Mycorrhizal fungi are an essential part of healthy organic living soil structure and have an incredible symbiotic relationship with plants. They live in the root zones of plants and feed off of other microbes, called nematodes, and convert them to usable nutrients. They act as a sort of glue, holding soil particles and water in a way that creates plenty of air space.

We will collect mycorrhizal fungi from a healthy ecosystem to use in our garden. By inoculating the root tips of plants we want to propagate or transplant out into the garden, we can stimulate root growth and help the plant’s roots quickly recover from shock we may cause during the transplanting process. In addition, by increasing the amount of m.r. fungi in our soils, we won’t need to water our garden nearly as often, as m.r. fungi fill up like balloons with water to store it for when roots need it most."

How to Collect It

Cook the rice you washed for the lactobacilli. Spread a thin layer of rice onto the bottom of a wide, shallow pan. Put a wire barrier over the pan to keep out rodents and cheese cloth on top of that to keep dirt and bugs off. Then, go find a healthy system, using your eyes and nose to feel out a microbe hot-spot. In this area, you may seek out a particularly old, healthy oak or alder tree to collect m.r. fungi

Collect leaf litter and soil from a foot beneath the ground, and take this litter back to your rice pan, piling the it on top of the wire and cheese cloth. Keep it on the ground in the shade, keeping it moist if it is very hot outside. After 7 days, peek under the cheesecloth, and you should find a colorful array of fungi growing on your rice. Remove and discard the leaf litter, scrape the rice into a 5 gallon bucket, and add raw sugar (1 part sugar to 3 parts rice). Fill bucket with water.


Use as a root soak. Strain and dilute it 1:20 with non-chlorinated water.

Other Ideas

If you are propagating a specific plant, collect leaf litter from an especially healthy specimen of that same plant species. For example, if you are growing blueberries, colonize your rice with m.r. fungi from a healthy blueberry plant, add molasses, and use as a root soak to inoculate new blueberry transplants.

Here are some other useful plants you may want to collect m.r. fungi from:

Fava Root: Dig up the roots and surrounding soil of healthy favas. Put in a 5 gallon bucket. Add 1/3 molasses to fava volume, and fill with water. Let it sit for 10 days to brew. Then, strain out solids. You can dilute this solution 20:1 with water and add to your indigenous m.r. fungi solution as part of your root soak.

Bamboo: very active microbes. Collect leaf litter and colonize your rice with m.r. fungi from a healthy bamboo plant, and then use their incredible digestion properties in your grey-water system.

    • I have seen myself in the best, best headspace in my life. I’m not drinking no more. I’m eating healthier. It took me to come here, to be here, to really learn to love myself again.

      1. Otis Spikes, Nursery Manager
        Planting Justice since 2016