Fungi are the fun guys of the soil! (ha ha) I know that is a bit corny, but I believe they truly are. Thanks to fungi being the foundation of the soil food web next to bacteria, they help immobilize needed nutrients in the soil, such as phosphorus! What!? Yeah! Fungi is the main microbe that helps plants gain access to phosphorus along with other macro and micro nutrients. They are the networkers of the soil! SO YOU DO NOT NEED TO BUY INORGANIC FERTILIZER TO BUILD SOIL HEALTH! Maybe just endomycorrhiza spores to replenish what has been killed off in your soil because of lack of awareness.
They also help with soil structure by creating macroaggregates, which inevitably, makes beneficial, protective homes (it’s a critter eat critter world down there) and water pockets for the litter critters and plant roots that roam around in the soil.
There are different types of fungi that live in soil if conditions call for them to flourish. There are beneficial fungi in the soil that can not be seen with the naked eye unless you have a microscope.
Or you can see them if they had some time to build upon themselves without intervention and become a nice mat of mycelium.
There is also a type of fungi that are called water molds and slime molds, but they do not benefit soil structure, therefore you don’t want a great biomass of them. However, they do have their roles in the life of the soil, so if you do have a great amount of them, that is a pure indicator that your soil food web is not balanced.
Here’s a photo of one of the water molds called Oomycete
In conclusion, fungi are great! And we could help them flourish in soil by leaving organic matter on top of our garden beds, farmland, etc.. Fungi need dead organic matter that bacteria can not break down due to its complexity. Fungi feed on brown leaves, wood chips, plant stalks, straw…bascially anything that is brown.
So be kind to fungi and COVER YOUR SOIL or suffer the consequences and not have nutrient dense foods!!! 😉
P.S. The feature photo is the fruit of mycelium that can become mushrooms, not all fungi become mushrooms. A lot of them are shy (have no purpose to come up above ground) therefore stay below ground. ❤