So – whats this? Fungus, mould, snow?

Is it fungus, mould, snow...???

Well, it wasnt snow, cotton wool or a spiders web.

So what was it?

This was the big question facing vegie patch owners Fiona and Peter and their family.

The even bigger question was, “is it bad”?

Having just recently planted their vegie garden they began to wonder what they had done to cause such a problem.

So after a couple of photos, they began to surf the net for an answer and after just a short while, they found the answer.

And it was all good news, they had done nothing wrong and the white stuff was in fact a fungus, but a good sort of one. Saprotrophic Fungi.

According to the Fungi section of the CSIRO – Saprotrophic fungi (also known as saprobes, saprophytes) obtain their energy and nutrients by breaking down dead organic matter such as in soil, litter, dung, and wood.

And for a bit more info a search of www.environment.gov.au came up with this info: Saprotrophic fungi obtain their nutrients from dead organic matter. There are many forms of dead organic matter—leaf litter, dung, soil, dead animals, wood and dead fungi-to name just a few. Saprotrophic fungi use them all. Saprotrophic fungi feed on and recycle about 85% of the carbon from dead organic matter, with bacteria and animals responsible for the other 15%. These fungi release the locked-up nutrients that can then be used by other living organisms, making the fungi vital to the health of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems around the world.

The original answer that gave way to further investigation came from Wiki Answers: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_can_you_remove_mold_from_the_dirt_in_your_garden

The cause may have been due to the fact that the weather had been quite warm and all of a sudden the garden owners received almost 100mm of rain in just a couple of days, and with the weather still being warm, decomposition of the organic matter may have been quicker than usual for that area of Australia.

But whatever the cause, we found it fascinating to look at and we learnt something ourselves.

If you have come across a problem in your garden and then solved, it feel free to share it with us and the readers of the Urban Vegetable Patch.