Old veg garden soil with fungus

krishmkApril 6, 2014

We just bought a house and the garden has beds with bad soil in it (visible white stuff). Took the soil to home depot and was told the soil has fungus in it.

I need to throw away this soil completely and start afresh. I am wondering on how to discard it? I have a low lying grassy garden that needs some soil, but not sure I can reuse the fungus soil.

If i have to discard, how do I do it? Cant just put it in the garbage bin and throw it right.

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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

All good soil has both fungus and bacteria life in it. Without those, the soil is dead. Why do you want dead soil?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 8:59PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Please post a picture of the white stuff. It may be normal stuff. Or simply not a problem.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 12:28AM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

Sounds like the home Depot guy want to sell you something.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 1:07AM
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cold_weather_is_evil(9)

Pics! Lots of fungi or a mat of such is usually not a problem but a symptom. Also, where are you?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 2:45AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Fungi are an essential part of the Soil Food Web, those wee critters that digest the organic matter that supplies nutrients to the plants we grow, there is no good reason to throw that soil away.
Getting gardening advice from anyone at any of the big box stores is a major waste of your time. Contact your local office of your state universities Cooperative Extension Service for some more correcter advice.

Here is a link that might be useful: list of states CES

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 6:51AM
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lazy_gardens

We just bought a house and the garden has beds with bad soil in it (visible white stuff). Took the soil to home depot and was told the soil has fungus in it.

That is NOT a problem. It usually means there was a lot of organic material for the fungus strands to live on, and plenty of water.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:17AM
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krishmk

Not sure if you can see this, but the soil is made of clumps with white stuff in it.

We are in AZ and it is sunny all the time. The beds are against the east wall, and is mostly covered from direct sun light, except 3 hrs in a day where the sun gets on these beds.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:28AM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

There's a lot of wood mulch there, and wood breaks down mainly through fungal action. Most fungi are not harmful, and in the case of wood decomposition, they're actually beneficial, since they free up nutrients in the wood for other microbes to work on. I wouldn't worry about this unless you actually have problems with your plants.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:34AM
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krishmk

I think there is also a problem with growth rate.

We planted Spinach in Nov and we have only few come up to 6 to 8 inches, some of them are 4 inches and the rest are barely 2 inch tall.

Also planted onions and dont grow fast. same with Cilantro.

Mind you, we have an unusual winter with high temp around 80+.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 12:43PM
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cold_weather_is_evil(9)

From the picture, is that dry shredded wood matted together by fungus? Of so, that's maybe a mulch issue not a soil thing and the solution is do nothing; perhaps pick it off and toss it in a compost pile/bin/barrel or even cover it up with more mulch. It's all part of the deal. Wait until you get a mold mass that fluoresces!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 1:57PM
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luckygal(3b)

Your posted picture looks like mulch, not soil. Is this shredded wood a layer on top of soil? How deep is it? If it is a layer of mulch your solution is to push it back and plant *in* the soil, not in the mulch. I certainly wouldn't go to the work of removing the mulch but use it between the plants. Mulch is good for many reasons you can learn by googling "benefits of mulching".

As already stated fungus is not usually a problem and is part of the process of decomposition of wood products.

Check out the FAQ section of this forum where you can learn more about soil.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 2:11PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

There could be various reasons for slow growth besides fungi in the wood mulch. Water, nutrients, pH come to mind. Have you done any soil tests? Fertilized the plants?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 6:08PM
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lazy_gardens

That's shredded wood mulch with a bit of fungus in it. Looks like my garden.

How are you watering the area? Did you use any fertilizer? My spinach is doing great.

If you have the usual low desert dirt, you need to lower the pH by sprinkling a liberal quantity of "Spoil Sulfur" on the dirt and raking in in, then watering it. That will free up various nutrients like iron for the plants.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:39PM
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gardengal48

With that much wood-type material included, I would assume slow/stunted growth is due to a nitrogen deficiency. As wood products break down - which your evidence of fungus is a clear indicator that this process is going on - they tie up nitrogen. This is not so much of a problem for larger, woody plants (trees and shrubs) but can be critical for rapid growing, shallow rooted annual and edibles.

Supplement your garden with a high nitrogen fertilizer - alfalfa or cottonseed meal, bat guano, blood meal, etc.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 2:21PM
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krishmk

I am building another veg garden and will take some of this mulch to put it on top of garden soil.

I will move some of the mulch out and put some garden soil underneath the mulch.

I have sprinkler system connected to the garden and beds have drips running on it. The beds are getting normal watering not high.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 4:13PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The "white stuff " looks like perfectly normal fungal mycelium and hyphae to me. That's how wood chips are decomposed.

I must tell you that the Home Depot is NOT the place to go to for plant health care advice, including anything to do with soils. Yikes!?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 4:30PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

That pic is mulch not soil. Dig down to soil. Take a proper soil sample and send it into a lab.

The fact that the guy at home stinko didn't properly recognize that as wood chips should tell you everything you need to know about their gardening advice.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 4:52PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

The growth problem could also be not enough sunlight if it is only getting 3 hours of direct light. In the desert, light requirements are different than other places but, those crops would likely benefit from more than 3 hours of light.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 5:06PM
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