See more from this Session: Symposium--Local/Regional Food Systems and Community Food Security: Making the Connection
Monday, November 1, 2010: 3:35 PM
Long Beach Convention Center, Room 102A, First Floor
Community gardens are developed to provide people in urban areas a place in the landscape to raise fresh produce and herbs. Gardeners share responsibilities for garden maintenance and also gain opportunities to socialize with other people in the community. Skills and abilities related to soil management and plant growth are also shared between gardeners. While much of a gardener’s behavior may be difficult to observe, their treatment of soil can be observed through analytical methods. A community garden at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center was selected to observe how gardeners used composted dairy manure to amend the soil. Soil samples were collected in 2008 and 2010. The garden was expanded during the sampling period to include 20 new plots taken from an abandoned field. The purpose of the study is to identify if gardeners are elevating plant nutrient concentrations, primarily phosphorus and potassium, beyond a normal maintenance level for plants. The authors hypothesize that given free access to compost, gardeners would increase plant nutrient concentrations higher than acceptable agronomic practice. Many gardeners have increased soil test phosphorus and potassium to extremely high concentrations by their use of composted dairy manure. Educational materials may be needed to help gardeners utilize compost without over applying it.