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The Success of a Soil Food Web Experiment: Impressive Growth Advantage for Lettuce

In the realm of sustainable agriculture and ecologically responsible gardening, increasingly innovative methods are being explored to enhance soil health. A Soil Food Web experiment, conducted in Portugal by the Soil Food Web students Elodie da Silva and Jeroen Boss, recently unveiled a striking result: a remarkable growth advantage for lettuce in the treated group compared to the control.

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Experimental Setup

The experiment focused on cultivating lettuce under two different soil conditions. The experimental group underwent treatment with compost extract, with microorganisms sourced from vermicompost. Simultaneously, the soil of the control group received the same amount of water to minimize potential growth differences due to water availability.

Results and Harvest

After a period of six weeks, the experiment could already be deemed successful. The lettuce in the treated group reached a point where harvesting could take place. Notably, the plants in the treated group were more than twice as large as their counterparts in the control. This compelling result indicates the significant impact of using compost extract on lettuce growth.

The Role of Microorganisms

The key to this success lies in the rich diversity of microorganisms present in the compost extract. Worm compost is known for its ability to support a healthy and balanced soil life. Microorganisms play a crucial role in releasing nutrients and promoting overall plant growth.


This Soil Food Web experiment underscores the effectiveness of using compost extract, with microorganisms from worm compost, to significantly promote lettuce growth. Such innovative approaches contribute to more sustainable agricultural practices and offer new perspectives for gardeners and farmers striving for healthier crops and fertile soils. It is clear that the secrets of a bountiful harvest often lie hidden in the rich microcosm of the soil.

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