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Two months ago, we sowed tomatoes and tomato seeds in a big pot. We watered them daily. Yesterday, instead of tomatoes, white mushrooms suddenly appeared in the pot. What happened? And what should we do to get tomatoes?

EDIT: here are some pictures of the mushrooms. The diameter of each mushroom is about 2 cm. What are these mushrooms? Are they edible?

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Did you buy your seeds in a packet, or were they straight from a tomato? – Nic Jun 13 '16 at 22:39
  • It's actually kind of tricky to grow tomatoes. There are books about it. – Andre Lenotre Jun 14 '16 at 3:47
  • @Nic straight from a tomato. – Erel Segal-Halevi Jun 14 '16 at 10:35
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I'd like to know the source of the soil in your pot - the likeliest explanation is that the tomato seeds did not germinate at all, but there was mycelium in the soil, and that's what's grown. Mycelium are present throughout soil and mushrooms or toadstools are the fruiting bodies it produces at various times. If you used garden soil, this is the most likely explanation, and depending on the consistency and quality of the soil, may also explain why your tomato seeds didn't germinate. A photo of the mushrooms would be interesting to see.

UPDATE

I can't see the toadstool/mushroom detail clearly in the photograph, but the most likely ID is Lepiota cristata, pic in the link below, you'll need to scroll down to find it. These arise naturally, which means the mycelium was present in the soil in your pot, and, if that's what they actually are, they are most definitely not edible.

http://www.team2010.altervista.org/3b/Mushrooms.html

And if you didn't wash off the tomato tissue from around the seeds, that might explain why they didn't germinate - the presence of the mushrooms wouldn't have affected germination.

  • Thanks! Since the mushrooms are poisonous, should I discard all the soil and bring new soil for sowing? Or, is it sufficient to just discard the mushrooms and re-sow? – Erel Segal-Halevi Jun 18 '16 at 21:52
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    You needn't worry about the toxins in the mushrooms occurring in anything you grow - but if you don't change the soil for something sterile like potting or seed and cutting compost, they will appear again at some point. Personally, I'd use sterile potting medium instead... no other pathogens present, no fungal growth, better for seeds, and if you have children or pets, I wouldn't want to risk toxic mushrooms appearing again... – Bamboo Jun 18 '16 at 21:55
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Too much water, most likely, for one thing, could be combined with poor drainage depending on the details of the pot and soil mix. Probably some other things [planting depth?] to not get any tomato seedlings (I gather that you "planted tomatoes" [fruit] rather than transplanting tomato plants) such as excessively cool temperatures or not noticing the seedlings before they got whomped by damping off (another fungus.)

Tomato seeds in good conditions (70F/21c or more is best) should yield seedlings within a week or two at most. If they don't I replant, and sometimes I have one of the original seeds come up late; but not often. Given the low, low cost of known good seed I'd suggest buying that, at least until you have a better handle on growing tomatoes, when saving heirloom seeds might make sense. Random tomatoes of unknown type are not a great seed source, especially if they are hybrids. Tomato seed in casual storage conditions (dry, but not in a fridge/freezer) is typically good for 5 or more years

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It seems there are two questions here:

  1. Why mushrooms? That is covered by other answers.

  2. Why not tomatoes? Where did you get the seeds? If you bought the seeds and followed the instructions on the packet, they should germinate. If you kept seeds from purchased tomatoes, they are unlikely to be alive. It is very rare to get viable seeds from any commercial fruit. (I don't know if the supermarkets or their suppliers irradiate fruit so it lasts longer.)

I usually keep some seeds from my home-grown tomatoes. They are usually successful. My method is:

Take a few seeds from a ripe tomato. Place in a small sieve and wash well. Repeat for several tomatoes. Spread the seeds on a tissue and leave to dry. Store the dry seeds (usually they stick to the tissue paper) in a cool, dry, dark place over the winter. Sow one seed per small pot, you can tear the tissue and sow a bit of paper and its attached seed. Leave in a warm place, watering as necessary, until the plants are about 6 inches, 150 mm tall and there is no risk of frost. Plant out.

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