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gardening with fungal symbiots

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In the wild, some (most?) plants have a symbiotic relationship with fungus. The plant creates debris which the fungus breaks down and feeds back to the plant.

I think plants (and seeds) should be sold with the appropriate fungus mycelium in the soil (and the spores with the seeds).

Hopefully this will lead to healthier plants, less garden waste and less need for fertilizer.

xaviergisz, Dec 30 2009

Nitrogen fixation, including by symbiotic bacteria http://en.wikipedia...i/Nitrogen_fixation
[afinehowdoyoudo, Dec 30 2009]

Six ways that mushrooms can save the planet. http://blog.ted.com...05/paul_stamets.php
Seventeen minutes well spent. [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Dec 31 2009]

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       Where's [po]? She's a fun gal.
phoenix, Dec 30 2009
  

       Who says that they're not? Is there any basis for this idea at all?
WcW, Dec 31 2009
  

       There are a number of plants which won't germinate without symbiotic fungi, notably orchids, and others, such as shepherd's purse, which are universally "parasitised" by fungi. I think you might find that the fungi are already there, though i do wonder what happens when the seeds are treated with antifungals in advance, which i suspect is standard practice.
nineteenthly, Dec 31 2009
  

       ok, as 19thly notes, orchids are sold with fungus (I wasn't aware of that). I'd be interested to know if this occurs in a wider variety of plants.   

       The idea was originally for adding spores to grass seeds, but then I generalised to all plants. I'd be very suprised if the appropriate spores are routinely added to seeds.
xaviergisz, Dec 31 2009
  

       I think it probably happens by default, but depends on how the seeds are prepared before sale.
nineteenthly, Dec 31 2009
  

       I would think that any really important symbiotic relationship would be carefully maintained in the seed itself. Consider the glowing bacteria found in deep sea fish, this culture must be passed to the egg (the tiny tiny egg) when the fish reproduces. Relationships that are less dependent are also harder for humans to initiate. For years we sprinkled grape cuttings with different forms of nitrogen fixing culture before planting, because it was apparent under a microscope that our vines lacked it, and we were never able to establish it. Reality is that if the relationship between the two species isn't strong enough to be passed from mother to child then it might be ineffective to just "add some" (where are you going to get it, prepare it, preserve it, apply it,)
WcW, Dec 31 2009
  

       I can, however, imagine a situation where something like soil erosion, attempting to cultivate a plant in a different part of the world or an analogous situation to the New Zealand flatworm invasion took place, which would remove the necessary fungi.
nineteenthly, Dec 31 2009
  

       Then how do you re-establish the culture? Unless you can replicate the original niche and recover the culture the species its like giving a family grieving the loss of a child a puppy to console them.
WcW, Dec 31 2009
  

       sp. "symbiont" or "symbiote", but not, I think, "symbiot".
pertinax, Jan 01 2010
  
      
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