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Bacteria, Fungi and Nematodes Oh My!

 
gardener
Posts: 6719
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau Natasha, as you have discovered, when we use the anaerobic concoctions they become aerated simply by the act of pouring them through air to the soil, and that soil also contains air so what was anaerobic becomes aerobic.
Earth worms make tunnels in the soil and that also allows more air to get down to where they are doing their jobs, if you have worms you have aerated soil.

I love your compost heap method, it works extremely well.
I use straw bales much the same way, adding spent coffee grounds to increase nitrogen three to four weeks prior to planting which gets the interior of the bales composting.

Redhawk
 
Posts: 88
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Thank you, Dr Redhawk, for your explanation! It makes perfect sense now. Also for your tip about the coffee grounds, I will try that next time.
By the way, building compost heaps is my favourite occupation. Could do it all day if I weren't called away by pesky distractions like the need to make a living :)
 
pollinator
Posts: 160
Location: Spain
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Can anyone, suggest mycorrhizas inoculum brands that sell reliable products. There are so many around.
I am looking for a product that can be useful for inoculating fruit trees like olives and almonds and also some N-fixers shrubs
I understand that I mainly need endo-mycorrhizas but most products come as a mix of endo and ecto mycorrhizal fungi, which means that I will have less of what I really need even though the other types might play other roles in the terrain around.
Also what is the minimum count of propagules that need to be in the product?

Some of the products also come as a powder that becomes like a gel when mixed with water, which seems to be good for bare root plants, still I am not sure what amount of product of this type I may need to buy for X amount of trees, since they say you need to coat the tree roots with the gel-like substance, still some of the brands sell like 1 liter bottles and don't know how many bottles I may need especially if I have to submerge the root system into this gel-like fluid..and I'd also need to have a big enough container for the tree roots to be dipped into the stuff....

Do you think that I may need both the gel type of inoculum for the bare root plants AND the pellet type for container raised plants, or the pellet type can be used in both cases?

Cheers
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau Antonio, I personally only purchase mycorrhizae from Mushroom people like Fungi Perfecti (Paul Stamets company), there are several out there to choose from, all will provide a nice mix of ecto and endo species that are fresh.

I prefer the dry types, powder or pelletized, they are most likely to last you the longest time in storage conditions. These are spores not growing fungi so I can wait for up to five years to use them up.
When I plant with mycorrhizae, I just sprinkle some of the powder onto the roots I've exposed for the purpose (one or two pinches is plenty), then I put the soil back in the hole and water the plant in well.

Once again I want to stress that the most reputable mushroom folks are the place to buy from.
I've seen a lot of junk offered on the internet from non mushroom people.

Redhawk
 
Antonio Scotti
pollinator
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Thanks for your feedback Bryant.
Would you be able to share names of other brands that you consider reputable, and what I need to look into the product to be able to tell if I may want to buy it or not (I mainly need arbuscular m. many brands sell a mix of arbuscular and ectomycorrhizas + bacterias and humic acids or even vitamins)? I have read that powderized mycorrhizas of endomcorrhizas usuallly doesn't work well because the process of creating the dust (grinding?) destroys the spores which are quite "big". On the other hand I have seen some brands that sell micronized  products but don't know exactly what that means and if they are usually a different process than grinding.

Regards
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Mycoapply

Kelp4Less

SoilNoc

EcoVam

I have used granular types only, not micronized (a form that seems to be a gimmick to me)
Currently I have some plants in containers that I am growing my own mycorrhizae in so I can use already active spawn.
When I pull some soil for use as inoculant I simply replace the soil in the container with fresh soil, do try to disturb the root systems as little as possible. (I use a 3/4" pvc pipe piece to pull plugs from the containers, I only pull 3-4 from each container, about once per two month period)

Nearly all plants on earth rely on mycorrhizal fungi for nutrients and moisture.
Many plants are extremely dependent and can struggle to survive without the beneficial fungi (grapes and roses are examples).
Most plants use the “Endo” types of fungi that physically enter into roots.  
Pines, Oaks and a few others use “Ecto” types that form a sheath around the roots.

Redhawk
 
Antonio Scotti
pollinator
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Thanks Bryant
In case you have a bare root tree to plant, how do you use these granular types in order for the spores to make good contact with the tree roots?
Do you just dilute them in water and wet the roots?...I was just thinking (right now) to do a gel like solution with agar-agar and water and mix the mico-powder/granules with this gel so that it could stick to the bare roots...
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I like to wet the roots of the bare root tree and sprinkle the granules on after I've set the tree with the roots spread out. The mycorrhizae go on then I start to fill the dirt back into place, water in at half way full (the planting hole) then fill the rest of the way and water in a second time.
I do it this way because it allows me to have more control and less waste of my mycorrhizae.
I always use an ecto/endo blend of mycorrhizae mostly because I don't want to bother with having to keep track of three quantities and it also gives the opportunity for full symbiosis to occur faster, which is very beneficial to the tree and surrounding plants.

