There’s a fungus amongus!  – Show Notes

Today, we discover that fungus is not only a good thing in your landscape, it is crucial to a healthy and happy garden!  Why fungus is beneficial for plants and soil!

Today’s links:

There’s a Fungus Amongus!

  • Benefits of fungus in the garden
  • Good soil = good microbes = good soil
  • Healthy forest soil = high fungal content
  • Benefits of fungi
    • Break down organic matter
    • Make nutrients available
    • Hold soil together
    • Prevent erosion and nutrient loss
    • Retain moisture
    • Feed plants
  • Mycorrhizal fungi
    • Fungi that grow into plant roots
    • Exchange nutrients
    • Expand ‘root network’ of plants
  • How to have good fungi
    • Build good soil!
      • Make a good home for the microbes
    • Mulch
    • Compost
    • Mycoorhizal fungi
  • Soil and why it matters – ELY 011
  • Compost and why its awesome – ELY 014

Are you ready to free yourself from your yard work routine?

Confidently transform your landscape
with the Easy Living Yards Membership!

Learn More!

Fungus Amongus

00:00:00 – 00:05:32

What’s up. I’m ben hale and this is the easy living yards podcast. Creating a beautiful yard should be easy. Let’s jump in and create eight dream yard. You deserve so you can enjoy more time doing what you love breath welcome to episode two of the easy living yards podcast today. We’re going to be talking talking about how there’s a fungus among us. That’s right guys. We’re talking about the benefits of fungus in your soil as we usually think about when you you think about fungus you think alike toenail fungus or you know nasty poisonous mushrooms or something like that right well today. We’re going to be talking about fungi. Fungi are fungi. Whatever you wanna say. Let’s face it. I’m a fun guy right okay. All the jokes are out of the way by now. Hopefully maybe i have a few surprises that my sleeve you never know right okay but the reality is the world of fungus is so diverse so crazy that we don’t even as humans. We don’t even understand and know about it. We’re still discovering new stuff about this stuff. Fungus is like this weird kind of. It’s this is weird organism that somewhere between a bacteria and plant and in a single celled. You know little amoeba kind of thing. It’s somewhere in there without getting techy all right. I’ll try not to get super nerdy on you guys today but the reality is this super diverse group of organisms. There are tons of very very beneficial fungus that are super important for the health of your plants the the happiness of your yard in the low maintenance value. Are you in your yard too so that’s the cool stuff. We’re going to be talking about today. We’re not gonna be talking about all the nasty toenail gunk in that sort of thing and let’s face it to there are pest pest fungi as well and so when you’re talking about your plants. Some plants can be attacked by a mold or some sort of you know infection in a fungal infection. Usually you know they say it’s a fungal disease right well so we’ll get into that and talk about how cool that stuff is now before we do that. I wanna share something with you guys and that is over the past few weeks to pass a few months. I’ve been approached by multiple multiple companies that have been looking for sponsorships and looking for me to promote their products. We’re talking about big companies like john. Deere troy bilt that that sort of thing and i have turned them down actually even though i’ve mentioned their names here because i don’t want to specifically endorse a product that i’m being paid eight four and so this is a absolutely free podcast that i have been putting out there to help you guys transform your life through your yard right. We want to have a low meanest landscape. That’s beautiful something we can be proud of that. Also benefits are life by giving us back joy and giving us back time and that’s what we’re all all about here at easy living yards. I don’t want to murky that up to cloud that up with promotions and sponsorships or whatever paid endorsements that sort of thing and so. I wanna make it clear to you. I am trying to give you guys as an honest perspective as possible that i can give you without being clouded by some of those things and so the way i make money here at easy. Living yards is through my membership and so you guys supporting me in me helping you in turn to transform your yard so so few are appreciative of this show here if you want to keep it free and you also want to transform your yard and you ready to take that step to make a big changing landscape consider the easy living yards membership. You can always go over to easy living yards dot com slash membership and check out how to join the membership there okay so i just wanted to let you guys know that i have been one hundred percent clear on that but yeah i’ve been approached by these giant companies you know and it is i’ll be honest. This is kinda tempting right. It’s kind of cool to be perched by some big companies and and and they’re saying hey. We want you to support our product. We’re gonna come on your show. We can talk about about it. and we basically want me to be an advertiser for them and i’ve turned them down and so i wanted to share that with you guys. I’m kind of proud out of them. I self so i just wanted to share that with you guys as well and i’m proud that you guys are here listening to me supporting my show as well and helping us all make a positive change in this world okay okay so let’s jump back into our fungus among is episode all right so today’s going to be kind of really an informative episode. There’s not specific things you can do except for one tip i do have at the end of the show that can really help you boost the health of your plants so stick around for that. i guess yes. I have a couple there so i take back what i said all right so i have a couple of tips for you that you can benefit the fungal life in your soil and how that can help with with actually benefiting your plants as well as reduced working your landscape so before that i just want to kind of this kind of be like a a more fun than your typical science lecturer you had in school that you’ve slept through but hopefully a bit more fun than that introduction to to the benefits of fungi in your soil bill okay so first off.

