Fertiliser-mushroom compost

Nhu Nguyen xerantheum@gmail.com
Mon, 30 Mar 2009 10:31:49 PDT
On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 2:41 PM, Jim McKenney
I like to tell this story to beginning gardeners, the sort who freak every
time they see any evidence of fungi. The point I try to make is that only
some fungi are pathogens; most are not. The other point is the concept of
host specificity: even pathogenic fungi have specific hosts. They are not
wild cards which will destroy everything they touch. Fungi are everywhere,
and we’re still here, right?

Hi everyone,

As a person who studies fungi and soil microbiology, this thread has been
quite interesting. Fungi are certainly everywhere, a subset set are
pathogenic whereas the rest are not. Many are mutualist symbionts with
plants and there would be no boreal forests without ectomycorrhizal fungi
(those that produce large mushrooms under trees). In the geophyte world
though, natural occuring plants are most likely symbiotic with arbuscular
mycorrhizal fungi.

Jim McKenney's and the rest of the posts reminded me of a podcast I heard a
while back hosted by the BBC Garden Illustrated magazine. The whole idea was
being conscious about the ecology of the garden. That is, if we understand
the ecology of our garden, we can use that ecology in a way to benefit the
garden, reducing harm to ourselves and our environment.  Jim's example of
harboring saprobic fungi to deter pathogenic fungi is a prime example of
being ecologically minded in the garden.

Now, if we can take that example from the bag and exand it to a growing bed,
we'd be set, right? Unfortuntely, things are not always so simple.
Pathogenic fungi persist because they're good at getting around and
infecting plants. A method like one mentioned here may work for a while but
then the good fungi will run out of food, make mushrooms, and probably die
out, allowing a different set of fungi to succeed. Pathogenic fungi may take
this opportinity to move in. There will always be a stuggle, but gardening
would not be quite the same without it.

Berkeley, CA, where many of the native geophytes are making inflorescences.

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