Redhawk
 
Antonio Scotti
pollinator
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In some of the products that I see around, some have a variety of endo mycorrhizas (4 to 7), some only put one (usually glomus intraradices).

I am just wondering how probable it is that all these other varieties can be found in all continents.
For example I doubt that Paraglomus brasilianum will be found in European soils....(just by the name), but I am quite ignorant about all the others (G. mosseae, G. aggregatum, G. etunicatum, etc.) I ask this because if I'd know that certain varieties don't happen to live in european soils than I could avoid alltogether buying a product that has them, because this will have less propagules of the ones that will most probably work. I know this is usually done so that the mix is general enough so that one or the other will surely work, but there will be less propagules of each...

On the other hand are these others (other than G. intraradices) also be able to adapt to different type of conditions, so that if they are unleashed in a foreign environment than their original one, can do their job as well so it may make sense to have them after all)?

Does anyone know of any good source of info on this?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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On every continent you can locate most every species of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF), there are some locations (ie peat bogs) where these organisms will not be found because of a too high acidity, but usually right next door will be soil that contains many of the AMF species.
Paraglomus brasilianum is not just found in the amazon basin and other parts of South America, it is found from the southern tip of Argentina all the way to the start of the northern polar cap.
While it is true that no one particular species will be found all over in the same or even similar quantities, there will be a few examples of it found in root zone samples.
Nature creates wide diversity for the purpose of maintaining the life cycle and that means that some species of AMF and / or endomycorrhizae will be present in every sample of roots taken in thriving ecosystem soil samples.

Commercial products should contain as broad a cross section of Mycorrhizae as possible so that within that packet, there will be species that thrive and do their job well.
Once a mycorrhizae gains the first foot hold, it will reproduce rapidly (very similar to how fast bacteria will multiply in perfect conditions) and spread to all the roots in its surrounding soil, this will continue for as long as there are non containing roots and that includes the roots of nearby plants.
In the matter of one year one healthy mycorrhizae spore can populate an area of one acre as long as there are fresh roots to infiltrate or coat, depending on if the fungi is endodermic or exodermic, and if both types are present, all the better because the roots will then have the complete mycorrhizal complement.

All the published papers I've found on this phenomenon are pay to read at the microbiology journal sites.
 
pollinator
Posts: 397
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:

Annie Collins wrote:

Bryant RedHawk wrote:
The organisms we want in our soil are all aerobic organisms, they die, or go dormant without oxygen being present.
Redhawk



So then if one wanted to use kambucha or kefir to add bacteria to the soil, it should be aerated first I assume.



Yes, you want to have air contact all the bacteria so the bad guys will start dying off, we are fortunate that those can't survive well in an O2 atmosphere.

Redhawk



If one puts a diluted kombucha and/or kefir mix in a pump sprayer, would the act of spraying it out be sufficient air? What about putting it into a hose-end sprayer and mixing it with water sprayed out over the garden?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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That is a great question Diane.

when you take an anaerobic set of organisms and introduce air, the anaerobic organisms begin to die off because of the atmosphere they are now in being poisonous to them.
The amount of air they contact has a lot to do with how fast those non air breathers die out, the higher the O2 content or the longer the duration of O2 content has everything to do with the completeness of the die off.
So, if you are spraying the time in the air is from exiting the sprayer to landing on the intended target, but then you have to add in the time period of soil O2 exposure as well.

I personally feel like you would probably get enough air exposure this way, but since I tend to be anal about ciliates and other anaerobic organisms, I prefer to give at least 24 hours of O2 exposure prior to using anaerobic preparations. That is just my own quirk.

Hose end sprayers tend to not get a lot of O2 exposure, only what is dissolved in the water being used for the most part.
pump sprayers do a slightly better exposure.
 
Diane Kistner
pollinator
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:I personally feel like you would probably get enough air exposure this way, but since I tend to be anal about ciliates and other anaerobic organisms, I prefer to give at least 24 hours of O2 exposure prior to using anaerobic preparations. That is just my own quirk.



So now I'm wondering exactly what it is in kombucha that would be undesirable. I know that when you're fermenting a batch of kombucha using a SCOBY, it's important to have the brew exposed to oxygen. Does that mean there are fewer anaerobes than in, say, something brewed with an airlock? And as for the SCOBY itself...not a good idea to chop it up and bury it in the soil? You should know that I failed chemistry!