00:05:33 – 00:10:00

There’s multiple pronunciations just so you guys know. I use them kind of interchangeably now that i’m a little more self conscious about how i say i realize i say fungi fungi and some people say fungi fungi as well. Those are all acceptable pronunciations as far as i can tell from wikipedia so you know that’s an official source now these days right but they all mean the same thing. Basically it’s this group of all right now now. Here’s the nerdy definition for you. Fungi are eukaryotic organisms so they’re more complex than than bacteria. Is that what that means so they have basically the same internal cellular structure as humans and and more advanced animals like mammals fish reptiles is that sort of thing so they have a similar internal cellular machinery has what that means and there’s two groups of fungi. There’s yeast and molds yeast are single celled. Molds are multi celled so molds are your typical u._c. Mold growing on your bread right you see a mushroom pop up. That’s the fruiting body of a mold. so molds are really the ones we’re going to focus on today yeasts there’s also plenty of beneficial piece as well as there’s plenty of yeast that are not beneficial official right but just like fungi just like bacteria . It’s the same thing so what we’re focusing on usually the classic perspective. Is these things we you can’t see. These little organisms we can’t see is that they’re bad. We don’t want them well. That’s changing and that’s what we’re talking about. Today is when it comes to fungi especially molds olds. There’s a lot of modes that are incredibly important and actually necessary for good healthy plant growth and that’s what we’re focusing on today so when it comes to your garden what do fungi really do well. Let’s step back essentially good soil equals is having good microbial life in your soil good bacteria good fungi good yeast good mold good nematodes little tiny warms that you can’t really we see all sorts of things are right and good. Microbes equals good soil. Basically it’s synonymous. When you have good soil you have a good life basis this for all sorts of levels of life and all those different levels of life support healthy plants in a healthy ecosystem in your yard and that’s really important and because it prevents you from having all these chemical inputs which actually kill the soil life so it’s kind of a reverse cycle you know killing your soil life eagles requiring chemicals eagles killing your soil life and so it’s the reverse process and so building in good healthy soil allows you have good healthy beautiful low maintenance plants that the disease free pest free and trouble free and it’s it’s crazy. We’ll talk about some of the cool things that fungus can do in just a moment so if you think about this when you think about healthy forest healthy forest soil has very high fungal content when you pick up that i i don’t know if you guys have ever done this but i’m kind of a a nature lover and stuff right in addition to being a nerd right and so i’ve i encourage you if you’ve never done on this without damaging the forest too much so maybe close to the trail and the spot that doesn’t look like it’s got a lot of erosion where a nice big pile of leaves push away those is leaves a little bit and and take a scoop of that soil underneath. It’ll probably be hard to pick up because it’s all interconnected with a bunch of what seems like little tiny roots and those czar a ton of roots but also in there is tons and tons of networks of fungal heidi or fibers and so basically veasley. You’re pulling that soil apart then take a smell of that beautiful wonderful earthy smell that people describe when they’re you know like the somali a with their wines. It’s a wonderful wonderful earthy aroma right so that’s what we’re talking about right your your smile and the real thing the somali it would be overwhelmed with joy at the wonderful smell of a good healthy sort force for in my opinion right so it smells awesome and smells healthy. When i in contrast you think about that nasty like putrid area where there’s been a bunch of water sitting for a while and you get that like funky nasty st smell from it.

