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fungus on peat pots


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#1 carolm

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:34 PM

Transplanted my tomatoes and peppers into the burpee version of peat pot. I think is a combination of paper pulp and peat. Found lots of fuzzy fungus growing on the outside of the pots, and am worried they'll work they're way to the plants. I know the obvious solution is to let it dry out, but I really don't see how I can do that and keep my transplants properly watered. Any ideas?

#2 Karen Bovio

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:03 AM

In my experience, fungus growing on the outside of peat pots is not damaging to the plants. I have had this happen many time, in fact, usually it does happen. It appear that the fungus that attacks the peat pot is not something that would infect living plants. I wouldn't worry, just proceed as usual!

#3 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 06:15 PM

Kind of like the fungus that sometimes grows on tubers in storage, maybe? Great to know.

An additional reply came by email from another Moderator, Cheryl Bennerup of Sunny Border nursery.

(We love these people. Sure, they're our friends but also they are both in the midst of their busiest season as growers, both of them running their tails off to keep plants safe in this very odd weather, and one of them additionally cleaning up after a devastating storm shredded the trees around her home and nursery... And they take time to answer here.
Thanks, Karen, thanks Cheryl!)

Hi Janet-

I went to the forum and was unable to reply (I've probably not signed on right) and Karen is exactly correct.

Here at Sunny Border we've trialed many different types of organic pots. From pots made from peat, cow dung, rice, wheat and grass (Miscanthus) to pots made from potato starch. What we've found is that all organic pots degrade at different rates depending upon what they are made of, the amount of water they receive, etc. Organic pots by their very nature of being "organic" are prone to fungus growing on the outside of the pots particularly as they decompose. While the appearance of fungus usually indicates poor air circulation or too much moisture it can also indicate the natural process of something organic biodegrading. The fungus will do no harm to the plants. You can try to water less or improve air circulation around the pots but it is important to recognize that the pot is doing what it was intended to do. Also, do not hesitate putting your organic pot in the soil when planting even if fungus is on the outside. Just make certain the pot is planted deep enough to be covered with soil to prevent moisture being wicked away from the pot by the surrounding air thereby depleting water to the plant.

(I hope this isn't too long, Janet, and please feel free to shorten or adjust as you see fit. By the way, the potato starch pots we brought back from France were made from potato skins that happened to be a by-product of french fries being made.)

Hope this helps,
Cheryl

#4 carolm

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 08:48 PM

Thanks for the replies. Good to know that I don't have to withhold water from them. Poor things.

#5 carol g

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 07:00 AM

I believe my question relates to carol m's concern about fungus on peat pots, so I am placing it on this thread.

I began last year mulching my vegetable garden with straw. I still have a few bales from last year, left out all winter and hopefully "seasoned." Will the fungus/mold that is between the layers of straw in those old bales infect my vegetable garden? A nearby garden center had several bales of seasoned straw to be thrown away. When I asked to buy it, the owner warned me about infecting my vegetable garden with it. She said it would be safe to use elsewhere, just not the veg garden. Unfortunatley, when I used fresh straw last year, the sprouting seeds were also a big problem. Can I use last year's straw in my vegetable garden safely?

thank you.

#6 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 07:34 PM

Without testing the straw to learn specifically what fungus it is, how can anyone say for sure?
I'd use it, the straw, based on two thoughts. No, three:
One, fungi that are decomposers of dead material are opportunists, not primary pathogens. Which means they are not good at entering intact tissue.
Two, a lot of fungi, probably the majority, are pretty host specific. If it IS a primary pathogen, it specializes in a genus or family of plants. If you're growing a grass family plant (corn; sorghum) then chances of cross-infection are greater than if you're using the straw to mulch tomatoes (potato/nightshade family)
Three, it's organic matter, it should be used!

(Re seediness: Yup, I've used straw and there is that about seeds; but straw's not so bad as hay and if you walk through the garden regularly those seedling grasses that crop up pull easily...)

#7 gardenfaerie

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 07:18 AM

I winter sow and even get regular old green fungus on peat pots in the very moist containers. I have not found that to harm the seedlings, either. As others have said, fungus on the outside is generally part of natural decomposition--however, I would also check the actual moisture level of the soil--if that gets and stays too wet, that could cause damping off. IF the soil is too wet, I cut slits in the bottom of the peat pots--I know they are porous already, but this does help the water drain through if moisture is a problem. Normally peat pots dry out fairly quickly in indoor sowing, though, so this would only really be a concern to outdoor/winter sowing.






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