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Most of the pathogenic organisms are anaerobes, which is nice for we gardeners since to reduce their numbers all we need to do is get those critters into an oxygen atmosphere.

A scoby is not going to have a lot of the undesirable organisms contained within its structure. I see no reason to not use it as a buried compost element.
 
Diane Kistner
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Most of the pathogenic organisms are anaerobes, which is nice for we gardeners since to reduce their numbers all we need to do is get those critters into an oxygen atmosphere.

A scoby is not going to have a lot of the undesirable organisms contained within its structure. I see no reason to not use it as a buried compost element.



Very good news. I just whirred a 5" stack of extra scobys with a bit of mushrooms in my blender, diluted it, and poured the slurry around the edge of my beds that are now lined with fairly freshly felled cherry and sweetgum logs. I figure I'll just see what happens around those edges and go from there. I was afraid to put the whole scobys out, because my Doobie dog will dig them all up and "kill" them. I need him to be doing that with the voles instead....



 
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What outcome should I expect when adding a mushroom slurry to wood chip mulched fruit trees? If I have a carton of baby bella mushrooms that went bad, and I blend it up with water and go pour it on the wood mulch at the base of my fruit trees, will tons of mushrooms start popping up? In what amount of time? And is this the goal? I am just picturing mushrooms popping up everywhere on my property. Would too many mushrooms ever become a problem? If so, how would one handle that situation? And if I am worried about small children on the property who have an uncontrollable urge to taste test all things, should I only use edible mushrooms for the slurries, and not random ones popping up in the yard below the downspouts? Any thoughts and advice is most welcome!
Dee
 
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Dee,

Using mushrooms to decompose woody items is a great way to get excellent compost.  I use this technique extensively in my garden beds.  I do not use the slurry method, but that does not mean that you shouldn’t.  Personally I buy spawn in bricks of sawdust.

Personally I would only use clearly identified, edible mushrooms for many of the reasons you mentioned.  My choice is the Wine Cap which is a ravenous decomposer, easy for new users, produces wonderful, amazing compost/bedding and important to you, very easy to identify and perfectly edible.

If you try this technique, you will eventually get Wine Caps popping up where ever you have new wood chips with access to the old spawn.  Wine Caps can do amazing things for soil fertility.  If you are interested, I can help you further.

Good Luck,

Eric
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:In the soil there are really no "bad" mushroom hyphae it is the fruits (the actual mushroom caps) that might be a problem.
I use a lot of different fungi fruits (I have something like 12 different species of wood eating fungi on my land and a few edibles) for making slurries.

To make a slurry a blender comes in very handy, I have an old one that is now used only for this purpose.
I fill the blender jar with the mushrooms (they do not need to be fresh) then I add water to about half way and cap and use the "Pulse" a few times then hit "Puree".
When it looks like all the mushrooms are chopped as fine as they are going to get, I turn off the machine, pour the "soup" into gallon milk jugs and go walking through the gardens or orchard drizzling the slurry around trees, through the middle of garden beds and anywhere else it looks like I need to add some.
This is something you can do anytime you have left over mushrooms that you didn't cook, dried ones work pretty well too.

One of my lands most plentiful is the turkey tail then the Jew's Ear is second to that, right now I have a few really large ones that I don't know the species of, but they will get whizzed up when I have the time, if animals don't eat them first.

Those dried oyster mushrooms are golden Nicole, especially around fruit trees, they will be super in any garden bed too.

If you have a not so great compost heap going, you can boost it by adding a little slurry to it, that will bring up the fungal side of the microbiome you are feeding in the compost heap.

Kola, you should know that just as there is no "silly" question there also is no such thing as too many questions.

Redhawk



Ok, sorry for the thread-tag Bryant, ha - I have three quick questions about mushroom-slurry making since I want to do it soon!
1) I have a package of powdered chaga tea - will that work in the slurry?
2) Most things are totally frozen/snowed over so harvesting wild mushrooms (even though the forest here has a TON) is pretty tough. The only mushrooms that I can easily see right now are all polypores but they're giant and hard as rocks. Do you agree that I should leave them be instead of trying to hack them off?
3) Some of my firewood started to sprout mushrooms (a great sign, I know) which have now shrivelled up - but could I use them?

If all three of these end up with a "no" I'll just set aside some of the mushrooms I was going to have for dinner this week. :)
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hhau Hayley, chaga tea will not have viable spores surviving the process of making the product.. If the "woody" fungi are still inn place, then they would work. What I generally recommend is left over store bought mushrooms or those that are going slimey, that way you aare getting a benefit instead of waste.

Redhawk
 
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