Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Mycelium in the garden

You might know them as mushrooms.  We spent the morning picking millions of mushrooms out of our garden beds, debating whether or not to add them to the compost heap, and, finally, throwing them in the garbage so they didn't contaminate said compost.  When we settled down for school I did some research and it turns out our efforts were pretty pointless.  Apparently the mushrooms themselves are just the tip of the iceberg called the mycelium (rhymes with helium) and roughly correspond to the apples on a tree - the medium by which the organism reproduces.  What we did this morning was pick all the "apples" off the tree in an attempt to kill the tree!  I was feeling down about that until I read on and discovered that very few mushrooms are parasitic - most are beneficial to the soil or the plant.  So . . . they would have benefitted our compost heap and we took great pains to eradicate them and throw them out - the irony!

Sorry for the boring, in-depth explanation but hey!  I am a teacher :)

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