Rachel Stark

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since Nov 25, 2019
Nothing much to say here, I've always been fascinated with plants and am trying to grow more of my own food and improve the plants I have.
Near Baltimore, MD.
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Recent posts by Rachel Stark

Judith Browning wrote:

Rachel Stark wrote:Are these also Red Chantarelles? They look just like the ones posted earlier in the thread.

Without a spore print and a good look at the underside to be sure that they have'false gills' and are decurrent I wouldn't say for sure.  

What time of year were they found? and what part of the world? Were they growing on wood?

I'll be sure to get a spore print and take a sample next time I see them! I do have a picture where a small one has fallen over, and it looks like false gills. They were so tiny I didn't want to disturb them.

They came up August through October in coastal MD in the United States in 2018, when we were getting about twice the normal rainfall, growing out of a wet patch of fallen leaves and decomposing leaves and twigs. The trees in the area are a oak and pine forest, with wild blueberry underbrush. There were a lot of mushrooms coming up, but these were one of the brighter colored ones. I think they're new to the area, since I haven't seen them here before. That particular area where I found it always seems to have an abundance of fungi and lichens.

Looking at the identification article.... the picture of the young cinnabar chantarelles does look almost identical. I'll be on the lookout for a mushroom identification expert. Is it possible to cultivate them?
10 months ago
I like that site! I wouldn't have thought there were so many plants that would grow under black walnut trees. Now I have another good spot for the ramps.
10 months ago
Hey, if you're still looking I think Experimental Farm Network has ramp seed in stock in their online store for 2020. https://store.experimentalfarmnetwork.org/collections/alliums/products/wild-ramps

Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) looks like its available from a bunch of plant nurseries, like this one: https://www.prairienursery.com/store/native-ferns/ostrich-fern-matteuccia-struthiopteris
10 months ago
Tubular, red flowers sounds like Lonerica sempervirens, a native plant that I see growing by the roadside in MD.

I took some pictures of red-flowered plants at the San Diego Botanical Gardens, several of them are apparently attractive to hummingbirds. While I was taking a nature walk in a chaparral area, I took a lot of pictures of plants. There's two that might be red-flowered wild salvias, probably attractive to hummingbirds. I saw a lot of hummingbirds on the walk, but they didn't stay still long enough for me to get a picture.

There was some succulents flowering by the beach in La Jolla that honeybees were going crazy over. I have never seen so many happy bees in one place. Might have been an ice plant? I didn't take my phone, being afraid to drop it in the water...
10 months ago
Are these also Red Chantarelles? They look just like the ones posted earlier in the thread.
10 months ago
The oak/pine forest I back up to seems to have a pretty thick layer of leaf mold, with lots of mushroom activity. I think I've seen little patches of red chantarelle mushrooms growing in a few places on the forest floor when its very moist. Not exactly edible, people walk their dogs right there, so I guess it gets plenty of nitrogen! Is it possible to use well-aged leaf mold as a substrate for growing these mushrooms?

Edit: I did take some pictures of some of the flora that came up in a record rainfall year! Mostly mushrooms (including what I think is a red chantarelle), but some wild fairyslipper orchids and a myco-heterotroph called Monotropa uniflora.
10 months ago
How do you feel about legumes/nitrogen fixing plants? I tried chopping the dead vines of my bean plants at the soil level this winter to let the roots decay in the ground. The soil in those patches does seem to be a bit lighter and fluffier than the wet and sandy soil I've been working to improve, but I'm not sure if its due to bacteria or earthworm/insect activity.
10 months ago
Penny, if you're still looking for dryland/upland rice, Sherck Seeds seems to have a pretty extensive catalog of all types of rice, including several dryland types. I got a few types from him to try to grow out this year.

Staple-wise, I'm limited to a few containers and about 20 square feet of garden, so my current staples is more of a work in progress for seed saving and trialing out new plants to see how they survive the weather.

Things that did well last year in my central coastal Maryland garden:
1. Cowpeas (Ozark Razorback)
2. Common Beans (Slippery Silks survived heatwaves and produced very well until hard frost)
3. Eggplant (Black Beauty was the insect resistant champion)
4. Tomatoes
5. Carrots

Ginger and Galangal - Galangal is overwintering well in pots in the dark garage nicely without dying back, whereas the ginger died back to the roots. Very nice looking, attractive foliage plants.

Massive 95F heatwave with high humidity killed some (a lot) of plants and wilted a lot of my garden, but really highlighted the heat resilience of subtropical/tropical plants. Also got to experience insect and rodent problems... Squirrels ate my sunflowers before the seeds matured, every last head! The birds didn't get any and it was upsetting.

Staples for next year:
1. Early potatoes (due to heatwaves). Will try for TPS.
2. Sweet Potato (the one in my cupboard is starting to sprout)
2. Cowpeas and Yardlong Beans (Different varieties)
3. Heirloom Beans
4. Runner beans (will be trying to hybridize with heirloom beans)
5. Rice (Upland and lowland)
6. Wheat
7. Barley

Fruit trees - Figs are pretty low maintenance and I'm awaiting delivery of several hardy cuttings, might buy a multi-grafted plum from a nursery. Saved a bunch of apple and pear seeds from what I've eaten and put them in the fridge, a good amount have sprouted. I know its not likely to be a choice edible, but it will be interesting and I can practice grafting on them in a few years.

Nut Trees - Will probably buy some blight resistant hazelnuts in the further future, might try to find American Chestnut seedlings as well. Good source of calories.

I'm not expecting a meal from anything but the beans and cowpeas, but its worth it to spend a year growing a bunch of plants to see which ones survive and yield adequately, than to plant a lot of one type and have it fail!

My ultimate ambition is cold hardy avocados and citrus, but I need space to grow them!
10 months ago
I had a rough time with bean plants this year, due to the severe heatwave that hit my area in the middle of the growing season. I  wanted to try to crossbreed a bean I liked but was killed by heat stress with a scarlet runner bean, which is supposed to thrive in those conditions. I think I understand how to hand pollinate, but I wanted to ask you if the F1 hybrids from such a cross are more heat and humidity resistant than the common bean parent?
11 months ago