00:10:01 – 00:15:33

That’s soil. That’s lacking in fungal life. Lacking in soil health and generally speaking is a bunch of anaerobic bacteria belching off these these nasty fumes. That’s creating kinda funky space. That’s what that is so. That’s the opposite right so good healthy. Forest soil is good healthy fungal life in that soil okay so what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to be inspired by that forest. We’re trying to replicate some of that in our yard which is actually very easy to do okay so let’s talk about the benefits of fungi. How’s this stuff actually beneficial for us. Well i what fung i do think about it from the very conventional perspective you have a loaf of bread in your pantry. That’s been sitting there while what happens right. Well somehow magically. Don’t know where but somehow got moldy right. It gets a little spot on how the heck did that. Get in there because i mean touch that part of the bread and somehow basically what happened is. There’s all it takes is a tiny little spore one little spore. It’s this little tiny microscopic piece. It’s it’s basically like a seed right. It’s a little preserved cell and that all it needs is the right conditions and it waits and waits their spores that have been unearthed like with the dead sea scrolls. They research the spores on them to see how how long they’ve been there. I think that’s correct but i i do remember at least that the dead sea scrolls had spores on that they discovered from thousands thousands and thousands and thousands of years ago and they were still viable spores. That’s crazy guys so fungus can preserve itself and wait for the right moment so that right moment in your pantry is when that bread starting to get a little funky but it still has a little bit of moisture in there that sports i hope time to grow oh it pops up and you get that bread mold right and then that fuzzy stuff you see is when it’s starting to dry out and it’s saying it’s time for me to create new spores before i run out of food run out of moisture so that’s what happens is that little fuzzy stuff is actually tons and tons of little tiny spores replicating waiting to do the same thing again right and so what i’m kind of highlighting here is that fungus waits for the right moment of of having the right material that it can eat up all right and so that’s what it’s doing with the bread and does it for a very short time before it runs out of moisture so fungus does does need some moisture to grow generally speaking and what it does is it breaks down organic matter she tree that falls in the forest yeah there’s tons of insects and bugs in there and all sorts of millipedes centipedes right chewing on that stuff right you also have tons and tons of fungus that inoculate s- that would loyd and starts to break it down and so- fungus is really good at breaking down organic matter and making it bioavailable again as a nutrient source for new life so the fungus uses it itself and then as the fungus either dies or the fungus secretes either waste or or other chemicals to help support life other plants and other insects in and so on and so forth can utilize it’s those nutrients as well so basically it recycles nutrients so has its recycling those nutrients makes them available to other forms of life including the plants in your landscape so as the funguses digesting stuff it secretes things it it secretes waste secretes secretes nutrients that it doesn’t use or the hi-fi diane back when they they use it the resources or don’t have enough water those dead hyphen than also become available available for use by other creatures as well but a lot of those chemicals that are secreted those nutrients are able to be taken up by plants and fungus can make certain nutrients of available to other life forms and they couldn’t do it without the fungus. That’s the cool part at least to right okay so the next piece which we kind of already touched on is they hold soil together so fungus creates like massive web of of this route network that basically just creeps around. It’s cool watching like you can see like slow motion videos again . I’m showing my clear nerdy to right now because like yes. I’ve watched videos of fungus growing. It’s super cool guys. Basically you can watch the stuff it looks like it’s crawling across russell space as it’s growing and it’s trapping nutrients in soaking up stuff getting moisture and so you can get tons and tons of these hi-fi growing wing across the space and basically you have all these different types of fungi interconnected growing in between each other and around each other and so you have this giant route network that holds the soil together so it actually traps the soil in place and prevents it from getting lost and that is super important for the integrity of of your landscape the integrity of force as well and so that’s the cool thing with good healthy soil is is fungus has so many benefits okay cases the next piece because it hold the soil together.

