Beneficial Garden Fungi: Using Natural Fertilizers, Weed Killers & More Made from Fungus
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
When you hear the word "fungi", you may automatically think of something negative. There are many harmful types of fungi, so assumptions are often made that fungi is always going to be a bad thing. Fortunately, that isn't always the case, especially when it comes to gardening. Here are some ways to use fungi that are actually beneficial for your garden.
Mycorrhizal Fungi, also known as mycorrizhae, is extremely beneficial to the plants in your garden. In an undisturbed growing environment, such as a deep forest, mycorrhizae is naturally present. However, in residential areas or areas in which the land has been disturbed by human life, it is not as prevalent. Mycorrhizae help the plants thrive by providing an environment in which the plants can access the nutrients from the soil.
Micorrhizae are actually natural soil fertilizers. Using natural fertilizers can provide your garden with the mychorrizal fungi that is needed. Some minerals and nutrients can only be accessed this way. Root Shield is one type of natural beneficial fungus fertilizer. To use it, just mix it with the recommended amount of water according to the size of your garden and sprinkle the entire garden with a watering can.
Some ant species use certain fungi to their benefit to gain access to important nutrients they otherwise would not be able to get. They create little miniature "gardens" of this fungi. The fungi then soaks up this nutrient and the ants feed on the fungi. It is a good idea to keep ants in your garden, rather than get rid of them with harmful chemical pesticides.
Not only are the chemical pesticides bad for you, as well as your garden and the Earth, but many ants are good for your garden. They protect plants and even kill off the insects that do harm to plants. The ants actually do all of this themselves naturally, so there isn't necessarily anything for you to do but make sure you aren't killing off the ants and be sure you have the type of ants that do this. Different ant species can be ordered live through ant farms.
Speaking of pesticides, some pesticides can be beneficial to your garden, such as natural pesticides. Some natural pesticides are made from beneficial fungi. These are generally sold as a mixture to be added to your regular fertilizer treatment, unless your fertilizer already contains mychorrizhal compounds. Follow the directions of your specific beneficial fungi pesticide when applying it to your garden.
Another use for beneficial fungi in your garden is as a natural weed killer. Beneficial fungi can kill off harmful weeds so that the plants that should be thriving will have the space they need to grow. Weeds can also suck away all the nutrients, leaving the other plants starving.
The beneficial fungi contained in natural microbial fertilizers containing mychorrizhal compounds, such as mentioned above, also serve as an agent against harmful weeds. Beneficial fungi can be used to kill off harmful fungi in your garden as well. The application of the fertilizer, such as RootShield, containing mychorrizhal compounds should be helpful in keeping harmful fungi away.
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
A fall garden party can be a great way to welcome and celebrate the fall season. The fall garden party activities below are a great way to keep your guests talking and leave them something to remember long after the party has ended.
What's a fall garden party without planting seeds? Ask your guests to bring fall seeds to exchange with others. They can either buy seeds from the store, bring seeds they have but won't use, or cultivate some seeds from their own gardens to share. If there are loose fall seeds, place those in zippered sandwich bags to make it easier to distribute them.
Once everyone has contributed their share, sort them in a way that makes it easy for everyone to choose which ones they'd like. Have a designated area to organize all the seedlings and also figure out how many packages each person will be able to have.You may wish to supply something fun for each person to collect their seeds with, such as a watering can or small pot or planter.
DIY Container Planting
Another fun garden party activity is DIY container planting. Your fellow gardening pals will enjoy this activity. It can be fun to garden together with friends. Tips can be shared and since guests at a fall garden party will likely be gardeners, most should be enjoying themselves. Supply gloves, a container, fall seedlings, soil, and a garden spade.
You may also want to have guests use some of the seeds acquired during the seed swap. Allow guests to bring home whatever they have planted in their planters. This not only gives the guests something fun to do at the outdoor party, but it also gives them something they can use. Plus, each time they look at their fall plants, they can remember the great time spent with their friends.
Buckets for the Homeless
If you'd rather gear your fall party toward being charitable to others, instead of the DIY container planting, guests can create buckets for the homeless. Buckets for the homeless are actual container gardens using buckets. For these, you'll need a large bucket for each one to be made, soil, and vegetable seeds or sprouts. Buckets make great container gardens for the hungry or homeless because they can be easily carried around.
They provide a continuous source of nutrition that they can bring anywhere without worrying about refrigeration. Be sure to plant a variety of vegetables. Usually for these, the tomato is planted in the middle, with other vegetables surrounding it. Place a cracked egg underneath the tomato plant for extra fertilizer. Also, be sure that holes are poked in the bottom and sides of the buckets for irrigation.
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