Mycorrhizal fungi…

Mycorrhizal fungi


You’ll find Mycorrhizal fungi in our sundries shop

Mycorrhizal fungi are a remarkable group of organisms that have been benefiting plants for at least 500 million years.

At the dawn of time when plants were just beginning to colonise our planet mycorrhizal fungi were there living in a symbiotic relationship with plants enabling them to extract nutrients and hold onto water in very difficult soil conditions.

In effect, the fungus provides a secondary root system, a system that is considerably more efficient and extensive than the plants own root system.

These fungi are living organisms and will live with the plant, sourcing a continued nutrient supply for its entire lifetime – a truly sustainable plant nutrition solution. In exchange the plant provides carbon and sugars to the fungi. Not unsurprisingly, 90% of all land plants employ this relationship to enhance their own root system’s capacity to deliver nutrients.

All plant roots in all soils have a relationship with a staggering array of microorganisms, one of the most important families of these microorganism are the mycorrhizal fungi.

Most gardeners buy or raise plants in sterile composts where the plants have easy access to the essential nutrients, however as soon as they are planted into soil, the root environment changes radically which can lead to plant failure and poor growth.

In most soils there simply are not enough of native mycorrhizal fungi close to the new plants roots to colonise fast enough to show the incredible range of benefits complete colonisation can achieve.

This is why it is so important to use mycorrhizal fungi. Just 1 teaspoon can contain up to 5000 pieces of fungi all ready to explode into growth, colonising every millimetre of a plants roots in a matter of days.

A new plant with a fully functioning mycorrhizal root system will have the best chance of becoming the rewarding plant gardeners so passionately want to thrive in their gardens.

The benefits of mycorrhizal fungi

  1. one treatment lasts for the entire lifetime of the plant (as the plant grows the fungal partner grows)
  2. easy to use (simply sprinkle in the bottom of the planting hole)
  3. earlier and better growth (in a matter of weeks, after planting, the mycorrhizal fungi can increase the active root area of plants by up to 700 times)
  4. better drought tolerance (due to the vast fungal root making best use of all available soil moisture)
  5. better uptake of fertilisers  (the network of mycorrhizal fungi act like a net catching nutrients and preventing leaching)
  6. increased uptake of sequestered elements (the ultra fine fungal strands can unlock nutrients from the soil)
  7. reduced mortality of plants, especially specimen plants and plants that are difficult to establish (the extended root system nourishes the plant from very early on in its life)
  8. helps prevent rose replant problems (the mycorrhizal fungi colonise weak or damaged  roots and start transferring nutrients and water to the rose much faster than its own roots)

In summary the benefits include

  • Better and more balanced growth
  • Healthier and more dense root system with hugely increased ability to uptake nutrients from the soil
  • More abundant flowers and fruit
  • Reduced need for synthetic or chemical fertilisers
  • Higher resistance to drought
  • Reduced stress during transplanting
  • Stabilisation of surface
  • Improved resistance to soil pathogenes and environmental stress

Did You Know?

Mycorrhizal fungi can increase the root capacity of a plant by up to 700 times in just a few months

The roots of a mature Beech tree laid out end to end would stretch for 5 miles, the mycorrhizal hyphae responsible for feeding that tree would stretch around the globe!

Hyphal network can be in excess of 100 metres of hyphae per cubic centimetre.

Glomalin, a sticky glue like substance exuded by the fungi is locking up one third of the worlds carbon underground. It also binds soil particles together that results in good soil structure.

Mycorrhizal fungi are used to treat tea plants grown on plantations in Kenya which ends up in some of our tea bags

Pine trees and conifers would not exist on Earth without the association with mycorrhizal fungi – imagine the Earth without forests!

Some of mycorrhizal fungi produce mushrooms used in cooking, including the Cep and Chanterelle, delicious!

The largest single living organism on Earth (by area) is said to be an Armillaria fungi covering almost 2,200 acres in a forest in Oregon, North America – awesome! Humongus Fungus!


50% Off selected greenhouses

50% OFF Gardman Poly-carbonate greenhouses

8ftx6ft Includes – Frame, Polycarbonate panels & base WAS £599.98 NOW £299.98

6ftx6ft Includes – Frame, Polycarbonate panels & base WAS £499.98 NOW £249.98

6ftx4ft lean to Includes – Frame & Polycarbonate panels WAS £329.99 NOW £164.99


Early Fruit & Veg available


Early Fruit & Veg available-

Strawberries 🍓
Cambridge favourite

Broad beans –
Aquadulce Claudia
Bunyards exhibition

Cabbage –
Hispi F1

Broccoli –
Summer purple


Brussels sprouts


Lettuce –
Lollo rossa
Little gem
Salad bowl
Lollo bionda

Gardman Poppy Cast Iron Feeders NOW BACK IN STOCK




The Royal British Legion and Gardman have joined forces to raise £200,000 for the Armed Forces community.

