Microscopic cells called "mycelium" -- the fruit of which are mushrooms -- recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. "We can capitalize on mycelium's digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and mycogardening)."

Mycelium Running : How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul St...

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No, it sounds like a soil builder, not a plant supplement. I'll get the same material and use it in plots. I was going to do it under trees, but perhaps I should dedicate a raised bed to the experiment. Thanks so much for sending this information and your thoughts. Anything we can do to improve our soils should give us better plants. Before summer comes I am going to get me a chart for the garden that will survive wear and tear. My printouts dissolve with my wet, dirty fingers. 

Nitrogen provides proteins, nucleic acids, vitamins and hormones.
Deficiency of nitrogen causes yellowing of older leaves, stunted plants, dormancy of lateral buds, purple coloration in shoot axis surface, wrinkling of cereal grains and inhibition of cell division. 
Deficiency of nitrogen causes

Potassium helps determine anion-cation balance in cells and is involved in protein synthesis, opening and closing of stomata, activation of enzymes and maintainence of turgidity of cells.
Deficiency of potassium leads to scorched leaf tips, shorter internodes, dieback chlorosis in inter-veinal areas, loss of apical dominance, bushy habit, loss of cambial activity, plastid disintegration and increase in rate of respiration. 
Deficiency of Potassium causes

Phosphorus helps cell membrane, certain proteins, all nucleic acids and nucleotides, and is required for all phosphorylation reactions.
Deficiency causes delay in seed germination, purple or red spots on leaves, dark green leaves, premature fall of leaf or flower buds.

Deficiency of Phosphorus cause

Guide to Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms in Plants

Joan, I bought the book Mycelium Running.  I admit I'm not a patient as I used to be, but I found it difficult to read.   Too much for my tired brain!.   Still, picking and choosing what parts I read, there is lots of interesting material.  Mycelium to hold together soil, prevent erosion, purify water that has been polluted by agriculture and industry, and edible mushrooms.  Interesting.

My computer is behaving strangely with "Reply"; "Add Reply doesn't work. Here is trial 4. 

So, Sentient, have you decided to use the material you described before. If so, how do you plan to use it and how will you know if it makes a difference in your soil and plants? 
I guess this is where my old horticulture classes from Washington State University come in handy. I shall set up a trial plot beside an untreated plot. 

Joan, I'm not up to a scientific test of that.  Somewhere I read that the farmer's footsteps are the best fertilizer.  That's where it is for me - a randomized plot design would be good, but that has to be left up to the ag experiment station!  I would love to know what happens in your plots!  

I am using the "Plant Success" inoculant.  I will continue watching for results from others.  I don't think it will hurt.


With mushrooms coming up in various parts of the yard, I know there are those types of mycelia, so it might be completely moot!  I did pick a few mushroom caps and place them on  the soil surface in the raised beds, thinking they might shed spores and grow some mycelia there.

To be honest, I'm starting to  think the biggest market for mycororrhizal inoculants is for hydroponic marijuana.  Which, while I'm an avid gardener, is not something I have any interest in at all.   Hydroponic marijuana is such an unnatural system, totally cut off from soil,and even cut off from sunlight, using high power indoor lights,  that the effects of inoculant might be greatly magnified.  And a small benefit could mean a big increase in profits.  Totally different from growing tomatoes and chili peppers in a compost-enriched raised bed, or linden trees in a mulched section of yard.

What I am thinking about more is setting up a plot for edible fungi.  That is still a vague idea for me.  I love the idea.

This is from Texas A&M:

Benefits of Mycorrhiza:
Enhanced plant efficiency in absorbing water and nutrients from the soil.
Reducing fertility and irrigation requirements.
Increased drought resistance
Increased pathogen resistance/protection.
Enhancing plant health and vigor, and minimizing stress.
Enhanced seedling growth.
Enhanced rooting of cuttings.
Enhanced plant transplant establishment.
Improved phytoremediation of petroleum and heavy metal contaminated sites.

