THIS Week !!

Finally, it’s here in the Great Valley of East Tennessee. Conditions are perfect for a Wonderful Week of morel hunting beginning this weekend.. The ground has been wet for months. This past Saturday we got .75 inches at my house. Today the temp is going up to 70 and will be in the 70′s until Saturday (5 days) with night time lows around 50+. Then on Friday, there will be scattered showers as a cool front comes through. This will keep the leaves down as well as refresh the moisture. I believe it will be wonderful morel hunting this weekend if you are in the right place. Can’t wait, so I’m going after ramps tomorrow. The ones in my backyard have emerged so it’s time to get to the woods.

Fairy  In the meantime . . .  we put in some trout lillies about 10 years ago. They have been spreading but not blooming, which is normal for a beginning patch. Last year we had three blooms, which was a hint that the patch(s) are reaching maturity. So, this year we have about 15 blooms in three different patches. It has been a joy to watch Spring come in with such a delightful flower.

My friend Charles Woolum (R.I.P.) always said that morels come in when the blue bells are blooming. Here is a blue bell in my backyard  beginning to bloom.BlueBells

The blood root has been around since my last post, but we are still seeing some new blooms.


Whitey – Monday 3/31/2014

Foaraging & Cultivating

bloodrootMy bloodroot is up as well as twin leaf, and trout lilies.

I believe last night will be the last of the cold weather. The forecast is for warming with highs near 60 and lows approaching high 40′s or 50 over at least the next five days. There is predicted rain for Friday and Saturday as the warm front moves through. Therefore, I predict great conditions for the annual AMC morel foray next weekend. I will be scouting, and maybe picking, beginning Sunday. Right now vegetation, including trees like poplars, seemed poised on the brink of popping out leaves. You can see a slight green tinge to distant canopies. In the meantime . . . . .

chickenlogI’ve always been a fungi forager and not a mushroom grower, BUT we have to stay flexible in life. Right? Now that I’m work at Everything Mushrooms I figure I need to learn the products. So, I’ve started a few projects at home. Thought I would share a bit. About 2-3 years ago a scarlet oak fell in back of the house and bridged a low area so that a long section in the middle of the tree has been off the ground. This year I plugged it on shitakelogone end with shitake skipped about 8-10 feet and then plugged it with Chicken of the Woods.

I also plugged two shitake logs. This picture shows how I have them off the ground using the wire inserts for election campaign yard signs. Since I’m running for re-election I have extras. This way, I can rotate the logs as well as make more fruiting surface avaible vs. “ricking them”.

The next project was to use a wood and wood chips to make a wine-cap Stropharia patch. Around July, we should see how it works. The pictures that follow chronicle the steps I took.

chipsSoaking chips for three days to kill off aerobic bacteria and juice up the substrate





strophariaframeThe frame . . . .






The frame with a bed of chips, along with a bag of spawn made using wood shavings and poplar chips





wc2The spawn is sprinkled around the chip base fairly evenly






wc3The left side of the frame shows another layer of chips was then added.The right side shows the chip/spawn mix covered with wet, rotting leaves from the bottom of my leaf compost pile. It also serves as camouflage from the skunks that love to forage in my wood chip paths.






Pearl oysters on the back porch. The bag has been hanging all winter. I dipped it in a 5 gal bucket of water and hung it up. A few warm days started a flush.




Also some Phoenix oysters.




THE END (for now)  Morels are coming :-) !!!!


Everything Mushrooms

Everything Mushrooms is a Knoxville business that is exactly what the name implies. They specialize in grain and wood spawn, cultivation kits, logs, a complete supply line for growers, books galore for the forager and/or medicinally inclined, and of course –>fresh EMlogo_Mediummushrooms.. I said “they”,  but now it’s “we”, because I’m helping out there a couple of days a week. I’m excited about associating with “EM” and want to tell my followers about it. For now, I will be available “up front” at the store on Modays, so bring your weekend mushroom finds and we can work on identification for you.

For now, I’ll fill in on customer service and work in the lab while I get a good grasp on the breadth of our activities and products. I’m excited because I get to learn, talk mushrooms, share and teach. Yes, teach – back in the saddle. I will offer mushroom identification classes and be available to help people one-on-one as they bring in their unknowns for inspection. Hopefully, I can facilitate some type of formal or semi-formal group of mycophiles that want to gather, foray and learn together. A club perhaps? EM is a perfect place for meetings and learning. I’ll post more as time goes on; which it certainly will.

Our Spring mushroom identification (basic level) class with be held Thursday May 1, 6-8. p.m. Details for this and other events can be found on EM’s Workshops and Events page. Learn basic identifying characteristic of  common edibles and their look-alikes. Review field guides and mushroom related products before you buy yours.It is intentionally being held between morel season and the beginning of summer mushrooms. Get ready for those early summer milk caps!!

If you are interested in forming a group or club in the Knoxville area, be sure to come on May 1. Such a club would be able to meet in a spacious area at Everything Mushrooms. Clubs are the best way to improve your skills as you go on group forays, hear speakers and develop a peer group of like minded individuals. If you do not wish to sign up for the workshop, be sure and show up at 8 p.m. (end of workshop) so we can identify potential leaders and begin  a mail list of potential mushroom club members.