Winter’s Harvest

Lycoperdon perlatumRecently I have realised that my forraging and walking alond hedgerows has not stopped this winter as it normally does. Normally, about the end of October, the medicinal plants have gone in and I lose interest until they re-emerge in the spring. Associated with this slowing of the growing world, I tend to develop a bout of SAD around the beginning of November which is usually dispelled by Christmas but may continue into the new year. Not so this year. Thanks to one reason: Fungi.

Because it has been such a mild, wet autumn, and a warm, rainy winter, all sorts of fungi have been cropping up. Coupled with me attending a seminar on medicinal mushrooms and becoming interested in mycology anyway, my afternoon walks still keep me looking down, and rumaging around in the hedges and woods like an excited child on Christmas morning!

So far, I haven’t found any medicinal fungi, though I have found edibles. But just the joy of findingĀ something when the world is cold, wet and grey still has me inspired and excited!

So in effect, looking at patterns of growing things the herbs and plants are the growth (and harvest) of the light half of the year, whereas fungi are the (usually hidden) growth and harvest (mushrooms) of the dark side of the year. Just because it gets dark and grey doesn’t mean there aren’t things growing, flourishing and giving abundance in hidden places. So I think from now on I will refer to the usual foraging season (where I do most of my herb gathering) as the light harvest, and mushroom season in the autumn/early winter as the dark harvest!

Ramaria spp.

Categories: Out and About

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