I cannot deny that automation and the culture of instant gratification have their own ease and allure; however, learning about the natural rhythms of growth while being dirty and sun-burnt in an urban vegetable patch is rooting time well spent. "Delight" would be the operative word as I tend and watch as things shoot up and out. And recently I was gifted a Mycelium log, which will require a whole other level of patience.
In this log hide shiitake mushroom spores that, kept damp and cool, will slowly feed themselves off of the wood, eventually fruiting. It's likely I will not get to harvest the mushrooms until the spring, but I love the passive attention the process will require until the spores are energized enough to develop. The mushroom world is new to me, but luckily I have the fascinating book Mycelium Running, written by mushroom expert Paul Stamets.
Well beyond the basics, Stamets's book makes the argument that growing more mushrooms may be one strategy in "saving the world" and simultaneously reaping the nutritional benefits provided by mushrooms. It's a big, gorgeous book in which he includes a description of the three main functions of mushrooms under the umbrella of "Mycorestoration." Mushrooms recycle carbon, nitrogen and other element as they break down vegetal and animal matter, and in the process they provide many benefits: 1) "Mycofiltration," by which mushrooms can help to reduce silt in riverbeds and reduce pathogens in agricultural watersheds, 2) "Mycopesticides," which help to control insect populations, and 3) "Mycoforestry," the general enhancement of the health of forests and gardens. And of course, there is always the medicinal and nutritional benefits of mushrooms in our diets. Vive la Mere Nature !!