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Life Under Our Feet – and Fruit Over Our Heads

There is life under our feet. I have talked about living soil from time to time, but in his New York Times essay yesterday  Jim Robbins says that “One-third of living organisims live in  soil. But we know littel about them.” Well, of course I know about worms and  bugs and the mycellium that I can see, and I know the soil is full of microbes, but to think that one-third of ALL living organisims live in the soil is mind boggling. Research is going on about all this life and some of it is going on in Central Park.

“A teaspoon of soil may have billions of microbes divided among 5,000 types, thousands of species of fungi  and protozoa, nematodes, mites and a couple of termite species. How these and other pieces fit together is still largely a mystery.” What a revelation! It makes it clearer to me that it is really important to garden organically, putting food, as in compost, into the soil to feed all those organisims., and helping to maintain a healthy system.

The Sunday New York Times  also included a story by Patricia Leigh Brown talked about ‘fruit activists’  who are “using fruit to reclaim public land and expand ideas of art.” It seem apprpropriate to me that both these articles appeared on Mother’s Day, when we should also celebrate Mother Earth and think about the riches she showers upon us, and what we owe to her in gratitude and responsibility to care for and share those gifts.

The life under our feet, and the fruit over our heads are all gifts! Celebrate every day.

What Do You Know About Mushrooms?

Rory and the woodchip pile

When my grandson Rory visited this summer he helped with chores, like getting woodchips for the paths in the potager. We were amazed to find something unexpected hiding in the pile.

Mushrooms in the woodchip pile

Mushrooms!  At first we only saw the fine white roots but Rory kept digging very carefully and we came upon several groups of mushrooms. I don’t know anything about mushrooms, so I don’t know if these are edible. We didn’t test them out.

Winecap mushrooms growing in Al's woodchips

I’ve written about mushrooms before.  My neighbor Al has a mushroom nook, and some delicious winecap mushrooms growing under some shrubs in wood chips very much like these. You can read about that here. Obviously the mushrooms Rory found in the woodchip pile are not winecaps.

The fine white mushroom (fungi)  ‘roots’ we saw growing in the woodchip pile are called mycelium. Fungi help with decompostion of organic compounds in the soil and it has been suggested that they can be used for bioremediation of organic polllutants like petroleum products. One of my most viewed posts has been about mycellium used as strong, non-toxic, non-flammable insulation. You can read about mycotecture  here.