Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Why Is This So Important?

My neighbor Terri saw me coming out of the woods carrying a trowel and a thermometer and said, "Looking for mushrooms?" Darn, she has me pegged, but all I was doing was checking the soil temperature because it's April, morel mushroom month, and those highly desirable -- some say the most desirable edible 'shrooms -- morels will be coming up, but only when the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees. Morels on this property are few because the soil is thin and alkaline; still, there had been a couple, and I'd gone to their vicinity and let them know I'm biding my time. Sort of.

Because it's too much math to calculate soil temp otherwise, I bought a sturdy thermometer, troweled out a slot in the forest floor, buried it for five minutes and then read it. Soil has now reached about 54 degrees. That is borderline; what we need for morels is a deluge of rain and then a swift and persistent warmup into about 70 degrees air temps. And wait a week. My mushroom-fiend city-dweller friend is so frenzied that it is April he had already emailed asking is today the day? I found in the woods today no fresh fungi of any kind. I did, however, see ankle-high leafy plants called "wake robins" (often called trillium) coming up, and spring beauties, and Dutchman's breeches, but it's Goldenseal (mayapples) that are linked with the presence of morels, because  mayapples indicate the earth they're growing in is fertile enough for morels to grow. But the mushrooms are not there yet. 

P.S. As I approached the woods I saw a fox.

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