Kate - Eden image

Kate is working with the Eden Project to investigate artificial soils.

Investigating Artificial Soils at the Eden Project

Plymouth University

This project aims to develop a fertile, artificial soil with a large reservoir of slow-release nitrogen that meets the nutrient requirements of the soil.

The Eden Project prepares its own soils for use within its biomes, by recycling raw materials sourced locally. Since its opening the soils have been subject to highly variable environmental conditions, plantings, fertiliser practices and general husbandry, which has lead to variable soil performance, particularly with regard to nutrient storage.

Eden is working with Plymouth University PhD student Kate Schofield to improve the nutrient storage potential of soils produced for the rainforest and outdoor biomes.

Kate has carried out a number of soil experiments and mineralogical studies to determine the characteristics of the soils already established at Eden. This has provided a clearer understanding of the nutrient deficiencies of previously manufactured, artificial soils. The next phase of experiments will involve the addition of nutrient-rich materials as a means of improving the long-term fertility of the soils.

The soil experiments will give a better understanding of the nutrient cycling taking place within the Eden Project soils and allow for steps to be taken to improve the soil’s nutrient retention and storage. It is hoped that the results of the project will provide ideas for local communities faced with the challenge of how to generate a sustainable soil while reusing scarce mineral resources.