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.