I came home after a couple of weeks taking care of a new grandson (YAY!!!) to find my green bean bed decorated with what I have determined to be puffball fungus. I watered. They exploded.
The main question is whether they are going to ruin my garden!? I hated to do it but I dusted with sulfur. Any help (or reassurance!) would be greatly appreciated.
They only came up in the beds I had just filled with "organic choice" garden soil. I know my conspiracy theorist friend could do a lot with that, and of course this observation could be purely coincidental.
Depending on the type of puffball they could be toxic to children and animals if ingested. Handling is okay. They will not add any poisonous effects to your garden. If you have children with curious minds or pets that eat weird things it would be advisable to pull them and discard. This will not necessarily eliminate their future growth at once but it will prevent their spread or accidental ingestion.
If your puffballs look like the one in the picture that i would occasionally find in Idaho, they are delicious with a mild Abalone [Expensive Shellfish} flavor when sliced and fried. But when they are mature they just explode in a puff of dust.
I am sure many different things are called puffballs, and i do not know the Latin name for this fungus.
The carving board it is sitting on was at least 12 inches square. I also found them the size of softballs and soccer balls, but never any real small ones.
They all have to be eaten when they first form, and i would not eat them either without researching them or asking some one that had eaten the same type before. There are many delicious types, and a few that are not edible.
It as a find of a lifetime, for sure. I doubt if few people have tasted Abalone, but they are even more rare now, and horribly expensive. An old neighbor up there in Idaho told me the Puffballs were safe to eat, so we fried slices of it in butter and it tasted just like the Abalone do without the ocean smell. I eventually found two more smaller ones, but one was too far gone to eat.
I suppose now, with PhotoShop, i could make it look even bigger, but we did not have that back then.
I grew up on conch, spiny lobster and abalone. I'm from S.FL and spent my first twenty something years sailing and diving in the Keys and Islands, especially the British and American Virgins. We used to dive for abalone, shell them and hang them in steel mesh nets off the stern. Come dinner time we'd chop them up, add onions, spices, etc. and make fritters. You now need a license to fish them.
We used to have large 7 to 9 inch Abs here along the Cal Coast, and when anchored at the offshore islands, we would trade the divers a sixpack for more Abs than we could eat, but that was 40 years ago, and now the taking of them is very restricted and you do not see them in the markets, as they are probably shipped to Japan.
But around Isla Guadalupe, off the Baha Coast, they have small black ones, about the size of a baseball. On the way to the Sea of Cortez, I would trade for them, and then trade stuff to the the Shrimp boats for Squid, and grind up the Abs with an old style meat grinder, and stuff the squid tubes, and fry them. Wonderful, Wonderful Eating. Always glad to meet another sailor. I have had sailboats for 49 years.
Ernie, I am a water baby, having been brought up in tropical waters, but the truth is I was always ambivalent about sailing. Though I'd rather be sailing than motoring the weeks, and then some, spent on board in all weather was not what I dreamed about. I wanted to be in the mountains with trees and waterfalls or on a farm with chickens, cows and pigs. I didn't want to be hauling in the dingy in foul weather or setting sails or pumping the bilge or berthing in the forepeak ('cause I'm tall) . I've had some interesting travels; the FL Keys frequently and Biscayne Bay every weekend, most of French Polynesia, all of the Caribbean including the Leewards and Windwards, and Cuba as a child, but I couldn't wait to go to camp in North Georgia. We kept a boat in Tortola (Carribean Sailing Yacht Club) and another at Coconut Grove Sailing Club. I was happy with my single handed boat on the lake I grew up on and would have preferred swimming in the ocean to sailing. Guess the grass is always greener on the other side.