Gardman Ltd is the UK’s leading garden product wholesaler and has chosen to support the Legion through sales of their Cast Iron Poppy Feeder and Wild Bird Seed. Together we’re aiming to raise £200,000 in the first year of the partnership to help us continue our vital work with the Armed Forces community.

In celebration of the new partnership, Gardman will also donate gardening kits to the Legion, so that the people we help can get more out of their outdoor areas.

Gavin White, Head of Brands at Gardman, said: “We’re so proud to be partnering with The Royal British Legion and hope we can make a real difference to the Armed Forces community and their families. The poppy is an iconic symbol in relation to our Armed Forces and because we share a core customer demographic with the British Legion, we expect our beautiful bird feeder to prove very popular.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to not only increase sales and engagement for our brand by bringing in new customers, but more importantly we will be helping to improve the lives of our Service people, as well as ensuring our wild birds are well fed and cared for.”

To find out more about Gardman and where to buy their products, visit

Chimineas – Today’s garden must have!


Historically chimeneas, also spelled chimineas, have been made out of fired clay and used for heating and cooking. These traditional designs can be traced to Spain and its influence on Mexico. The first use of a traditionally designed chiminea appears around 400 years ago.

The chiminea was once a daily life necessity that served a domestic purpose. The chiminea of the past was used indoors for heating and cooking, usually by an open window or in the center of the hut or home with an opening in the roof to allow smoke to escape. With the advent of the modern home, chimineas are now used outdoors mainly for entertainment in a backyard setting.

The design of a good chiminea creates a draughting action, drawing fresh air into the fire directing smoke/fumes upward away from those present. The fire burns hotter and cleaner, leaving behind only a small amount of ash. The efficient draughting of a good chiminea design means the fire will burn out completely in a short period of time, so they can be used safely on wooden decks or other locations where an open burning fire pit may cause damage. Chimineas can also be converted to use natural gas or propane.

Clay was used in the production of traditional chimineas because it was readily available and very cheap to produce. Most homes that used chimineas in the past had dirt floors, so a broken clay chiminea was not a real crisis. Today, chimineas are primarily used outdoors for entertaining.

Because of the exposure to elements and occasional usage, clay chimineas no longer serve as the material of choice. The lifespan of the newer cast iron- and aluminium-design outdoor fireplaces and concern for safety have mostly replaced the traditional clay building techniques.

Visually, the cast-aluminium and cast-iron chimineas look the same. They are the same thickness and cast from the same mould. Only the weight of the material is different. Compared to cast-iron chimineas, the cast-aluminium chiminea will not rust, heats the same as cast iron, is very low-maintenance, and is easier to move for a patio or entertaining rearrangement.

The aluminium chiminea is readily transported and can be easily stored in the wintertime in the off season. (Chiminea storage is only recommended to prevent damage or theft). Both cast-iron and cast-aluminium chimineas are designed for year-around use in any climate.



Most available firewoods can be used as chiminea fuels. However, there are certain types of wood that are not recommended for use as fuel. For example, pressure-treated wood may emit toxic gases that are dangerous to the health.

It must also be noted that the kind of fuel used for a chiminea boils down to the kind of chiminea in question. As already mentioned above, most wood can be used as fuel for chimineas, but not all kinds of wood. Also, there are other fuels that can be used efficiently for lighting up and firing a chiminea. Listed below are most of the fuels that can be used for your chiminea:


Charcoal is one of the best fuels that can be used as fuel for a chiminea. It is the ideal fuel for use in a cast-iron chiminea. However, it is not advisable to use either coal or charcoal in a Mexican clay chiminea as charcoal can become very hot and might damage the chiminea. On the other hand, cast-iron chimineas can handle any kind of fuel thrown into them. Charcoal is also the ideal fuel for cooking with a chiminea because it does not add its own taste to the meat or whatever is being cooked. Wood on the other hand will add an unpleasant taste to the meat. To prevent this transfer of flavour, meat should be covered or wrapped with tin foil before being cooked in a chiminea.


Wood, as was mentioned above, is the most popular fuel used by chiminea owners because of its abundance. Wood can be found almost anywhere, making it the favourite to most. However, wood used in chimineas should ideally be dry wood, as this burns with little smoke. Wet or green wood makes a lot of smoke.

Wood is the ideal fuel for Mexican clay chimineas. However, they must have the bottom filled with sand or lava stones before they are fuelled, because clay chimineas crack open at the base if heat is applied directly.


Ethanol is another fuel that can be used in a chiminea. Ethanol must be handled with care when being used as fuel in a chiminea because it is a flammable liquid. It is first placed in small metal cans that fit well inside the chiminea and then lit with a long-nosed lighter.

The advantage of using ethanol as fuel in a chiminea is that it can then be used indoors, because ethanol does not produce smoke when it burns.