Beneficial mycorrhizae has been living with plants roots in a friendly relationship for at least 460 million years. Today, innoculating your potting soil mix or hydroponic reservoir with these beneficial fungus can give the grower many benefits. With the chelating enzymes the fungus release, the plants uptake more useable nutrients. With the funal hairs acting as a secondary root system, plants grow big faster. Overall, with help from the fungus, plants grow up healthier.
When fungal hairs, called hyphae, were first discovered surrounding plant roots on a 460 million year old ocean fossil, it was believed the fungus must be robbing the plants of their energy. Further research has since proved this to be false. In fact, these very fossils became the evidence that suggests a relationship existed between the plants and the fungus that benefits both. The evidence goes on to conclude that it was exactly this symbiotic relationship that allowed plants to begin successfully growing on land about 55 million years ago.
In this arrangement, specialized fungal hyphae form organs called mycorrhizae along the plants roots. The plants provide energy to the fungus, and the growing fungus produce enzymes that convert (chelate) organic material into minerals that are easy for the plant to absorb. The fungus also acts as a moist cushion against heat and drought. The fungus exudes antibiotics that protect roots from disease, and the action of the fungus protect the plant against toxicities in the soil as well.
Research since these discoveries show that 90 percent of all green plants on land form these relationships. The fungal hairs are much finer than root hairs, and so have a much larger surface area compared to roots. They can grow into small places that plant roots cannot. Amazingly, over one mile of hyphal filaments can exist in one thimble of soil. Combined with the productions of chelating enzymes, plant growth rates can be substantially increased by maintaining healthy mycorrhizae.
Using mushroom compost as part of your soil mix will provide plenty of mycorrhizae. Some quality organic soil mixes, such as FoxFarm original, contain some mushroom compost. There are also solid tablets and a granular form that will inoculate your soil, such as Plant Success. You can also add mycorrhizae to your soil by using Peace of Mind organic fertilizers, or by using Rainbow Mix bat guano.
I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT
having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow
your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality
nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with
and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as
possible....and in the last 24 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!
As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol)...
And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas....like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-Sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.
Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 24 years and I have only
just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only
because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique
and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more
high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole
year! If you can master the technique, I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to
increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the
same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your
own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food
And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients...
The ultimate solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants! Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system--->
This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 24 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.
Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!
The Same System/ 10 Weeks Later!