00:15:33 – 00:20:00

It’s also preventing erosion and nutrient loss so it’s holding all that that soil together as the water runs across it it holds it in place likewise prevents nutrient loss that they buy you know traveling up nutrients or making making them where they’re kind of held in place with good healthy soil so they can be more available to other organisms like our plants okay so the next piece is they also retain moisture when it rains basically the the fungus grows so fast and it soaks up the water like a sponge and and then it slowly dies back as the water becomes less available and and things start to dry out and so that moisture it basically buffers it where that moisture’s offers available for longer in the soil through the fungus to plants and the creatures around it to support good healthy life even in drought conditions. It’s crazy. The last thing is the feed plants fungus feeds plants super cool so i’m gonna talk a little bit more about this but bazeley as leaders fungus that grow connected with plants. They have a symbiotic relationship but also indirectly. I talked about all those nutrients. It makes available so in that process fungus feeds plants and and it makes a lot of things available to plants that wouldn’t otherwise be available. There’s certain and fungi that can dissolve hard mineral rock and so it makes it hard mineral rock makes those trace minerals available to plants that the plants couldn’t do themselves super crazy stuff right super cool stuff so let’s talk more about this plant and fungus relationship that i’ve talked a little bit about so there’s a super cool group of fungi called michael rizal fungi. There’s going to be a spelling bee after this lesson but but just kind of try and remember it a little bit all right so michael rizal fungi basically form these relationships with plant roots and those relationships are called. Mike arising arises and so basically what micro risa is is. There’s a plant root a tiny tiny hair route all right so this these plant roots are like microscopic level a big or small. I guess right so so when you have this microscopic root hair coming off plant there’s a there are certain in groups of fungus that grow into the cells of those root hairs k. so they actually like connect with the plant and grow into the cells in the plants. Let the let this happen right. They actually wanted to happen so they. They allow the micro risa plant or the micro rizal fungi to grow into the plant cell okay so they’re actually like connected. You can’t separate them. Okay super crazy stuff and then the the arrest of this michael rizal fungi organism will then spread out across the the the soil. Okay so what you’re doing. Here is your expanding. The route network of these plants by hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of times of what at the plant could do itself and again it makes different nutrients available to the plant that it couldn’t otherwise have so these relationships have been discovered in almost every type of plant that we know of it’s crazy. This is a recent you know. The past couple of decades is that this relationship ship has been discovered in how important and how pervasive it actually is with all plants and so most plants have this relationship where they have certain species of fungi that live symbiotically with these plants and so what happens is super cool. Basically the plant secretes certain certain chemicals like usually a like a a carbohydrate like sugar right so it secretes sugars and different things that that because is it such a big structured organism. You know big plant right. It can take energy from the sign. Do it’s deal with photosynthesis that we learned about in school so it takes all that energy it makes it pumps it down to the roots some of it you know it saves you know uses a lot to grow right but also take some of that pumps it down to the roots and spits. It’s it out through these tiny.

00:20:00 – 00:25:09

Little root hairs says basically it’s a message saying hey fungus come over here and grow with me right and so if there’s any mike fungi close by they’ll formed formed association because they know that there’s a plant that can feed them the sugar that they don’t readily have so they get sugar they also get water when when during times of drought they get water back from the plant and then during times of of wetness not drought rain whatever we call soil moisture waster right when the soil is moist they do the opposite thing where the the fungus soaks up all the water and then lens it back to the plant over a longer time period so it’s this give give and take between the two so the plant gives them sugars water other nutrients that you can’t really have and then the fungus does that cool stuff where it’s like dissolving minerals rules and it’s reaching you know thousands of times more of of soil surfaces in the plant can do itself and so it basically expands the route and heck worker the these plants. Let’s make some way hardier makes way more disease. Resistant makes them happier so that’s the cool thing. Is we want that in our landscape right. We want the cool happy plant as opposed to the one that doesn’t have the fungus the good fungus and and get the bad fungus instead right. That’s the unhappy plant so again. Michael rizal fungi expand the route network worker plants. They change nutrients with the plants as well and the grow into the plant roots themselves to do. Do this super cool stuff all right so let’s learn now that you’ve learned some nerdy stuff right. You’re like me now. Especially when it comes to fungi okay and you want to have good healthy fungal soil in year landscape right good healthy stuff this fungus is not gonna cause you bunch of allergies and stuff this stuff that sits in the soil bill and grows and makes the slow happy makes plants happy and that sort of thing so you wanna make that fungus happy to do all that stuff okay. So how do you do that well. It’s it’s easy. You build good soil right. Okay well well then. How do you build good soil okay well. We’ve talked about this in the past in episode road eleven so go back to episode. Eleven lincoln show notes over at easy living yards dot com slash episode eighty two soil white it matters. I go into more detail. There super nerdy episode as well super good episode is what i mean. They’re actually so go. Check it out. Learn why why soil is so important portent for you on top of that essentially in a nutshell what we’re talking about with building good soil. I still want to listen to episode by the way is is that you’re essentially making a good home for the microbes says the things like increasing organic matter you know blanketing your soil keeping it protected ed preventing erosion and making sure it’s covered well with a lot of plant roots. things like that making sure has good fungal health all right. We’ll talk more about that but those those those are the basics of building good soil. So how do we do that. There’s super short answers here all right so having good fungi put-down compost compost compost is full of life all right. It’s full of bacteria for fungus full of healthy soil organisms. If it’s good well-produced well produced compost and how you can tell that if you pick up a handful of it and it smells like a forest smells like a somalia would like it then is good compost all right if you pick it up and smells funky putrid rotten puddle. Don’t get that compost. Don’t use it all right. That’s not good stuff so that’s how you tell it’s super simple. You just smell it right. You don’t have to like get your super in there and get it like up in your nose. That’s that’s gross. Just all you need to do is take all right so so get some compost composts spread it over your your garden beds you know if you’re talking about your lawn here and you want good healthy lawn compasses a wonderful amendment for your lawn to all right right so we’re not just limited to garden beds here okay so composts awesome way to boost organic matter boost nutrient load in your soil and boost the life in your soil okay so nuff said there. I’ve talked in ho episodes about that to go over to episode fourteen compost and why it’s awesome. It is an awesome episode guys. You gotta listen to it. It’s super important again. You can check out the link at easy. Living yards dot com slash episode eighty two or you can can go directly to easy living yards dot com episode fourteen are so so we talked about okay adding composts then you want to add march okay a march is is super helpful because it breaks down over time so it builds up your soil and it also prevents all those weeds and everything like that but when it comes to benefitting mode and and fungi which was what we’re talking about today march basically as a long term nutrient source for mold and and it really helps as it breaks down it really helps feed your soil and it really helps support your fungal life on multiple fronts so it.

