April Showers

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We’ve had many inches of rain over the past few weeks, and plants are erupting into production with the coming light and warming temperatures. Weiss Creek is up and flowing fast, but that’s not a guarantee of good moisture in the soil. There are typical signs of saturation, but the deep watering our large forest expects through very light rain all winter has not happened in years. Instead, heavy rain created fast runoff, not soaking in for the long haul of summer drought. The climate changes will continue to haunt this forest and many like it for decades to come. My western hemlock trees are starting to die, and they are the indicator species of drought in our temperate rain forests. Many of them are half dead, meaning that entire tree failure is inevitable. We will be seeing much more dramatic change in this lifetime, so get ready.

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The rains have also brought back our lovely fungal friends in the region, and I am happily wandering the property, looking for shy up and coming mushrooms. We had the worst season of chantrelles I’ve ever known last fall, and I hope these rains bring on a recovery bloom, because mushrooms are so good, so good.

Clockwise from top left: Gandoerma applanatum (artist’s conc), LBM-little brown mushroom (deer mushroom), Hirneola polytricha (black wood ear fungus), and a mystery white mushroom I don’t know yet! It’s endless exploration on the fungus front.

In other news of the fungi function, our mushroom logs are starting to perk up more. The mottling color continues to grow, indicating that inoculation has happened in the dead wood. Yay! With luck, these logs will be the first to produce yummy edible mushrooms for our farm by next fall. We’ve got many more logs to plug and set up before it gets too hot. Summer will be running at us full tilt before long, which dries up the environment and makes plug spawn unhappy.

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We are using red aldar, and plugging with Fungi Perfecti strains of shiitake, oyster, and turkey tail. I highly recommend this website to anyone interested in mushrooms! By ordering mushrooms at Fungi Perfecti, you’ll also be supporting great research on mycology to better humanity and the planet as a whole. It’s great to be cultivating these fungi on the landscape at Leafhopper Farm, and to see the wild ones popping up with the onset of spring.

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