Mycorrhiza enhances Drought Resistance

Mycorrhizal Plants in Revegetaion site
Advantages of Mycorrhiza:
Produce more stress resistant plants during production and for landscape.
Potentially less pesticide usage.
Plants are more drought and nutrient tolerant in the landscape.
Potentially higher transplanting success and faster establishment.
Value added: Marketing landscape plants with greater stress tolerance.

All of these "better" beg the question, "better than what?".  For example, if you add mycorrhyzal fungi  to a sterile medium, compared to just using a sterile medium without inoculant.  But most of the time we're growing in the soil, not sterile and hopefully we use soil that is organically rich.  What about a disturbed soil, with or without, say, organic enrichment, that encourages any native or local mycelium?  or in a generally good soil that is not so disturbed?  I have not found much that really tells me, scientifically, that adding mycorrhiza will be of great benefit.  Testimonials and photos are not the best evidence.

Even so, I want to give my plants the best chance I can, so I don't mind a little "spicing it up" with something that seems, at least, not harmful and may have some benefit.  Maybe not too rational of me.

My goodness, Daniel, where do you find all this information? I Googled and did't come up with this information you sent today. Thanks so much. 

Your idea for "farmer's footprints" is a sound one; it is as good as any. I will do a little bit of experimenting and keep you posted. 

I assume your soil came via the Ice Age Flood and puddled there before going into the sea and is very rich in mineral nutrients as well as ground water. Your area, Portland and Vancouver, hold a huge gravel aquifer. Do you know now far down your water table is at your new garden area? Perhaps your soil has the right nutrients and moisture and sunlight as that monster mushroom in Oregon. 
Because my ground is high on the side of the Spokane River canyon, the Ice Age Flood  washed away top soil to volcanic cliffs and has been replaced by blown-in volcanic ash. There are several places on the south hill that puddled and icebergs sat and melted high on the rim of the canyon. There are interesting little ponds all over the south side. So it will be interesting to compare our two gardens.


Oregon's monster mushroom is world's biggest living thing

Nope, I was wrong, There are two passes the river had to go over before getting to Portland/Vancouver. 

Wow - interesting.  Looks like here in Weest of the Cascades, we have some of your good topsoil.  "Lake-bottom sediments deposited by the Missoula Floods are the primary reason for the agricultural richness of the Willamette Valley."  wikipedia.

Joan, since I don't watch TV, when my brain is tired I research things that interest me.  A wandering mind!

One thing about those giant mushroom articles, I don't understand.  They talk about the giant mushrooms killing trees.  But if they've been living there for hundreds, even thousand of years, and there are forests there, that can't be true.  Maybe in a disturbed forest, trees are more sensitive.  But - forests have been disturbed before, just differently.  

Who knows, maybe there is a massive mushroom under us now.  Waiting to digest us.

The article said some scientists want to determine how to kill it because it kills trees, but I think you have a good point about it living there for so long without killing all trees.  I suspect something limits how far it can go.

Waiting to digest us: lol.   Lions & tigers & mushrooms, oh my!

Maybe it's the opposite - maybe the fungus is responsible for healthy development of trees?  And when the tree is stressed or dies for other reasons, the fungus spreads through the wood and ultimately recycles the tree?

Now that I think of it, somewhere I have an X-files episode something like this.  Except I think it was insects instead of fungus.

I think you could be right that they don't kill trees.

A quick search of IMDb came up with a movie about a group of shipwrecked people that ate mushrooms on the island and slowly changed into mushrooms:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057295/combined

Xfiles episode on mushrooms digesting people.  Must be part of my psyche - didn't remember until googling.

The one I was thinking of was called "Darkness Falls".  It actually was about insects.

The movie you found sounds interesting!

Sounds like your memory was correct after all.  Congratulations.

I stopped watching Xfiles very quickly because I like resolution and there didn't seem to be any.  Also, no matter how much evidence the one character came up with, the other was always a non-believer.  However, the woman was so beautiful, that kept me watching longer than I would have otherwise.  Probably not your reason for watching :)

Anyway, I did see and enjoy the Xfiles movie where, if I remember correctly, they found the bees that were being multiplied and a spaceship came out of the ground at the end.  More resolution than the TV series :)




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