We are only running courses in November this year. Due to climate change, November is more reliable for finding mushrooms than October, which in past years was the most productive month. For the last two years October has not been good for mushrooms, last year in particular the only ones that could be found were those that grow on trees and were therefore not reliant on rainfall.
As I write we are at the end of one of the hottest and driest summer periods since 1976. What this will mean for the mushroom harvest, wild fruits and berries is uncertain. I am guessing that as soon as we have rain and cooler weather we will see many mushrooms come up in our woodlands, perhaps even a glut, probably including Boletus edulis, the Penny Bun, Cep or Porcino. Look for them a few days after a good rainfall. For meadow mushrooms I am not so confident. The grass is dead above ground and while it will grow back quickly once the rain returns, the mushrooms, dependant on the grass, may take longer. Normally I would be looking for Fairy Ring Champignons, which you may know as Mousserons, (Marasmius oreades), a couple of days after it has rained, but it may be delayed this year.
As for fruits and berries, some will have dropped early due to the drought, others may not swell as they normally would. The blossom on the fruit trees this year was mainly excellent though some trees were hit by the cold spell we suffered back in early spring. Normally this would mean a massive fruit harvest, but with such unpredictable weather, the results will also be unpredictable.
Wet weather at the end of summer would make a big difference to yields this autumn. I am hoping for a cool wet August and decent weather during October and November.
Last year December and January were so mild that autumn mushrooms like Wood Blewit, (Lepista nuda), were still growing at New Year, mixed with spring fungi like St George’s Mushroom, (Calocybe gambosa), not normally seen until March/April. It has always been true that mushrooms occur where you happen to find them; now they occur when ever you chance to find them too.