The Spadina Garden Mystery

I have been volunteering with LEAF as a steward for their Spadina Garden now for the past two months. Twice a month I tend and water the garden, though I imagine this frequency to increase as we move into the intensely hot summer months. On my last visit to the site, I stumbled upon a strange new and unwelcomed addition to the garden.

 

 

Upon finding the strange fungus mould like mounds that seemingly sprouted up in every corner of the garden growing like they were bubbling up from below the surface, I honestly didn't know what to make of them. How did they get here? Are they bad for the garden? How do I remove them?

 

Do I remove them. I sprayed them with the hose to try and wash them away, but found out they were impermeable to water. I kicked one and it turned into a black cloud of smoke (releasing its spores everywhere, not a smart move).

 

The Spadina Garden

Mould in the mulch

 

After putting on my gloves, I removed each of the mounds as they seemed to have only inhabited the top centimetre of the wood chips. After consulting my team, we found out the fungus was not a Spadina orientated problem. The fungus had indeed surfaced in other LEAF gardens in the city.

 

The Spadina Garden - Slime Mold

Close up of mould

 

We are now in the midst of testing a removal and mitigation tactic. Removing and disposing of the fungus, and using two small doses of apple vinegar applied to the site to attempt to destroy any remaining spores. Check back for updates on our progress!

 

James Bar is a Volunteer Steward at the Spadina Station Urban Forest Demonstration Garden in Toronto.  This piece originally appeared on his blog, City Fellow.