When I was a kid, my Mother would make me cream of mushroom soup for lunch. The soup was ok but I hated the mushrooms and would always pick them out and not eat them. As I have reached my senior years I still don’t like mushrooms but realize they are very valuable in the garden and for the ecology of the soil. Their mycelium (roots) permeate through the mulch and soil and help plants obtain nutrients and water by providing more root surface area for absorption.
Here are pictures of the many different types of mushrooms growing at Dawn Gardens. I don’t know the names of most of these but many are beautiful in their colors and their intricacies.
Most of these mushrooms grow in the thick layers of mulch that we apply at Dawn Gardens breaking it down to the basic nutrients.
We apply 2″ of shredded cedar mulch over the soil after planting an area and if the plants haven’t covered the area in 3 years we will add another 1-2″. After 2-3 years we have found that there are lots of mushroom mycelium and worms present making the soil much more fertile and porous.
The next 3 photos are of mycelium growing in the soil and mulch:
Mushrooms growing in the wood chip mulch on the road:
Oak Root Fungus:
The above 4 photos are of Oak root fungus mushrooms which are edible but can cause the death of Oak trees and other garden plants. Most other mushrooms are beneficial in the garden.
See “Oak Root Fungus” post on this blog for Oct. 13, 2019.
Look at the beauty and circular symmetry of these 3 mushrooms above.
Mushrooms growing inside a valve box.
Fairy ring is a circle of mushrooms that gradually grows outward as it invades new organic material: