Mushrooms and Leaves
Well the Malabar Spinach has won, I’m not picking it anymore. First it started producing tiny leaves. Then it began to taste a little bitter. Now it’s forming small brown circles on the leaves. Very unappetizing. On the other hand the Swiss chard looks shiny and crisp so I’ve been picking the tender sides of the leaves and leaving the stalks behind. It looks just like spinach in the zip lock bags so I’ll see if I can fool the cook . We want our chard to taste like spinach, our fish to not be fishy, and our ham not to have “that pig taste”. Our beets can taste like dirt though.
Mushrooms are popping up everywhere. First rain always starts them off and they’ll be in full swing by November. The ugliest ones this year seem to be in my garden. I’ll wash my hands after I pull them. One year there were so many different kinds in the woods that I wondered where I’d been. I could stand in one spot, turn in a circle, and count six different kinds. I could walk for an hour and never be out of sight of them.
There was much fungus among us that year . Lots of times I find half eaten ones or pieces here and there, and am reminded that wildlife feed on them. The years that I don’t see so many may be because they get eaten before I get there.
I finally got to rake leaves today. Sounds crazy huh? My garden pathways were all muddy because the mulch had decomposed, and my walks in the woods were through a thick carpet of leaves, so I’ve been chomping at the bit. If you have to wear rubber boots in your garden you probably don’t have enough mulch. I’ve got a leaf blower but I don’t like using it. Sometimes old people don’t like noise, and will hurry to get the job done just to turn the damn thing off.
It’s funny that when I’m raking the leaves in the pasture under the oak trees, I see the exposed dirt as a place where I’m allowing the grass to germinate and grow thicker turf. A good thing. When I’m raking the Apple tree leaves off the lawn, I see the exposed earth as a negative thing that needs to be mulched.
We really shouldn’t grow grass under our fruit trees because it robs them of moisture and nutrients. The best mulch to use is compost because it decomposes so quickly, but no one has enough to surround their fruit trees and garden plants. Straw would be excellent but it might blow around too much to remain decorative. I think the easiest is to use bark mulch and apply a time release fertilizer each spring.