Friday, December 30, 2011

Fit for a Fungus

Before I moved into the new apartment, I bought a rosemary bush that was shaped like a Christmas tree. I had every intention of stringing it up with lights and beads like a Christmas tree. Then December came around and I had a brown, spiky bush-skeleton shedding its needles on my windowsill. It wasn't as festive as I had hoped.

What went wrong?

My apartment is in a dusty basement. The last renters were eyeless mole-people. Prehistoric insects creep out of the cracks in the molding and the spaces where the pipes go through the ceiling, the wiggling ancestors of the centipede and mutant spiders that I catch in old ricotta cheese tubs and shake onto the driveway.

The windows are small, but at least there are windows. My landlords left wooden planks stacked in front of the kitchen windows to make me feel like I live in an 1850’s tenement, so very little natural light shines in. I have become a mole-person.

Yet I am not bereft of hope. Angelina, my pitcher plant, is thriving in the window beside this very desk, in full view of a creepy boarded-up garage. The little hairs that are springing up on her lips - her mustache, if you will - remind me of the tiny flesh-scraping hooks on a cat's tongue.

The day I moved in, I announced that I wanted to immediately procure a plant. Having a plant gives me the illusion that I am a responsible adult. “What could you possibly grow in here?” my mom asked.
“Mushrooms,” I declared.

I may have suggested mushrooms in jest, but now I’m completely serious. I stumbled upon this mushroom kit from Back to the Roots. This mushroom garden, which resembles a happy meal for gnomes, purportedly produces a sprawling mass of oyster mushrooms in ten days and produces at least two crops. The spore-filled soil inside of the happy meal box is made of recycled coffee grounds.

The process seems fool-proof, even for one prone to causing small forest fires in terrariums. You spray the coffee ground soil with the spritzer and mushrooms will grow. I may have found the ideal plant (or in this case, fungus) to grow in the dark.


  1. That's so cool that you found a mushroom-growing kit. I don't think I could do it since they creep me out, but it's the perfect plant for a dark home. Now all you need is a caterpillar that smokes and only to responds to your questions with more questions.

  2. Mushrooms used to creep me out, too. Then I stopped eating meat and mushrooms ended up in all of my food because they're a savory substitute for meatiness. Now me and the mushroom are a-okay.

    I would get a caterpillar, too, but I fear that Olive would eat it.

  3. By the way, Sara S, I am now following you on Twitter. As of, like, a minute ago. :P