cottage...

They're all growing on live wood - the mushrooms that appear to be in the grass are really growing on exposed tree-roots. I am still trying to positively identify the mushroom species. Possibly Paxillus involutus, according to our not-very-useful mushroom book, but the colouring seems to indicate some other relative.

I guess that the mushrooms will kill the tree in time. The death of this particular tree will be a win - it is an alien. There are two of them that form a very nice little secluded glade where visitors staying in the cottage can enjoy an evening braai1, or just quietly commune with nature. That's why we built a wooden bench there.

One neighbourhood friend keeps telling us that we really should chop these two trees down, but they're really not terribly invasive aliens... we have never seen any seedlings growing in all the years we've been here, and the trees produce thousands of seed every year.

Now we can tell him that we've found an eco-friendly biological control! ;-)

I am extremely impressed with Paul Stammets's ideas on using fungi as part of permaculture designed ecosystems. This is, in part, my reason for starting on our Mushroom Cloning Adventures - so that we can explore the notions of speeding-up wood decomposition for use in Hugelkultur, but without the 3 year wait for it to become productive, whilst simultaneously reaping a useful harvest of Mushrooms. I certainly plan to explore and develop these ideas further in these writings, and in our everyday quest for self-sufficiency and an eco-friendly income.

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