Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mushrooms can save the world

I had thought that while I'm always learning about a gardening incrementally, I'm probably not likely to have any more blow my mind kind of lessons about the subject. I was so wrong.

A wee while ago I was at a compost workshop which was pretty interesting, but the most exciting thing I learned that day was after we'd finished the workshop and were talking about inner city community gardens, soil contamination and how to fix it. Apparently, a great way to clean up contaminated sites such as old petrol stations is by planting mushrooms.

The speaker said there are some groups in the US that decontaminate petrol stations by using human hair (which is very absorbent) to mop up any remaining oil and they impregante the hair with oyster mushrooms spores, as this is the type of mushroom which sucks up the most heavy metal contaminants. Once the mushrooms have grown everything is bundled off as hazardous waste.

The idea also came up in an amazing Ted talk, about a mushroom burial suit to speedily dispose of your body:


It's a topic that some people are super into, and I haven't even touched on mycelium. (Which people get even more excited about!) There's an info-dense website called Radical Mycology for anyone who wants to read more about the idea.

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