00:25:09 – 00:28:54

It’s a good good nutrient source. It also blankets the soil so it prevents erosion and it helps those those fungus not have to fight against erosion and also okay kind of keeps them moisture in place so even when it’s a baking hot day if you have a good couple inches of mulch there underneath that much you got a nice. It’s it’s warm. It’s nice and moist okay so you prevent moisture loss okay so mulches super helpful or it’s the next thing is michael risa fungi. You actually buy this stuff all right so i’m i’m gonna have a lincoln. The show notes of a decent mic arrays of fungi that i’ve used before and so that way you can check it out micro rizal fungi is is basically what you do is as you’re planning your plants. You can sprinkle. It’s powder you can sprinkle a little bit of this stuff on the roots of your plants. It has to be directly touching touching the roots because remember. It’s not touching the roots. It’s not going to do the whole route friend thing right with the plant so you sprinkle it on your plants as you’re planting them and and then you put them in the ground and then it starts to build this relationship and so that’s a good way to jump start the the symbiotic relationship nations ship with your plants. Okay so check out that link check out the links at talked about you can go over to easy living yards dot com slash episode eighty-two if you ever on your mobile noble and you wanna shortcut. You can always type in e. l. y. Dot how and go to the same length so e. l. y. Dot house episode eighty two also gets you there now again today’s links. I have a link to a wonderful product. I’m michael rizal. Fungi product that i’ve used is as we talked about it the gang show. I am not paid to endorse this product. I’m just simply stating. I’ve used this product and i like it so again. Guys i keep this show free without endorsements so i can can keep it as unbiased as possible and as honest as possible to help you guys make a positive change the landscape okay so also check out soil and why matters episode eleven episode fourteen is compost in why it’s awesome so soil matters soils also awesome but i used it. You know i can only use awesome so many any times in so many episodes all right guys if you’re ready to transform your landscape. Make sure you check out the easy living yards membership. I’m there in the membership membership to help you guys step by step through the process. i have a whole course set up there. I’m building. The courses still so basically what i have in the meantime. It’s a full step by step outline of the entire process that walks you through the whole process and so this is an opportunity to right now. The membership hip is on the small side. It’s continuing to grow but has the membership is small. You get more one on one help then you will ever get in the easy living yards membership in the future because i will be there helping out my members as much as i can and when there’s fewer of you guys i get to help you out more all all right so it’s the calm cool awesome trade off there all right so if you’re ready to transform your life. This is a wonderful time to do so so create the dream yard. You deserve serve in the easy. Living yards membership go to easy living yards dot com slash membership or if you’re on your mobile of course e. l. y. Dot how slash membership gets you the same place and you’ll have to type as much our guys as always you can ask a question gobert easy living yards dot com slash pod. That’s easy living yards dot com slash p. o. d. and right at the top of the pages abundant asman question guys that’s all right. Make sure you have a great day. make sure you go out there and be a fun guy as well and thanks for tuning in. Make sure you live with passion and make tomorrow better than today.