Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

Josef Gorres


Urban gardens have become a growing interest in the Burlington, Vermont area. As interest grows, soil management, amendment, and health are integral to garden productivity. A baseline of soil health for the Burlington Area Community Gardens was created. Explored hypotheses include how nutrient concentrations changed over time (2011 to 2018) in till and no-till scenarios.

Ten sites in the Winooski Valley area were soil sampled in the Fall of 2018, along with eight sites in the Chittenden County vicinity in the Spring of 2019 for comparison. Using the Modified Morgan’s Universal Extraction Solution, soil nutrients such as phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), pH, and percentage of organic matter were quantified and analyzed.

The results of this survey indicate that nearly all soils sampled in the Winooski Valley area were excessive in phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, most likely due to the application of soil amendments. When comparing recent soil tests (2018) with the tests done by Burlington Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront in 2011, only potassium increased significantly. Tillage (till vs no-till) also did not affect nutrient concentrations. The main concern with excessive soil nutrients is the potential for them to be exported from the gardens via erosion and leaching, especially with the proximity of the gardens to the Winooski River and Lake Champlain. The main objective of this guide is to provide more sustainable gardening techniques to avoid soil erosion and runoff.



Number of Pages

107 p.

Included in

Soil Science Commons