Friday’s Essay – Dirt and Fungus

Tree FungusIn June I took a four day workshop on the subject of soils, soil health, microbiology and compost.  It was great!  The fellow who led the workshop – Doug Weatherbee – is not only extremely knowledgeable, he is exceptionally enthusiastic, which made the four days go rather quickly.  The days were long.  We took in a lot of information.  I also met some new folks and have found the permaculture community in Saskatoon to be a great community with which I’d like to become more involved.  I haven’t gotten around to integrating much of what I learned into my daily or weekly routines.  A lot of that is because working in my garden has not been part of my daily or weekly routine even though I’ve had this house and garden for just over four years.  However, one thing that has come about because of this workshop is my new-found love of fungus and dirt – fungus in particular, I’ve had a love of dirt for quite a few years now.

The workshop got me really thinking about what kind of food forest I’d like to establish on my property.  Being lazy I started thinking about edible things that wouldn’t require too much attention.  Perennial vegetables, fruit shrubs, nut and fruit trees, things like that.  And, mushrooms – I think I’d like to include mushrooms in my food forest.  Then, I spent a weekend in the northern boreal forest of Saskatchewan about a month after this workshop and discovered that I was absolutely enthralled and taken with the myriad of fungi found on the ground and on the trees.  I purchased an Audubon book about fungi and mushrooms.  If I had the time, inclination and a vehicle I would certainly go on a bit of a foraging adventure to scope out wild edible mushrooms.  How much fun would that be?  Well, I guess it would depend on how much you love fungus!

I developed a love of the wild, nature and out-of-doors as a kid.  I spent many summers at camp in the mountains and did a lot of wilderness hiking and camping.  I felt a reverence and connection to the earth that I didn’t feel in my urban home.  However, my connection with the permaculture community has made me realize that there is earth in the city, I can create an ecosystem on my own urban property.  The dirt and fungus are part of my environment even in the city.  I can revere and protect and cultivate them close to home.  I am looking forward to spending more time with dirt and fungus in the future!

P.S. Wednesday’s poem – Poem for Gaia – was inspired by this workshop.