Hubby and I were listening to a podcast about growing mushrooms the other night. The interviewee mentioned mycelium.
We have known about it for several years. It is beneficial. Necessary. White. And you can read all the good technical jargon over here.
But when we first started gardening, we had no idea it even existed. Let alone that it was beneficial.
Hubby paused the podcast we were listening to and said, “Do you remember the year we bought several bags of dirt and we opened one that was covered in all that white stuff? This is what it was! And we because we didn’t know what we were doing, we set the bag on the side of the house and never used it!”
We both had a good laugh and then retold some of our early gardening faux pas. Come to think of it, I only shared mine! I shared, he laughed. Hmmm….
What were some of my early on gardening faux pas you ask? Oh my, let’s see:
I didn’t realize that strawberries turned all brown and shriveled at the end of the season… and that they were not supposed to be torn out. But instead they are to be overwintered. They send off runners. They will return and you can prune all the brown junk off and voila! A new year of strawberries!
I let them sit all winter long looking all ugly into early spring. Finally I gave myself a “stop being lazy!” pep talk and ripped those suckers out… and one week later my mother-in-law mentioned that her strawberries in containers had returned. That’s when I realized that I had literally torn them out days before they would have shown signs of life. Ugh.
There’s the year that I mixed up the spray bottle of water I used for the strawberries (they were still indoors awaiting the frost to leave the ground,) with the bottle of white vinegar used to get deodorant stains out of black shirts. I drenched them in white vinegar. My pretty strawberries stunk for days, and they eventually shriveled up from both the vinegar and the indoor micro-climate they didn’t like.
Oh and then there was the time that we had just started edible landscaping for reals. Like Rosalind Creasey reals. We had just started a mini compost bin. I read every article and watched EVERY video I could get my paws on about starting a successful compost bin that would not attract rodents in the city.
Those videos all showcased neat piles of browns (beautifully dried leaves, clean cardboard effortlessly shredded, and plain white paper perfectly shredded from the office recycle bin.) Then they had perfect piles of greens (lawn clippings with not a weed in it, fruit and veggie cuttings with not a grunky spot on them.) Those 2 piles were then layered and looked so perfect that I think even Martha Stewart would feature it on her magazine cover.
So when we hosted a party that included corn on the cob for around 30 people, a friend of ours (who is no farmer, but grew up in farming country) said, “Em, these cobs and husks will be perfect to kick start your compost!”
I wrinkled my nose a bit too much and couldn’t fathom those mangled cobs dripping with butter and salt and the wilted husks in my Martha Stewart caliber compost. Then I actually said something to the effect of, “No, I don’t think so! I want to start my compost bin off with something cleaner than that!” Haha! Yes, feel free to roll over laughing. I can’t believe it either.
My friend laughed, rolled his eyes at me and trashed them. Today I find that heartbreaking… garden-wise that is.
So what is my point to all this rambling?
In your homesteading journey you will make mistakes. Silly ones. Embarrassing ones. If you fear making a potential fool of yourself you’ll never take a leap and try something new.
Yes, you should read and learn a lot. YouTube has so many instructional videos you’ll go cross eyed.
But most of all don’t be afraid to just start. Do it! Make mistakes!
And by all means, put your corn husks in the compost!
Unless otherwise noted, all photos are taken by yours truly and are exclusive content of this blog.