Why Record Soil Temperature & Information

from the original post

The Unpredictability Factor

With the changing of the weather , and dare I say the "climate changes", we are
finding it more and more difficult to predict collection seasons on everything.  

This year we observed a drop of 4 degrees F in one of our woods from the time we
began recording in May, 68 F to 64 F in the beginning of June.  This after more
than a week of 90 degree+ temperatures.  Need I say this was not the best morel
season we have ever seen?

You will notice that in the botanical listings request, we have long since stopped
trying to predict to our chefs and ourselves when they might be able to expect any
of these.  They come when they come.

We have watched a march of mushrooms, which use to be found only in the
southern part of Vermont, reach Jay's Peak near the Canadian border.  Fall
mushrooms come in the spring and some mushrooms just don't bother to come at

In desperation, for both our sanity and the expense, we finally started measuring
soil temperatures in our mushroom beds to try to understand when they might
decide to dain us with their appearance.

It has proven an interesting and useful experience.   

First, it always helps to take the time to read what you are recording during the
year you are actually doing it.  Why, because it is ever so much less embarrassing
to discover your equipment wasn't working early in the season rather than the next
year when you begin sharing it with visiting soil scientists.  Sounds foolish, believe
me I felt more than foolish.

We would rush in, take measurements, rush out to the next spot if nothing was
showing or gleefully collect if they had arrived.  Well, we now stop and take the time
to observe the equipment...not just our surroundings.

We would be able to tell you if one tree was down, a bed destroyed, or a new
species coming in...

So, if you use the Soil Recording Card and Sheet...please note if there seems to be
too many similar readings.

We hope that you will use the Soil Recording Card and Sheet, and feel free to
make copies as needed, to record areas that you frequent or spots close to your

It is our hope to distribute both Soil Thermometers and Soil Recording Cards and
Sheets to the other Wild Food Gatherers, Collectors and Wildcrafters who will be
attending the Terra Madre 2006 in Turin, Italy, later this year.

We are working with a near and dear friend (who knows about things like this) to
develop a central data collection center so that comparisons can start being kept.

It is our belief that others like us have been noticing the same changes.  The
difference, between the scientists and ourselves, we are there on a regular and
routine basis and notice the subtle changes that a visitor would be inclined to miss.

Please join us in this important collection and observation project.

Nova Kim and Les Hook, Wild Food Gatherers Guild & Cooperative, 2006