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Choose The Right Varieties For Organic Soils

The use of organic techniques to grow plants sometimes seems like it's a new idea, at least to those who are too young to remember when there were no other options.  Nearly every home used to have a big vegetable garden and farms relied heavily on livestock manures (usually produced nearby or onsite).   This all began to change after WW2, when synthetic petrofertilizers began to be promoted by the large chemical companies who needed a new market for their wartime production facilities.  Farmers welcomed the convenience of synthetic fertilizers and home gardeners soon copied this "modern" growing method.  Later,...

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A Closer Look At Spores

The first task for a company trying to sell microscopic mycorrhizal fungi is to explain to people that a fungus can actually be a big help to plants.  After that simple step is completed, then they need application instructions.   It's helpful to think of the fungi spores as tiny seeds.  Our inoculant products - - and MycoMinerals(tm) - - both use volcanic trace minerals as a carrier ingredient, which makes it possible to measure and control dosages of the dust-fine spores.  For example, a teaspoonful of our standard inoculant will have several dozen Endo-type spores that represent...

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Let's Combo! Getting Mycorrhizal Spores in the Mix.

One of the more interesting developments of the past decade has been the surge in products containing mycorrhizal spores - potting mixes, inoculants, fertilizers, etc. Of course, some of these are nothing much more than marketing gimmicks that add a teensy amount of mycorrhizal inoculant so the label can trumpet "Contains Mycorrhizae" in huge bold letters.   If one looks at the back label, you usually find that the spore count consists largely of inexpensive Ecto-type spores that are about a dime a million.  However, for most growers Ecto spores are of no value.  Fruit trees, vegetables, turf grass, grapes,...

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Accidental Experimentation

Some of the best testimonials for mycorrhizal inoculations happen entirely by accident.  We always encourage growers to set up a few orchard trees or vineyard grapes as checks to gauge the difference between inoculated and non-inoculated plants, but most go ahead and treat all their transplants.   Every now and then I hear from an orchardist or vineyard manager who ran short of our inoculant and unintentionally created a valid test-versus-control situation.  Getting rush orders for another jar pretty much tells you the result of the comparisons.  A tree or vine that lacks mycorrhizal colonization around the root system has...

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Fight Obesity With Better-tasting Produce

The other day, I was stopped behind a school bus unloading a group of grade-school kids and was struck by how fat many of them were. Thinking back to my early school days, I can remember only one overweight classmate. The rest of us were all lean and relatively athletic - both boys and girls.  Watching these modern-day 8-10 year-olds waddle slowly along, I can certainly understand why childhood diabetes and other obesity-related ailments are on the rise in America.  I felt sad for them.   Of course, the fact that they were on a bus instead of walking a...

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