Improving Soil Tilth and Productivity with Mycorrhizal and Saprophytic Fungi

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2022: $2,236.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2024
Grant Recipient: Goat Plum Tree Farm, LLC
Region: Northeast
State: Maryland
Project Leader:
Matthew Harhai
Goat Plum Tree Farm, LLC


  • Fruits: berries (brambles), berries (strawberries)
  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, peas (culinary)


  • Soil Management: soil physics, soil quality/health

    Proposal summary:

    Clay soil is an incredibly difficult growing medium to farm in. Through sowing gourmet and medicinal mushroom mycelium, Goat Plum Tree Farm, LLC, will improved the tilth of the farm's clay soil, all the while improving root structures and growth, productivity of those crops plants, and availability of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and organic matter. Additionally, the mushrooms growing from the farm beds will be marketable crops at our farmers markets, and to the restaurants we serve. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to improve clay soil tilth with mushroom mycelium, making our heavy soil more friable. This project also seeks to show that plants' roots are more extensive after growing in soil improved with mushroom mycelium, and that yields are noticeably larger due to improved root health, access to nutrients. 

    Goat Plum Tree Farm anticipates greater root growth of beets, beans, peas, tomatoes and other crops, and that as consequence the yields of those crops will be greater. 

    We will compare length of roots of sample crops from beds inoculated with gourmet mushroom mycelium, and length of roots of crops from beds not inoculated. We will measure the weight yielded of both the control and variable samples.

    Other farmers who grow in clay rich soil will know better ways to cultivate, and improve the tilth of their heavy soils. 

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.