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Mycorrhizal Planet: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility

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Regenerative practices for the farm, garden, orchard, forest, and landscape

Mycorrhizal fungi have been waiting a long time for people to recognize just how important they are to the making of dynamic soils. These microscopic organisms partner with the root systems of approximately 95 percent of the plants on Earth, and they sequester carbon in much more meaningful ways than human "carbon offsets" will ever achieve. Pick up a handful of old-growth forest soil and you are holding 26 miles of threadlike fungal mycelia, if it could be stretched it out in a straight line. Most of these soil fungi are mycorrhizal, supporting plant health in elegant and sophisticated ways. The boost to green immune function in plants and community-wide networking turns out to be the true basis of ecosystem resiliency. A profound intelligence exists in the underground nutrient exchange between fungi and plant roots, which in turn determines the nutrient density of the foods we grow and eat.

Exploring the science of symbiotic fungi in layman's terms, holistic farmer Michael Phillips (author of The Holistic Orchard and The Apple Grower) sets the stage for practical applications across the landscape. The real impetus behind no-till farming, gardening with mulches, cover cropping, digging with broadforks, shallow cultivation, forest-edge orcharding, and everything related to permaculture is to help the plants and fungi to prosper . . . which means we prosper as well.

Building soil structure and fertility that lasts for ages results only once we comprehend the nondisturbance principle. As the author says, "What a grower understands, a grower will do." Mycorrhizal Planet abounds with insights into "fungal consciousness" and offers practical, regenerative techniques that are pertinent to gardeners, landscapers, orchardists, foresters, and farmers. Michael's fungal acumen will resonate with everyone who is fascinated with the unseen workings of nature and concerned about maintaining and restoring the health of our soils, our climate, and the quality of life on Earth for generations to come.

256 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2017

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About the author

Michael Phillips

7 books28 followers
Librarian Note: there is more than one author with this name in the Goodreads database.

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
Profile Image for Paul.
1 review
November 23, 2017
When was the last time you had a hard time putting a good gardening book down? A book that helps you see your soil and your plantings with a whole new set of eyes? A book that you can say actually completes a part of your need for a deeper understanding of the natural world? Every now and then a book on holistic gardening or farming comes a long that delightfully immerses the reader into an enthusiastic enlightenment of a deeper awareness and understanding of the inner workings of the natural world. . . This is one of those books!!

With his latest book, Mycorrhizal Planet, author Michael Phillips takes each of us on the most important soil adventure of our lives. A journey which takes us front, center, and through top soils teeming with life and for which specialized fungi and their intimate relationships with plants help to sustain the very foundation of life as we know it.

I grow organic fruits and vegetables for my family and for my local community and I am consistently keeping an ear out for opportunities to learn methods and techniques to be a better steward of my land. This book on practical fungal teachings will be considered "the one" to get you to the next level in your deeper thinking, feeling and tuning to your soil's very own fungal centered diversity and just how important that diversity is to the plants you are growing.

There are a number of books which have recently come to the shelves on the topic of mycorrhizal fungi, and I have read many of them, sadly most simply read like fact filled heartless textbooks. Michael Phillips' book is different. It is the only one that leaves me feeling like I want to read it again and again. Michael writes in a genuine and personable style of an inquisitive and fascinated friend that is in a passionate grower's quest right along with you. He is not talking at you or above you, but rather from a place just a bit further down the holistic path so many of us are traveling. Page after page, you can feel that Mr Phillips wants us to succeed in our growing endeavors and through his travels he has found a way to share a critical (and sometimes confusing) piece of the holistic growing puzzle with all who are ready to take their gardening and farming to the highest levels

Mycorrhizal fungi awareness, stewarding and fostering is as close to the holy grail of gardening we can ever hope for and this book will give you everything you need to become a champion in this regard. The secret to success in organic farming is directly related to the health of your soil. Take this book's teachings and become the envy of every gardener and farmer you know? Give yourself the gift of this book and the knowledge generously shared within. It will be the best $40 you have spent on yourself in years and perhaps ever.
126 reviews4 followers
March 26, 2018
This is a delightful book. It seemed like it would be a textbook, and it is information rich enough to be considered one. But the author slips in humor and some philosophy - just enough to make it warmly pleasant to have 'FUNgi Science class.'

Cheers to this author and to the fungi we have not appreciated for so long!
Profile Image for Andrew Mathis.
27 reviews4 followers
October 15, 2021
Very heavy on the biology up front, which is to be expected if you have read his other books. That being said, there are lots of practical tips here that can be used right away in an orchard or garden setting, and I'll come back to this book again and again to get a better understanding of the biology.
91 reviews
May 6, 2021
Oh, I loved this book. Full of I formation about soil, trees, fungi and all other good things, Phillips writes with a lively, personal take on his life as an apple farmer and the amazing things he has learned along the way. I love autodidacts.
27 reviews
January 15, 2020
The world revolves around the soil. From soil comes humanity and from soil humanity is sustained....
Profile Image for Adam Shand.
90 reviews5 followers
May 2, 2020
This is an amazing book, full of hard won experience and well explained knowledge. I had intended to read it cover-to-cover but it's turned out to be more of a reference book.
Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews

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