Sunday, January 24, 2010

At Least It's Edible

Everyone has fungus in the bathroom (don't even try to pretend there's no mildew in your bathroom--I know the truth). We tend to have more than most, what with the stone walls and the cold and the steam and the perfect conditions for mold to grow. Gross. I wage a never-ending and pretty much losing battle against bathroom fungus at all times. So why did I decide to cultivate it voluntarily?

WELL. I'll tell you. (As if I wasn't going to tell you.)

While flipping through seed catalogs some months ago, I noted that the spruce tree stump outside the kitchen door seems to be perfect for mushrooms. You can buy the spores to inoculate stumps and logs from seed catalogs. So I mentioned that to the room at large, which at the time happened to contain A. and the MiL. And then I got a portabella mushroom growing kit from the MiL for Christmas. You see how this all connects?

The kits are not the straight-up inoculation spores that I had been looking at. The kits are pretty much self-contained little fungus gardens. You don't have to have anything yourself. Not even a container--you just use the box it comes in. There are detailed instructions included, with multiple steps required. Also multiple temperatures, which posed something of a logistical problem, since there are few places in our house that are 65-75 degrees at all times and are not accessible to the Devil Cat, who would find a box full of dirt to be irresistible for her dastardly deeds. Also, it must be dark. So the initial stage for the box took place in the downstairs bathroom.

The next stage involved misting with water regularly and a temperature of between 55-65 degrees. And dark. So the box was moved upstairs to the MiL's bathroom, which is generally not quite as warm as the downstairs bathroom, but is heated with a space heater and is, once again, safe from the Devil Cat and her deviltry.

It took awhile to get to this part, and there were other stages, but once I got past this stuff and the mushrooms actually appeared, they grew alarmingly fast. And before I knew it, I was heading upstairs with a bowl to harvest mushrooms from the bathroom. Which is not a place you normally anticipate finding edible things.

The Comet behind the mushrooms is NOT edible. Just so you know.

The kits are not an economical way to grow mushrooms, but they are pretty fun. Especially if you're not really a gardener and don't normally have the supplies around to grow things yourself. The instructions claim I can start the process over and possibly get more mushrooms from this one box, so I'll do that. And then I'll inoculate that spruce stump this summer and harvest some mushrooms that were not grown within eight feet of a toilet.

Modest goals, but they work for me.


sweetbird said...

I am almost completely certain that our bathroom boasts no mold or mildew - at least none that is visible. Ants, however? I will forever wage genocide against the ants that somehow always manage to find their way into our upstairs bathroom.


Anonymous said...

Good goin'. When you grow them outside....try shiitakes..we grew them in smaller fresh cut oak logs

there are some that will grow on soft wood stumps..chicken of the woods I believe they are called...
with the shiitakes you drill a hole tamp in the plug cover with wax and put them under some shade in the woods..usually the rain will be enough ...but if you think they are drying out you can soak them in say your rain barrel or other some such similar container with water..or the lake. The company I think we got ours from was 'field and forest'...'fungi perfecti' also sells around for the best deal...I think we got 100 plugs..we have had mushrooms every year and sometimes twice a year for the ten yrs since we plugged the logs..way more than they tell you they will fruit for. I dried them then(we had more than we could use fresh) put them in the freezer, they reconstitute beautifully. Cream of mushroom soup, yummy.
We also laid new logs in with them and let some of them go for spore for the new logs we put in the stack. And you plug them in about mid march. Have fun with it.

your sister from another mother/dad.

word verification 'dralsi'

southern mexican accent

Phoo-D said...

Wow - that is so totally cool. I'm impressed that they grew and are so big! What a fun project.

Daisy said...

I fear our bathroom has mildew that I can't see. We're replacing the rotted out grout and more soon, and I'm afraid to look behind the tub.

Linda said...

I just read your blog and it appears to be very interesting. Today's post is fascinating. Good luck. I learned a lot about mushrooms.

Linda said...

I just read your blog and it appears to be very interesting. Today's post is fascinating. Good luck. I learned a lot about mushrooms.

cndymkr / jean said...

First, stop peeking in my bathroom. Second, what a neat way to grow mushrooms. I'm not a fan of them but it would be a great science project.

FinnyKnits said...

Harvesting food from the bathroom, huh? I wonder if I could handle it...

Either way, it *does* look pretty cool. And, you know, fresh mushrooms ARE quite good. Especially without the Death Defying factor which comes from foraging.

Anonymous said...

First: To Sweetbird, spray those ants with Windex or any brand stuff with ammonia in it. Definitely rids the pests. Try to find out where they are coming from and unload on them.

Second: I don't know if I can get the courage to eat mushrooms that I would grow...maybe but I am not confident of that answer.

verification word: cepalit

Since the topic is bathrooms, lol, this word describes a match that is lit in the bathroom to refresh the air.