In sub-project C we examine the soil quality of urban gardens in Zurich. Soils are the basis for plant production in gardens. The quality of the soils in urban areas is strongly influenced by the increasing density and urbanization processes. Thus urban soils, altough often rich in organic matter and nutrients, often contain debris and waste. This can lead to contaminated soils with loads that are caused by current or former uses. In addition urban soils are often sealed by a variety of uses and construction activities or heavily compacted, which can also have a negative impact on soil quality.
So far, little is known about how management practices and the diversity of plants and structures in private or allotement gardens influence the nutrient cycles and soil biology and therefore the overall soil quality. In sub-project C, we will examine a variety of soil properties in private and allotment gardens in the city of Zurich. For this purpose we will extract soil samples from a total of 80 garden plots which we will analyze on-site or in the lab with different chemical, biological and physical methods to assess soil quality.
Andreas Fliessbach, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, andreas.fliessbach(at)fibl.org