Spring has come so early this year! The cherry blossom tree is already in full bloom, and the tulips are all ready to pop open. The local tulip festival has been pushed up a full three weeks to accommodation the early flowers. Rain levels are low too. We’ve already declared a drought in three counties in WA state. I’ve planted 7 trees in my garden this year to help with shading and flowers. My county has a “conservation district” organization that hosted a plant sale and I managed to accidentally order 60 plants instead of the 8 that I meant to. I didn’t realize everything came in groups of 5 and 10, so I ended up with 30 trees, 20 shrubs, and 10 ferns. I kept about 25 of them and gave the rest to my aunt to plant in her garden. Everything I bought was native, and I got a variety of things to feed the birds and the bugs. It will take a few years before anything is big enough to make a real difference, but I’m excited I’ve finally got a few important things like willows and red flowering currants in the garden.

I’ve got some “mushroom” pictures for you all! I started growing these on… March 11th. I bought 2.5lbs of oyster mushroom spawn from a company online, and mixed it in with coffee grounds from work. I put some in a big cat liter container I got from my cousin, and the rest went in a small yogurt container so I could really watch it grow. All I did was mix the spawn in with the grounds, adding a little bit of water and some wood chips every so often, and then I put them in the containers and kept them covered. Here’s a few pictures!

The myceilum started out by slowly colonizing the grounds, doubling in size each day until the surface of the container was covered in white. The larger container (which is the green thing in the first pic) took a lot longer to be fully colonized, and I actually started poking holes down into the grounds to make sure it was wet enough. I misted the surface every morning before work and every evening before bed. I also shot some water into the sides of the container where I cut holes for the mushrooms to grow out of. After I poked holes in the middle of the coffee grounds I filled them up with water. mycelium has grown in those holes so quickly that water no longer soaks into the grounds. I’ve poked a few holes elsewhere in the grounds to make sure the middle of the container is filled with mycelium too. It will be another few weeks before I actually get any mushrooms, but its been really fun to watch this all grow. The mycelium feels very similar to a mushroom, but its a little more fragile and slightly softer as well. Its crazy to see it grow soft hairlike patches some days and then others it will be a solid mass of fungus.

I’m sure I’m not growing these the best way possible. Coffee grounds are so easy to come by for me that I wanted to use them simply because they wouldn’t cost me anything. I think next time I’ll try a different growing medium and see how that works. Now that I’ve got the mycelium I can pretty much grow these mushrooms for ever. I accidentally broke off a piece of the mycelium that had grow high up onto the container when I took the lid off to water it, and I just put it on a spot of grounds that hadn’t been colonized yet. The next day there were small hairs sprouting all over the broken piece and it was working its way into the exposed grounds. It’s so fascinating to watch!

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