Mushrooms thriving in Edmonton's wet weather are good for your soil, expert says

While you may be simmering with impatience waiting for warm summer days, you may have noticed that something is thriving in the cool wet weather. 

Mushrooms. Lots of mushrooms.

But, believe it or not, they are good for your soil.

"We might not like the perception of mushrooms, but the fact is, they're doing us a service," said Perry Stothart, general manager of Classic Landscape Centre. "You can pick them if they're bugging you, but if not, I'd say, just enjoy them. Enjoy the summer in other ways.

"Mushrooms are the fruiting body of natural fungi that live in the soil. They help break down organic matter in our soil to release nitrogen so it helps feed our turf and plants."

Cort Sloan/CBC

If you really want to remove them, hand-pick them, Stothart says. 

There's no way to prevent them from popping up further, especially if there is more rain, he says.

So seeing as they're already in the garden, can you eat them?

While some mushrooms are certainly edible, gardeners should refrain from frying them up unless they know exactly what they're doing.

'Like treasure hunting'

Beverly Anderson, an avid forager, learned which mushrooms are edible through her 10-year involvement with the the Alberta Mycological Society. 

"It's like treasure hunting and science rolled into one," said Anderson, who has been foraging mushrooms for more than 50 years. 

"You learn about all the different species of mushrooms, you learn how to type them, you learn their qualities," she said. 

Craig Ryan/CBC

Anderson says the wet weather brings her joy and excitement, knowing more mushrooms are available for picking. 

"It's the joy of knowing there was going to be all these mushrooms once the rain came and they're starting to flush out so the reward is here," she said.

Anderson said "the mushroom club" would go on regular camping trips and cook dishes with what they've foraged for a potluck.

"There are times when we've had gourmet chefs as a part of faculty, so we're very, very well-fed," Anderson said. 

"You learn, it's just years and years of being there in the field and forest, you learn as you go," she said.