Watch My Food Grow ~ A South Florida Raised Vegetable Garden

Florida Backyard Raised Vegetable Garden

Mushroom or Toadstool?

June 10th, 2013 by Lila Steinhoff

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring…

It has rained pretty much every day for three weeks. Even though South Florida is considered semi-tropical, this is still way too much rain. The usual summer pattern is a near daily downpour for 15 minutes mid-afternoon, then the sun is back and  it gets humid.

Humidity Brings Non-edibles, Too

The torrential downpours combined with the heat are causing a bumper crop of fungi in the yard.



When I was child growing up in the 1950s, fungi fell into two categories… mushrooms and toadstools. A mushroom was the fungus you could eat, and a toadstool was the one you didn’t touch. I have since learned that they are all mushrooms, but some will make you sick or dead.


Today, the term ‘toadstool’ is still around and still means use caution. My personal thoughts on this are NEVER eat mushrooms that you find growing in your yard, the park, etc. Buy them from people who are paid to know the difference between edible and poisonous mushrooms.

Beauty Without the Chlorophyll

Green plants have chlorophyll which allows them to make simple sugars for nourishment. Mushrooms/toadstools have no chlorophyll, so they have to get their nutrients from compost, rotting vegetation and animal dung.



The ground here has been wet for so long that there is a lot of rotting wood and vegetation, and that means mushrooms are sprouting.

I ran across some really pretty mushrooms earlier this week. Some were the usual shape and were growing on the ground. Yesterday, I found some very tiny ones that were growing on the roots of a strangler fig that was cut away from a palm tree last summer. Click on any picture to make it larger.


The tiny balloons of white in this picture are a section of the mushrooms that cover an area the size of a quarter. As an afterthought, I figured a quarter lying next to the mushrooms would make a very good illustration of size.

withered fungiWithered Fungi

However, this morning when I got to the tree, all the mushrooms had wilted to strands and turned black over night. I was out there with the quarter anyway, so I stuck it in the picture.



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4 responses so far ↓

  • Wow, all I got in my garden is a great crop of lizards!

  • I grew up picking wild mushrooms in Sweden with my family. The knowledge of edible ones were handed down in generations. I only know a few that I am sure of but some years they are plentiful. Chantarelles are easy to recognize and delicious when sauteed in some butter. They grow right around my parents summer cottage and they water them if it doesn’t rain. It’s really fun to see them grow…

    • Picking your own mushrooms sounds so neat. I have seen mushroom ‘logs’ being sold at the green markets in the area. I thought about buying one, but I don’t know enough about raising them to risk it.

      I am going to put that on my learn about it list.