The face of the moon was in shadow
Mycorrhizal fungi helps crops grow better, both in hydro and soil, but few understand the mechanism, I’ll explain. Warning, this may blow your mind.
Take calcium for example. Calcium builds plant cell walls. Without it a plant dies.
This electron microscope image shows “good” mycorrhizal fungi [thanks Soil FoodWeb] (saphrophytic = “good,” pathogenic eats plants = “bad”)
This fungus finds and binds calcium (oxalate) crystals from the soil, preventing it from leaching out. But it’s not edible calcium.
A plant hungry for calcium roots secretes very special food that this fungus species prefers. It’s offering a food trade.
Fungus is a train that moves calcium from the soil to the root! The microbes munch it, making it edible, then the root takes up the calcium.
This happens millions of times at root, the plant trades the food using different microbe foods, partnering with tens of thousands of diverse microbe species. It’s an exquisite billions year old machine we’re just discovering. It’s the work I do.
If we strip microbes accidentally with salts and pesticides, the plant is calcium deficient. So growers apply expensive edible calcium in “dump-truck” amounts. All it needed was a little cupful. The wasted rest leaches out.