A Great Resource Makes all the Difference

| July 3, 2014 | Reply

A great resource makes all the difference. When you are a beginning gardener you can get overwhelmed with all there is to learn. (It’s like a film photographer learning Photoshop! You’ll never get it all, but try you must!) From seeds, sustainability and soil health to pests, diseases, flowers and fungi, there is SO much to learn! Growing healthy food is the education of a lifetime. I read that in a book called Dirt, The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, by William Bryant Logan, must reading for anyone immersing themselves in gardening.

A Great Resource makes all the difference-fungi group

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii Fungi

That’s why it’s so awesome to connect with people who know more than you, and I am humbled by the generosity I have come across in my two and half years of learning to grow my own food. Here’s how I tapped into my resources this morning.

I literally ran out about 10AM to water those 17 okra seedlings that I still haven’t gotten into the ground (mainly because I have no available space). It was the first sunny morning in a week, and it hit me they could expire in the sun. As I was watering, I was reminded to investigate a large fungi grouping that sprouted from the base of my blueberry bush. (Does this mean the bush is getting too much water, or that it’s rotting at the base?) I’d caught a glimpse of it yesterday but was involved with trimming some not-so-great looking lower branches from a few tomato plants (I haven’t harvested a single ripe tomato, but there are already issues), and I’d forgotten about it. I grabbed the camera, as I find fungi are incredibly photogenic! After all, over half the word “fungi” is made up of “fun,” and they sit still for the camera!

A Great Resource makes all the difference-fungi gills

Yellowish gills of Leucocoprinus birnbaumii Fungi

Just as I was contemplating what to do with this bouquet, I heard a flapping sound. I looked over and discovered a tiny sparrow had gotten it’s head through a hole of my bird netting and it’s wings were hopelessly trying to free itself. I want the bird netting to keep the birds off my berries, not choke them! I ran for scissors and went over and filmed my attempt to free the bird. It waited patiently while I ran again for a cloth to keep the wings still while I sank the scissors into the feathers at it’s tiny neck. Impossible, so I clipped the bulk of netting as it watched me and just as I was going to go in for a surgical snip of the last nylon thread encircling its neck, it wriggled free and flew off before I was able to. It was terribly frustrating not to complete the job, but I consoled myself that if it was full-grown, it could live the rest of it’s life with a collar around it’s neck.

A Great Resource makes all the difference-sparrow

Sparrow caught in bird netting

Back to resources. So, I came in with my new photo files to download and my one-year old iMac decided to go haywire! When I watched 10 GB of available space, then, 10 more (and I was dangerously low at 120GB with all the software I run on it) disappear in a matter of five minutes, I got my trusty Mac Consultant, Philip, on the phone and he talked me through stabilizing the situation. I was sweating bullets trying to move video files (at a snail’s pace) into a backup drive just in case the computer was going to die like the last one did last year. (Luckily, it was backed up and I had a warranty.)

He’s on the way over, because if there is one thing every gardener needs, especially one with a web show like Late Bloomer, is a good camera, and a reliable computer! Some of the most beautiful plant photography, and great garden videos, I’ve seen comes from wonderful gardeners like Eric at Double Dog Farm in San Juan Island, WA, who has a lush garden and has been a helpful resource. I connected with him through MIgardener’s Google+ group vegetable gardening via Patrick at OneYardRevolution, and CragfireGardening, more terrific resources.

About the FUNGI. Once stabilized, I downloaded photos into Lightroom 5, and realized half the day was missing, and rather than spend an hour or two trying to determine the name of my fungi, I shot off an email, with photos, to my California fungi source at MykoWeb. Twenty minutes later, he had replied! It was Leucocoprinus birnbaumii.

A Great Resource makes all the Difference

Top view of Leucocoprinus birnbaumii Fungi

I also have a wonderful entomologist at Cal State Northridge who helps me with bugs. And my garden sources are practically endless and growing every day. And I’m so grateful, especially to Josh and Sumi and Jeanette and Esther in my Facebook garden group, because when you are a late bloomer gardener, you have to speed things up to get in a lifetime of education!

Have you had resources that have helped you be a better gardener? Do you provide help and information to others? Please let me know. Thanks for reading and thanks for trying to make the world a better place. – Kaye

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Category: Community, Fungi, Resources

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