Every year we get lots of excited people getting in touch thinking they have found a truffle in their garden. Sometimes the family pet has found it, other times wildlife, such as a Squirrel has left some of it or more commonly, they found it while digging or tidying up a bed.
So far this year we’ve had a one or two finders of subterranean plant galls and, with all the wet weather, several finders of the egg stage of a fungus called a Stinkhorn thinking they had found white truffles. (For more on these, see our truffle look-alikes page). Yesterday (2 June) we had our first actual truffle find, a summer truffle found whilst tidying a garden border. The location is a bit of a surprise – suburban Plymouth, far from open countryside and not on geologies (hence soil types) that truffles would be expected. Plymouth, however, had had truffle finds before, but in an area with the “right” geology. Back in August 2008, a gardener found 2 kilos of them on limestone close to Plymouth Hoe (where Sir Francis Drake insisted on finishing his game of bowls as the Spanish Armada was sighted in the English Channel).
This latest find is so far of just one truffle weighing 55 grams, but the finder will look further. It was found below a corkscrew hazel (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) planted 8 years ago. In such circumstances, if you find one, do NOT dig the entire area over like you were harvesting potatoes, you will irreparably damage the main body of the truffle fungus, the mycelium – microscopic threads throughout the soil. If you look after the area of your garden where you found your truffles, you may well get more, both in this year and future ones. Unlike, say grapes, you don’t harvest all truffles in one go, you hopefully keep getting ripe ones every few weeks in the season (c. July – c. January). For more advice on what to do if you think you have found truffles in your garden, please see this page.