I'm glad that the New Year is with us - Christmas was great but we had a house full of people, and although there were lots of fungis around, there wasn't mushroom to move! Ha ha! As you may have guessed, my topic this week - the first of the year - is fungi: mushrooms and toadstools, both edible and ornamental. And it is simply a huge subject. There is so much knowledge about them that learned academics have written huge tomes, the size of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, about all matters relating to fungi. The type that is most familiar to us, of course, is the button mushroom. Wherever they are seen growing, they cause amazement and fascination, especially when the beds are covered with tiny pin-head mushrooms that, in just a few days, develop into large clusters. These can be grown at home, and the boxed kits available from the garden centre are both cheap to buy and fun to grow. Within three weeks, you can have your first crop of button and flat-headed mushrooms. In total, you'll be able to make five or six pickings, at six-day intervals (although the harvests are gradually reduced each time). You don't save a great deal of money doing this, but at least you know what you're getting is fresh, and you've cut back on a few food miles. There are several kits available, and although they differ in small ways, the principals are the same. Start by opening the pack.