What Is Mycorrhizae Fungi
For gardeners, even the word ‘fungi’ screams danger. Nobody wants to think about their hard, growing work being damaged by pesky fungi.
Fungi has been linked to all sorts of conditions in plants like rust and botrytis. However, there’s research to suggest that some fungi are actually good for plants like tomatoes.
There are millions of fungi species, so it was always inevitable that some would be beneficial to other plants, right?
The benefits of Mycelium
Mycelium in fungi can actually warn trees or plants about pests and diseases coming their way. This means plants have an opportunity to develop different strains and become resistant to potential threats. Mycelium can also help different species within a single area speak to one another. It's almost like a communications system for nature, and comprises of thousands of thin root-like threads underground.
The benefits of Mycorrhizae
Another key component of fungi is mycorrhizae. This provides plants with carbohydrates, as well as helping to transport phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients to the plants. Mycorrhizae can help to extend the root system for your tomato plants, ultimately creating a network of roots to reach almost 200 times further than the original system. All of this means your plants can gain access to even more of the nutrients and sustenance they need.
As both mycelium and mycorrhizae are doing such good work in the natural garden, it seems they could do the same in other settings like grow rooms or tents by integrating fungi into the soils.
The benefits of Trichoderma
The third beneficial element of fungi (usually mold colonies) is Trichoderma. This can be used to boost the yield you gain from a single tomato plant. Similar to how some molds are handy for humans, it can develop on the roots of your plants to promote root growth, while also protecting the plant from more dangerous fungi.
Together, this trio of mycelium, mycorrhizae and Trichoderma can have real benefits to your tomato plants. But how can you add them to an unnatural grow setting?
Promoting Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma
Fungi tends to develop when soil is left undisturbed. Therefore, to bring Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma into your grow room, it’s a good idea to add a layer of compost onto the top of your potting soil. Leave it to sit on top, rather than digging it in.
To boost the chances of a fungi colony developing, you can also create your own mix of molasses, sand, coffee, rice and manure. However, we don’t recommend this for indoor grow spaces – nobody really enjoys the smell of manure floating through the house. Instead, there are artificial products available to buy to help trigger fungi growth. Spray these fertilizers onto your soil before planting your tomato seeds.
It’s important to remember that not all fungi are good. Therefore, it’s best to speak to an expert about developing the right type of fungi colony, to help protect your plants and help them thrive.