Re: [tomato] Tomato Digest V1 #154

Thomas Giannou (
Sat, 27 Feb 1999 15:45:45 -0800

>It is my understanding that gardeners have been putting VAM fungi on crops
>since Agriculture began.  The raw material is manure, isn't it.  How did
>your friend discover a way to distill it?

In a way you are only slightly correct, but your statement above is
essentally false.  With some animals ... cows, horses, etc., that eat
plants, it might be remotely possible for them to pick up VAM fungi, but
highly unlikely.  VAM simply is not found in leaves or blades of grass for
example... but if they pulled a root up and ate it, then it might make it
into the manure, but I doubt it because of the biological affects in the
digestive system of those animals.  It is unlikely that VAM fungi would
survive going through a cow or horse with all those digestive acids and
enzymes.  The only way that I can think of VAM fungi ending up in manure is
when worms eat the hyphe of the fungi or consume spoors.  VAM fungi requires
a host plant and lives out from inside the cells in the roots of those
plants.  It is a fungi that gets nourishment from the plant and streams
nutrients into plants.  It can break down organic material into ion forms
the plant can utilize.  There is also an ectomycorrhiza and
endoectomycorrhiza and ericoid mycorrhiza and on and on...   more than I
want to go into here.

Mycorrhiza is a word that pertains to describing the relationship between
the fungi and the plant.  It's a symbiotic relationship that is beneficial
to both.   A european site has this quote, "The study of roots without
mycorrhiza is a study of artifacts."   They are integral to most plants.
There are some plants, like cole plants that do not benefit from mycorrhiza
and are good to eat (cabbage for example).

As for "distilling"... it can't be distilled.  It's not a liquid.  It's a
fungi that grows out from the roots of a plant.  In this case, VAM fungi
grow out from within the cells of a plant.  Plants become "infected" with
this highly beneficial fungi.  The fungi has different structures, two of
which are hyphe and spoors... there are more structures.  The spoor is a
reproductive organ of the fungi.  The hyphe are fine hair like structures
that look like fine root hairs and go out into the soil.  There are a lot of
different species of mycorrhiza fungi and they can be isolated and
identified and "cultivated" with host plants.  When you stress out the host
plant, the fungi will generate spoors to insure its survival... stress
out... meaning deprive of water.  One can grow the host plants in pots and
have organic material present to supply "raw material" for the fungi to
decompose and bring into the plants. (A small amount of maure can serve as
that compost, but other organic materials are also suitable... for example
bone meal mixed with sand can serve as a base for growing fungi with the
host plants.)  Commercial producers all have a way of growing the fungi with
host plants and then harvesting that fungi.. hyphe, spoors and other
structures from the soil... it can be screened out.  It can then be mixed
with a sustaining carrier material and other biotics can be added.  For
example, the product I have been experimenting with has another kind of
fungi in it that promotes root growth.  It also has three kinds of nitrogen
fixing bacteria.  It has a bacteria that can break down rock bound
phosphates.  And it has three or four kinds of bacteria that fight off root
pathogens such as some of the root rot diseases found in soils.

I sometimes go "abstract diving"... it's kind of like dumpster diving, only
it involves reading hudreds of scientific abstracts found on the internet to
stay up with current discoveries concerning mycorrhiza and many other
biotics found in the soil.

Some vendors have the opinion that mycorrhiza should only be used for very
specific purposes and should only be in a certain form and on and on... very
narrow minded.  Others take a view that the soil is a "system" of quite a
few different biotic inhabitants and are supplying many of the beneficial
biotic inhabitants with their products.

In all of this, I have learned (just started myself into all this last year
by the way) that most of our so called modern agricultural methods involving
chemical fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, pesticides and who the heck
knows what else they are putting in the ground out there... are for the most
part quite UNFRIENDLY and deadly killers of the beneficial soil biotics that
exist naturally without all of that "crap" for lack of a better word.

Vam fungi, combined with organic fertilizers (and forget the recycled sludge
laden with heavy metals crap), combined with benefical biotic soil
micro-organizims (fungi, bacteria, even predatory nematodes) ... can build
up the soils and can stop the pollution and all the down the road health
problems that are going to hit us (and they already are) due to the harsh
affects of those chemical substances.   And then on top of all that, I am
getting tomato's that are better tasting, are healthier and there are more
of them... yada yada yada... with all the multitude of other benefits.

>I, for one, am tired of this encessant sales pitch and hope you feel you
>have made your point.  I will use manure as I always have to activate the
>fungi in my soil.

It's not a sales pitch chuck!  It's called educating and sharing about what
this stuff does with tomato's and a lot of other kinds of plants.

I like what you had to say about your reasons for raising all those tomato's
chuck!  Excellent!  That's the first time I have read about what you are
doing with all those tomato plants.  It does sound like you are making a
profit selling seeds chuck.  I've been doing business with a seed company
that packs up a lot of open polinated seeds and sells them for less than a
dollar.  In fact the guy has a package of 4,000 danver carrot seeds for .99
cents that lilly miller would sell for $4.23.... and he is making money too.
Then again, you might be a little less efficient.  He pays a crew of 4-5
people, has packing equipment, prints catalogues (which he gives away free),
uses a printer to print his envelopes up, has racks to display his seeds in
stores, pays the mortgage on a building, has a bunch of computers and other
office gizmo's, and still sells seed for less than what you are selling them
for.  <grin>

So, tell me chuck, are you a green manure slinger of an aged composted
manure slinger?  Green manure is not good for the micro-organizims in the
soil... too much quick release nitrogen like that is detrimental.  Aged
compost, on the other hand, is a lot better to use.  Did you know that the
high phosphates in chicken manure and bat guano are also very hard on the
soil fungi that benefit plants?

Keep up your good work with giving those tomato's to all those people chuck!

Thomas Giannou
Spokane, Washington