Re: [tomato] Re:

Thomas Giannou (
Sat, 27 Feb 1999 21:00:22 -0800

Dear Marguerite,

Good for you!  Don't worry about goofing up my name... it's easy to do.  I'm
glad you are willing to try using Mycorrhiza.  Be careful that you do not
use any soluble phosphate fertilizer rated over 1% or you can kiss your
experiment goodbye.  Also, stay away from Chicken manure and bat guano
because of the high phosphates.  Make sure your soil is not laden with lots
of clay.  If it is, mix in a lot of sand and peat moss and a little aged
compost material to a good depth.   Also, be prepared for some really large
plants with some hefty tomato's on them.  Those wire cage supports won't
hold the weight.   I found steel fence posts driven into the ground on each
side of the plant were sufficient.  If you string heavy twine between the
posts, you can tie off the plant as it grows.   I am sure there are people
with lots of ideas about how to set up supports for tomato plants on this

If you like, you can also make a mulch up and put it around the plants and
out from them.  The increased worm population will love to feed on it.  I've
taken grass clippings from my Mycorrhiza treated lawn and put them on the
garden and the worms really have a feast on that stuff.  They leave a lot of
good nitrogen fertilizer in the soil and the Mycorrhiza will go after it and
feed it to your plants after it breaks it all down.  And lastly, try not to
disturb the soil around your plants because the hyphe from the Mycorrhiza
are really part of your plant's root system.  It will go from just below the
surface to well beyond the ends of the deepest roots on your plant.

As for the inoculant, keep it cool (70 F or less) and keep it out of the sun
light and it should last well over a year, no matter who you buy it from.
Some say it will last two years.  I was talking to Jim Dailer of First
Fruits in West Virginia and he said at 35 degrees F it will keep
indefinitely.   Take weekly pictures if you can afford it.  That's where
having a digital camera comes in handy.   Here's a good test to try at the
same time:  plant some onions up about 4-5 inches from your tomato plants.
Don't inoculate the Onions.  Then plant some onions out away from those
plants by several feet and observe the difference in the growth of the two
groups of onions.  They grow fairly fast, and as the mycorrhiza transferrs
form the tomato plant roots to the onions, you should see those onions grow
much better than the ones outside the influence of the Mycorrhiza.  This
effect is what we call vectoring from one plant to another.

On your tomato's, try some with and some without so you can see the
differences between the plants.  Keep the treated and untreated tomato
plants away from each other so there isn't any transfer of mycorrhiza
between their roots.

Get a note book or write down your observations in a file on your computer.
It should be interesting to see what you come up with.

There is a technique called "stressing" that some people use on their tomato
plants.  We use it a lot here in our short growing season.  When there are a
lot of green tomato's present on the plant, we cut back the stems down to
the tomato's... a pruning operation and pull off the suckers during the time
the plant is growing.  Then deprive the plant of water.  When the leaves
start to wilt, then apply water and the green tomato's will ripen up before
the frost sets in.   Stress the plants 3-4 weeks before you expect to see
the first frost.  When you put mycorrhiza on tomato plants, they will take a
lot longer before their leaves will wilt because they are able to withstand
drought conditions longer.   And then when you resume watering, they will
snap back a lot faster than the untreated plants.  It's just something you
might want to watch for and note.

Whoever you purchase the mycorrhiza from should furnish you with a list of
plants that do and do not benefit from VAM fungi.  Dont' try to use it on
the cole plants (cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower, etc).

Best of luck to you,
Thomas Giannou
Spokane, Wa

-----Original Message-----
From: Marg. <>
To: <>
Date: Saturday, February 27, 1999 7:47 PM
Subject: [tomato] Re:

>Hi Thomas Giannou,
>    Thanks to you, Thomas Giannoe, for those resources of more
>information on Mycorrhiza.  I will start with the one from West
>Virginia, I think.  It looked most interesting to me, as I hurriedly
>bookmarked each one to study later.  (I am not planning on it taking the
>rest of my life, though.)
>    After doing quite a bit of reading on it, I have ordered some
>Mycorrhiza root booster from another company, which was mentioned in one
>of the newsletters last year.  I am going to experiment with it on half
>of my Habanero chile pepper plants, and on some other vegetables.  I
>will also use it on some of the heirloom tomato seeds I purchased from
>Chuck Wyatt.
>    I am so excited to try heirloom tomatoes this year, thanks to
>Margaret's letters to the list, Chuck's letters, and others.  Since it
>will be my FIRST experience with HEIRLOOM tomatoes, I will try
>Mycorrhiza on only a few to compare the results with the other seeds not
>receiving that treatment.  I have absolute trust and confidence in Chuck
>Wyatt's words concerning gardening, but I am also a very curious
>    I want to learn more (in addition to what I have read so far) about
>the validity of the claims and research studies made on  Mycorrhiza.  At
>the end of the summer, I will report on my "unscientific" experiment,
>and let you know if I feel very foolish for ever trying it.
>Marguerite Ruch
>On the shores of Truman Lake in Missouri