The Art of Magic Mushroom Growing
Did you know that mushrooms can grow out of nearly anything? Mushroom compost, or substrate, can range from dung and wood based materials to seed husks, or even more exotic items like banana leaves! Unlike most other plants, mushrooms are fungi that do not contain chlorophyll, and therefore they cannot photosynthesize. (They can't make food out of sunlight!) They depend upon the earth for all their nutrition and energy. The standard mushroom requires decaying organic material and lots of moisture to grow, however every mushroom is different and each individual little fungus has its own set of special needs which are essential to that particular mushroom's growth. Neopian mushrooms are no different, and this guide will provide you with all the information you need to grow your favorites!
This is your basic Organic Mushroom – a little on the boring side. They don't require much to grow, which is why you see them all over Neopia. Mix up a little soil and dung, and you've got yourself some Grade-A nutrient-filled heaven. Don't forget to water!
If you're just starting out, the Air Faerie Mushroom is great for beginners as it is the easiest of all the magical fungi to grow. It only requires air, water, and faerie dust. (Faerie dust is required to active any faerie mushroom spore.) Cloud substrate provides the perfect growing conditions for this fungus, as it is dense enough so the roots can take hold. It is also very inexpensive and can be found everywhere in Faerieland along with faerie dust. This mushroom thrives off of the air and will require a constant flow of fresh air to produce optimal growth. (Plug in a fan!)
These funky Glowing Pre-Sliced Mushrooms are extremely quick and easy to grow and are a must-try project for the little ones! They also work out GREAT as party favors. They require any glowing substrate and a thick, green slime, which will provide moisture. A mixture of glowing battle dung and glowing apple leaves will provide your little mushrooms with the perfect amount of bioluminescent-nutrients and will guarantee a great harvest. Glowing Jelly is a comparable yet inexpensive alternative. It is very important to feed these little guys slime at least once a day, otherwise you risk dehydrating them! Space slime produces the best results, but any old goopy green gunk will do!
The Tooth Faerie Mushroom calls for some pretty bizarre mushroom-growing products – most of which you (hopefully) have lying around your bathroom. You will need toothpaste, mouth rinse, and a pinch of faerie dust. Tooth Faerie Toothpaste contains the perfect mix of nutrients and already comes with faerie dust swirled in. Pretty convenient, huh? Pair with Tooth Faerie mouth wash for the freshest fungus among us. This stuff is great for just about any oral ailment you can think of! (A mushroom a day keeps the dentist away!)
A JELLY Mushroom? Unheard of! Jelly does not exist, and you cannot grow something which does not exist, obviously. *cough*
The 8-Bit Mushroom is definitely an odd specimen, which has quite a fun and futuristic look to it. These make great gifts, although they might set you back a few thousand Neopoints, as the nutrients for this little guy comes from old decaying robot parts and escaped pixels- both of which are rare and fairly difficult to come by. If you have managed to find some shady Neopet to buy old robot parts from (which is pretty questionable) and some pixels to mix in, you're ready for the next step. You're going to have to shell out another couple thousand Neopoints for a container of purple liquid so you can keep your spores hydrated. The purple liquid also gives this particular mushroom its bright color.
Water Faerie Mushrooms are among one of the most difficult mushrooms to grow, yet the fruits of your labor will be very rewarding as this is also one of the most beautiful mushrooms in Neopia. You will need to set up a hydroponic system, and it is vital that the water stay fresh and is constantly running. The temperature of the water needs to be kept cool, and five drops of tears of the Water Faerie need to be added to the water daily. Place a spore inside of a Water Faerie orb, and place the orb in the water. A pinch of faerie dust will need to be sprinkled on the spore daily to promote growth. Conditions for this mushroom are quite tricky to produce and maintain, and I tip my hat to anyone who can accomplish the task.
Mushrooms are a very versatile plant which can be used in any number of situations. They are the perfect addition to any omelet, sandwich or soup. Fry some in a pan with a little butter and garlic, and you have the perfect pizza topping. Mix ¾ part Honey Blossom Extract and ¼ part mushroom extract to create a lightweight ointment which will cure the worst case of Doldrums in a heartbeat. The mushroom extract itself contains vitamins A C and E and works wonders when applied to the skin as a moisturizer. Dried mushrooms can be crushed to produce a light powder which by itself is suitable to wear as makeup. The powder can also be used as a main ingredient for soap or toothpaste – it is quite abrasive and works as a fantastic exfoliator.
On Roo Island, the natives have found what I find to be the most interesting and efficient use of the mushroom – they create homes out of them! Exclusive to Roo Island, the Behemoth Mushroom is hollowed out once it reaches full maturity. It is then reinforced with a natural concrete made of (Yup, you guessed it!) mushroom powder and sticky tree resin, which has to cool and harden overnight. Windows and doors are carved out, and the strongest natural shelter in Neopia is ready to be occupied.
Hopefully you've learned a thing or two about the mushrooms of Neopia; they're quite an amazing life form. Perhaps I've even inspired some of you to grow a mushroom or two! Maybe you've come to realize that those funky little guys in your Neogarden are actually edible. Either way, happy mushrooming!