Edible Gardening

Are you going to EAT that?

Kousa Dogwood with fruit

Saturday, walking out of Jazzercise at the Summerfield UMC, my friend Lisa spotted this beautiful tree at the door and asked what it was. My reply: “A Kousa Dogwood”, these are the fruit, and BTW they are not particularly delicious, but they are edible.” Patty, our instructor, walked out just as Lisa was putting one in her mouth.  She screamed, “Don’t EAT That!”  It may be shocking to learn that there are actually LOTS of edible things in our landscape, and I learn more every time my Montagnard friends come over.

As I was trundling about my gardens today with my backpack of deer spray, there it was – the perfect edible mushroom, still young enough to be delicious. It was the kind of mushroom my Dad had taken us hunting for every summer after a big rain.  An Admirable Bolete!

Then it was like buying a new car, and you start noticing every other car on the road.  Here was another nice specimen, aahhhh… but if the underside turns blue when you write on it, it could give you a tummy ache!  And the funky black bolete…sure it is not poisonous, but it is definitely in my “I’m NOT eating that category.”

Blue bruising


Black Bolete

But right in front of my workshop, messing up my perfect pathway…OMG it was clumps of white chanterelles!  (Yes, the happy dance again!) This is the kind I saw in farm markets in German for $30 a pound!  Score!


Then the coolest of all.  I had only read about the “Indigo Milky”, it is truly a BLUE mushroom!  Honest this photo is untouched! When I cut it, thick, gorgeous blue “ink” flowed out of the stem and stained my hand.  Wow!  While it is NOT a poisonous mushroom, it is not considered “choice”,  so just love it for what it is … Wierd!         (CLICK ON PICTURES TO EXPAND THEM.)

Indigo Milky

Indigo Milky topside

So Jim and I had pasta with peas & pancetta tonight with Chanterelles, and also fried my big Admirable Bolete. They were delicious!  I expect we will be alive tomorrow but it is OK if you call and check.  A final word: DO NOT EAT mushrooms (or other wild things) until you are sure about them.  There are mushrooms that can make you seriously ill (and others that can make you believe that the pink  frog who reads to you at night is totally stealing your jewelry.)  My favorite Mushroom book is Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America, authors Fischer & Bessette.

And the last edible – my first BIG ripe fig from my Mission fig tree!   Remember I told you that most figs I had tasted were about the same and all yummy? My Brown Turkey fig IS as sweet as the Mission fig, but my pretty red “LSU” Fig is NOT ( & soon to be compost!)

Happy gardening!  Ellen

Mission fig

6 Comments on Are you going to EAT that?

  • Evelyn says:
    September 21, 2012 at 1:46 am

    You made my night what a great way to describe the mushroom.
    I am still laughting. I am watching for the pink frog.


  • admin says:
    September 21, 2012 at 2:22 am

    Evelyn, It is the perfect time for gardening here and I think my pink frog is reading plant lists to me at night! I’m having a great time with trips to my favorite perennial nurseries. Ellen


    • Markus says:
      October 17, 2012 at 1:07 am

      I want to know what to plant when. How to keep it growing once its pnletad. How to deal with slugs (beer in the pie tin does not work for me). How to dig out small patches of grass and keep the grass out. What size containers are needed for deck gardening. How to make good soil NOW and then you can tell me how to make it work long term. What can I grow from seed and what is better purchased as plants.In case you have not guessed, I am a newish gardener ready to get dirty, frustrated by garden books.


      • admin says:
        October 17, 2012 at 1:39 am

        If you live in the Greensboro, NC Triad area I would love to have you join my classes! I cover all the topics you have listed. Classes start again in February 2013 and you won’t want to miss the first one on Soils, Pruning and Deterring Furry Pests; Is is the prerequisite for everything – and it’s a lot of FUN! Follow my blog and I’ll keep you posted on what’s happening in the garden as well as upcoming class dates. All the best,


      • Sandy says:
        October 27, 2012 at 12:38 am

        You’re gonna love Ellen’s classes. My first experience was just a fluke, but I cannot tell you how satisfying it has been to garden after benefiting from the information she shares. For me, her classes have also been great fun !!! Everyone in my neighborhood has heard me talk about Ellen’s classes this year. I can hardly wait to see next year’s gardens at my home after all I’ve learned . . . and I feel that I’ve just begun.


        • admin says:
          October 28, 2012 at 2:17 am

          Thank you so much for your comments. It is truly a pleasure being in the garden with others like yourself who who are facinated with nature and love to learn. I was out from 7:30 am to 7pm today spreading compost, cleaning up perennials, moving and potting plants, redesigning my too-shady cutting garden, watering my lettuce & collards… I am totally exhausted, but totally happy. Only gardeners understand this. Sometimes I think there is cocaine in the soil. Happy gardening! Ellen


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