White Mold On My Potting Soil?

So do I use it or lose it?

A few weeks ago, I opened the door on my garden shed and found something looking like snow drifts on the surface of my potting soil!  Truly, it was white mold on my potting soil!

I store my potting soil in an old soak sink that my son discarded. And I sometimes keep an old vinyl tablecloth over the top of the soil. I do this because I forget to close the door of the shed sometimes (even overnight), and I don’t want it to become the local “outhouse” for the cats or other animals who may visit in the night.

White-Mold-on-Potting-Soil-The-Hypertufa-Gardener

It seems that the combination of soil and warmth and a little condensation from the soil sink being covered with a vinyl sheet, I had created a perfect environment for the mold to grow. My garden shed gets really hot through the day and then cools considerably in the nights. Here comes condensation.

Furry and white mold is  called mycelium

Mushrooms, along with yeasts and mold, are examples of fungi. Mold is a type of fungus and is important in soil because it helps to break down the components of the soil into the nutrients which then are available for the plant’s roots to take nutrients in to the plant.

White-and-fuzzy-mold-The-Hypertufa-Gardener

You see, soil is teeming with life, and most of the time it is invisible to the naked eye. But the fungi in the soil is part of the web that makes up the living organism network and results in our plants thriving in this fertile soil.

You might find some white mold on the surface of a plant’s soil in a container, but that may be due to too much moisture. Soil bagged for sale may have mold in it when it is opened, but that would be due to moisture and darkness inside that bag. Exposure to light would have the mold retreating back below the surface again.

Icky-Mold-on-Soil-The-Hypertufa-Gardener

I fixed the situation by pulling off the vinyl cover and exposing the soil to the air. I left the door open to the garden shed and just thought I could keep an eye on it in case cats, birds, wasp ( those are one of the little varmints who come looking to make a nest.)  In a few days, it was almost all gone and the soil looked wonderful. In fact, I felt so confident in what I had read, I planted up my terrariums here.

Mold is almost all gone

If there is mold in a potted plant, just break up the soil to be sure it hasn’t created any water dam. If you like, you can replace it with new soil if it bothers you. But I am comfortable with my soil and I plan to not let it develop such a humid/moist environment in the future.

If you buy soil and it has mold, according to these sources below, that shows it is alive and doing well. Just let it get some sun and air and you are gold!

 

 

References:

http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/soils/health/biology/?cid=nrcs142p2_053864

 

Kim, The Hypertufa Gardener

Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.

Of course, I have some recipes and some random family concerns which I hope interest you too! Please page through the Magazine and find what you like! and Subscribe!

I also have a YouTube channel called Kim’s Gardens where you can see my hypertufa as I make them. ( See My About Page)

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