The Q&A Archives: Mushrooms in Herb Window Box

Question: I have a few mushrooms that seem to have sprouted in my window box of basil, chives, oregano seedlings, which is under a grow light indoors right now. From checking the Q&A library, I read that the mushrooms probably means my potting soil wasn't sterile. The seedlings look fine, and I'm just going to pick the mushrooms out. But my question is whether I should worry at all about eating the herbs that are growing in this soil? Is there anything in the soil that will make my plants harmful to eat because of the mushrooms?

Answer: No problem - just think of the herbs and veggies you buy from retail grocers....goodness knows what was in that soil! Also, even is soil is sterile when you buy it, as soon as you open the bag, it's exposed to all kinds of fungal spores that are always floating through the air. You are correct in your procedure - pick out the offenders and destroy them - and remember to wash your hands before touching food. If you keep your soil a bit on the dry side, you should see fewer mushrooms. Since you've had good luck producing 'shrooms without trying, maybe you'd have good luck with a real mushroom growing log or kit! Have fun!

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