Microbe Inoculation Event in Riley Park

By Dr. Art Bomke, Professor Emeritus, UBC

On Saturday May 18 th , Riley Park Community Gardeners, guests and representatives from the BC Mycological Society launched an interesting demonstration/education project focused on fungi, bacteria and their effects on higher plants. Additionally, a small log was inoculated with spores of a saprophytic fungus that produces edible fruiting bodies, otherwise known as mushrooms. This latter project will take some time to develop and will be available to observe, likely nestled within the “Food Forest” area of the garden.

Plant – Microbe interactions: All plants exist in a range of relationships with soil microorganisms and good management strives to create healthy soils with a biodiverse array of beneficial microbes. The SPEC (Society Promoting Environmental Conservation) Bean bed is the site of a comparison of two methods of inoculating plant seeds with microorganisms to improve plant vigour, nutrient uptake and fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. The efficacy of inoculating plant seeds is partially dependent on the fertility of the soil and can either show a marked improvement or no effect. What will we observe in our garden?

The Bean plot was divided into four segments with the treatments being a 1) control with no inoculation, 2) addition of a mycorrhizae mix (containing a range of fungi and bacteria), 3) nitrogen-fixing bacteria and a combination of treatments 2 and 3.

Gardeners and visitors will be able to observe over the June and July to see if the treatments have had any visual effects. We will also measure vegetative growth, bean yields and root effects.