Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Every spore is sacred, every spore is good ...

When I was reading about mushrooms recently I learned about spore printing, whereby you place an opened mushroom, gills down, onto a piece of paper. Over the course of about 24 hours, enough spores fall out of the mushroom to create a print. Then, if you really know your spores, you can examine them to identify the precise parent mushroom species.

I imagined that the spores would be hard to see. Not so!

We picked our latest mushroom from the garden yesterday. I placed it on a piece of paper towel to catch the spores, and 24 hours later, I had my very first mushroom spore print:

These spores will be buried in some nice moist compost and kept in a gloomy place, to see if we can get some casings growing, and, in due course, more mushies. Fingers crossed!

Reading about growing mushrooms from spores on the internet, I'm left with the distinct impression that it's practically impossible to do, without a laboratory full of experts. We shall see. It certainly makes one wonder where the mushrooms in the backyard came from. Goodness only knows how nature ever coped before men in lab coats with sterile glassware arrived on the scene!


The title of my post was, of course, inspired by Monty Python:



  1. Now I understand about the oil spill in the Gulf being an act of god - it's because of heretics like you and me who have been wasting gallons of the stuff!

  2. I find mushrooms to be quite mysterious and enticing. "Stuff" happens under the ground ... then mushrooms grow up. Far more complex than just planting a seed and watching it come up (as cool and amazing as that is!).

    This thing of "you can only do it with complex expensive equipment" is just one more example of how our society always tries to tell us that more complexity (not less) is the answer to all of our problems.

  3. Have you read Paul Stamets' books on mushrooms? He has a fascinating vision.
    about Monthy Python: I had forgotten about that one!