Impact of compost on vegetable production

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Texas Tech University

As landfill cost increases and landfill space decreases, municipalities and organic waste producers are using composting as a method of diverting organic materials from the waste stream and utilizing the compost products as valuable organic amendments. For a composted product to be marketed profitably it must demonstrate consistency, stability, and predictability and show no phytotoxic effects.

Composted yard waste from a municipal composting facility in Piano, Texas was evaluated as a suitable constituent of potting media for greenhouse production of Green Comet broccoli {Brassica oleracea L.) transplants. Five growth media composed of differential rates of compost and commercial potting media were evaluated for effects on germination, and seven were evaluated for effects on seedling growth. Higher rates of compost, 50% and above, reduced emergence. Rates of 66% compost showed the best overall results on seedling growth with significant differences in heights and in fresh and dry weights. As expected, soluble salt levels were higher in higher rates of compost.

In field production of Green Comet broccoli, four types of compost amendments were banded into the planting row: (1) raw cattle manure, (2) composted cattle manure, (3) composted cotton burrs, (4) composted yard waste, and a control with no compost added. Each compost was applied at two rates, 11 MT/ha and 22.5 MT/ha. No significant differences between treatments were found for yield. Rates of compost also did not produce significant differences.

Organic gardening, Animal waste -- Recycling, Compost -- Evaluation, Vegetable culture