Fungi on the Homestead – 3 Benefits of Fungi
Have you seen mushrooms popping up around your homestead after the rain? Often ignored or treated as a pest, these mushrooms are actually quite beneficial to your homestead. Keep reading to learn 3 benefits of fungi for your homestead.
After the rains come, I love seeing all the mushrooms popping up out of the ground and out of the woody debris I have scattered around my homestead.
When I see the mushrooms, I know that my efforts to work with nature have been effective. Fungi are critical to the success of a wild homestead.
There are many benefits of fungi on your homestead, but they can be broken down into 3 core categories of benefits.
Benefits of Fungi - 3 Categories
- 1Building Soil
- 2Helping Your Plants Grow
- 3Providing an Edible Harvest
Fungi are the foundation of a healthy wild homestead—without them your plants will struggle and your harvests will suffer.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of fungi, and be sure to grab your free and easy-to-print checklist. The checklist is your shortcut to actions you can take now to establish beneficial fungi on your own wild homestead.
1. Building Soil
One core benefit of fungi is the building of dark, rich soil. Fungi are primary decomposers, playing a vital role in the decomposition of dead plants.
Fungi are necessary for the breakdown of compounds such as lignin, found in wood. Without fungi, these compounds would not be able to be broken down by other decomposers, such as bacteria.
Through the decomposition process, these complex organic compounds are broken down into simpler compounds that other decomposers can use. The end result is that the carbon from dead plant matter becomes a part of the surrounding soil, improving the soil structure and water holding capacity.
This process also releases nutrients into the soil that your plants need to thrive. Without fungi, there would be no soil for your plants to grow in.
2. Helping Your Plants Grow, and Even Communicate
While it may seem hard to believe, your plants can actually communicate with each other using networks created by fungi in the soil.
This network is sometimes called the wood wide web.
Just like our internet provides connections between human communities and individuals, the wood wide web connects most plants—and especially trees.
This allows the plants and trees to share nutrients and support their young (by providing water and nutrients young plants can’t reach with their short root structure). Using fungal networks, some plants will even communicate warnings about pests, such as aphids.
Beyond interconnecting your plants and helping them share nutrients, fungi also provide nutrients and water directly to your plants in exchange for sugars created by the plants.
This sharing of nutrients and water between your plants and fungi through the wood wide web helps plants thrive. It’s a core benefit of fungi, and major reason why you should do all you can to support fungi on your homestead.
Your plants will be far more resilient if they are part of this interconnected community of fungi and other plants than if they have to go it alone.
3. Providing an Edible Harvest
I’m sure you’ve had mushrooms before... Mushrooms are the fruiting body of the fungi. One great benefit of fungi is that some of them produce edible mushrooms.
You can also grow your own mushrooms by inoculating fresh logs. It can be fun to go out and hunt wild mushrooms, but the harvests are not guaranteed. When you grow your own mushrooms, you can get a regular harvest of specific mushroom types that you have picked out.
This is also a great way to ensure that you know exactly which mushrooms you are harvesting.
If you want to learn more about hunting and growing your own mushrooms, you should check out the following sites:
Get These Core Benefits of Mushrooms on Your Homestead
Without a healthy population of fungi, you won’t be able to build healthy soil, and your plants will be far less resilient than they would otherwise be.
But if you work with nature, you can create the right conditions for fungi to thrive. Working with nature will let you make the most of the benefits of fungi on your homestead.
The first step is to stop tilling your soil, which breaks up the fungal networks and collapses the air pockets in the soil making it harder for your soil to hold water, oxygen, and nutrients.
The next step is to ensure that there is plenty of organic material available, such as mulch. Without organic material, there won’t be anything for your fungi to eat and grow.
What do you love most about fungi? Leave a comment to share!
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