Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mycorrhiza and Microbes -- Fun with Fungi in the Garden

Densely colonized soil contains beneficial mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobia, which associate with roots and provide plants with mineral nutrients and fixed nitrogen, respectively, in exchange for carbon

A mycorrhiza "my kuh rayzah" is derived from combined Greek terms meaning "fungus" and "roots."  Sounds yucky, but tiny microbes found in the soil are highly beneficial to plant fitness.  The addition of these probiotic root stimulators have been tied to better plant growth, ongoing vigor and greater transplant success. They're an important key to healthy soil.

The scientific aspects of these tiny titans are described in glorius detail in relevant journals mainly for agricultural and commercial growers. All the home gardener needs to know is that plants, like people, carry on them beneficial bacteria, mainly at the root level.

Try to leave as much of the root soil intact at transplant to maximize the likelihood of transplant success.  Still supplement the new area with organic matter particularly if the it contains clay.

It's the biology in the soil and root structure that allows for the suppression of disease.  Thus, like the human body, beneficial microorganisms are not visible, but are essential to survival. 

So, who'd wish to buy bacteria?  Farmers and growers regularly spend a portion of their budget on commercial products which enhance or include mycorrhiza for use in the field or greenhouse.

Home gardeners can purchase mycorhizzal fungi supplements on the web. 

Articles of Interest:

Winter Interest In the Garden

How to Grow Flowers from Seed - Four O'Clock and Hollyhocks

How to Transplant Plants -- Create A Memory Garden