Every garden season is a learning experience full of expectation, mystery, successes and failures; we have begun to identify this years fun learning experiences. This picture taken by Michelle on Sunday, June 14th, pictures the fungus that has grown on the mulch and particularly at the base of the tomato plants. Michelle’s picture of the fungus was a great resource in identifying the fungus. I called the Hamilton County extension service to talk to someone about identifying this fungus, ironically the office is located within the Civic Garden Center; links to both these organizations are listed as resources on this blog.
Thanks to Paul at the Hamilton County extension office we know we have “Cup Fungi”
Cup Fungi does not “feed” on live organisms like plants but instead feeds on dead matter, like mulch; why this fungi is growing at the base of the tomato plants is somewhat of a mystery. This fungi should be harmless to our plants but may be poisonous as edibles to humans and/or animals. To verify a poisonous nature we would have to determine the exact species of our fungi within the family of fungus commonly called “Peziza” which would require viewing the mushroom under a microscope. We should treat the fungus as if it is poisonous to humans and animals. Do not eat the fungi and keep away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Dispose of the fungi in a garbage bag or can, do not put this in the compost pile in case animals are to eat it as well as this fungi will feed on the breaking down matter of our compost pile. If you see this fungi in the garden remove it when possible.
We have tomato bugs
Also pictured is the damaged leaf of a tomato plant from a bug that garden volunteer “van” has simply called “a tomato bug”; he has seen it before and is familiar with it but we lack the appropriate name. The leaf will exhibit many tiny holes in it and on the underside will have tiny nit link eggs that is the larvae of our tomato bug. Treatment for this bug involves simply removing the leaves that we see that have the damage from this bug. The bugs crawl up from the surface and generally attack leaves that are in contact with the surface or are low lying leaves. Throw away the leaves that you removed making sure that they are removed far from the garden.