CC by Elisabeth Ziss
Institution: Institute of Soil Research, BOKU University
Project lead: Franz Zehetner
Peter-Jordan-Straße 82 | 1190 Wien
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

City-Zen Boden

“Healthy Soil" research platform for Viennese community gardens

As a follow-up project to "Heavy Metal City-Zen", we are once again inviting Viennese community gardens, garden projects or similar garden initiatives to take part in this project and conduct research together with us. 

The aim of this project is to scientifically assess the potential risk of heavy metal contamination of crops in Viennese city gardens and to investigate the extent of soil contamination with microplastics.

We will make the results of the study and additional information on soil health available on our City-Zen soil research platform, which we are developing as part of the project.


Urban gardening has become increasingly popular over the last two decades. However, gardeners are often concerned about their crops being contaminated by pollutants such as heavy metals.

Plant availability of heavy metals is strongly influenced by the soil properties and the plants being cultivated. Through appropriate soil management, it is possible to reduce the potential transfer of heavy metals to plants.

We want to test whether the heavy metal content in plants grown in one variant (e.g. a mix with compost) differs from those plants grown in a control variant (untreated urban soil).

How do we want to test this?

We need you for this! Become a Citizen Scientist by conducting a "pot experiment" with radishes in your urban garden. Plant and soil samples will be collected from these tests and an analysis for heavy metals will then be carried out in our laboratory.

Participation in the project will benefit the entire community of the garden. Together we can generate the following information about the garden's location:

  • Whether and to what extent the soil in your garden is contaminated with heavy metals and microplastics.
  • If contamination is present, whether the soil treatment you have chosen could reduce the transfer of these heavy metals to the plants.
  • We can also do on site measurements of soil and plant parameters such as pH and yield.

Further information on the project can be found on the website.

Who can take part in the "City-Zen Soil" project?

  • People who are involved in a community garden, garden project or similar garden initiative.
  • These gardens are in Vienna.

What do I have to do to take part in the project?

Simply write to us by e-mail if you are interested in taking part: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The project is funded by the Vienna Business Agency. A fund of the city of Vienna.

Wirtschaftsagentur Stadt Wien eng CMYK Farbe

The results of the "Heavy Metal City Zen" project can be found in our blogpost (in German) and on our project website.

Tagged under
  • plants
  • food
Read 90 times| Last modified on Wednesday, 24 April 2024 10:04