The more soil area plant roots have access to, the more abundantly they can produce. (That’s one of the main reasons for deep soil preparation when you start a garden.)
The specific soil organisms that partner with and help 90% of all plants and extend the root systems of the plant up to 2,500 times what the plant could reach by itself, won’t survive the winter unless they have living roots.
(I gave you details on these fungi in a recent post.)
Although they multiply in the garden sooner or later in the growing season, it’s beneficial to have them already active first thing in the spring to get plants off to a better start. After all, it’s NOT the roots of the plant, but these special fungi that are responsible for most nutrient uptake by the plants.
Recently Popular = Marketing a Product
Although information on these fungi has recently become popular with garden publications and websites, soil scientists have known about them for decades or longer.
As with anything that becomes popular, someone will be selling something. In this case it’s inoculants of mycorrhizal fungi. Just keep in mind that you don’t really need inoculants. It’s pretty easy to maintain the native communities of these fungi in your garden.
Living Roots Shelter These Fungi Through the Winter (Otherwise They Die Off)
The things that I have in my garden to harbor mycorrhizal fungi in the winter and allow them to colonize earlier in the spring are asparagus, blueberry bushes, various perennial or biennial herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, cutting celery), strawberries, bunching onions, garlic, and over wintering lettuce, chard, and other greens.
And there are (or will be) a variety of cover crops: winter rye, oats, field peas, alfalfa and white clover.
I even have some perennial flowers such as daylilies, echinacea, baptisia, phlox, and asters at the end of various rows.
Something to Think About
Think about what you can plant to encourage the “friends” that nature has put in your soil to help your garden be successful.
Once you’re walking in step with nature you’ll be amazed at the increase in your garden’s yields and the decrease in diseases and pests.
It might take some time and patience, but basically all you have to do is make the effort. Nature will do the rest.
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