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Actinomycetes and Vegetable Garden

Posted by dazed.N.confused none (My Page) on
Wed, May 16, 12 at 23:14

I have a manure pile that has composted for over 10 years and I thought that by working some of it into the soil it would add beneficial nutrients to the garden. When I started applying a 1-2" layer to the top of the soil, I noticed there was a white material coating some of the composted manure. I did some searching and my best guess is that it is the bacteria known as actinomycetes.

Do actinomycetes affect the growth of any vegetable or plant? Will these actinomycetes cause any other unforeseen problems or are they beneficial for the garden? Thank you in advance for any help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Actinomycetes and Vegetable Garden

If it is an actinomycetes bloom and not a fungal bloom (look/act similar and even spores) then you may have an issue with root veggies (potato scab)...other than that it's generally harmless.

It may just be a fungal spread, though. They can look a lot alike in the "fruiting" stage of development.


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RE: Actinomycetes and Vegetable Garden

I have a manure pile out back of my barn, and I have whitish grey manure 2 or 3 feet down in the pile. It is most likely potash, manure is full of nitrogen, and as it breaks down it gives off heat. spreading manure in january is fun because the manure pile throws off a TON of heat, literally a steaming pile of ****. The heat breaks down the cellulose and fibrous matriel and smolders them, like you would see charcoal do, because there is little oxygen down inside a manure pile.

What kind of manure was it, and were the animals bedded with anything? Did this manure come from stalls or just straight from the pasture into a big pile?

Here is a link that might be useful: does it look like this?


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RE: Actinomycetes and Vegetable Garden

The manure originally came from a couple corrals and a small amount probably came from the stalls. It mostly consisted of cow manure, hay and dirt, with some straw and horse manure.

Is there any way to differentiate between actinomycetes and fungal mycelium?


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RE: Actinomycetes and Vegetable Garden

honestly, not without a test from your local ag extension office. you can find places near you that will test not only your soil but your compost and manure as well


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RE: Actinomycetes and Vegetable Garden

If your pile was white from actinomycetes activity, you probably would have seen it smoking, and the white will have an ashen appearance, as if it had been burned.

Random mycelium is a better guess in an old manure pile, and it's a good thing. The fungal threads release nutrients as they breaks down into organic matter. We use a lot of wood chips and sawdust as mulch, and my garden in a huge wad of mycelium and mushrooms in the spring.


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RE: Actinomycetes and Vegetable Garden

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Thu, May 17, 12 at 14:41

I can not believe it is anything other than a fungus. And fungi in the garden are good, specially for solanaceae and allium.


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RE: Actinomycetes and Vegetable Garden

I examined the white material closer and I do believe it is a fungus. I have grown mushrooms before and it does appear to have the same characteristics as mycelium. It even smells like a mushroom so that is what I am going to assume it is. Thank you everybody for your help, you guys are awesome!


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RE: Actinomycetes and Vegetable Garden

I think mushrooms are great, too. We grow shitakes on logs, but the wild things in the garden make great entertainment when wet weather brings them to life. In addition to brown mushrooms, we get a lot of fruiting cup fungi that are pretty cool. I think they have great ornamental interest.


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